As the BP Gulf Coast disaster continues worsening daily, and little progress is made to contain the spill, Sarah Palin questions President Obama's ties to big oil
As the Gulf Coast disaster from the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill continues worsening by the day -- it's difficult to gauge how bad the actual damage is, and there are also reports of major problems in the ocean below the surface -- public anger is mounting, little progress is being made in cleaning up the mess, and capping the leak, Sarah Palin has questioned President Obama's ties to big oil.
It's been more than a month since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank. Accurate figures on the amount of oil and gas spewing from the ocean floor are impossible to come by as BP -- who the federal government has left in charge of dealing with the disaster -- has been accused of purposely under-reporting numbers to limit their liability. Congressional Republicans have blocked legislation twice that would increase BP's liability.
By BP estimates, their mile-long siphoning tube was sucking up 5,000 gallons a day -- the same amount they originally claimed was leaking. A look at their video cam revealed that despite sucking up some of the crude and gas, it wasn't even close to getting it all.
In fact, analysis of the video footage from the BP cam indicates that around 95,000 barrels of crude a day may be spewing from the leaking well -- 19 times more than the original estimate from BP.
As more oil washes ashore the Gulf Coast line, more wild life is being killed. It's unknown if the area can ever be cleaned or if the birds and ocean life can be saved. More than 65 miles of Louisiana's shoreline has now been oiled. It could take decades to repair the environmental ecology, if it can be repaired at all.
The spill's impact stretches across 150 miles
Oil has pushed at least 12 miles into Louisiana's marshes and two major pelican rookeries are now coated in crude. Brown Pelicans, removed from the federal endangered species list 6 months ago, are in danger of being killed because of the spill.
Instead of capping the leak, BP has used a mile-long tube to siphon oil, which has been virtually ineffective in quelling the leak. Amounts of oil BP claims to be siphoning continue changing, revealing that BP has underestimated the total amount of oil and gas that continues spewing unabated.
Some estimates put at least 6 million gallons of crude have polluted the Gulf Coast, though some scientists believe the spill has already surpassed the Exxon Valdez disaster. Actual figures are probably a lot higher.
The Obama administration continued defending their response to the crisis while criticizing BP. Some officials considered some drastic measures for cleaning the oil -- like burning or flooding the marshes -- but may have to wait and let nature take its course.
The spill's impact now reportedly stretches across 150 miles, from Dauphin Island, Alabama to Grand Isle, Louisiana. As the oil spill grows each day, so does anger with the government and BP. Stopping the leak may not happen until a relief well is dug, which could take a couple more months.
Barbara Boxer (D-CA), head of the Senate's environmental committee, asked the Justice Department to determine whether BP had made false and misleading claims about preventing a serious oil spill and Justice Department officials have been in the Gulf Coast region gathering information about the spill.
Report accuses White House of covering up creation of frozen oil 'blob'
In addition to the obvious environmental dangers on the surface, a new Wayne Madsen report claims that a frozen blob of oil -- 10 miles long by 3 miles wide -- has been created 3,000 to 4,000 feet below the surface. According to the report, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Navy are tracking it with video cameras.
The report claims that FEMA and the U.S. Corps of Engineers are upset because the White House and the Pentagon -- and a few other Federal agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard -- remain in cover-up mode about the images from the frozen oil blob.
The White House claims it doesn't know where the blob is, but the report claims that the White House is getting real-time reports from Navy submarines as to the blob's location. The blob appears to be transiting the Florida Straits between Florida and Cuba, propelled by the Gulf's Loop Current, and parts of the blob encountering warmer waters are breaking off into smaller tar balls that are washing ashore in the Florida Keys according to the report. Earlier this month the Coast Guard denied that the tar balls were a result of BP's leak.
The report further claims that there is evidence that BP, Halliburton and Transocean sank a drill to a depth of 35,000 feet at the Deepwater Horizon site six months ago without the required permits from the Federal government. Sinking the drill bit to that depth created a major catastrophic event requiring the firms' oil rig personnel to quickly pull up the drill and close the hole. The same drill attempt was made six months later, resulting in another, more destructive chain of events followed by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig 35 days ago, again without proper permits required from the Federal government.
The report concludes that BP is intent on recovering as much oil as possible from the undersea geyser rather than simply plugging and capping the well, placing it off-limits. The Corps of Engineers believes that BP is playing a game with Obama, convincing him of the feasibility of 'shooting junk' into the subterranean pipe, which would stop up the pipe with a manufactured compound called 'MUD.' It's suggested that BP actually intends to shoot cement into the pipe in an attempt to cap the well with the intention of digging a trench for side drilling from the pipe and siphoning the oil in the future.
Since the disaster in the Gulf Coast began last month, the U.S. has approved more environmental drilling waivers.
Palin accused Obama of being too close to the big oil companies
Sarah Palin, former Vice Presidential candidate and half-term Alaska Governor, reportedly accused President Obama of leading a lax response to the Gulf Coast spill because he's too close to the big oil companies and because President Obama has been the biggest recipient of cash from BP.
Palin, who champions off-shore drilling, also criticized the media for not linking Obama and big oil, saying that if the spill had happened under former President Bush, the scrutiny would have been far tougher. Todd Palin, Sarah's husband, worked for BP for 18 years.
Palin implied that the close BP relationship explained why Obama was 'taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there, and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico.' Palin made these implications to FOX News. The White House reportedly mocked Palin's suggestion that Obama was in bed with big oil because of 2008 presidential campaign contributions.
Earlier this month it was estimated that the cost of the oil spill could exceed $14 billion and the responsibility for the cleanup operation lies with the owners of the well, led by 65 percent shareholder, London-based oil company BP. That figure may end up being a little low.