Six Months Later: BP’s Oil Spill Still Stains

It has been six months since the height of public outrage about the Deep Horizon catastrophe and ensuing oil spill. Periodically, news bubbles up about potential lawsuits against BP and partners, but for the most part, the media has moved on to more current pastures. Meanwhile the damage left behind still ravages the Gulf Coast environs and economy.

Earlier this month, ABC News reported on University of Georgia’s Samantha Joye’s findings that Deep Horizon oil carpets the Gulf of Mexico floor. At 5,000 feet below the surface there appears to be an 80-square mile kill zone. “It looks like everything’s dead,” Samantha Joye said.

Meanwhile economic relief efforts seem to be hitting some walls. While tourist centric business like casinos located far away from Gulf shores are getting Gulf Coast Claims approved by the government, fishermen are being denied after one of the worst shrimping seasons every recorded. These fisherman fall into four classes:

  • Small vocal number who have presented Feinberg with strong documentation.
  • A much larger group that has been paid, but far less than their emergency claims called for.
  • Another group of more than 30,000 claimants, led by an organized Vietnamese contingent in Louisiana.
  • Thousands who can’t produce enough documentation to satisfy the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

The government dismisses these as suspect or fraudulent. Somewhere in between lies the truth. And on the interwebs, the BP PR machine continues.

No one asked BP to negligently contract and manage the operation of the oil Deep Horizon rig and its ensuing damage. Regardless of how the government and BP spin it, Americans, and the global environment will suffer for years to come.

2010 will go down as one of the worst years ever for environmental disasters. And BP’s negligent actions before and after the oil spill will go down as the largest lump of coal in the lot. The novelty of this has not been matched by the actions necessary to reverse the affects of manmade climate change. In fact, at least in the United States, environmental regulation seems to be moving backwards. Again, action to change falls to the individual.

If you would like to take action to help the fishing families of New Orleans, please consider Citizen Effect’s CitizenGulf project. Money goes to provide fishing children after school education programs.

Don’t Believe the BP Hype!

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Let’s be frank, lots of people are helping with #citizengulf and it’s awesome. There are so many people spreading the word, I can’t even begin to thank them. But this is not Haiti, in large part because of BP’s responsibility for causing the oil spill, and its moral and legal obligation to clean up the mess.

Many people express this to me, “Why should I help? It’s BP’s fault!”

But as we have seen over and over again, BP continues to promise fully responsible actions, only to have its actions completely contradict its PR and messaging. Consider the most recent lies that have been exposed this week:

1) The oil is not gone from the Gulf waters. In fact, University of Georgia scientists have done a study showing that 70-79% of the oil remains in the water. Now we see the role dispersants have played in this Dantean nightmare.

2) Phytoplankton, the base element of the fishing food chain, have been poisoned by this oil. This means the entire Gulf food supply has been affected and will have crude oil poisoning to contend with.

This continued public lying (and the co-signing of this behavior by the Obama Administration) should tell all of us one thing: BP will abandon its responsibility to clean up the Gulf at the first opportunity. The Gulf cannot count on BP or the federal government to resolve this situation.

Any of us would be furious if our homes and livelihoods were treated in such a fashion. In fact, many of us who do not live in the Gulf are angered by the public hucksterism we are being offered by BP and the Obama Administration. But what can we do about it? Plenty, and as my trip to the Gulf convinced me, this hurricane ravaged region definitely needs our help.

The citizengulf program was designed to provide easy, mindful actions to affect change, specifically, by using education to provide fishing families new opportunities for a brighter, more sustainable future. I hope you’ll join us on August 25 as we take a day of action together by attending an event, donating or voting.

Beyond the citizengulf program, there are more mindful actions: Write your elected officials and tell them to stand up to big oil and large corporations ruining our country, live a better sustainable life, and restore ethics to the communications profession. Want more? The AARP offers six ways you can make a difference for the Gulf.

No , it’s not Haiti. But it’s happening in our own back yard at the hands of corrupt oil company with the federal government cosigning it. Whatever you do, friends, I encourage you not to sit this one out. In my mind, it’s a civic duty. Take mindful action and say no to BP.