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Its BPs Oil Running the corporate blockade at Louisiana's crude-covered beaches.

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 08:38 AM
Original message
Its BPs Oil Running the corporate blockade at Louisiana's crude-covered beaches.
Edited on Mon May-24-10 08:38 AM by Ian David
Its BPs Oil
Running the corporate blockade at Louisiana's crude-covered beaches.
By Mac McClelland
Mon May. 24, 2010 12:14 AM PDT

Elmer's Island, even after all the warnings, looks worse than I imagined. Pools of oil black and deep stretch down the beach; when cleanup workers drag their rakes along an already-cleaned patch of sand, more auburn crude oozes up. Beneath the surface lie slimy washed-up globules that, one worker says, are "so big you could park a car on them."

It's Saturday, May 22nd, a month into the BP spill, and I've been trying to get to Elmer's Island for the past two days. I've been stymied at every turn by Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies brought in to supplement the local police force of Grand Isle, a 300-year-old settlement here at the very southern tip of Louisiana. Just seven miles long and so narrow in some spots that you can see from the Gulf side to the inland side, Grand Isle is all new clapboard and vinyl-sided bungalows since Katrina, but still scrappypopulation 1,500, octuple that in tourist season. It's also home to the only route to Elmer's, a barrier island to the west. I arrived on Thursday with my old University of New Orleans lit prof, John Hazlett; a tandem kayak is strapped to his Toyota Tacoma. At the turn to Elmer's Island Road, a deputy flags us down. Can't go to Elmer's; he's just "doing what they told me to do." We continue on to Grand Isle beach, where toddlers splash in the surf. Only after I've stepped in a blob of crude do I realize that the sheen on the waves and the blackness covering a little blue heron from the neck down is oil.

The next day, cops drive up and down Grand Isle beach explicitly telling tourists it is still open, just stay out of the water. There are pools of oil on the beach; dolphins crest just offshore. A fifty-something couple, Southern Louisianians, tell me this kind of thing happened all the time when they were kids; they swam in rubber suits when it got bad, and it was no big deal. They just hope this doesn't mean we'll stop drilling.

The blockade to Elmer's is now four cop cars strong. As we pull up, deputies start bawling us out; all media need to go to the Grand Isle community center, where a "BP Information Center" sign now hangs out front. Inside, a couple of Times-Picayune reporters circle BP representative Barbara Martin, who tells them that if they want passage to Elmer they have to get it from another BP rep, Irvin Lipp; Grand Isle beach is closed too, she adds. When we inform the Times-Pic reporters otherwise, she asks Dr. Hazlett if he's a reporter; he says, "No." She says, "Good." She doesn't ask me. We tell her that deputies were just yelling at us, and she seems truly upset. For one, she's married to a Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy. For another, "We don't need more of a black eye than we already have."

More:
http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/05/oil-spill-bp...

Via: http://twitter.com/MacMcClelland/status/14623183220

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marylanddem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. Great, great article - she's doing what the mainstream media won't.
Their job.
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Kalyke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Oh... but... Wolf and Orally might miss out on some advertising dollars
from BP if they dare to cover this disaster in such depth!

I may sorely miss my reporting days, but seeing how the media has become an appendage of big corporations rather than truth-seekers these days makes me glad I left the profession eight years ago.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
3. it's not a clean-up -- it's a tar-sands operation.
more, from the article:

I've corralled Irvin Lipp, who drives me and a few wire photographers out to Elmer's. The shoreline is packed with men in hats and gumboots and bright blue shirts. Nearly all are African-American, all hired from around New Orleans. They tell me they've been standing in these exact same spots for three days. It's breathtakingly hot. They rake the oil and sand into big piles; other workers collect the piles into big plastic bags, and still other workers take them to a plant where the sand is separated out and sent to a hazardous-waste dump and the oil goes on for processing. Then the tide comes in with more oil and everybody starts all over again. Ten dollars an hour. Twelve hours a day. When I joke with one worker that he should pocket the solid gobs of oil he's digging up to show me how far beneath the sand they go, he stops dead and asks me if BP's still trying to use the oil they all collect. "Aw, I knew it!" he says. Another leans on his rake to ask me, "Have they at least shut the oil off yet?" He randomly picks three spots in a three-foot-wide expanse of sand that he's already raked clean and drops his rake in an inch deeper to show me how the oil bubbles up from underneath. He can't count how many times he's raked this same spot in the 33 hours he's worked it since Thursday, but one thing he's sure of, he says, is that he'll be standing right here tomorrow and the next day, too.
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
4. They just hope this doesn't mean we'll stop drilling?
:wtf: A fifty-something couple, Southern Louisianians, tell me this kind of thing happened all the time when they were kids; they swam in rubber suits when it got bad, and it was no big deal. They just hope this doesn't mean we'll stop drilling.
:wtf:

These people are idiots! Just don't stop drilling OMG!
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. ??
Gotta be on the BP payroll. Happened all the time? I wish someone who was around those beaches during that time could tell us if that is true. My husband who went to Tulane and spent a lot of time around the area says he never heard anything like that but that is not true experience. I don't believe it myself.
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FedUpWithIt All Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
5. I am so furious, i'm shaking.
They're allowing toddlers to play in toxic crude so that they can deflect attention while they try and process a few bucks worth of oil?!?!?!

Excuse me while i go vomit my extreme disgust.
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
:cry:
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
8. K&R
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