Facing South

Has the Gulf oil disaster fallen off America's radar?

For residents of the Gulf Coast, the BP oil spill is an ongoing disaster that's still causing serious health problems, environmental damage and economic hardship in one of the nation's key fisheries and tourism centers.

A recent report from one Alabama fishing community -- wracked first by Hurricane Katrina, then the recession, and now the oil spill -- told of families left destitute, girls prostituted by family members, and soaring levels of domestic violence.

Since the BP disaster, said one local school principal, "things have steadily gotten worse."

But listen to the national political conversation and it sounds as though America would like to forget that the BP oil disaster ever happened at all, never mind that it's still being suffered today. Take for example the Republican presidential primary debates and President Obama's recent State of the Union address.

Since last May, there have been 19 debates among the GOP candidates. According to the Washington Post transcripts, the total number of words spoken in those debates so far adds up to over 328,000 -- enough to fill over 800 pages in 11-point type.

But few of those words have addressed the realities of the ongoing disaster in the Gulf. Moderators have asked only two questions about the BP oil spill, and neither got a direct answer.

The first time the subject came up was during the Dec. 15 debate in Sioux City, Iowa, when moderator Bret Baier noted that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman, who has since left the race, was critical of the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling that the Obama administration imposed following the BP spill. He asked what she would consider an acceptable period for drilling to cease in order to identify the problem that led to the spill.

Bachman did not answer the question, instead using it as a chance to criticize President Obama for not being "willing to have a true and thoughtful investigation to get to the bottom of" the BP disaster, without acknowledging the findings of the bipartisan BP oil commission. After devoting just 65 words to the Gulf, Bachman changed the subject to the Keystone XL pipeline.

The next time the BP disaster came up was during the Jan. 23 debate in Tampa. Questioning former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Beth Reinhard of the National Journal noted that BP was "still airing apologetic appeals" on TV while there were proposals to expand offshore drilling. She continued, "The state's most optimistic estimates say more drilling would create 5,000 jobs, but an oil spill would threaten Florida's tourism industry, which employs nearly 1 million people. Is it worth the risk?"

Santorum skirted the question, saying that what threatens Florida tourism is a bad economy, which he blamed on a "huge spike in oil prices in the summer of 2008." He called for increased oil drilling. Total words devoted to talking about the BP disaster during the Republican debates so far: 307.

When it comes to keeping the ongoing Gulf crisis on the national agenda, the Democrat who currently occupies the White House isn't doing much better. In his third State of the Union address delivered on Jan. 24, President Obama mentioned the BP disaster only briefly in the section of his speech calling for "smart regulations," and he softened that mention with a joke:

We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill -- because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.

Now, I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder. Absolutely. But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago.

It's not just the national rhetoric that's shortchanging the Gulf: Since the BP disaster began unfolding almost two years ago, not a single bill has been signed into law to protect and restore the Gulf of Mexico or the imperiled coastal communities that depend on it.

In the days leading up to today's primary in Florida, the Environmental Defense Action Fund launched a radio ad campaign in support of the bipartisan RESTORE Act, which would direct most of BP's Clean Water Act fines for the disaster to the Gulf region for ecosystem restoration and community recovery. Those fines are expected to be as high as $25 billion.

The RESTORE Act co-sponsors include nine out of 10 Gulf senators, including Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson. Nine of the state's newspapers have endorsed the bill, as has an array of organizations from the National Audubon Society to Oxfam America. A recent poll found that 83 percent of voters nationwide support the RESTORE Act, including 90 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Republicans, and 78 percent of tea party supporters.

And that matters -- because in the end the challenge of making the Gulf Coast whole again can't be just a regional effort, as Gulf Restoration Network deputy director Aaron Viles has observed. "It is clear that if we’re going to protect and restore the Gulf," he wrote recently, "it will take a loud voice from the nation, not only from the Gulf."

To sign a petition calling on the Obama administration and Congress to take action for the Gulf, click here.

(Satellite photo of Gulf oil spill via NASA.)

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It has been decreed that Corporations are People

It has been decreed that Corporations are People
Thus I contend that our soverign held land water and air are the same.
By Dwight Baker
Dbaker22@stx.rr.com
February 4, 2012

ARTICLES and Video’s

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on the Lawsuit Against Chevron, Eradicating Foreign Debt and Why He Says "Ecuador is No Longer for Sale"February 11, 2008
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/2/11/exclusive_ecuadorean_president_raf...

Chevron’s Ecuador case takes new twist
By Ed Crooks in New York and Naomi Mapstone in Lima
February 4, 2012
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/86d1169c-36ef-11e1-b741-00144feabdc0.html...

Ecuador Creating Alternative to Neo-Liberal Model
Jayati Ghosh: Ecuador raising taxes on wealthy, higher royalties on oil companies and making large social investments
http://www.commondreams.org/video/2012/02/03-0

Ecuador’s remarkable transformation towards equitable social and economic rights under Rafael Correa
http://citizenactionmonitor.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/ecuadors-remarkable...

Rafael_Correa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Correa

MY TAKE
Thus how many will declare that our land water and air are as Corporations they are people too. WHY NOT the land water and air as was created are the things that makes life on this planet possible safe and secure. Without them mankind shall disappear until Mother Nature purges away and makes safe again. Yet that is not in the scheme of things therefore it is our job to stand up and be counted for protecting our land water and air. If we do not then we are dumb down cowards.
Now, Rafael Correa has done just that. Yes it is the 30,000 people from the Amazon that has significant tort claims against Chevron Texaco but in the end it is the Land Water and Air too. His work shall never be compromised no matter what lawyers shall write and contrive in all ways against him for it is his stubbornness to not give in or up, no matter how loud they scream out.

What he has done for Ecuador should set an example for all other caring leaders to do.

Now, at this time BP and our Government wants to set the bar at $20 billion for all claims to be paid.

How could that be, our Gulf needs our voice to cry out for her. She has fed us for 100 of years, provided a good place to live raise families and enjoy the bounty she has produced. Much like the Amazon did for thousands of years for the indigenous owners of their land, water and air. But now much of that is bad and needs to become clean again like our Gulf.

Back to our Gulf, I am an inventor I have invented the Dolphin Fin with proven technology products, methods and off the shelf materials to clean up the biggest flume. The flume is in water about 4500 feet deep, 200 to 300 feet thick 2 to 3 miles wide and about 50 miles long. Using the Dolphin Fin to rid out the commingled oil with the deadly dispersants my estimated cost to do is $1 Trillion. So what if our Gulf got awarded the $1 trillion from BP. First off BP would declare bankruptcy then the stall would be on, so what. BP is not immune to International laws; BP owns things all over the globe that could be sold off to pay for the clean up.

But do not forget that Corporations will not do a thing to clean up their messes unless the hard hand of true Justice falls on them demanding retributions for wrongs done.

Deep Water Horizon - I can't recall...

It's typical that this horrific disaster is going to join a long line of other disasters to be brushed under the carpet of U.S. history. It's not surprising they don't want people to remember as all the evidence so far collected is extremely damning for certain high up financial magnates (Goldman-Sachs), BP Company Directors ((Tony-Hayward) and government officials. Sachs and Hayward both sold there shares in BP a few weeks before the disaster happened. Since Sachs was the largest shareholder of he company with a 3/4 share and Hayward was the Director of the company, this has not gone unnoticed, though of course others would like this to be brushed under that carpet along with the whole episode. I did an article on the whole disaster shortly after it happened exploring some of the theories connected to who was actually responible. If you want to have a look its on
http://plots-plans-and-backhands.blogspot.com/ and for general environmental news try
http://upfrontreviews-patanesweb.blogspot.com/

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