Official Trailer for "The Big Fix" a Green Planet Production by Josh and Rebecca Tickell.
On Earthday, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig sank creating the worst oil spill in history. According to the global media, the story ended when the well was capped – but that’s when the real story began. By exposing the root causes of the oil spill and what really happened after the news cameras left the Gulf states, filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell uncover a vast network of corruption.
The New Orleans Times Picayune says THE BIG FIX is “a full-on, no-holds-barred bit of investigative journalism” into the dark secrets surrounding one of the largest man-made environmental catastrophes in American history.
THE BIG FIX is “a damning indictment” (Time Out New York) of a system of government and corporate collusion that puts the pursuit of profit over all other human and environmental needs. Through “smart, covert reporting that shames our news media” (The Village Voice) The Big Fix is “a mandatory-viewing critique of widespread government corruption” (LA Weekly).
Aerial footage from May of 2010 by John Wathen shows the extent of the devastation created by the BP oil spill. H/T Treehugger.
The Department of Justice presented examples of “gross negligence and willful misconduct” on the part of BP leading up to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The case is set to go to trial in a New Orleans court in early 2013, and the government is trying to demonstrate that most of the blame for the spill—the largest American spill ever—rests with the British company. “The behavior, words, and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall,” government lawyers fumed in an August court filing in New Orleans.
In the wake of Hurricane Isaac, the Coast Guard reported on Sunday that teams surveying for pollution found new oil and oiled animals in the vicinity of two inactive oil production facilities near Myrtle Grove. The crews found three juvenile pelicans with oil exposure, one of which was dead. Ten dead nutria were also recovered in the area. The source of the oil has not yet been identified.
Officials have expressed concerns that the hurricane could stir up remnant oil in the bottom of the ocean from the BP oil spill. Up to 1 million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico. That oil remains because BP has failed to clean it all up in the more than two years since the tragedy.
A Greenpeace research team took samples of tarballs that were discovered on Alabama beaches on September 2nd, including from an area with hundreds of tar balls in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
The mayor and other residents of Point Hope, Alaska share their concerns about Shell's offshore drilling plans in the Arctic. Residents of this town, also known as "Tikigaq," have survived for generations off the bounty of the Chukchi Sea, which is now threatened by pollution, noise, and the risk of an oil spill that would come with offshore drilling.
As one woman puts it, "The ocean, to us, is our garden. I really don't want drilling in my garden."
A new report on the BP oil spill aftermath find disturbing numbers of "Eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions are becoming common, with BP oil pollution believed to be the likely cause." Fishermen and scientists alike say they've never seen anything like it.
Recently I shared a report on the Gulf Coast fishing industry written by Dahr Jamail, a reporter for Al Jazeera who has been covering the BP Gulf oil spill since early on in the days of the disaster. Once again, Jamail - the journalist from Qatar - reports on these latest findings. You can check out the American mainstream media and read all about President Obama eating dog meat as a child when his step-father fed it to him in Indonesia, and other really important stuff.
And so it seems that not all of the creatures of the sea have been killed off by the effects of the oil spill, and BP's use of toxic dispersants. There are fish with sores and lesions, mutated shrimp, deformed crab and fish, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp (Shrimp lacking even eye sockets), crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don't have their usual spikes, shrimp with tumors on their heads, crabs that are dying from within (Alive, but when opened smell as if they are already dead.), and more.
"The dispersants used in BP's draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber," Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. "It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known".
The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP's disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic - able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus - and carcinogenic.
Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP's submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from "a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor".
Jamail attempted to get answers to questions arising from his investigation from various government agencies, as well as BP. One agency referred him to another, some couldn't or wouldn't talk, and while BP refused to comment for a televised interview, they did offer a statement:
"Seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is among the most tested in the world, and, according to the FDA and NOAA, it is as safe now as it was before the accident."
Right. Somehow, I don't think anyone will run in to any of the executives from BP at any of the Gulf Coast eateries enjoying the seafood cuisine anytime soon.
Major commercial fishing ports on the Gulf Coast bring in over 1.2 billion pounds of fresh seafood annually, but this will likely decline as Gulf fisheries continue to be affected by BP's disaster. Louisiana provides 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, but the state's seafood industry, valued at about $2.3bn, is now fighting for its life.
Dahr Jamail, a reporter for Al Jazeera, has been covering the BP Gulf oil spill since early on in the days of the disaster. He reported last month on the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on the ocean's bounty as they face severely depleted catches and debate whether or not to join in BP’s $7.8 billion “class settlement” or sue the oil giant individually .
This is an important story for America, with the survival of tens of thousands of Gulf fishing families hanging in the balance. But for some reason, it took a journalist from Qatar to get this story out. Jamail's reporting is excellent, and for this report he goes to the fishermen themselves to get the truth.
"I was at a BP coastal restoration meeting yesterday and they tried to tell us they searched 6,000 square miles of the seafloor and found no oil, thanks to Mother Nature," Tuan Dang, a shrimper, told Al Jazeera while standing on a dock full of shrimp boats that would normally be out shrimping this time of year.
Dang's fishing experience has been bleak.
"Normally I can get 8,000 pounds of brown shrimp in four days," he explained. "But this year, I only get 800 pounds in a week. There are hardly any shrimp out there."
When he tried to catch white shrimp, he said he "caught almost nothing".
He is suing BP for loss of income, but does not have much hope, despite recent news of an initial settlement worth more than $7bn. "We'd love to see them clean this up so we can get our lives back, but I don't see that happening anytime soon."
Song Vu, a shrimp boat captain for 20 years, has not tried to shrimp for weeks, and is simply hoping that there will be shrimp to catch next season.
His experience during his last shrimping attempts left him depressed.
"The shrimp are all dead," he told Al Jazeera. "Everything is dead."
There isn't a glimmer of anything that sounds hopeful about the Gulf situation in any of the personal accounts of the fishermen, and as Jamail notes at the end of the article, "Given that after the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska in 1989, herring have still not come back enough to be a viable fishing resource, this does not bode well for the Gulf seafood industry, whose fisheries are - according to scientists like Cake and Soniat - still in the initial phase of collapse."