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Wanted: Some Journalists With Guts to Take on the Government and BP!

Dave Lindorff,
The Obama administration and BP have clearly been conspiring to hide the magnitude of the Gulf oil catastrophe from the public. One way they’re doing this is by threatening jail terms and $40,000 fines against those who go to document the fiasco.

That is ridiculous. There is not a conceivable justification for banning the media from fully covering this environmental disaster.

It’s not a safety issue. It’s not national security. It’s not even an issue of reporters getting in the way: in many cases journalists have been barred from areas where nobody is doing anything, but dead sea creatures are piling up on the beach.

The answer to this effort to bury the story is for journalists, and especially photo journalists, to go enmasse to the Gulf and violate the ban. Go ahead. Get arrested in the hundreds, or at least dozens. Let’s have a collective defense of the First Amendment! I cannot believe that people are letting this pass.

I mean for god’s sake, CNN’s Anderson Cooper ran a story on the ban. Why isn’t he in jail right now, or out on bail, for refusing to accede to it?…
(9 July 2010)

Out in the Oil with Captain Dave

Elizabeth Grossman, PUB
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says David Willman, who has nearly 15 years’ experience captaining supply boats that support oil rigs and drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. “We’re seeing pods of whales and dolphins out in the oil and lots of dead things,” he tells me. “Things I’ve never seen before coming up from the deep that look like sea cucumbers floating dead. Man o’ wars floating dead with shriveled tentacles.” Willman is captain of the Noonie G., an 111-foot supply boat owned by Guilbeau Marine, a company based in Cut Off, LA. He’s been working out of Venice, Louisiana for about ten years ferrying fuel, water, and other supplies to offshore oil operations.

He’s not the only one seeing oiled and dead sea life: A research team from Texas A&M University out on the Gulf in June also reported what looked to be hundreds of dead sea cucumbers but were actually invertebrates in the tunicate family that are important to the marine food web. Other research teams have seen dead man o’ war jellyfish as well.

“We had just finished working for Apache [an oil company working in the Gulf] when the Deepwater Horizon sank and my company got a call from AMPOL [American Pollution Control Corporation],” Willman tells me. “A skimming unit and oil recovery pump was put on our boat,” he explains. Since late April, he and his wife, who works as his deckhand, along with a rotating crew of four to five, have been working out within 5 miles of the Deepwater Horizon site. Typically they’re out on the water for two to three weeks at a time, then off for a week.

(AMPOL, an environmental services company based in Iberia, LA has apparently been engaged by the Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC). MSRC is a non-profit company formed after the Exxon Valdez oil spill to provide “oil spill response services,” among them aircraft to spray dispersant, skimmers, boom, barges, and communications equipment. MSRC is funded by the Marine Preservation Association and its member companies, of which BP is one.)

When I speak to Willman the boat is docked for repairs. Tropical Storm Alex has just blown through and the water is still too rough for skimming…
(8 July 2010)

Obama admin imposes new freeze on deepwater drilling

Agence France-Pressevia Grist
The U.S. government on Monday issued a new moratorium on deepwater drilling until November 30 to ensure oil companies implement safety measures following the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

“More than 80 days into the BP oil spill, a pause on deepwater drilling is essential and appropriate to protect communities, coasts, and wildlife from the risks that deepwater drilling currently pose,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a statement.

“I am basing my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry’s inability in the deepwater to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill, and to operate safely.”

The move comes days after an appeals court denied the government’s emergency request to stay a federal judge’s ruling that lifted its previous six-month moratorium order…
(12 July 2010)