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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 72

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 4:24 PM

  • Last night, the Gulf of Mexico's Tropical Storm Alex became Hurricane Alex, a Category 1 storm now some 200 miles from Brownsville, Texas. Its projected path shows it making a sharp turn west into Mexico. It's the first June hurricane to hit the Gulf since 1995. But if you're wondering if we'll be seeing its effects, well, just look outside your window. Heavy rains are expected through today and possibly tomorrow.

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  • As for cleanup efforts, they're at a halt until the weather clears up. BP says it's facing 12-foot waves and will delay for a few days — which means, most likely, the rest of the week. Happy Fourth of July.

  • Jefferson Parish councilman John Young blasts the disaster response and tells WWL he's "ashamed to be an American right now":

    "We're on day 72, it's been ten weeks, over two months, they're still talking about cutting the red tape. We've been asking them to cut the rep tape since early May. ... There's so much of a disconnect. There needs to be a paradigm shift where the state and locals take over, the federal government gets out of the way, let BP pay for it at the end of the day. I'm ashamed to be an American right now. This is the greatest country in the world, and we have failed to properly respond to this disaster."

  • The U.S. Coast Guard has imposed a 100-meter "safety zone" around boom and other undefined "oil response efforts" — break the 100 meters and you can face a $40,000 fine and "Willful violations may result in a class D felony," according to a Deepwater Horizon Response release.

  • International aid in the Gulf: 12 countries of more than 30 that reached out are supplying booms, chemicals, skimmer and technical support.

  • New Orleans city council president and Wisconsonite Arnie Fielkow writes to his Northern brethren, letting 'em know why the country should care and pay attention to its fellow 'Mericans on the coast:

    It is neither about charity nor sympathy, and, in fact, we very much want you to continue to visit our majestic city and relish in its music, safe seafood and Southern charm. But it is all about a preservation of a way of life, a culture, a special sense of place and a pride of being here. That is something Midwesterners understand just as well as those of us in N'Awlins.

  • The ACLU has put Louisiana law enforcement on watch regarding its BP policing and the close relationships oil companies enjoy with the local law:

    Marjorie Esman, executive director of the group's Louisiana chapter, reminded the sheriffs of the coastal parishes that "members of the public have the right under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to film, record, photograph, and document anything they observe in a public place. No one—neither law enforcement nor a private corporation — has the legal right to interfere with public access to public places or the recording of activities that occur there. Nor may law enforcement officials cooperate with private companies in denying such access to the public."

  • New Orleans foodie Lorin Gaudin vows to eat Louisiana seafood every day (or get someone else to) and document it, until it's no longer possible. Godspeed.

  • And this happened yesterday.
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