New Media and Politics - News From The Gulf: Top-Kill


The name BP decided upon - ""top-kill" - for their attempt at stopping the oil and gas from continuously spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is thick with dark irony. There are no laughs here sadly, merely devastation. As for what they've killed so far, no one can tell - other than the livelihoods of fisherman in the Gulf.


Scientists took a trip aboard a research vessel called the F..G. Walton Smith, and what they found is ominous as far as long-term consequences of the spill are concerned: Still uncertain are the fates of deep coral reefs that live in the gulf, as well as the condition of a unique cluster of bottom-dwelling organisms only nine miles from the damaged well. The ultimate impact the spill will have on commercially important fish like tuna and snapper is anyone’s guess.

First reports of the gigantic plumes of oil were of course met with skepticism by BP and the government. It's hard not get a little angry because when I first saw these reports and linked them to the many credible reports that the spill was far greater than BP was claiming, it made perfect sense. The oil had to be somewhere - even with the massive campaign of dispersant use.

There are now credible reports that other plumes have been located: ...word would come that a separate university vessel, the Weatherbird II, had discovered a giant plume stretching in the other direction from the broken well, toward Mobile Bay. That one threatens some of the finest fishing territory in the gulf.

This morning come reports that say the "top kill" procedure is not working.

While people seem to have come rather quickly to the realization that BP does not have anyone but their own best interests at heart and it is having an effect on their bottom line that has not stopped the whores in thrall to big oil from doing their daily dirty work on behalf of the industry. Rayola Dougher speaking on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute (API) proves herself a truly abominable person - I guess big fat bank accounts make it easy to sleep at night while you're f***ing up the planet and people's lives. As recently as April the API were busy fighting new fuel standards and claiming the EPA were deluded. Profit Uber Alles!

There are signs that this disaster, while not unprecedented, is making people think about alternatives to endless fossil fuel use - call it a sheen covered lining.

Unlike the previous president, when faced with a crisis Obama takes charge immediately and when things don't go swimmingly he takes responsibility. Today Obama spoke about the ongoing gusher in the Gulf and answered the toughest questions he could get from a hostile press corps. He chose his questioners knowing exactly what he'd get. I know the names so well myself that I could have predicted the kinds of questions he'd be asked. No one said change was easy - in fact I do believe it was he previous guy in charge who said, "presidentin' is hard work!"

This is how he concluded his opening statements: “In the meantime, my job is to get this fixed. And in case anybody wonders — in any of your reporting, in case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down.

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right away or the way I’d like it to happen. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to make mistakes. But there shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged, and I’m fully engaged.”

Go watch the entire presser on youtube here. (I'm having a tough time posting videos here - sorry for having to send you elsewhere - even if it is to my site.)

He took some concrete steps about future drilling today: He suspended planned exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean off of Alaska until at least 2011. Canceled a pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and a proposed lease sale off the Virginia coast. Continued an existing moratorium on any new offshore drilling and suspended the issuance of new deepwater well permits for six months. He also suspended action on 33 deepwater exploratory wells being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

So make of it what you will. There are massive risks in owning this BP disaster - if oil keeps spilling it will be him who takes the blame; not the incompetent and greedy who are actually responsible. It could be a defining moment  for him, and whether or not that's fair is unimportant.

Personally, I believe Obama is a thoughtful and pretty conservative man who is doing the toughest job in the world. My only criticism (and it's small beer) is that he hasn't been forceful enough in standing up for his beliefs and those that elected him. But then he's President of the entire US not just those who voted for him. Still, he got a health care reform bill passed and today they repealed don't ask don't tell to count among his accomplishments and he is just getting started. Sadly the spill in the Gulf doesn't have that kind of time to be made right and it could derail the rest of his agenda. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

In a previous post about the BP Valdez I talked about the 1979 spill of more than 126 million gallons of oil in the Gulf by the Ixtoc I - here's an interesting scientific article on the difference between the spills and why the results will probably not mirror one another. A couple of interesting notes in the article, one being that the Exxon spill was probably far greater than the oft reported figure of 11 million barrels. and was more likely upwards of 24 million and he debunks the ""no oil was spilled during Katrina" myth.