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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 50

Posted By on Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 2:47 PM

• On the Today show this morning, President Barack Obama expressed his ongoing frustration with the catastrophe by saying he wanted an "ass to kick."

Now they're getting it: The Obama administration is no longer bothering to use BP's ever-changing estimates of how much oil is getting out or being captured.

• In an editorial, The New York Times lambastes BP's "serial failures" and explains why the exact figures around the gusher are so fluid:

Only a few weeks ago, the company estimated the spill at 5,000 barrels a day. Government experts later revised this figure upward to 12,000 to 25,000 barrels. That terrifying number may still be too modest in view of the fact that the 11,000 barrels a day now being captured are only a fraction of the total.

Members of Congress led by Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, continue to press the company for better numbers on the size of the spill. One reason is to help coordinate a proper response. Another is to correctly calculate the size of the fines BP will have to pay under the Oil Pollution Act.

Under that law as written in 1990, BP must pay $1,000 for every barrel it spills, and $3,000 per barrel if it is found to have been grossly negligent. BP can do the math just as well as Mr. Markey can — 25,000 barrels a day times 40 days (and climbing) times $3,000 equals at least $3 billion. Trying to shave the figures downward will only do more damage to the company’s reputation.

National Geographic's gallery of oiled and dying wildlife. Link put here because it's important, but think about whether you need to see more of it ...

There's a second leak out there, this one on a rig operated by Diamond Offshore:

The Deepwater Horizon is not the only well leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the last month.

A nearby drilling rig, the Ocean Saratoga, has been leaking since at least April 30, according to a federal document.

While the leak is decidedly smaller than the Deepwater Horizon spill, a 10-mile-long slick emanating from the Ocean Saratoga is visible from space in multiple images gathered by, which monitors environmental problems using satellites.

Federal officials did not immediately respond when asked about the size of the leak, how long it had been flowing, or whether it was possible to plug it. ...

• Wisdom from Clifton Harris at Cliff's Crib:

The only people I am concerned about are the ones that work on these rig projects. Their livelihoods are affected but they should be able to be paid by BP just like the fishermen because all of this is fallout of the oil spill. That takes care of them for the few months when no drilling is going on. Secondly, I find the notion that these oil companies are going to pull up those rigs and go to other countries. Even if they did they would come right back as soon as the moratorium is over. There is no way all of those oil companies are going to leave billions of dollars worth of oil alone forever because they had to pause a few months. Our country is going to drill for oil anywhere and everywhere we can. President Obama has already stated he's committed to it so there is no need to worry. We'll be back to risking our wetlands and hurricane protection in no time. That's what dependent people do. Louisiana is acting like the welfare queens of America. We want to do the right thing for our people and our culture but we are too afraid of what's going to happen if we lose that check so we let bad choices happen.

Scott Walker of WDSU-TV is anchoring the station's 4, 5 and 6 pm newscasts from Grand Isle this week, and sharing his personal observations on his blog ...

The ad hoc group Murdered Gulf, which staged the protest across from Jackson Square May 30, will be staging another protest June 15 on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol. The focus this time: the use of Corexit in the Gulf.

“We are finally realizing that we are going to have to leave.”

Later while having lunch at the Starfish Restaurant, still reeling from an intense morning, the enormity of the crisis was again illustrated during a conversation with our server. While detailing the anticipated affects on the community, she said something I had not yet heard, “We are finally realizing that we are going to have to leave.” This was a powerful statement as it came from someone in a community that constantly rebuilds themselves. Storm after storm, they keep fighting for their land, homes, livelihoods, culture and identity.

• And just so your day isn't a total bummer after reading all that: click over to Comedy Central and watch Stephen Colbert show President Obama exactly how to get mad at BP CEO Tony Hayward. Just remember: it's all for fun, and no one really recommends throwing Tony Hayward down a flight of stairs, tossing him off a building and letting a sea turtle drive over his body repeatedly:


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