Hey kids, the circus is in town. One day, the Los Angeles Times announces the Gulf gusher is plugged. They got that news from Coast Guard clown Admiral Thad Allen.
The oil didn't get the message, it kept gushing out of the hole. BP had stopped pumping mud 16 hours previously, but nobody told the government. Even so, 24 hours later, Allen, acting as cheerleader-in-chief, said the same thing, on National TV. Meanwhile, any fool on the Net could see the oil continuing to gush out, if you could find the right camera.
[Thad Allen claim link on National Public Radio]
Video, video, who hid the video?
"I believe that we will respond to this tragedy with technology and transparency. And releasing video of the BP spill is a step in the right direction.
One of the major points that we should take away from this video, is that the 5,000 barrels a day estimate that BP pushed all along - is dead wrong. Today, BP is claiming that they are siphoning off 5,000 barrels a day. But if you look at the video, you can see plumes of oil, spilling into the Gulf, far in excess of 5,000 barrels per day.
These videos stand as a scalding, blistering indictment of BP's inattention to the scope and size of the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of the United States."
- Representative Edward Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts, Chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming at http://www.globalwarming.gov/
After the right honorable Edward Markey got BP to release the underwater video, I went to the site at globalwarming.gov to watch. All was well, as robots moved smoothly through clear seas. Except, BP sent the shot from the blowout preventer, instead of the ugly picture from the big spill pipe further on. Rumor put that video on CNN, but I searched their site twice, never finding it. Once I bounced from another site, into CNN page with six cameras going - but alas, I could never find that again.
Finally, it took PBS Newshour to mount what the world wanted to see: is the oil still coming out? The constant eye on the gusher, at pbs.org/newshour It works with any computer, no software download required. Like millions of others transfixed, I just leave that on a screen, gushing oil into my own studio, minute by minute.
Here is the clown-in-chief, BP CEO Tony Hayward, more than a month and millions of gallons into the spill, explaining how tiny this little accident really is:
"I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest. It's impossible to say, and we will mount, as part of the aftermath, a very detailed environmental assessment as we go forward. We're going to do that with some of the science institutions in the U.S. But everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impacts will be very, very modest."
I couldn't believe my ears, and hit the "record" button immediately, for that classic clip.
If I could just remember where I saw that collection of global protests against BP...oh wait, that revolution was never seen on TV. Here are the sound clips, as ordinary citizens wake from their fossil slumber, to protest the killing of Nature by megacorp and zombie gov...
We start with the poet at a rally in New Orleans...then on to Nashville, where an extreme rainfall event, a side effect of carbonized warming, recently washed out the city...
You hear a short clip of an anti-BP protest in San Francisco, that mother of change...even Beverley Hills showed up at the local BP station.
Then back to New Orleans, for a few words from Dr. John, the Night-tripper who says the people have been pushed lower than anyone can go. Another speaker at the New Orleans rally asks whether the government runs BP, or the other way around, citing the many ways BP has covered up, or said "no" to the government.
We check in on one of a series of filling station protests in New York City, as reported by CNN...
Remember Code Pink from the anti-war protests? They are back, and they are dirty in Houston, as we hear from Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC...
Here is a cheery little song from Code Pink, that you can use in your own demonstration...
Miami Beach brought out the black plastic to cover the gleaming sand, and a few sunbathers. Major state politicians showed up to speak out....
OK, this next clip isn't recent. It's Nirvana's Eddie Vedder at the 2007 Lollapalooza...Nirvana simply sang “BP Amoco – Don’t’ Go”.
Here is another BP song for you, this time from the South Florida Raging Grannies, as they visit a series of BP gas stations...
We are touring the national protests about the Gulf Gusher, left out by mainstream media. This time it's the Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., at the Whitehouse, calling out President Obama....
The protest in Los Angeles was reported mainly because of video emerging showing cops knocking a protester of a bicycle and beating him. That was the story hook - not BP or the Gulf. Sure.
There were more, with protests in Europe and in Canada, especially in British Columbia, where folks are fighting off tankers running down the virgin coastline.
Help yourself. Find a barrel. Paint it black. Roll out the black plastic "spill" and get out your mops. Protest at BP gas stations (but for Earth's sake, ride your bike, or take transit to get there...) At your politician's office, at the gas pumps, on the dollar bill.... paint it black!
[clip of "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones]
A ROUND-UP OF THE OIL SPILL AND DEEP DRILLING CHALLENGES STILL AHEAD
Here is a round-up of oil drilling news - including some positive developments - as the Great Oil Gusher runs it's second month in the Gulf of Mexico.
Realizing the gigantic impact, on both the United States and people around the world, governments have started to question, and even hold back, other dangerous oil drilling projects.
We'll start with the U.S., where President Barack Obama announced a pause in off-shore drilling off the East Coast, and in Alaska. That Arctic decision will knock out three planned exploration wells by Shell Oil in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska's Northwest coast. Shell paid the fed $2.1 billion for those leases in 2008.
No Arctic drilling will be considered until 2011. The move was endorsed by environmentalists and Alaska natives, who already said a cleanup in the fragile Arctic was impossible.
Republican representative Don Young said Obama's precautions were irrational and careless. He said just because one "plane goes down, we don't stop flying." Alaska gets about 90 percent of it's general income from the oil industry.
On Canada's East Coast, Chevron is drilling even deeper than the BP Deepwater Horizon. The Gulf well that blew out is 1,500 meters - about a mile under the sea. The Chevron well is in the Orphan Basin, about 267 miles (or 430 kilometers) northeast of Newfoundland's capital St. John. It will be drilled in water 2600 meters deep - or 1.6 miles below the surface, so deep the technology required is like drilling on the moon.
Yet Chevron has no way to stop such a deep blowout - and there is no nearby backup rig even to drill a relief well months later.
In November 2005, the Canadian government waived previous environmental assessment rules which would have required a detailed study of the risks even at the exploratory drilling stage.
On May 20th, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board announced new and stricter safety regulations for deep drilling. Chevron will have to test it's blowout preventer in a lab. There would be more inspections. In fact, the Chevron drilling at Orphan Basin will have to stop until the regulator is satisfied that safety measures will work.
Good news for the East Coast, at least for now. How could anyone claim sanity if they let this deeper drilling go ahead, knowing there is no plan to stop a blow-out, and knowing the extreme damage that can result. Apparently, that Chevron project is the only on-going offshore drilling in Canadian waters.
Still, Max Ruelokke, chief executive of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, told Reuters, quote "The understanding that we have is that what occurred is not something that would ever have been allowed to happen here in Canada." And anyway, even if there was a blowout, Ruelokke said, the oil wouldn't reach Canada's East Coast, due to the wind and sea patterns. And that's all that matters isn't it folks? Who cares if the open ocean is drowning in toxic oil? The main thing is to protect that valuable ocean-front property...
The National Post reports that Canada is trying to pick up drilling bids for the Arctic, even as the U.S. pauses for safety. Multinationals wanting to drill exploratory wells in Canada's Beaufort Sea, and the Mackenzie River region, will face fewer regulations than they would in the United States. Unlike the U.S., Greenland, or Norway, Canada does not require an environmental assessment when bidding.
BP, which already holds leases in the Beaufort Sea, has begun seismic testing of the sea bed, with plans to drill several hundred meters deep. Testifying before a Canadian House of Commons Committee, Anne Drinkwater, the president of BP Canada, was unable to promise that a cleanup in the Arctic was possible. Scientists have said that once oil is underneath the Arctic Ice, there is no way to remove it.
The Geological Survey of Canada plans to search for gas and oil in the coming months, using seismic testing - even in an area reserved as a conservation zone. Laughably, Natural Resource Canada claims the Mineral and Energy Resource Assessment (or MERA) - is just part of the procedure to help Parks Canada set up a National Marine Conservation Area.
The Nunavut aboriginal people were opposed to seismic testing, but in late May approved the search for gas and oil in that part of the Eastern Arctic. That will include firing loud air gun shots underwater, every minute, for 600 hours - even in the pristine Lancaster Sound. That's where most of the magical narwhal, with their single ivory spikes, spend their summers, along with endangered bowhead whales, walrus and other animals whose sensitive hearing may be damaged by the seismic blasts.
Canada's Minister of the Environment, Conservative Jim Prentice representing the Alberta oil city of Calgary, sees no conflict between setting up a Marine Protected Area and searching for oil and gas at the same time.
The other unfinished bit of oil spill business coming out of the Gulf of Mexico disaster is a plan to run oil tankers down Canada's West Coast. The giant Enbridge company plans to run a new pipeline from Canada's Tar Sands in Alberta, all the way to the port of Kitimat, on the West Coast of British Columbia.
Kitimat is primarily an aluminum smelting town, with Alcan, now that it's forest industry is failing. In addition to a local fishing industry, Kitimat also offers deep water port facilities - at the end of a long thin Fjord. Once tankers navigate that famously foggy fjord, they enter the fabled inland passage, before hitting one of the stormiest seas of the world, the Hecate Strait or worse, the northern Dixon Entrance. The route runs through the wilderness of the protected Great Bear Rainforest. What could go wrong?
Plenty, according to a series of public meetings, the latest May 29th at Kitimat, with Dr. David Suzuki, Maude Barlow from the Council of Canadians, and Alaskan spill expert Riki Ott, among others. The B.C. First Nations have been loudly against the proposed Enbridge pipeline, mainly due to the tanker risk.
The Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations, Art Sterritt, says aboriginal groups from Haida Gwaii, down through the interior all the way to Lillooet, are strongly opposed to the new pipeline.
Aboriginals and environmental groups ran a full page ad in national newspapers criticizing the project. They were jointed by more First Nations people in Alberta, as well as many well-known Canadian leaders.
The pipeline is supposed to carry dirty Tar Sands oil to markets in China and India, where more global warming gases will be released. After some delay, Enbridge just officially filed their pipeline project for approval. They are not deterred by events in the Gulf, and in fact, intend to profit from that disaster, saying land-based oil is safer - even if it comes from the world's single largest greenhouse gas emitting project.
That's the scoop friends, the four pots on the oil fire: drilling stalled on the Eastern Seaboard until the Gulf storm blows over. Arctic exploration waiting for the same. Governments hungry for revenues in the downturn will announce new versions of the old game, and the danger stays the same.
As MSNBC's Rachel Maddow documented, not much has changed in blowouts since the 1979 Ixtoc horror in Mexico's part of the Gulf. That one leaked into the ocean for nine months, until a relief well finally succeeded. The company did all the same things, in 1979. The containment, burn-offs, the top kill, the junk shots, and even the "top hat" - which was of course called "the sombrero". None of it worked then, as now, and that was in only 200 feet of water, not a mile or more down in the sea.
Let's crank up the time machine with Rachel Maddow, and NBC news from 1979...
[clips from NBC News in 1979, regarding the Ixtoc leak in the Gulf of Mexico]
Thirty one years later, the same tired answers, the same horrible risk of a deep sea blowout. But now we've burned so much of the world's supplies, desperate countries are always willing to risk their entire coast lines, just to keep the cars, power plants and chemical works humming.
On May 30th, John Vidal, environment editor of Britain's Guardian newspaper pointed out the Nigerian delta has experienced oil catastrophes, greater than the current BP blowout, for years. Neither the major company, Shell Oil, nor the corrupt military government, is prepared to control the ongoing pollution. Just in this month of May there were major leaks from Nigerian pipelines owned by both Exxon Mobil and Shell.
The Niger delta provides 40% of all the crude imported by the United States, with no questions asked. The World Wildlife Fund UK released a report estimating that up to 2006, around 1.5 million tons of oil, - the equivalent of 50 Exxon Valdez spills, had already been spilled in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, American drilling and oil supply companies hurt by the temporary halt to offshore drilling, are already looking for business in countries with less regulation, including Brazil, and countries in West Africa, or Namibia. Carrying foreign flags of convenience, these drilling giants roam the world, working for any bidder. Until Americans begin to scream for more at the gas pumps. Then they will be back, taking the big risks along America's fragile coasts.
I'm Alex Smith, reporting for Radio Ecoshock.
"Hole in the Bottom of the Sea" Fred Penner, album "A House for Me"
"Anything Goes" - the BP Spill edition, parody of Cole Porter song. Uploaded by jjjohnjohnnyjohn
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1sIE1yb5Lc more info at http://www.protestentertainment.co.uk/
BP protest clips uploaded to You Tube by various users.
Beverley Hills protest - Beverly Hills Courier
BP protest in New York as reported by CNN
Code Pink clip: Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC
Nirvana clip from Lollapalooza 2007
"Paint It Black" The Rolling Stones, album "Aftermath"
Clips from NBC News 1979 courtesy of the Rachel Maddow show, MSNBC.
Whale sounds recorded by Paul Spong.
Various clips from Fox News, CBC News, fake news conferences in Washington & Copenhagen, etc., from The Yes Man DVD "The Yes Men Fix The World" more info at http://theyesmenfixtheworld.com/