HOUSTON, Texas – An insider at BP told CBS reporter and former WKRG reporter Tiffany Craig that most of the calls they have been taking never get farther than the operators who take them. The insider says some of the operators aren’t even writing the messages down. The identity of the insider in the video is protected because she is scared of being fired. This person is one of a hundred operators at BP’s Call Center. “We take all your information and then we have nothing to give them nothing nothing to give them”. She says the calls about the oil disaster are non-stop–but operators are just warm bodies on the other end of the phone. “We’re a diversion to stop them from really getting to the corporate office to the big people,” she said. The calls come in from around the world– but it’s the desperation of those from the Gulf Coast that affects her the most. “I don’t’ wanna get emotional but its so frustrating when these people live right there and nothing is being done to help them”. For weeks on end and twelve hours a day– there is a little secret that she says she’s witnessed firsthand. The operators say the calls never get past them– some don’t even bother taking notes. BP officials say they’ve received more than 200-thousand phone messages from the center in Houston but can’t say just what percentage of calls they’ve returned.
Did any of you know that the US supposedly has a National Contingency Plan for dealing with very large oil spills? And that EPA has legal responsibility for maintaining readiness for such an eventuality? Who knew? I’ve watched hours of coverage and this hasn’t been mentioned anywhere.
The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan Act was signed into law in 1994 (superceding previous legislation that went back to the 1969 Torrey Canyon oil spill.) Laws and regulations are collated here. The EPA has an online book describing the National Continency Plan. See for example http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/oil/edu/oilspill_book/chap7.pdf (change the number to get other chapters.)
The EPA manual says:
We already knew that BP and its folks were significant contributors to the record $750-million war chest of Barack Obama’s 2007-08 campaign.
Now, we learn the details of a connection of Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayoral wannabe, current Obama chief of staff, ex-representative, ex-Clinton money man and ex-Windy City political machine go-fer.Shortly after Obama’s happy inaugural, eyebrows rose slightly upon word that, as a House member, Emanuel had lived the last five years rent-free in a D.C. apartment of Democratic colleague Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and her husband, Stanley Greenberg. [….]Greenberg’s consulting firm was a prime architect of BP’s recent rebranding drive as a green petroleum company, down to green signs and the slogan “Beyond Petroleum.”
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who lost love ones in this disaster. 1 Dragon
Eleven people died when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform exploded nearly two weeks ago in the Gulf of Mexico, 53 miles southwest of the Louisiana coast. It’s a sad measure of how much of the subsequent commentary on this disaster has focused solely on the environmental effects, thus ignoring completely the pain and suffering of the families of the 11 who died in the inferno. The worst off-shore oil disaster occurred in 1988 in the North Sea 120 miles from Aberdeen, Scotland, when a massive explosion on the Piper Alpha platform killed 167 men. For families of those killed in any drilling accident, however, the only number that counts is the one representing a father, husband, or brother.
As for the environmental damage caused by Deepwater Horizon, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar deserves commendation for reminding everybody over the weekend that off-shore drilling is remarkably safe considering its scope and importance to the nation. There are presently more than 4,000 active rigs employing an estimated 80,000 people on the U.S. outer continental shelf, with the large majority of those operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Salazar said Sunday on Fox News that more than 30,000 oil and natural gas wells have been drilled in the Gulf, and one-third of the oil and natural gas consumed by the United States is produced there. This means off-shore drilling is now and will remain for the foreseeable future a critically important national resource. The interior secretary also noted that the industry “has been conducted in a very safe manner. Blowouts occur but the safety mechanisms have been in place. Why this failed here is something we are investigating.” Amazingly, there have been only 41 deaths and 302 injuries in off-shore platform accidents since 2001, according to federal data. Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by the Daily Beast reveals that off-shore oil rig jobs aren’t among the 10 most dangerous jobs, while fishing, sanitation work, and farming are.
From an environmental perspective, off-shore oil drilling is far safer than Mother Nature. As the Wall Street Journal noted yesterday, oil that seeps naturally from the ocean floor puts 47 million gallons of crude into U.S. waters annually. Thus far, Deepwater Horizon has leaked about three million gallons. That sounds like a lot of oil, and it is. But the Exxon Valdez leaked 11 million gallons into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Even those figures are dwarfed, according to the Economist, by the amount of oil spilled in man-made disasters elsewhere around the world. Saddam Hussein’s destruction of Kuwaiti oil facilities during the Gulf War dumped more than 500 million barrels of crude into the Arabian Gulf. The 1979 blowout of Mexico’s Ixtoc 1 well resulted in 3.3 million barrels being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. In short, Deepwater Horizon is an environmental crisis, but not the apocalypse that alarmists claim.