Newswires are reporting that President Obama has extended his moratorium on deep sea drilling in the Gulf and canceled offshore oil lease sales there and in Alaska and Virginia. In a move which is sure to fuel howls from the oil drilling industry, Obama issued a cessation order for all 33 deep sea oil drilling operations in the Gulf.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has told newswire reporters that it seems that BP’s “top kill” procedure is working. According to the Denver Post:
“Lt. Cmdr. Tony Russell, an aide to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said today the mud was stopping some oil and gas but had a ways to go before it proved successful. The top kill started Wednesday night and it could be several days before officials know if it is working.”
On a pessimistic note, Russell said, “As you inject your mud into it, it is going to stop some hydrocarbons. That doesn’t mean it’s successful.”
However, “seems to be working” is the operative phrase. Tom Mueller, spokesperson for BP, formerly British Petroleum, injected caution into the issue, the AP reports: “We appreciate the optimism, but the top kill operation is continuing through the day today — that hasn’t changed,” he said Thursday morning. “We don’t anticipate being able to say anything definitive on that until later today.”
Meanwhile, labor continues on cleaning up the mess, some of which is being handled by a controversial amount of dispersants, which are themselves toxic pollutants. And the spill has had serious blowback on various government and private sector executives in the regulation and energy exploration industries.
Sources say the head of the regulatory agency which oversees the oil and gas industry has been fired. CNN is reporting that “Minerals Management Service (MMS) Director Elizabeth Birnbaum has been fired,” according to two CNN sources.
Responding to allegations of corruption in MMS ranks, CNN reports: Interior Secretary Ken “Salazar recently called the allegations of MMS corruption ‘evidence of the cozy relationship between some elements of [the agency] and the oil and gas industry.’ He pledged to follow through with the Interior Department inspector general’s recommendations, ‘including taking any and all appropriate personnel actions including termination, discipline and referrals of any wrongdoing for criminal prosecution.’”
Meanwhile, Black farmer lobbyist John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers’ Association, has called for a meeting with BP. Boyd is concerned that Black and Native American farmers and fishermen are being overlooked in the search for farmers and fishermen whose lands and fishing grounds have been polluted.
In a statement (published in full below), Boyd said, “NBFA is calling for a meeting with British Petroleum (BP) officials to discuss the losses of Black farmers and fishermen. Black farmers and fishermen must be compensated at the same levels as whites. We have finished last for too long when it comes to being compensated for our business and farm losses.”
Black farmers and fishermen must be compensated at the same levels as whites. We have finished last for too long when it comes to being compensated for our business and farm losses.
There are health losses as well. Reports are surfacing of fishermen and cleanup workers contracting breathing problems. As has been reported earlier, many contract workers and volunteers had been cleaning up oil residue and dead, oil-drenched wildlife without the benefit of protective clothing. Clean up crew members and fishermen are reporting health problems – and there is a shortage of facilities to treat them.
The Gulf oil spill is deadly to fish – but not only to those that swim through it. Oil in the water depletes theoxygen, creating “dead zones,” killing all sea life. What will that mean to the fishermen? What will that mean to people who eat fish? Most of the sea food eaten in the U.S. comes from the Gulf.
Some fishermen who have been hired by BP to clean up the gulf oil spill say they have become ill after working long hours near waters fouled with oil and dispersant, prompting a Louisiana lawmaker to call on the federal government to open mobile clinics in rural areas to treat them.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Clint Guidry, acting president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, testifying Monday before a delegation of U.S. senators and state and federal officials in Galliano, Louisiana, said: “There has been no respiratory protective PPE (personal protective equipment) issued to workers working over this most dangerous area, even as a precaution to have available given they are working 60 miles offshore. In fact when some individuals brought their own respirators, they were told by BP representatives on site that if they wore the respirators they would be released from the job. That disturbs me greatly.”
And finally, a word on censorship: According to a CBS video with footage on the confrontation, “When CBS News tried to reach the beach, covered in oil, a boat of BP contractors with two Coast Guard officers on board told us to turn around under threat of arrest.”
“In other words,” comments NaturalNews.com in response, “the U.S. Coast Guard is now protecting the financial interests of corporations by trying to censor a story the public needs to see.”
Monica Davis, an Indiana-based author, columnist, activist and radio broadcaster with 10 years’ experience in marketing, advertising, investigation and activism, can be reached at email@example.com. Bay View staff contributed to this report, which originally appeared on Before It’s News.