Monday, August 2, 2010

Crimes against our ocean...

           This is a rant... Our earth is being taken for granted, why do we not fix it right the first time?
    Why do we have to take these short-cuts... Our ocean animal's are dying while their algeaic food sources are being suffocated, the underwater food chain is literally being poisoned from the ground up!
     Dispersant's, my god, by deduction and basic biology we know that one matter isn't going to just disappear because you add another chemical to it, come on guys, it can transfer, but it's not destroyed, isn't that a law or something??
    Despite what you've been told, in the deep, deep waters, oil plumes exist (as a result of the dispersant's separating the contents of crude oil on the surface, VOC's, volatile organic compounds, rise while the remaining oil contents fall to the bottom.)
      Until recently, the federal government and epa had denied knowledge of theses building pools of poison. Connecting like a separate Nile river beneath the sea's surface, oil plumes continue running their slow & quiet course of death, (one measured at 22 miles long, and another at 15) while our business conscience is clear enough to sleep. After all, now that we don't have to look at the black masses on the surface anymore, the real estate market should bounce back above ground ...
      The 30 % loss of oxygen in and around the plumes means death to innumerable underwater plant and animal species, and all I want to know, is why did our government allow these chemicals to be used, someone had to approve it, so why guys, why'd you do it?
      My throat feels like it's paralyzed, as if all my tears were trying to escape at the same time, but they all got stuck, constricted because there were just too many... My heart feels heavy from the defeating feeling that no matter how urgently I want to inform the masses about our wounded earth, I'm not really going to reach you unless you have the mind frame of wanting to be reached, the audience will have to be previously knowledgeable about the subject, or interested enough to go research it past the end of an article for any substantial change to come, there are just too many facts and building blocks for one piece to accomplish...
      The more I read the more I feel like I'm drowning, it's so much to take. No other spill that I've been able to find has reached 5,000 feet under the sea, it's a new game, and by using dispersant's we are pushing the oil into an area where we as a society still have so much to learn about, we're killing things we don't even know exist yet, why is that okay?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tar Balls on the Beach, Make it hard to Make Ends Meat

           For the majority of people living in the United States the catastrophic oil break that busted into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 has brought only minor changes to their daily lives, if any at all. However, for the left over lives that populate the areas directly affected by the MC252 spill, the world has been turned upside down.
        While oil from the spill continues to tarnish shores and suffocate marine life throughout the Gulf, in cases like that of Perdido Key, Florida, it has brought a cancer to the local economy as well. “I don’t know how to explain it, things are just different, I mean at there should be traffic on the Gulf Coast, instead it's practically empty," said 20 year-old Ian Mayes, a Perdido Local. "Before the spill there would be coach buses just lined up and down the Pheonix Hotels taking in students and travelers.”
          For locals living in an area referred to by many as a resort town, like the majority of Florida’s southern stretching coastal communities, tar balls on the beach are making it virtually impossible to make ends meat.
"I started working for Perdido Key Parasail in 2006 as a summer job, and I came back every summer because it was fun,” said Mayes. “Sitting on the beach for 14 hours straight, meeting people, jet-skiing, parasailing, being on the boat, I loved it."
          For Mayes, the loss of one job led into another via the VOO program, Vessels of Opportunity, sponsored by British Petroleum. The program was designed to help create jobs for local marine workers by employing them to clean the spill. “I've been working on one of the oil spotting boats for about two months now,since around the time when I had to stop working at my last job," said Mayes. "The work I’m doing now is easy, I mean it's ridiculous, I make $200 a day to go around on a boat and spot oil, the money is good but I'd much rather be doing something I love."
          Unlike Louisiana where the spill unleashed its initial fury without remorse or warning, parts of Florida had time to prepare. However, with the channel of command between the state, local and federal government’s blocked by political procedure, the wells of aid were caught in an unsynchronized current that acted more like a damn than the necessary resevoir of relief. “We knew about the oil spill, but we kept going because we hadn’t been affected by it yet, then about a week before we stopped the operation our boat was literally running through huge globs, glooms of oil," said Mayes. "We'd get back to shore and it would be all over the boat, people could see it from the parasails, we had to stop.”
         Oil spills of the past seem like miniature fire drills in comparison to the magnitude of damage brought by the current spill, a mess which continues to reach record breaking proportions as the drama drags on almost four months later. And so, while the VOO program is one of Bp's efforts to make right a tragic wrong, in the eyes of most of the local community it won't be enough until they regain their way of life. “I should still be at work on the beach, super sunburned, I’d give anything for things to go back to the way they were, I don't care about the money, I'd give it all back," said Mayes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Capping oil, capping jobs?

Last night I was at a tiki bar in town with my dad. While we there I spoke to two of his friends, both of which work on two of the several activated boats helping to clean the spill in the gulf; or, at least they did up until yesterday. After the oil spill was capped and proven efficient for the time being, it seems Bp hit up a large group of activated fleets with deactivation notices... whats up with that?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oil slick in Perdido Bay

Well I just went water skiing in a little nook off Perdido Bay, the first time I’ve gone out since I’ve been in Pensacola, Florida. We had thought we found a clean area but as I was skiing around jumpin the wake and having a blast, I saw an oil slick half way through the ride. I didn’t tell the driver, my dad, to cut it until we were good and far away from it, and even then I flew out of the water like it was on fire. Once we were docked I hosed myself down as thoroughly as possible and although it was fun for a while, thinking about the possible consequences of swimming in the oily contamination makes me ask, is it worth it? And further, what I find even more concerning than the damages done to my own body, is the fact that shortly after I popped up on my ski we powered by a little pod of three dolphins, two of which were breeding, and that oil slick has unapologetically entered their home. Swallow that.

United States ball hog finally passes for the assist...

It’s sad but true, it seems the US had been acting like a ball hog over the last few months continually refusing international assistance with the oil spill. But why? While labor unions across the United States pressured our president to keep the oil spill clean-up jobs in house, the tragic enviromental state in the Gulf of Mexico has gotten significantly worse.

Obama’s campaign had approximtely 60.7 million dollars in contributions from the Service Employees International Union alone. Under pressure to pay back the bread crumbs dished out during the 2008 campaign trail, President Obama allowed over two months to pass before lifting the Jones Act and accepting help from other countries. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marines Act of 1920, was constructed to strengthen the health of the United States marine industry. It requires that the 75% of the staff aboard American ships are comprised of American citizens, and restricted shipping and trade within America to be carried out by American and American flagged ships. The act was last overidden by the Bush administration in 2005 after hurricane Katrina.

Did the US really wait 70 days to accept help from other countries?

Being in the south Ive been hearing alot of anti-Obama outbursts. At first I thought it was the general red-state slight talking, I even stood up for our present administration and got so frustrated that I almost threw my coffee cup at my foxnews lovin father. He calls me a liberal, I say I’m objective, in all honesty I spoke to soon and I am now swallowing my words. Is it possible that our country has really reused help from other countries for 70 days?? We finally accepted help on June 29th from 12 countries, but why did it take so long?? I have to do more research on this but I’ll post more information soon, I eed some time to level my head and bring the facts objectively cause I’m so tired of he biased bullshit, no amount of money could motivate me to spread innacurate information, these things influence our opinions and if you look at history, our opinions are what start wars….

First day of 40hr Hazwoper training

Today I’m starting the required class to start working on the oil skimming boats, this class is necessary for any of the jobs that come in contact with oil. I was contacting people right and left last week trying to volunteer my help, Bp wasn’t so receptive, and all of the classes semed to cost $$$, sure the return can be great at 200$ a day, but I’m an unemployed college student so my purse strings are pretty much vacuum sealed. Miraculously one of my dad’s friends has one of the ‘activated’ boats (a term used for the independently contracted boats approved by Bp to start oil spill clean-up) and so I’m being sponsored to attend the class! I’m so thankful because instead of paying to attend, I’m being paid to learn and be out there doing something to help the environment.

After calling Bp hotlines and registering to volunteer last Wednesday, I started to get slightly perturbed that my help wasn’t as welcomed as I thought it was going to be; however, after talking with several of the local boat workers, I soon realized that Bp is weary of volunteers because there is a huge risk in having people come in contact with oil, so if you’re not trained by one of the Hazwoper classes and OSHA certified then the closest you’re going to get is beach clean-up. The class I’m starting today is in Mobile, Alabama.

I’m staying in Pensacola, Florida for the next two months from Los Angeles, California, so I’ll be doing my best to give updates on the local happs. Below is some freq. asked questions about the training course. PS——- Be weary of scams, I woke up at 6 am last Friday, Florida time, which is 4 am Los Angeles time and drove to the Bay Breeze Inn at 51 Gulf Beach Hwy just to find that nobody was there to train the attendees. That particular course I found posted on craigslist and it was flagged shortly after.

Q: What are HAZWOPER training courses?
A: HAZWOPER is a federal government occupational health and safety standard that pertains to the hazardous waste operations as well as emergency response. To develop and implement a safety and health program, a proper training is recommended or required for the workers expose to hazardous materials.

Q What kind of courses is there for HAZWOPER training ?
A: There are 40 HOUR HAZWOPER training, 24 HOUR HAZWOPER training course, 8 hour annual HAZWOPER training referesher course and HAZWOPER first reponder awareness Level.

Q: What must I do to get the OSHA 40 hr HAZWOPER certification?
A: You must complete the entire 40 hour hazwoper course to get the HAZWOPER certificate.

Q: How do I know I need the OSHA HAZWOPER training course?
A: The OSHA HAZWOPER training courses are applicable for five groups of employers and their employees. People who are expose (or potentially) to the hazardous substances needs these HAZWOPER training course compulsory. If you belong to any of the group below then, you may need the OSHA HAZWOPER training courses.

1. Clean-up operations as required by the government body conducted at the uncontrollable hazardous waste sites
2. Emergency response operations for release of substantial threats or hazardous substances
3. Voluntary clean-up operations at sites tag as uncontrolled hazardous waste-sites by the government body
4. Corrective actions for clean-up operations
5. Operations relating to hazardous wastes