The Widdershins


Posted on: September 11, 2012

THIS being…well this:

It is totally unacceptable at least to me and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade that this number of “accidents” occurred during Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac.  These industries; oil and gas, chemical and the like are “long-term residents” of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.  They are not unfamiliar with hurricanes and tropical storms and they know how to prepare for their effects.   There were at least 93 “incidents” during the storm according to the Bucket Brigade.  Of those incidents Jill Mastrototero had this to say:

The 93 industry accidents that have been reported to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center demonstrates that we have lax enforcement by regulators and self-regulation by industries just doesn’t work,” she said. “Industries need to make real investments in equipment, in planning, in training their workers to prevent and respond to future actions.”  Jill also stated:

“Its completely shameful and irresponsible and inexcusable that seven years after Katrina and Rita, the lessons of those storms, the lessons we were taught by the BP oil disaster, that we have industry’s continued business-as-usual approach to showcase the fact that their inaction and their ill preparedness has proven to be dangerous and deadly and unacceptable to the health of our communities, our families and our workers…”

Jill mentioned the lessons (supposedly learned) from the BP Macondo oil spill and guess what reared its ugly head once again?  Oil from the BP spill in the form of tar balls.

Laboratory tests show that globs of oil found on two Louisiana beaches after Hurricane Isaac came from the 2010 BP spill. Tests run by Louisiana State University for state wildlife officials confirmed that oil found on Elmer’s Island and Grand Isle matched the biological fingerprint of the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil that spewed from BP’s Macondo well.

Ed Overton, the LSU chemist who did the state tests, said the oil found on Elmer’s Island had not degraded much while oil at Grand Isle had.

“Both were good solid matches on Macondo oil,” Overton said.

Experts expected that hurricane waves would stir up oil buried along the Gulf Coast and that Isaac, which made landfall on Aug. 28 and soaked the region in the days afterward, apparently did just that. Reports of tar balls washing up on beaches after the storm were reported in Alabama and Louisiana, two states that got hit hard by BP’s massive offshore oil spill.

Mr. Overton, the chemist from LSU says that more oil is likely buried along the Gulf Coast beaches perhaps buried as deep as three feet.  I’m glad that oil apparently has a DNA of its own which can be identified.  We can just add this to the bills that BP is going to have to pay.  Of course BP, being a good corporate citizen chose to look at the brighter side of things:

“If there’s something good about this storm, it made it visible where we can clean it up,” BP spokesman Ray Melick said.

And to think, they pay the man to utter words like that.  🙄

Going back to the current pollution incidents, the Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality – DEQ (a misnomer if ever there was one) said:

“The impact to human health and the environment has been minimal, especially considering the size and duration of the storm,” the statement said.

Sure, that’s right.  Except that one refinery in Chalmette (Fredster’s home town) had releases of:

277 tons of sulfur dioxide, 1,200 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and 100 pounds of benzene at Chalmette Refining in St. Bernard.

That’s correct:  Benzene.  It is used in oil refining and it is a known carcinogen.  But the DEQ says it was just a little tiny bit and its impact on us humans “has been minimal”.  Uh-huh.  Chalmette Refining will have to file an incident report with the E.P.A. and or the National Response Center and that report will probably state that the release was unavoidable due to power outages or something similar even though these industries had weeks to follow Mr. Isaac on his trek across the Atlantic and into the Gulf; plenty of time to have prepared for it.

I think one of the saddest things I saw was this:

As the gentleman said in the video, this is our state bird. Perhaps we should change it to an image of an oiled pelican.

This is an open thread.


12 Responses to "*THIS* HAS GOT TO END"

Fredster, another insightful post about what is happening – but barely reported – about what is happening along the coastline. Business as usual and the public be damned!

We have allowed our environment to be decimated on behalf of the Greedy Guts who just can’t get enough while the risks they take go unseen.

We will eventually have nothing left when natural resources and the animal life disappear leaving us even more vulnerable to natural disasters.

“Drill, baby. drill!” What a stupid slogan.

Thee only end in sight isn;t pretty.

They never learn. And the truth is, nobody is going to make them. The agencies that are supposed to oversee these things can’t be bothered, the government is too reliant on their money to rock the boat. It always comes down to money.

Benzene, hmm? It’s not just carcinogenic. It’s one of the most powerful carcinogens known.

Your story reminds me of when I lived in New Orleans, and there was a paragraph filler in the back pages of the Times-Picayune about a little spill they had in Metairie. No need to worry. After a good bit of digging, I heard what had spilled. Thousands of gallons of xylene. It’s right up there with benzene. But no need to worry.

And they’re still at it, after all these years.

Thanks for posting this Fredster, I’ve been wondering about it and not seen much on the news. Our various gov’t entities are cutting safety across the board, food inspections, bldg inspections, bldg safety systems like Fire Suppression Systems which used to be mandatory. My hubbie works for LAUSD and is seeing more and more of this. LAU has cut thousands of teachers, nurses, gardeners, janitors, all people who do the actual work in the field, and are skimping on their bldgs, making them unsafe. Meanwhile, they still have their unbelievably bloated middle mgmt layer of people who do nothing that important ($50 an hour to create forms?) and their ridiculously over paid upper mgmt. My husband is an honest man who works like a dog. They have told him he has “favored son” status and will be the last one to be laid off in his dept, but he is working on moving to private industry in a similar, but more lucrative field. Anyway, sorry for the long rant, my point was that in all these budget cuts, they are cutting the important things and leaving the fluff.

Quixote: If you lived there, then you know the corridor along the Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and points south is filled with chemical plants and refineries all the way past St. Bernard to Plaquemines Parish. Companies like Exxon, Monsanto, Valero, Dow Corning all control the legislators and the legislature (along with the guv. of course). They all pay very good wages to the people who work in their plants and that’s an important consideration in the minds of some, but at what costs? These are all multi-national companies who surely employ safety specialists and their own weather folks. Granted, no one knew for sure that Issac would slow and stall, but it’s something they should have been prepared for.

Socal: So hubby was supposed to be grateful that he’s the one who gets to turn the lights out as he leaves? Incredible…

DYB@3: Oh there will be fines levied on these companies but the amounts will be a pittance. They will write it off simply as part of the cost of doing business.

Yesterday on I saw that BP just sold some of its G.O.M. holdings for over 5.5 billion dollars. Probably they’re trying to generate some more cash because they know they are going to be paying out the backside over that spill for years to come.

At least they are paying. Remember the Valdez?

chat@9: Oh yes, but, no pun intended, a lot of the claims are stil mired in the adjudication process or folks are appealing the amounts they’ve received, stuff like that.

Just saw this on nola: BP wants to “deep clean” the beaches where oil was exposed that was buried deep. It’s something they did in Alabama and the FL “amenity” beaches, i.e. the ones with the pretty white sand.

A note to the folks who read this blog:

I know there was an anniversary today of a horrid event that happened 11 years ago. To be honest, I did not know what I could write about it that would have meant anything significant enough. That being said, let’s take some time out today to remember the innocents who were killed on this date 11 years ago in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Sept 11th, 2001 is a date, like Pearl Harbor, that I think will be etched into our memories.

Chat: I got my package today.

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