Greenpeace: 'Never been a successful response to oil spill' Special

Posted May 7, 2010 by Carol Forsloff
On Thursday, a Greenpeace official called BP's reaction to the Gulf oil spill "response theater." Also, a Unified Command spokesperson said they sympathize with the concerns of fishermen a BP rep said, "We continue to fight on every front."
This is the dome being lowered to contain the oil
This is the dome being lowered to contain the oil
Joint Command
On May 7, Admiral Mary Landry who has been the major spokesperson for the Unified Command fighting the spread of oil in the Gulf and Doug Suttles, for British Petroleum presented a message ongoing for days.
Landry again talked of how people are working hard to control the oil spill, accenting BP's contributions and responsibilities. She repeated the statement said daily, "We are forward-leaning in our response efforts." Then she spoke of the great work being done in the community, saying "We are committed to working together on this thing" and "understood and listened to their (the shrimpers) concerns."
Suttles stepped to the plate once again declaring, "We continue to fight on every front." At the same time he underlined how unique the newest efforts are in trying to control the oil spill, that the Discovery Enterprise and the containment device being used to try to cap the spill has never been done."
He also assured the public, when asked about putting a cap on the amount of money given to people for their losses, "We will make money available to do what we need to do. Our actions to date have proven it."
Those on the ground with environmental groups have a different view. Mark Floegel, an environmental expert with Greenpeace that a journalist representing three different papers interviewed last week and followed up with his offices today, is busy in the Gulf, looking at the situation, so that he can file his opinion blog.
Direction was made to that blog this morning along with the comment, "You can't imagine the numbers of calls we have been getting from different people and members of the press today. The numbers are growing daily. I don't know whether you will be able to talk with him directly today as he's swamped." The assistant in the Greenpeace offices was hurried as she directed people to more information on what the environmental support group, Greenpeace, is seeing and presently has some concerns.
Floegel now refers to the Gulf of Mexico as the Gulf of Oil He has been following disasters like this for 30 years and examines this present oil spill through the prism of his work surrounding the Valdez spill. He says, "It's been 21 years and the litigation between the federal government and Exxon is still not over."
What he details next, however is telling
“The executives at BP must be reading the Exxon spill response playbook because they’re doing exactly what Exxon did,” he said. For those of you without access to the oily inner sancta, the playbook’s rules are these:
1 — Understate the amount of oil spilled.
2 — Understate the environmental damage caused by the oil.
3 — Overstate the effectiveness of your company’s response.
4 — Try to buy off the locals with tiny amounts of money (BP is offering $5,000 each to coastal residents in Mississippi) in exchange for waivers promising not to sue for damages.
5 — Slap gag orders on anyone doing business with the corporation. (Fishermen who want work from BP in the cleanup efforts have to agree in writing not to speak to the media. The gag orders are legally meaningless; it’s the intimidation factor that counts.)
Floegel than examines the booms, as likely not working because unless skimmers are able to lpick up the oil before it reaches shore, the boomers will be of no help because the oil can come assure and as it bubbles up it will mix with water and then slip to the bottom.
Oil on the surface of the Gulf from the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Oil on the surface of the Gulf from the Deepwater Horizon spill.
US Dept of Interior
This is how BP explains how he now sees it: "Nonetheless, BP had a couple hundred shrimp boats on the gulf Wednesday, trolling booms back and forth. It’s not an oil spill response, it’s Response Theater. As Rick points out, in the best of circumstances (and we’re very far from that in the gulf) only ten percent of the oil is ever recovered. In the Exxon spill, after $2 billion, three summers with 1,000 boats and 13,000 workers, only five to seven percent of the oil was recovered.
One worry here is that the massive spill — which may spew oil for many weeks to come — will slip around the Florida peninsula and be carried up the east coast by the gulf stream. At the Exxon spill, which entailed a heavier grade of crude in the much more closed Prince William Sound, the oil was carried 800 miles down the Alaskan coast. There are several countervailing currents in the gulf, at all depths and of
course, this oil is moving at every depth the gulf has. No one can predict where it will go.
“There’s never been a successful response to a marine oil spill. Ever,” Rick says. “We’re addicted to oil and like any addict, we are taking larger and larger risks to get our fix and the consequences are more and more disastrous.”
He ends by telling us, "We have to get over our addiction to oil."
President Obama and his administration officials have assured folks drilling will continue once the present oil spill is contained and the reasons for it established so that drilling can be safe.
BP executives explain they will pay for everything regardless, as the evolution of how much oil and where it will impact the shoreline is said difficult to determine.
It remains a changing story even as the events narrated over the past two weeks have repeated the mantra by Admiral Landry of how responsive the company has been and will be and how "forward looking" and understanding as well.