Monday, May 24, 2010

BP Sucks

Please take the time to read this one.

Frustration mounting over BP delays, lack of progress in Gulf of Mexico oil spill

By David Hammer, The Times-Picayune

May 23, 2010, 9:50PM
jindal.jpgView full sizeMATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser points to an oil-covered pelican in Barataria Bay while talking to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal about the oil from Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. VENICE -- On a Sunday of expanding coastal destruction from the Gulf oil disaster and little progress in containing it, frustrations bubbled to the surface from local and state leaders in Venice to federal officials in Houston and Washington, D.C.
Parish leaders and Gov. Bobby Jindal emerged from an afternoon strategy session at a Venice fishing harbor to complain about a lack of urgency from federal agencies and BP to address the oil washing into coastal marshes day after day.
Jindal said he supported a decision by local and Jefferson Parish leaders on Grand Isle on Saturday to commandeer about 30 fishing vessels that BP had commissioned but hadn't deployed to lay down protective boom as the oil came ashore.
The normally dispassionate Jindal even joked that he would go to jail with the mayors of Grand Isle and Jean Lafitte if federal authorities tried to stop them.
More than 65 miles of Louisiana's shoreline has now been affected by oil, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- more than the total sea coastline of Delaware and Maryland combined, Jindal said.
Meanwhile, in Houston, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar blasted the British oil giant for consistently missing deadlines it had set for shutting off the massive well leak still spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day.
"I am angry and frustrated that BP has been unable to stop the leak, " Salazar said at a news conference following hours of morning meetings with the company. "We're 33 days in, and deadline after deadline has been missed."
Salazar specifically cited the company's slow schedule for employing a "top kill" to block the oil spewing at the well head 50 miles off the Louisiana coast.
The plan is to use two 6-5/8-inch hoses to blast 16.4-pound-per-gallon mud into the choke and kill lines of the failed blowout preventer, in hopes of stopping up the four-story-tall device through which the oil is flowing.
Salazar noted that BP had originally promised to kill the well May 18. Five days later, it had planned to do it again, and then put the procedure off to Tuesday.
Now, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said Sunday afternoon, officials expect to wait until Wednesday to conduct the top kill, allowing engineers enough time to run tests.
As the well kill has been repeatedly delayed, rumblings have increased that BP is more interested in saving the expensive and potentially lucrative well.
U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt bristled at that suggestion, calling on the gathered media in Houston to combat those perceptions.
"When it comes to containing flow or killing the well, whether you're a member of BP, others in the industry or the public sector, we are all united in wanting the same result. We all want to kill this well and stop polluting the ocean. We are all on the same page with that."
BP spokesman John Curry said Sunday the company plans to explain the top-kill process further in the coming days. He said it's still possible the company will need to shoot junk, in the form of golf balls and other debris, into the blowout preventer after the mud, and then follow up with more mud to completely stem the flow.
With each criticism of BP and the federal government's inability to force the company to move faster when oil is spotted coming ashore, local officials have started to clamor for President Barack Obama to federalize the disaster response under the Oil Pollution Act.
But Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, reiterated on the Sunday morning talk a message he's been sharing almost since the disaster struck April 20: Industry, and not the federal government, has all the resources to deal with the leak 5,000 feet below the sea and as it comes toward land.
Baratariapelicans1.jpgView full sizeBOB MARSHALL/THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Oil from the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico seeps into a brown pelican nesting area in Barataria Bay on SUnday. Thousands of pelicans, along with some terns, roseate spoonbills and herons, are nesting on a series of small mangrove and grass islands on the eastern side of the bay. The fear is that if Obama federalizes the response and supplants BP, not only will it be more difficult to get the company to pay for the response efforts, but the federal government may not have the capacity to get the job done.
Landry of the Coast Guard instead announced that the federal agencies would double their oversight teams in hopes that more people will be able to push BP to muster resources in the right places as oil comes in.
Landry criticized BP for allowing some equipment that could aid in efforts to block or clean up the spreading oil slick to sit unused, even as oil is washing up onto the Gulf Coast.
"There is really no excuse for not having constant activity, " Landry said.
Landry, who spoke with members of the media after an aerial survey of the oil slick, said she had to pressure BP to use equipment and boats that had been prestaged in areas near the western edge of the oil slick. Some of that equipment went unused, in part because workers had been taking breaks because of the heat, she said.
BP was told to hire additional work crews to ensure equipment was not sitting idle, she said.
"Our frustration with BP is there should be no delays at all, " Landry said.
Of Jindal's complaint about a lack of urgency from federal agencies and BP, Landry said: "There is a sense of urgency, and there has been since day one. We have not backed off on this since day one."
The disconnect between state and federal governments was clear as Salazar trumpeted 1.73 million feet of boom and more than 1,000 vessels deployed on the front lines, while Jindal complained that during a boat tour of oiled coastline Sunday he saw only two vessels trying to protect the shore.
Jindal said 143,000 feet of boom sat in staging areas while oil damaged 65 miles of Louisiana coastline. It has been 20 days since the state asked for 5 million feet of hard boom, but only 786,185 feet of hard boom has been delivered so far, he said.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, along with Jindal and other parish leaders, said the White House's first priority should be granting an emergency permit to skip federal environmental reviews and allow coastal parishes to follow their 3-week-old plan to place dredged sand as berms between barrier islands so oil won't get into delicate marshes, something that wouldn't require any change in BP's role.
"The president has the authority to issue an emergency permit, " Jindal said.
"This is proof that the parish plans work, " he added, pointing at a picture of sand berm in Fourchon laid by Louisiana National Guard troops in four days that kept oil out of an estuary.
Then he pointed to a picture of a oiled pelican at a bird sanctuary on Cat Island, off the coast of Plaquemines Parish, unable to fly or swim because of the oil, and another picture of pelican eggs discolored with brown gunk, saying: "This is the danger of not acting."
Jindal said the state identified "remote sites" away from the oil spill to dredge the sand for the berms and provided those to the Army Corps of Engineers a week ago to address the agency's concerns about churning up oil in the protective barriers.
He also said the plan has the benefit of providing lasting protection against future hurricanes.
But an angry Nungesser said the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and BP have been unwilling to listen.
"I am so disappointed in the agencies and BP that this continues to happen, " he said. "We are working a plan and we are going to save our coast, but not with the help of the agencies that are standing in the way."
In a crowd of angry parish leaders, no one was angrier than Nungesser. He said he wasn't buying Allen's explanation of why the federal government couldn't take charge of the whole response immediately. He called out Allen personally for what he called a lack of leadership from federal authorities.
"He needs to step up to the plate and be a leader, " Nungesser growled. "How has he not enacted every option at this point?"
As frustrated as local leaders have been with the federal Stafford Act that governs FEMA's response to hurricanes, they are even more bewildered by the response structure created by the Oil Pollution Act.
They say their response plans have been stymied by a circuitous command structure that makes it difficult to get their ideas and concerns to anyone with any authority.
"One frustration is the amount of time it's taking them to respond, " said Jindal, who said that parish presidents would report oil coming ashore, but at times had to wait 24 hours for BP to respond because they needed to get higher-ups at the Coast Guard on the case.
"The parishes may get a sympathetic response from their liaisons at the (Unified Command Center), the Coast Guard liaisons, the BP liaisons, but those liaisons don't have the authority to get things done."
Jindal's suggestion was to have the Coast Guard place commanders with responsibility of directing resources in each of three vulnerable bays: Timbalier Bay in Terrebonne Parish, Barataria Bay in Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes and Breton Sound in Plaquemines Parish.
Meanwhile, Jindal said he would increase the use of state resources to "fill in gaps in the barrier islands." He said the state already has a permit for one dredging project, and it has another 40 projects under way using National Guard helicopters to drop sandbags or build Tiger dams.
As the oil came to Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle's shores, he said he thought of circumventing federal law and dredging himself, but thought better of it.
"You don't know how bad I wanted to go as a pirate and take that dredge and start blowing sand, " he said.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard's Landry said a panel of government and academic experts has been convened to establish a firmer estimate how much oil has been pouring into the gulf.
The government is also preparing an "armada" of research vessels to monitor the impact of the oil, as well as the chemical dispersants being used in an effort to minimize its effects, Landry said.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Landry were to meet with BP officials Sunday night to discuss a government directive ordering the company to use "less toxic" dispersants in the cleanup.


  1. BP making too much money to give a damn. Honestly, instead of boycotting Arizona, which BTW I am NOT. We should be boycotting BP until they get this fixed, which should have been fixed the Day after it happened!

  2. just a few hundred thing's wrong with Jindal's plan...where is he getting the sand to make the sandbar?Plenty here in AZ or west TX,will he pay for the shipping? And what to do with it later?How many truck's and barge's,and how long will that take? Won't the river wash it out? Maybe he could bull doze the house's from Katrina and use it?

  3. The point isn't really what Jindal's plan IS...the point is that he is at least ready to try SOMETHING. BP is doing a hell of a job doing jack squat and dragging their feet while they are trying to poison both man and aquatic life as quickly as possible.


  5. It's a sad day in Louisiana, Fla. already getting 15mil. from bp to advertis that fla. is open for business. They didn't even get any oil...what is all that about.

  6. is getting in on it to. They had a photo contest check it out here.

  7. Gizmodo ran a photo contest about BP check it out here

  8. The responsibility does not rest on me... I didn't allow this to happen. I live responsibly and wish all others would as well.