Video: Barton apologizes for apologizing to BP, sort of; Update: BP admits it ignored federal law on blowout preventers

posted at 5:03 pm on June 17, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via RCP, a belated retreat from the insane spectacle of using congressional hearings on the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history to sympathize with the culprit. (A culprit known to say things like this, no less.) Members of the caucus have been screaming at Boehner all day to make the pain go away, and now he’s going to try. A joint statement from him, Cantor, and Pence:

“The oil spill in the Gulf is this nation’s largest natural disaster and stopping the leak and cleaning up the region is our top priority. Congressman Barton’s statements this morning were wrong. BP itself has acknowledged that responsibility for the economic damages lies with them and has offered an initial pledge of $20 billion dollars for that purpose.

“The families and businesspeople in the Gulf region want leadership, accountability and action from BP and the Administration. It is unacceptable that, 59 days after this crisis began, no solution is forthcoming. Simply put, the American people want all of our resources, time and focus to be directed toward stopping the spill and cleaning up the mess.”

Translation: It’s time for this distraction-on-a-silver-platter to end. In fact, according to the Daily Caller, so nervous was the GOP leadership about how Barton’s soundbite will play that they threatened to strip him of his committee membership if he didn’t walk back his earlier apology.

Think this’ll be enough to calm the media frenzy? Not likely: As Dave Weigel says, “It’s pretty darn obvious what Democrats are doing today — ripping into Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) for his ‘apology’ to BP in a fashion that makes Oceania’s campaign against Emmanuel Goldstein look amateurish.” Quite so, and it was perfectly predictable, which is what makes Barton’s gaffe so excruciating. If you know the left is desperate to change the subject in the press, why make it easy for them? And why, oh why, frame your criticism of Obama and the escrow account as an apology to BP? He could have knocked the escrow fund independently before or after the hearing, at a press conference or in a written statement or an interview or various other ways. As it is, I can only assume that he was trying to pander to the right by proving himself such a true “true conservative” that he’s willing to take on Obama’s White House even if it means siding — on national television — with the perpetrators of the oil apocalypse in the gulf. Red meat for grassroots conservatives, poison for everyone else in America. Maybe there was something to that “epistemic closure” criticism after all.

The other pity of Barton’s sympathy act is that it obscures the fact that he has a legitimate complaint about the escrow account. Dan McLaughlin points me to this Journal op-ed which sums things up nicely:

[A] government-administered fund more or less guarantees a more politicized payment process. The escrow administrator will be chosen by the White House, and as such would be influenced by the Administration’s political goals. Those goals would include payments to those harmed by the Administration’s own six-month deep water drilling ban. That reckless policy will soon put thousands of Gulf Coast residents out of work, but the White House knows that BP isn’t liable under current law for those claims. The escrow account is an attempt to tap BP’s funds by other means to pay the costs of Mr. Obama’s own policy blunder.

That point should be made by the GOP — but not at a hearing devoted to BP’s malfeasance, as even Tony Hayward himself seems to understand. In fact, per the Daily Caller piece linked above, Barton’s now issued a written statement specifically apologizing for calling the escrow account a “shakedown.” Thus does a fair knock on the White House evaporate because it was delivered in a tin-eared fashion. Let’s hope the story ends here, please.

Update: Biden piles on and, right on cue, the fundraising push begins.

Update: The perfect story to be running alongside “Republican apologizes to BP” items.

In response to a U.S. senator’s questions in a letter, BP said it never follows a federal law requiring it to certify that a blowout preventer device would be able to block a well in case of an emergency. The inquiry stemmed from a hearing in May into the Gulf oil spill from the explosion and fire which sank the Deepwater Horizon rig.

But, at the same time, the British oil giant blamed the federal oversight agency, Minerals Management Service, for not asking it to comply with the law.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Thanks for the links, canopfor. They are much appreciated.

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 8:31 P

hillbillyjim: Your welcome,I’ve got a ton on Kagen as well,in 11 days,for SCJOTUSA!!:)

canopfor on June 17, 2010 at 8:49 PM

The Grand Old Potty proves again who calls the shots and runs the country. Ya’ll are so fearful of Obama the Socialist that you shut your eyes hard to the long time fact that first Big Railroads, then Big Autos, now Big Oil own the country and make us all dance to their tunes. (Big Insurance is always in the background, holding 20% of our wealth at any one time.)

Lets take a step back and observe the really big picture.

Name a country that doesn’t have Big Oil, Big Car, Big Railroads, etc. that also has a decent standard of living.

Cuba = Check
Yeman = Check
El Salvador = Check

So yeah, I guess I’m with ya….lets take on the capitalists and join the 3rd World in full solidarity.

BobMbx on June 17, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Also, it is common knowledge that the Democrat Sacred Cows of Fannie Mae and social engineering via financial policy and bullying the big lending institutions into making insane loans without credible assurance that these loans could reasonably be expected to be paid off was the single largest factor that led to the housing bubble, and the resulting near meltdown of fall 2008.

hey cuzzin, so the fact that the mortgage backed security derivatives and collateralized debt obligations that were unregulated and made Citibank and Morgan Stanley billions in profit during the boom, but were by ‘common knowledge’ the direct cause of the meltdown when the housing market foundered means that of course the big bad govt was at purely at fault, and the careless greed of the banks had nothing to do with it? Hmmmm. Don’t think so.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 8:56 PM

Even when Repubs say something stupid all you have to do is wait for the Dems. Stupak made the comment the $20 bil “escrow fund” can pay for healthcare.

Tasha on June 17, 2010 at 8:58 PM

So yeah, I guess I’m with ya….lets take on the capitalists and join the 3rd World in full solidarity.

BobMbx on June 17, 2010 at 8:51 PM

yup, has to be black or white, either-or doesn’t it. Either we lay back and enjoy it while BP rapes us, or we’re for becoming a communist dictatorship.

Nope, don’t think so. I don’t buy the Ayn Rand bs.

Adults in this country have long recognized that we prosper in senses of the word by keeping the free-est market we can while regulating big business where it makes self-protective sense.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 9:03 PM

That’s right, hillbilly, Obama is so in the pocket of BP that he can shake them down for $20b.

I wear a size 8 stetson, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around that kind of argument.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Well, you can’t have it both ways.

Whaddya call the $104,000 payoff to Barton, a non-returnable gift?…

The real enemy is Big Business and the politician bootlickers like Barton who sell their souls to Big Business for campaign funds.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Maybe the hat-band on your Stetson is a wee bit too tight?

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 9:11 PM

Joe Barton was RIGHT ON THE MARK!! What Obama did to BP with this escrow fund has NO legal basis whatsoever and IS totally a shakedown and extortion. But what would one expect from a Chicago street thug than learned the lessons of extortion well from the likes of Jesse Jackson?

One of Obama’s puppets will be administering the fund as it is presently set up, and I do not trust him or Obama as far as I could have thrown that oil rig.

BP had already committed to paying all the valid claims arising from the spill and has been doing so in a timely manner – do you expect Obama bureaucrats to do the same? If you do, you’re a fool.

Finally, I think the Congressman from Florida was a complkete ASS in his reaction.

Bill_Bowen on June 17, 2010 at 9:12 PM

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 9:11 PM

You win, cuzzin. I can’t argue against something so completely illogical.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 9:17 PM

hey cuzzin, so the fact that the mortgage backed security derivatives and collateralized debt obligations that were unregulated and made Citibank and Morgan Stanley billions in profit during the boom, but were by ‘common knowledge’ the direct cause of the meltdown when the housing market foundered means that of course the big bad govt was at purely at fault, and the careless greed of the banks had nothing to do with it? Hmmmm. Don’t think so.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 8:56 PM

The derivatives are certainly blameworthy, inasmuch as they were represented as safer than they actually were; however, this too is the fault of government resistance to truth-telling in reference to fannie and freddie and the “government-backed” housing loans.

The far larger problem was the insolvent loans that made the securities unsafe to begin with. You say you have worked in poor neighborhoods and claim to have all this compassion. Why do you think inflated prices for homes are a good idea? Why do you think making a larger and larger segment of people dependent on the government for things that the government will never be able to provide in a sustainable fashion into the future? It is a recipe for disaster, and the ones you claim to be concerned for are the ones who will be impacted in a negative way the most.

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Barton? Whatever. Nothing he said was anywhere near as stupid as the crap I heard from pig-man Henry Waxman and some retarded Republican named Sullivan from Oklahoma.

Jaibones on June 17, 2010 at 9:21 PM

The Grand Old Potty proves again who calls the shots and runs the country. Ya’ll are so fearful of Obama the Socialist that you shut your eyes hard to the long time fact that first Big Railroads, then Big Autos, now Big Oil own the country and make us all dance to their tunes. (Big Insurance is always in the background, holding 20% of our wealth at any one time.)

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Yeah, they run the country so thoroughly that Obama can shake down one of the biggest players for $20 billion. Obama’s a crony capitalist.

ddrintn on June 17, 2010 at 9:22 PM

That’s right, hillbilly, Obama is so in the pocket of BP that he can shake them down for $20b.

I wear a size 8 stetson, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around that kind of argument.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 8:48 PM

You might need to look into Chicago politics a little more thoroughly.

ddrintn on June 17, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Perhaps you should spend some time there, then come back ‘home’ and tell me how we are not being abused by Big Business.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 7:04 PM

Big business cannot raise your taxes. Big business cannot take your property. Big business cannot operate without your consent.

To shorten this abstract, do you believe BP found it advantageous to set up shop that far off the coast?

anuts on June 17, 2010 at 9:29 PM

You win, cuzzin. I can’t argue against something so completely illogical.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 9:17 PM

You respond to my assertion that Ojesus is a huge recipient of BP’s largesse with the strawman argument that he can’t be beholden to BP because he agreed to a $20 billion escrow account that his people will administer.

BP knows that they will be out far more than $20 billion if they settle individually each claim in or out of court; and this escrow account allows Ojesus to lump in folks damaged by his drilling moratorium that otherwise would have been uncompensated under the law. Therefore your response carries very little weight. This is an indirect political contribution of sorts when you look at the practical effects.

Yet you claim that Barton is a bootlicker under BP’s thumb when he received contributions that pale in comparison to Ojesus and the democrat’s contributions received.

What’s so hard to follow? Better loosen up that hat-band; the brain needs a proper supply of oxygen.

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Why do you think making a larger and larger segment of people dependent on the government for things that the government will never be able to provide in a sustainable fashion into the future is a good idea?

FIFM

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 9:37 PM

When BP is clearly culpable, and Obama is fumbling ferociously, you don’t take the heat off Barack and alienate the majority of the pissed-off country by issuing BP any kind of “apology” or start appearing to question whether they need to pay for the damage that their admitted ignoring of safety procedures resulted in.

It killed 11 men.

The only take-away from Barton’s tineared boobery is that posturing on an oily surface is dangerous for political primadonnas.

The officiating engineers should be fired for not having a conytingency plan for such a basic drilling problem.

And the MMS personnel, who Obama ultimately controlled, should be sacked as well.

And Obama needs to go for failing to reform an agency he now also blames.

Sign on Barry’s desk:

The buck stops here used to stop here, but it’s so slippery with crude it got right by me

profitsbeard on June 17, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Even when Repubs say something stupid all you have to do is wait for the Dems. Stupak made the comment the $20 bil “escrow fund” can pay for healthcare.

Tasha on June 17, 2010 at 8:58 PM

At any rate, I hope residents along the Gulf coast don’t think they’re actually, you know, going to get any of that money. Silly peasants.

ddrintn on June 17, 2010 at 9:38 PM

It is unconstitutional, and the GOP we are stuck with do not have any balls. They will not fight the fight, they will not repeal the health care bill or anything else. The GOP will continue to cave as they always do. I should never be surprised at their actions, but unfortunately I am. Not one Democrat stood up to protest their applauding for an individual from outside of our country trashing Arizona. The GOP are wimps and not worth my time.

shar61 on June 17, 2010 at 9:39 PM

You can always tell a leftist by its reaction to ‘Big Business”. Without ‘Big’ and ‘small’ business there would be nothing for you socialists to try to confiscate.

And you know who you are.

Sporty1946 on June 17, 2010 at 9:45 PM

http://thenextright.com/ironman/bps-strange-democrat-bedfellows

Great link, canopfor.

Between this and Stephen Chu, I am starting to wonder where how many more incestuous relationships between this administration and BP will surface before this is all over.

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 9:47 PM

The GOP will betray you.

True_King on June 17, 2010 at 10:33 PM

The GOP will betray you.

True_King on June 17, 2010 at 10:33 PM

We know that already.

ddrintn on June 17, 2010 at 10:43 PM

“The oil spill in the Gulf is this nation’s largest natural disaster . . .” It’s not exactly a “natural” disaster like, say, the eruption of Mount St. Helen. Nature created the oil, but BP uncorked it.

Still, there seems to be something strange about accusing ourselves for using fuels that the earth itself provides in such abundance. It’s not like we brought a load of meteorites to the moon and launched them at the earth. There really isn’t anything we put into the environment that didn’t start out there. What we’re really complaining about is that one of our activities has hurt another one.

BP is not organized crime, but it seems to have been ordered to post bail, after being duly accused, tried and judged guilty by the Press and the President. Too bad there isn’t a writ of corporate habeas corpus.

Obama’s AG has already promised a conviction of KSM after a trial in New York, as if the trial itself is just a formality. So, I guess this isn’t anything new for this Chicago bunch.

flataffect on June 17, 2010 at 11:13 PM

http://thenextright.com/ironman/bps-strange-democrat-bedfellows

Great link, canopfor.

Between this and Stephen Chu, I am starting to wonder where how many more incestuous relationships between this administration and BP will surface before this is all over.

hillbillyjim on June 17, 2010 at 9:47 PM

hillbillyjim: Yup,it reeks to high heaven!!:)

canopfor on June 18, 2010 at 12:07 AM

So there weren’t any blow out preventers at the deepwater site? Huh…

How many deaths from airbags per year?

It’s not a “lame” argument it’s a very real one. Drilling 5000 feet down is inherently more dangerous, no matter the safety systems, then 50 feet down off shore.

Skywise

Well if it’s inherently more dangerous and they knew that then they should have been prepared for something to go wrong. They weren’t.

Also no one forced them to be out that deep. If the environmentalists forced them to be so far out that they couldn’t safely drill then they didn’t have to drill. They got greedy and did it without the proper safety measures in place.

Benaiah on June 18, 2010 at 12:09 AM

Barton was the most frightened politician I have ever seen in my life. Somebody scared the *stuffing* out of that fellow.

He was threatened with losing his position on the committee. That has been reported. But being forced off the committee would be a rallying point to campaign on. Run as a maverick against entrenched, incumbent political corruption.

Skandia Recluse on June 18, 2010 at 12:15 AM

Well if it’s inherently more dangerous and they knew that then they should have been prepared for something to go wrong. They weren’t.

Also no one forced them to be out that deep. If the environmentalists forced them to be so far out that they couldn’t safely drill then they didn’t have to drill. They got greedy and did it without the proper safety measures in place.

Benaiah on June 18, 2010 at 12:09 AM

They were prepared. As I keep pointing out they had all the safety devices they were required to have AND MORE but no safety guard will protect you from all disasters.

Planes still crash.

And no, no one forced them to be out there. But then nobody forces you to have your home heated in the winter, cooled in the summer food shipped in for you to eat within your means, etc.

The simple facts are that we derive the majority of our energy from oil. That’s not greed, that’s maintaining civilization.

But then Mexico, Russia and China are all doing deep well drilling in the gulf RIGHT NOW and I bet they’re using less safety devices…

Skywise on June 18, 2010 at 12:23 AM

When BP is clearly culpable, and Obama is fumbling ferociously, you don’t take the heat off Barack and alienate the majority of the pissed-off country by issuing BP any kind of “apology” or start appearing to question whether they need to pay for the damage that their admitted ignoring of safety procedures resulted in.

It killed 11 men.

profitsbeard on June 17, 2010 at 9:38 PM

End of story. Whether we agree or disagree on the escrow fund (I also think it’s probably going to be a slush fund of some sort), the bottom line is 11 souls are dead because BP

said it never follows a federal law requiring it to certify that a blowout preventer device would be able to block a well in case of an emergency.

Because they were never asked to comply with the law.

Bullsh!t. Sorry if I go out kill Tony Hayword for having a hand in completely f**king up a large part of my country, I damn well KNOW I can’t say….”well I was never asked to NOT kill someone. Not my fault”

SgtSVJones on June 18, 2010 at 12:35 AM

Yup, I’m a moocher alright. I left college, and a girlfriend, and my parents, and paid my own way to go help some people who have few of the opportunities I have. Rather than sit back in my easy chair and moralize about how everyone who is poor is directly responsible for their own situation, I took up the call of Christ and got a first-hand education in the worthlessness of your kind of magical thinking.

trailboss on June 17, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Hey! That’s a wonderful, fantastic story! You realize you have no way of proving it is true, right?

Fed45 on June 18, 2010 at 1:20 AM

They were prepared. As I keep pointing out they had all the safety devices they were required to have AND MORE but no safety guard will protect you from all disasters.

Skywise

The headline of the story we are commenting on says otherwise. They’ve admitted that they don’t follow our laws.

Benaiah on June 18, 2010 at 1:39 AM

Skywise didnt watch tv today apparantly.

BP opted for a method of installing a final section of steel casing in the well that saved at least $7 million, but also included fewer barriers to stop a surge of natural gas.

BP also decided to rely on just six “centralizers” designed to keep the well casing centered in the hole while cement was poured around it, rejecting the recommendations of cement contractor Halliburton Co., to install 21 – a process a BP official said would take 10 hours longer.

Really, skywise, you want to defend BP? Please do tell us who you work for then as I sense a rat.

your_worst_enemy on June 18, 2010 at 3:28 AM

Well well.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/06/17/stupak_legitimate_for_bp_escrow_account_to_fund_health_care.html

“Stupak: “Legitimate” For BP Escrow Account To Fund Health Care”

the_nile on June 18, 2010 at 6:36 AM

I was hoping for questioning along the lines of “White House logs show BP reps met on such and such a date” “Records show BP got a waiver to proceed on platform operations on such and such a date” “Records show BP gave $$$ after the waiver was granted” One can only hope for a “What Did The President Know and When Did He Know It” moment in our lifetime…especially with this president. Instead we get the circus clown show from our elected officials.

deedledee on June 18, 2010 at 7:45 AM

Thought we may found a rare male republican with balls (mrwb) but I guess not.

Nikki, Sarah, Liz, Marsha and Jan.

LtE126 on June 18, 2010 at 8:31 AM

so sorry…forgot Michelle Bachmann.

LtE126 on June 18, 2010 at 8:32 AM

Skywise didnt watch tv today apparantly.

BP opted for a method of installing a final section of steel casing in the well that saved at least $7 million, but also included fewer barriers to stop a surge of natural gas.

BP also decided to rely on just six “centralizers” designed to keep the well casing centered in the hole while cement was poured around it, rejecting the recommendations of cement contractor Halliburton Co., to install 21 – a process a BP official said would take 10 hours longer.

Really, skywise, you want to defend BP? Please do tell us who you work for then as I sense a rat.

your_worst_enemy on June 18, 2010 at 3:28 AM

Oh look… another troll…

BOTH DECISIONS were within federal guidelines. That BP had originally chosen more safety features than cut back was entirely at their discretion and within federal law.

Yes… I defend BP. Who DO YOU work for? I’d really like to know because you have the stench of Soros all over you.

The headline of the story we are commenting on says otherwise. They’ve admitted that they don’t follow our laws.

Benaiah on June 18, 2010 at 1:39 AM

So why did Obama APPROVE THE RIG… AND WAS ABOUT TO GIVE BP AN AWARD for its best safety practices?!

They had MORE safety devices than federal law required. The blowout preventer could’ve tested fine and STILL failed… The current belief is that the failure was due to gas jamming the plates of the preventer that slide in to cut off the oil flow.

But then this is what you get with a poorly educated populacer that doesn’t understand engineering or the simple concept of trying to build something under various constraints. It’s far, far easier to follow the leftist mantra demonize and point fingers and then shakedown companies to give you money WHILE THE PROBLEM IS STILL OCCURRING.

You want to nationalize BP? Take them to court and do it legally. This circus of a “congressinal investigation” has all the legitimacy of the Roman Coliseum.

Skywise on June 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Michelle Bachmann is on FNC now talking about this.

BuckeyeSam on June 18, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Michelle Bachmann is on FNC now talking about this.

BuckeyeSam on June 18, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Bachmann was very good. She sidestepped Barton’s comments by saying that there’s no question BP should be on the hook for making the Gulf Coast whole. She then quickly turned to the point that it’s a legitimate concern that the BP fund NOT become political. She said that they’ve recently uncovered instances in which settlement funds established by the federal government have ultimately NOT gone for their intended purposes. Unfortunately, she didn’t offer an example, but I trust her on that point. She then drilled the Obama administration for approving everything that BP was doing, and she threw down the gauntlet challenging a Democratic-controlled Congress to investigate a Democratic administration on this point.

Again, she was very good.

BuckeyeSam on June 18, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Barton was right, Boehner, grow a pair. No matter how sloppy, or willful BP was in their procedures, the regime did something akin to a shakedown by threatening a drilling moratorium. BP wouldn’t be the only company hurt by this, every oil company in the gulf would suffer a loss. BTW, where are BP’s lawyers telling the top brass to shut up. Nobody has been charged yet and an investigation hasn’t even begun.

Kissmygrits on June 18, 2010 at 9:34 AM

I wrote here that Rep. Barton should’ve followed Michele Bachmann’s lead in standing for important constitutional principles like the rule of law & due process rights.

LFRGary on June 18, 2010 at 9:36 AM

If only Barton had not said he “apologized” then hardly anyone would have a problem with the rest of what Barton had said.

moonsbreath on June 18, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Just to clarify my earlier points. I’m not saying BP has no responsibility to clean up the leak nor reimburse the affected states/people for damage done. (And neither is BP).

I *am* saying that Obama forcing BP to hand over money under threat of criminal penalty (which Obama claims is what he did) is unethical if not an impeachable offense. If they’re criminally liable, Obama has a duty to prosecute them and try them in a court of law. They’re innocent until PROVEN guilty.

As it is… this is a horrible ACCIDENT not deserving of the political chicanery Obama has performed here.

Skywise on June 18, 2010 at 10:49 AM

BPObama has no excuse. Guilty as sin, and they both deserve to go out of business.

Christien on June 18, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Escrow account to fund healthcare:

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.): “I think we had to have someone say this is where you can go without limiting your criminal liability or civil liability. For instance, the question is brought up, pay for all of the health care for the people in the Gulf. No, but I think those who lost their job, then lost their health care would be legitimate.”

Akzed on June 18, 2010 at 11:46 AM

But, at the same time, the BP oil giant blamed the federal oversight agency, Minerals Management Service, for not asking it to comply with the law.

EXACTLY!

Of course BP is at fault for cutting corners.

AND the Obama administration is at fault, being the powers in office, for not enforcing current laws with accurate inspections.

Obama’s “cure” to cover his ass:

Demand comprehensive legislative reform to effectively nationalize our oil industry.

Unconstitutionally shake-down BP pension holders, not BP CEO or Board who actually DECIDED to cut corners and are responsible for the oil gush lives taken and extreme damages.

Prohibit all American offshore drilling (having already curtailed “drill here, drill now” land wells), while progressing Chinese and Russian drilling off our coastal shores. Unconstitutionally halt a governor’s right to defend his state from crisis as the federal powers refuse aid.

Prohibit any clean up to date, over 40 days and 40 nights…

maverick muse on June 18, 2010 at 12:38 PM

FIRST-HAND REPORT FROM THE GULF
———–

Last night I attended the “information session” put on by the Coast guard and BP, in Baldwin, La. Baldwin is in coastal St. Mary Parish, which is the first mostly clear area to the west of the oil damage.

It was not a “town hall,” in that there were no questions taken, and remarks were kept very brief and general. Instead, a couple dozen informational tables were set up from every agency from jobs assistance to NOAA. Lots of huge, full-color, up-to-date maps. I took some notes. Here’s the latest:

The St. Mary parish president emphatically stated that the Coast Guard is in charge. He said that they are very prepared to fight the oil, and have lots of resources and manpower. The Coast Guard Incident Commmander, Mary Austin, spoke briefly. She is based out of Houma, La., deep in the marshes south of New Orleans.

The message, in short, was, “we’re OK now, but if/when the current changes (read: hurricane), all bets are off.”

Note that the prevailing wind in the summer is southeasterly, and that wind tends to push water into the western Gulf loop current. spreading it westward along the Louisiana coast. Currently, the lack of a strong southeasterly flow has resulted in the oil being pulled east by the eastern Gulf loop current, thus hitting mostly Alabama and Florida. If the oil gets moved much to the west, it will be like a firehose pointed at St. Mary and Vermilion parishes, and filling up the ecologically and economically important Vermilion Bay like a bathtub.

Any hurricane that gets deep into the Gulf anywhere due south of Louisiana will shove all the water deep into the marsh. As it approaches the coast, it will rain oil onto the sugar cane.

So, despite all the floundering authorities, in the end we simply are at the mercy of the hurricanes. Hurricane watching this year will be more like a death watch for our coast.

Official Coast Guard facts from last night’s meeting:

Soiled coastline as of June 15th:

Alabama: 28.9 miles.
Florida: 36.1 miles.
Mississippi: 9 miles.
Louisiana: 179.4 miles.

Severely ruined areas in Louisiana:

Barataria Bay (the richest ecological area on the entire Gulf Coast- south of New Orleans)

Terrebonne Bay (2nd or 3rd richest ecological area on the entire Gulf Coast- south of Houma – “Terrebonne” means “good soil”)

Largest remaining area spared:

Vermilion Bay (2nd or 3rd richest ecological area on the entire Gulf Coast). It’s the “notch” at the bottom-center of Louisiana on the map.

Vermilion Bay is directly west of St. Mary parish, and will be ruined if the oil gets into the western Gulf loop current. There will be no way to get the oil out of the bay- it’s like a trap. Fishing and wildlife will be devastated.

To prevent further devastating damage, Vermilion Bay must be protected at all costs. Note that it has no barrier islands to protect it. Boom laid across the narrowest point, at Marsh Island, is the only hope.

So, we are watching and waiting. The first hurricane to visit may be our nemesis.

By the way, it was emphasized to us that the booms have a major issue: every time the current changes even one knot, the booms have to be loosened or tightened – while the oil slides by.

So, the issue with the booms means that as soon as a hurricane approaches, boom ships will have to take to port and our coast will be at the MERCY OF MOTHER NATURE. Once again.

cane_loader on June 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3