Skip navigation

Category Archives: bp oil spill

Alternet reporter Jill Richardson, reported that a recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said that 75% of the oil from the BP oil spill is gone. Another report from the EPA declared that a mixture of oil and dispersants is no more toxic than just crude oil in the Gulf.  The good news created a window of opportunity for White House officials to make positive remarks about the otherwise disastrous situation. President Obama was seen chowing down on Gulf seafood on his birthday.  However, should we trust all the good news? In short, the answer is no.  Disaster Response Chief Thad Allen said that as his crews keep searching, their finding "less and less oil."  But that does not mean that the oil has all been taken care of.  In fact, it is more than likely the remaining oil is just more difficult to find.  Fueling this theory is evidence that  scientists found while studying levels of a class of toxic chemicals called PAH in Gulf water.  PAH has been described by the Natural Resource Defense Council as "a class of chemicals that have been linked to DNA damage and cancer." Despite that the visual presence of oil in the water when tested, PAH levels were 40 times higher in June than they were at the beginning of May. 
The oil well exploded on April 20th and gushed 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf before it was successfully capped on July 14th. According to the NOAA document, BP was able to save about 16% of the oil before it entered the Gulf while skimming about 3% of the oil off the surface.  About 30% of the oil either was burned, evaporated or dissolved (polluting the air rather than the water).  About 23% of the oil was dispersed with either chemicals or natural occurrences but that oil still remains in the Gulf.  It is estimated that about 25% of the oil is still left so add the 23% of dispersed oil and we're left with nearly half (about 100 million gallons) still floating in the Gulf.
Read the rest of the article here         

The Environmental Justice Resource Center of Clark Atlanta has found in an analysis that the waste caused by the BP oil spill is being dumped into majority black neighborhoods.  BP’s spill waste summary has claimed that it has disposed of 39,448 tons of oil waste as of July 15th in landfills located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  Five out of the nine of those landfills are located in majority black neighborhoods.   Dr. Robert Bullard, who authored the analysis, has called the BP waste plan “a haunting pattern of environmental racism.”  The landfills that the tar balls and oily sand and boom are being dumped in are the same municipal landfills that house diapers, demolition debris and food waste.  BP is trying to quell fears of the hazard waste by telling residents the waste is not toxic or dangerous.  However, residents in these areas are concerned that the petroleum sludge will seep into groundwater and contaminate the drinking supply. 
Oily water is handled differently than oil solids.  The oil solids are bagged by BP contractors and shipped to the nearest landfill.  Oil sheen (what you see on the surface of the Gulf) is mixed with ash and turned into solids.  Oily water is usually processed for fuel.  BP claims that it has collected 836,000 barrels of oil water from the Gulf of Mexico.  The oil giant alleges that for every 17 gallons of seawater, they can produce one barrel of oil.  The money that is generated by this recovering process will be donated to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Photo by: MSN

Vicki Smith from the Grio posted an article about the Demolle family in Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana.  They’re one of the many families on the Mississippi River Delta that lived off the once plentiful, healthy and delicious fish from the river.  But since the Deep Water Horizon oil leak has hemorrhaged millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, aquatic life has been chocked from their long-fished waters. The families that once lived off these shores now depend on on BP’s compensation checks and charity food. What I love about this article is it shows just how deeply connected we all are to the environment.    
When talking about environmental justice particularly for the black community, it’s a popular question:  "Why don’t more black people get involved in environmental issues?"  The answer is usually one of two: "They have other things to worry about like paying next month’s rent and putting food on the table." Or, "Oh, they’re just not educated enough to understand why they should care."  Both of these answers may be true in part.  But this story is a perfect example of where blacks communities lack fiscal stability or education that we assume are necessary for environmental consciousness.  Even here, the intimate connections to the land are profound.    
The Point a la Hache community and the hundreds of other fishing communities are stewards by necessity, not by option. And it’s these communities that are the first to suffer when the land is spoiled. Now that their relationship with the abundant shores has been severed, gone are the days of locally harvested shrimp, crabs, oysters, and fish.  Now it’s charity given peanut butter and jelly, beans, rice, and cheap "grind meats" like the hot dog and hamburger. 
Check out Vicki Smith’s article here

Photo courtesy of cccpublishing.com