Topics: BP buys its very own beach. Oil industry supporter calls BP liars. Blowout preventer findings disputed. BP shareholders concerned about safety. Louisiana parish prepares to sue BP. Tenth deepwater permit issued. Coast Guard takes action against those responsible for March 2011 spill. Cleanup complete on Grand Isle. New Orleans Times-Picayune poll: Do you eat Gulf seafood?
You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #500. ROV #499 is here.
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This is a milestone. The 500th Gulf Watchers diary. And it is really not something we would like to be doing - it would be much nicer if we never had to start the BP Catastrophe series in the first place, or if the guilty parties had conducted themselves as they should have...if eleven families were not missing loved ones, if far more had not been injured and now have no way to support their families, if the BOP had worked properly, if dispersants had not been used in what may become one of the most serious factors of the spill, if many dolphins, whales, turtles, and other marine life were not dead or dying... if, if, if.
But we are still here, because, for the most part, reporting from the Gulf has dropped off the news radar. The news is still there, but - except for the occasional story that rises above the waves - you will hear and see very little from the regular news media.
We watched the gusher and the ROVs for months; watched the cap finally set, and - like the final scene in a movie - the ROV camera pulled back, the capped wellhead of the deadly Macondo 252 faded into the murky darkness, and we were supposed to forget it ever happened.
We at Gulf Watchers have not forgotten. We have not forgotten what the lust for money and oil and power has done, and continues to do, to the Gulf, to Japan, to the Middle East - indeed, to the entire planet.
The 500th Gulf Watchers diary. May there be no need for the 1000th. But there will be. We will not give up, nor will we back down. We will still be here. Thank you for joining us.
BP has purchased a chunk of the Mississippi barrier island chain known as Cat Island. BP spokesman Ray Melick told the The Sun Herald newspaper that the land was bought last week from the Boddie family, which owns a large area of the island. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Why? They give reasons, but the conspiracy-theory lobe in my brain has come up empty on exactly why BP would need a piece of some of the most delicate land along the Gulf Coast. Does Tony Hayward's yacht need a new boatslip?
The Boddie family still owns much of the island; about 30 other parcels are privately owned. The Gulf Islands National Seashore retains the rest of Cat, in the federally-protected National Seashore parks chain.
“We have bought much of the private land,” Melick told the newspaper, “the whole stretch of beach that faces east.”
I call bullshit, Mr. Melick. I don't know what BP intends, but nothing - and I mean nothing - is done without a reason; that reason usually being money, or hiding something that could lose you money. This can't be out of the goodness of their dessicated little hearts...BP does not have a heart.
National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been interested in buying that part of the island as part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvement Project, but had not succeeded. Brown said that he had heard that BP would donate that part of the island to Mississippi and ultimately the National Seashore.
“But none of that was in writing,” Brown said. “I don’t believe BP intends to retain it.”BP giving something away? Yeah, right... I'll believe that when I can gnaw on it with my very own teeth...
(Cat Island is named for raccoons mistaken for cats by early explorers. Srsly...)
The owner of a large fishing lodge in Louisiana - and long a staunch supporter of the oil and gas industry - has changed his opinion of BP. He now calls them liars...
Ryan Lambert, the owner of Cajun Adventures Fishing Lodge, says that the fishing industry and oil producers have always gotten along fairly well, but he has changed his mind as of late.
"The fishing industry has always lived side-by-side with the oil industry down here in Plaquemines Parish, and they've always told us that if anything happened, they would take care of the problem -- they would repair the damages and they would make us whole -- and I believed them," said Lambert.
Lambert says he estimates he lost 94 percent of his business last summer and fall, costing him $1.1 million in revenue. But worse, his employees are struggling.
He expected the 22 families that depend on his business for their livelihoods -- a lodge staff of eight, plus 14 guides -- to take a financial wallop, and they did. Only five of the guides were hired in the cleanup effort. The rest were "calling me daily hoping for work -- which I still don't have for them," he said.
This supporter of the oil industry and a skeptic when it comes to environmental groups has done a complete 180, and volunteers for national green groups, among them the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ducks Unlimited, The Green Group and the Izaak Walton league.
"Originally, I was using (the spill) as an opportunity to tell them about the real problem we have here: coastal erosion," said Lambert, who has been involved in that cause for years.
Lambert said the bad experiences didn't start immediately, receiving a $5000 check early in the disaster. But after paying his accountant and documenting the loss of $1.1 million in gross revenue, he says he got a $200,000 check from BP.
"In order to apply for payment, you had to keep your business open so you could help mitigate the final cost, so that meant I had to keep staff and pay operating expenses through the end of the year," Lambert said. "But after all that, I'm still out $904,000 in lost income."
After being told to re-apply, Lambert said that was pointless; he was going to sue.
"Well, I'm tired of re-applying, because it never does any good," he said. "I'm tired of paying my CPA. Now I'm paying a lawyer."
Lambert says his real anger is about what has happened to the 600-plus charter and fishing-boat operators in the state, who took the $25,000 "quick payment" from Kenneth Feinberg, because they had no choice.
"The only ones who took that were guys who had no other choice because of their situation," he said. "They had house notes or boat notes or medical expenses and no business coming in. Well, now that money is gone, and they still don't have any business -- and they're just screwed.
Lambert is also furious that BP has exploited the fact that his lodge was named as on of the top five in the US in a national fishing magazine as proof that "the Gulf is coming back".
"BP had the audacity to put that on their website, like it was a positive thing showing the Gulf Coast was coming back -- thanks to all their efforts," Lambert said. "That just made me crazy.
Blowout preventer findings disputed. A top executive at the company that built the blowout preventer on the Deepwater Hirizon well has forcefully disputed the findings of the company that did the forensic analysis of the equipment that was supposed to stop the spill.
David McWhorter, VP for Cameron International in engineering and quality control, says he has major questions about those findings.
Det Norske Veritas concluded that oil and gas shooting up through a 5.5-inch drill pipe at extremely high pressures caused the pipe to bend, knocking it off-center in the middle of the BOP. Without a centered pipe, the device couldn't use its powerful slicing rams to cut and seal the pipe shut.
McWhorter said the examiners did not present other things that could have gone wrong and not allowed the blind shear rams to operate properly to cut the pipe and seal the breach, a fault possibly caused by poor maintenance by the rig's owner, Transocean.
The Cameron executive questioned whether there could have been enough pressure to buckle the pipe, which by Det Norske Veritas' own calculations, would have required an incredible 113,000 pounds per square inch of force.
A group of investors is planning to cast their votes against approval of BP’s annual report at its shareholder meeting in London next week. The group of institutions from the U.S. and the U.K. hold a total of about 12 million BP shares.
Stage set for a Louisiana parish to sue BP. The St. Tammany Parish Council has agreed to sue BP and any other parties responsible for damages related to last April's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The council voted unanimously, with Chris Canulette and Ken Burkhalter absent, to file the lawsuit late Thursday night following an executive session with Kelly Rabalais, legal counsel to President Kevin Davis, council administrator Mike Sevante said.
Federal regulators on Friday gave Statoil permission to drill a deep-water well – the 10th project approved since such work was halted after last year’s Gulf spill.
The US Coast Guard said it will pursue “enforcement actions” against Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners (ASOP), the company deemed responsible for an oil spill that washed onto Louisiana’s shores last month.
The threat of action comes after ASOP announced yesterday that it had finished its clean-up operation in Louisiana.
Okay... Lawsuit? Why? But it's clean now. What's the problem? Oil cleanup finished near Grand Isle; crude traced to Anglo-Suisse wells.
Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Sue Kerver said she could not speculate on how much oil was spilled. The U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is still investigating the incident, spokeswoman Eileen Angelico said.
From the New Orleans Times-Picayune, where they know a little bit about seafood... Poll: Are you still concerned about the safety of Gulf seafood?
The world has played host to so much drama since the national and international camera crews departed South Louisiana, it seems to have dimmed the whole event in the nation's collective memory. Was Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser really briefly as famous as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg?
And for a wealth of information relevant to our work here at Gulf Watchers, please read Meteor Blades' Green Diary Rescue - this week's edition: Building a movement against the power of the fossil-fuel juggernaut.
PLEASE visit Pam LaPier's diary to find out how you can help the Gulf now and in the future. We don't have to be idle! And thanks to Crashing Vor and Pam LaPier for working on this!
Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:
|4-08-11 06:25 PM||Gulf Watchers Block Party-One Word Edition+||Phil S 33|
|4-08-11 09:07 AM||Gulf Watchers Friday - Blackmail and Dolphin Death - BP Catastrophe AUV #499||Lorinda Pike|
|4-06-11 06:00 AM||Gulf Watchers Wednesday - BOP Autopsy FAIL & Containment System FAIL - BP Catastrophe AUV #498||peraspera|
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.
Again, to keep bandwidth down, please do not post images or videos.