If the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina failed to top the barriers that were built to protect the City of New Orleans, chances are you would not even remember much about the Category 5 storm that actually missed making a direct hit on “NOLA”.

But the storm surge did take out New Orleans and with it went, fairly or unfairly, any remaining public confidence in the administration of George W. Bush.

Today another disaster in the Gulf–this one entering its second month—may be going through its own “storm surge” event, that being the very late admission coming slowly from BP and your federal government that this oil spill may be 12 times larger than they’ve admitted.

Yes, team BP/Obama is getting much closer to admitting a spill of 70,000 barrels per day; not the 5,000 figure they both got away with using for almost a month.

What they said for a month was that BP could not be bothered by making and sharing an estimate on how much oil is coming out of this hole in the ocean. Washington’s tag-team of figureheads on disaster duty all basically have said federal agencies do not have that expertise.

BP’s prosperity is due to its ability to tell how much oil emerges from holes around the world.   The federal government’s scientific and technical expertise also runs deep, once you get past its many political levels.

They know, they both know.

Gulf seafood industry representatives we’ve been speaking with since this began have expressed concerns about the chemical dispersants BP has used to break up the oil in the water.

During a mid-week telephone conference with the media, the top people with NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service said the dispersant being used–Corexit–was moderately toxic and would probably cause skin rashes.

After that conference, however, we noticed EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was saying Corexit was a “non toxin.”   Then some fishermen came in with symptoms like those the fish and wildlife experts predicted could occur.

Next, Congress got into it.  Nalco Holdings, which has a former BP executive on its board, makes Corexit.  Is that why BP went with the product over less toxic, more effective choices?

All within 48 hours, EPA’s Jackson went from calling Corexit “nontoxic” to demanding it be replaced with something “less toxic.”

You can get whiplash if you keep your eyes on this.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Colorado’s former Attorney General and U.S. Senator who is probably now wishing he had not passed on a chance to be Governor, is a key tag-team member.

It’s delicious to see his decision to break-up the Minerals Management Service (MMS) for its failure to prevent the Deepwater Horizon from blowing up.  It’s an agency long charged by Congress with both promoting and regulating the energy industry, annually returning $13 billion to the general fund.

Giving the same department of government the tasks of marketing and regulating an industry might sound familiar.  Can you spell USDA?   Anyway, Minerals Management Service “conflicts” have long existed and are well known.   Denver’s Minerals Management Service office enjoyed oil and gas-funded booze and sex for years until a whistleblower spoiled all the fun.

But the only thought I could have when Salazar was announcing his Minerals Management Service reorganization plan during the worst oil spill in U.S. history was how well he might have done with the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • Natalia

    I was extremely surprised and happy to open my mail this AM and read this article. I’ve been wondering how long it would take someone to speak the truth about our government’s involvement with, repeated coverups for and toadying to BP and other big business, and have wished that someone would also point out that the USDA is equally (and equally harmfully and disgustingly) in the pocket of the big money players in agriculture, farming, and manufacturing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Now that Salazar and Jackson (how about the gang in the Coast Guard, too?)have been named, and the USDA has at least been mentioned, we shouldn’t forget to name Secretary Vilsack and his department among that tag team of figureheads….
    Before our last presidential election, I heard a few opinions that Obama was not what he seemed and that he was actually himself a figurehead for the powers-that-be behind the throne (such as the aforementioned big business guys)but I found myself unable to believe it and allowed myself the naive hope that we were electing someone who would really get to work for our planet’s and our people’s good. True, he seemed a tad more conservative than I would have preferred but nonetheless I thought I could vote for him with a clear conscience…Since coming into office he’s managed to sign into law an unholy alliance with the insurance companies which forces everyone into buying their expensive and inadequate products with no public option, he’s allowed and even increased the takeover of big cattle business of our wildlands and the roundup and/or destruction of the native wildlife in those areas for the convenience of those cattle guys, Guantanamo Bay is still operating and the fed. gov’t. is still agitating to toss prisoners into a black hole-like limbo in spite of his campaign promises, he’s allowed and even increased the granting of offshore drilling permits EVEN WHILE THE OIL IN THE GULF IS UNCHECKED AND AFTER HE STATED THAT NO MORE PERMITS WOULD BE GRANTED “UNTIL/IF/WHEN”.
    In short, I have most reluctantly concluded that Mr. Obama has done just enough to give the appearance of doing something about these flagrant abuses while in fact, when the window dressings are stripped away, he has actually not only perpetuated but even increased the abuses. This is a major disappointment, especially considering that President Obama was financed into office by the ordinary regular people of this nation – who gave him more money, in total, than any previous politician ever recieved for their campaign from the big business guys!
    Thanks for this article – please write more and more often along these lines, because there’s so much lying going on that the few voices speaking truth around here need to shout repeatedly in order to be heard at all!

  • Ann Quinn, consumer

    Thanks for speaking out about this environmental oil holocaust. Hope it kickstarts some government effort to salvage what can be salvaged and make sure the responsible
    parties do the utmost that can be done.
    Have you seen the NASA satellite photo?: