Before I begin, let me start by expressing my love for the people of Oklahoma and how much it broke my heart to see tornado’s cause such pain and destruction. When I left Norman, OK 20yrs ago I left a piece of heart there along with my family and friends, so please don’t think me insensitive or that I don’t care. Qutie the opposite, I left because of my frustration with people like Coburn and Inhofe. Sadly from my observations when visiting OKC in March 2012, little has changed in attitude and I guess what set me on this rant is seeing that the same men are still holding office as when I left the state long ago.
The same crooks are running the Congressional show, only the governors change names. My best advise would be for Oklahoman’s to research the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), if you haven’t heard of ALEC it’s a powerful organization that ALL GOP members have taken oaths of loyalty to – loyalty that belongs to the citizens of Oklahoma not private corporations.
GOP districts across the nation are selling public services to corporations for privatization; meaning your schools, library’s, parks, fire/police services, prisons and courts are up for sale or have been purchased by private corporations to run at a profit – they are no longer not-for-profit public services. Which always spells disaster for the consumer.
For instance, with the rise of private prisons, the very next step for Oklahoma will be debtor prisons so they can meet their quota filling prison cells. If you think it can’t happen take a look at people in Ohio spending jail time for $100 parking ticket or credit card debt. Now the Oklahoma’s Congressional corporate millionaires are squandering to rob funds from much needed services to pay for tornado damage.
Also, keep an eye out on the contractors pulling in from all corners of the USA to profit from death and destruction, in a new trend called disaster capitalismand a prime motive for weather modification. Question: When they can build structures that can handle winds up to 300mph why aren’t your Congress members campaigning for safer construction requirements, like California adopted to SAVE LIVES in earthquakes?? Because OK and TX in particular are STEEPED in CRONYISM. andi t’s more profitable to build under old wasteful standards, then when the next twister comes thru it’ll be the same story that we witnessed in 1999 when an F5 ripped thru Moore and with the twister that hit May 20, 2013 in the same township. These guys have been in office since I left in the early 90′s..wtf???
It’s like an abusive relationship, voters just keep coming back for more abuse…isn’t it time to give these guys the boot??? If you haven’t paid much attention to the UCC filings yet, things are quickly moving in the background ~ by the end of the summer much will have changed for the better for everyone. But for now, flash mob email campaigns would be appropriate to put the OK Senate and Congress on notice that the game is over and the One People are taking their Power back. Much love and Aloha! ~A~}
Inhofe is singing a different tune now.
May 21, 2013 |
Oklahoma residents will now turn to government assistance for emergency disaster aid after a tornado ripped through the state on Monday, leaving dozens dead and tearing apart hundreds of buildings. But the same night that many residents lost their homes, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told CQ Roll Callinsisted he would “absolutely” require any federal disaster aid to be offset by other budget cuts. He later clarified on Tuesday, promising, “I can assure Oklahomans that any and all available aid will be delivered without delay.”
Both of the state’s senators, Sen. James Inhofe (R) and Coburn, however, have long worked to undermine the Federal Emergency Management Agency, even though their state heavily relies on disaster aid:
2. Coburn voted in 2011 against funding FEMA after it ran out of money, because, in his words, funding FEMA would have been “unconscionable.” Inhofe did not vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fired back at Republicans blocking a bill for necessary funding to FEMA.
3. Inhofe proposed removing grants for storm shelter programs coordinating with FEMA, and instead provide individuals with tax breaks.
4. Coburn criticized items in Sandy disaster relief such as $12.9 billion for disaster mitigiation and $366 million for Amtrak as “wasteful spending.”
5. After Hurricane Sandy, Inhofe and Coburn voted against a bill for $50.5 billion in Hurrican Sandy disaster relief.
6. Coburn demanded that $5.25 billion in FEMA grant funds be reallocated because of sequestration in April 2013.
A spokesman told the Huffington Post that Coburn has supported offsets for the Oklahoma City bombing recovery effort, which tapped funds not yet appropriated.
Oklahoma and Texas rank as the top two states in FEMA disaster declarations; combined, they account for more than a quarter of declared disasters since 2009. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the senators have requested disaster aid for severe storms and drought, even though Coburn is willing to hold up relief with his demands.
On MSNBC, Inhofe argued that tornado aid for Oklahoma is “totally different” from aid for Hurricane Sandy. “Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy taking place,” he said. “That won’t happen in Oklahoma.”
Rebecca Leber is a research assistant for the ThinkProgress war room. She graduated from the University of Rochester and holds a B.A. in political science and English with a minor in economics.
Note: The only way to stop this insanely inhumane practice is with enough people voicing their outrage and boycotting restaurants that offer migratory birds on the menu. Help spread the word, PLEASE SHARE FREELY…mahalo!
May 2013. Disturbing evidence has emerged from the Mediterranean coast of Egypt: Bavarian Broadcasting have documented a total of 700 kilometres of nets set to catch birds. The birds are then offered as a delicacy in markets and restaurants across Egypt.
The nets are very difficult to avoid for many migratory birds as they form a barrier across their flight path either across the Mediterranean or the Sahara when they are looking for a place to rest. The exact number of birds caught in this way can only be estimated, but experts believe that tens of millions are killed each year.
That songbirds are on the menu (and targeted by many hunters) in many countries of southern Europe and North Africa is nothing new. The existence of fishing nets on the coast of Egypt has long been known, but what is new is the scale of netting, which now extends from Libya across almost the entire coastline of the Egypt to the Sinai – interrupted only in a few places by military installations or major cities.
Catching birds in Egypt threatens European populations
This form of bird trapping is mostly illegal in Egypt; there are statutory requirements for minimum distances between the nets and maximum stipulated heights but these are largely ignored. Egypt has also signed international agreements on the protection of birds, but the resulting rules are not enforced at all.
Lars Lachmann, bird expert of NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany.) states that the implications of bird trapping in Egypt to the European breeding population are not good: “The majority of our species are suffering from habitat loss and climate change; species such as willow warbler, nightingale, wheatear and nightjar will be adversely affected by the massive catch in Egypt.”
Help the fight against this trapping
Any donations will go to NABU’s partner organization “Nature Conservation Egypt” to enable it to campaign locally, through regular monitoring of the extent of bird trapping and also to develop specific projects to prevent bird trapping.
• Joint Debate: Capital and prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms
Credit institutions and prudential supervision
Report: Othmar Karas (A7-0170/2012)
- Report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the access to the activity of credit institutions and the prudential supervision of credit institutions and investment firms and amending Directive 2002/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the supplementary supervision of credit institutions, insurance undertakings and investment firms in a financial conglomerate
[COM(2011)0453 - C7-0210/2011 - 2011/0203(COD)]
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
Prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms
Report: Othmar Karas (A7-0171/2012)
- Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms
[COM(2011)0452 - C7-0417/2011 - 2011/0202(COD)]
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
(NaturalNews) An undated article discussing the invention of genetically-modified (GM) human beings that was published by the U.K.’s DailyMail at least 10 years ago is gaining fresh attention from the online community these days. And even though the heinous practice, which is known as cytoplasmic transfer, is technically illegal in the U.S., the current regulatory framework offers little in the way of enforcement capacity against those that breach this moratorium.
Because the DailyMail article is not dated, some have mistakenly taken it to be current, and have adopted the position that GM babies may potentially become the next big thing in reproductive medicine. But it appears as though this is not actually the case, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) apparently banned this form of genetic manipulation back in the early 2000s after declaring it to be under its regulatory jurisdiction.
According to the original DailyMail article, Jacques Cohen, a former employee at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine & Science of Saint Barnabas in New Jersey, came up with a way to blend the genes of multiple mothers into a single egg that can then be fertilized with sperm from a male. The end product is a child with a genetic blueprint from three different parents, a process of human manipulation known as “germline” alteration.
This unscrupulous discovery, which only further taints the natural order of life with man-made genetic modifications, reportedly led to the development of at least 15 GM babies at that time, which are presumably still alive and now progressing through their adolescent years. And according to the original report, any children born to these GM individuals will also bear these modified GM traits, as they are inherently passed down from generation to generation.
“The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated them into their ‘germline’ means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them on to their own offspring,” wrote Michael Hanlon for the Daily Mail back at that time. “Altering the human germline – in effect tinkering with the very make-up of our species – is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s scientists.”
GM babies are a ‘biological product,’ which puts them under FDA jurisdiction
This is admittedly a very frightening development, as it has the potential to unleash untold horrors on the human genome. But what is not clear from the original DailyMail article is when it was actually written, and if the procedure is still taking place today. As explained in a later paper published by the Washington Monthly in 2002, it appears as though GM babies did not necessarily take off as some believe, and this is due to FDA prohibitions.
“Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has argued that genetically manipulated embryos are a ‘biological product,’ and therefore subject to regulation, just like medical devices and drugs,” wrote Shannon Brownlee for the Washington Monthly. “FDA sent warning letters to six fertility centers threatening ‘enforcement action,’ and asserting its regulatory power over ‘therapy involving the transfer of genetic material by means other than the union of [sperm and egg]‘.”
But some of the biotechnologists working in the field have since challenged the FDA’s authority on the matter, arguing that the agency’s perceived dominance is “a stretch.” Does this mean that GM babies will soon become mainstream? It is difficult to say, but at this time, there does not appear to be any clinics in the U.S. actively performing such procedures in violation of the FDA’s orders.
Note: From what I’ve observed over the last 8 yrs while exploring the dark trenches of the rabbit hole, much worse than this has been going on in underground bases and black ops projects for decades ~ if not longer. As far back as the 1930′s Nazi scientists were doing genetic experiments, these were the same men taken in by Project Paperclip after WW II. Quite a few people have talked about horrific genetic experimentation “gone bad” resulting in disfigured half-human, half-?? creatures, some of which have been let loose or escaped into the wild in So. America. Humanity is definitely ready to hit the reset point. If you watched the movie Solar Revolution, scientist astronomers expect Earth to get slammed with a massive wave of unknown energy this year. Respected scientist Paul LaViolette has also been talking about an energetic “wave” coming from the galactic core for several years. Whatever direction it comes from, metaphysicians believe Earth is scheduled for massive wave that will impact consciousness in a beneficially Divine manner…lets hope so.
European commission carries out ‘unannounced inspections’ to investigate claims prices were rigged for more than a decade
The London offices of BP and Shell have been raided by European regulators investigating allegations they have “colluded” to rig oil prices for more than a decade.
The European commission said its officers carried out “unannounced inspections” at several oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway to investigate claims they may have “colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency [PRA] to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products”.
The commission said the alleged price collusion, which may have been going on since 2002, could have had a “huge impact” on the price of petrol at the pumps “potentially harming final consumers”.
He demanded to know why the UK authorities had not taken action earlier and said he would ask questions of the British regulator in Parliament. “Why have we had to wait for Brussels to find out if British oil giants are ripping off British consumers?” he said. “The price of energy ripples right through our economy and really matters to every business and families.”
RAC technical director David Bizley said the allegations were “worrying news for motorists” who are already suffering due to the high cost of keeping a vehicle.
“Motorists will be very interested to see what comes of these raids. Whatever happens the RAC will continue to campaign for greater transparency in the UK fuel market and for a further reduction in fuel duty to stimulate economic growth.”
Four months ago the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) ruled out an investigation into petrol price fixing after finding “very limited evidence” that pump prices rise quickly when the wholesale price goes up but fall more slowly when it drops.
The European authorities declined to name any of the companies raided but BP, Shell, Norway’s Statoil and Platts, the world’s leading oil price reporting agency, all confirmed they are being investigated.
In a statement Shell said: “We can confirm that Shell companies are currently assisting the European commission in an inquiry into trading activities.”
BP said: “BP is one of the companies that is subject to an investigation that was announced by the European commission. We are co-operating fully with the investigation and unable to comment further at this time.”
“The suspected violations are related to the Platts’ Market-On-Close (MOC) price assessment process, used to report prices in particular for crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels, and may have been ongoing since 2002.”
Platts said the investigators had “undertaken a review at its premises in London this morning in relation to the Platts price-assessment process”.
The EC said the big oil companies may have “prevented others from participating in the price assessment process, with a view to distorting published prices”.
“Any such behaviour, if established, may amount to violations of European antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and abuses of a dominant market position.
It warned: “Even small distortions of assessed prices may have a huge impact on the prices of crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels purchases and sales, potentially harming final consumers.”
Luke Bosdet of the AA said British motorists would be relieved that the “lid is finally being lifted off the dark and murky world of oil pricing”.
“Because prices are set in secret, drivers and consumers have no idea whether or not the price they pay at the pumps is a fair reflection of the wholesale price.”
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said: “These are very concerning reports, which if true, suggest shocking behaviour in the oil market that should be dealt with strongly.
“When the allegations of price fixing in the gas market were made, Labour warned that opaque over-the-counter deals and relying on price reporting agencies left the market vulnerable to abuse.
“These latest allegations of price fixing in the oil market raise very similar questions. Consumers need to know that the prices they pay for their energy or petrol are fair, transparent and not being manipulated by traders.”
Shadow financial secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie said: “If oil price fixing has taken place it would be a shocking scandal for our financial markets.
“Labour tabled amendments in Parliament last year calling for commodities like oil to be part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory net, but Ministers refused to act. They should explain why they complacently failed to do so.”
The raids come six months after the Guardian revealed claims of a gas trading scam that led to investigations by the energy regulator, Ofgem, and the Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) which is ongoing.
The inquiry by Brussels also comes at a time when the price-reporting agencies are under wider scrutiny and have been told by Iosco, the umbrella group of financial regulators, to tighten up the way they work.
There has been deep unease since the Libor scandal that traded commodities such as oil and gas have become increasingly important as investments and yet many of the transactions are not going through exchanges where prices can be checked and transparency for investors assured.
Mounting concern that energy trading had become an area of potential market abuse was highlighted in a feature in the Financial Times last week. This triggered a response from Platts.
In a letter to the FT this week, Larry Neal, the president of Platts, said: “Your comparison of PRA activity to Libor is a false one … While PRAs do obtain information from ‘traders who may have a vested interest in moving the markets, the agencies do not have any such vested interest. In contrast, our role is providing market transparency.”
Last week the Guardian reported that some major energy companies, plus banks and trading houses have stopped providing information to the PRAs whose indices have underpinned the wholesale and in turn the retail gas market.
Officials at Statoil, were among those who said that they had ceased co-operating with three PRAs – Platts, Argus and Icis Heren.
Before Christmas, the French oil group Total said in a letter to Iosco: “Sometimes the criteria imposed by PRAs do not assure an accurate representation of the market and consequently deform the real price levels paid at every level of the price chain, including by the consumer.”
May 18, 2013– CHILE- Chilean Navy discovers more than 600 dead animals in Punta de Choros, a small fishing town north of La Serena. The bodies of sea lions, cormorants and penguins littered a seven mile stretch of beach in Punta de Choros, northern Chile on Sunday. The crime scene is in close proximity to the Humboldt Penguin Nature Reserve. Two days prior the Movement in Defense of the Environment (MODEMA) reported a band of ten fishing boats off the coastline of Punta de Choros. MODEMA and other environmental groups accused the boats of blast fishing — using explosives to catch mass quantities of fish. Sernapesca, Chile’s National Fishing Service, investigated the scene and determined that all the animals were killed by the same incident. Autopsies report animals with fractured skulls, missing rib cages and multiple abrasions. Local authorities promptly called in the Investigative Police’s (PDI) Environmental Crime Brigade for further investigation. Microbiological and chemical analysis tests are currently being run to determine if blast fishing is the cause of death. In Chile, blast fishing is illegal. Companies caught fishing in this manner face prison time and fines. The monetary amount depends on the damage to the ecosystem. However, causing the death of penguins during commercial activities is a jailable offense. Officials from Sernapesca told The Santiago Times that the combined offenses amount to a “serious crime.” “This situation is quite complicated because of the crime scene’s location near the penguin reserve,” Cristián Felmer, an environmental expert, stated to the press. “This is one of the most important environmental incidents we’ve had in recent memory.” This isn’t the first environmental calamity at Punta de Choros. In April of last year, 350 Guayano cormorants washed up on the beach. The next month, Sernapesca reported the deaths of more than 80 sea lions. In light of the most recent crime, the international marine conservation group Oceana is pushing to have Punta de Choros made a Marine and Coastal Protected Area (AMCP). The proposal would limit human activity along the more than 175-mile coastline to eco-friendly tourism. –Santiago Times
Note: My best friend who has the BRCA1 gene told me in 2008 she was considering breast removal, due to the FEAR she lives with. The medical community instills terror into the minds of women, convincing them they’re powerless over the body’s genetic codes, immune dysfunction and environmental factors that lead to cancer. All are nothing more than negligent, malignant lies aimed at profiting from expensive surgery, testing, medical procedures and medications that lead to an enormous amount of unnecessary pain, suffering and disfiguring scaring these women needlessly endure.
This assault against women is another flagrant and disturbing indication the war against the Divine Feminine rages on within the medical community and society as a whole. Ladies AND gentlemen, it’s time to fight back. BigPharma is publicly showing it’s hand, revealing the industry’s inherent hatred against women, nature and the incredible healing power of the human mind/Spirit/body. Please share this post freely, especially with those who are living in fear of their own body…unaware of Forbidden Cures for cancer discussed in the video below. Mahalo! ~A~}
by Anthony Gucciardi
May 15th, 2013
Actress Angelina Jolie is the latest to surgically remove her breasts and partake in a concerning new trend that encourages healthy women to remove their body parts in order to ‘prevent cancer’.
I’ve talked about this trend in the past, with cancer-free Sharon Osbourne and even a Miss America contender deciding to remove their breasts because they carry a mutation of the BRCA1 gene. In fact, some doctors have gone much farther than just encouraging breast removal for those with ‘at risk’ genes. As I discussed back in 2012, some doctors are now making blanket recommendations to remove your limbs in order to ‘prevent’ cancer.
Paying no mind to nutrition or lifestyle, these doctors (who medical professionals I speak to all believe are truly off their rocker) are advocating self-mutilation in the highest degree and advocating it as something courageous. The simple reality is that we know we can alter our health through nutritional and lifestyle changes that directly impact the development of cancer and our overall immunity.
How Nutrition Impacts Your Genetic Expression
You see, what Jolie’s highly paid doctors failed to tell her is that she could have significantly impacted the expression of her genes through nutritional changes. This has been demonstrated in numerous instances of scientific research, but the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is one of the latest organizations to highlight the effects. It is important, first, however, to understand how inflammation works within the body. Inflammation has not only been linked to many of the world’s leading diseases such as cancer and heart disease, but it is actually thought to be at the heart of virtually all chronic disease.
We can take this information and examine the latest research to discover that nutrition can specifically alter the presence of cancer-linked inflammation through changing the very genes that cause inflammation. Nutrition can expand or lessen inflammation in the body through this process, and it can expand or lessen your risk of developing serious disease throughout the body. When you make the right, high quality food choices, a difference is observed. Eating fruits and vegetables verses processed potato chips and microwaved dinners, for example, will literally affect the genes responsible for causing inflammation within the body in two very different ways.
As we see from the lead researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, this is observed to a very large degree. The lead researcher details how inflammation is affected, which as I mentioned has been linked to all chronic disease. In the report, he states:
“This affects not only the genes that cause inflammation in the body, which was what we originally wanted to study, but also genes associated with development of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, dementia, and type 2 diabetes — all the major lifestyle-related diseases.”
And we find similar things with antioxidants, which are important to annihilate free radicals in the body that are wreaking havoc on your health from the inside. We find that antioxidants perform a very powerful function in fighting disease at the genetic level, which many people simply don’t even realize.
Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center researchers explain the findings of their research on this subject:
“Now we have genetic proof that mitochondrial oxidative stress is important for driving tumor growth,” said lead researcher Michael P. Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D.
In reality this practice is not inspirational to women, it is instead a tactic that goes against the search for knowledge and healthy living. When we have a society and mindset that we should just start chopping off our limbs to prevent cancer instead of taking on maximized nutrition and eliminating environmental concerns, then we know we’re heading in the wrong direction. We know that literally hundreds of studies have linked household cleaners, the plastic chemical BPA (found in everything from water bottles to ink), and other everyday items are causing breast cancer — but Jolie and other major celebrities have not decided to tackle that issue.
Instead, women are sadly being empowered to harm themselves and damage their own bodies instead of identifying these concerns and generate solutions.
May 2, 2013 Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in Patristics from the University of Oxford and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science and “strange stuff.” He is the author of many books in the field of alternative research. In the first hour we begin on the Boston Marathon bombings and what appears to an internal Gladio Operation with a huge geopolitical agenda, which could be spun in a variety of ways. Then, we’ll discuss Putin’s clash with the world government agenda. Later, Joseph talks about hidden conflicts and the creation of a breakaway civilization by the Nazis. He discusses the advanced technology that they took with them at the end of the war and psychological war that they waged for decades on America and NATO. He’ll talk about how our system is based on stolen gold. Farrell explains why he thinks technology has moved into an entirely new ball game. In the second hour, we’ll speak more on the economic events in the Eurozone and we’ll discuss the BRIC nation’s grievances against the financial oligarchs of the west. Joseph talks about the importance of the political center as there is no real party of opposition. He tells why he thinks the internet will be playing a bigger role in the future. The hour ends on the military assessment of the ET threat. Joseph explains why he believes they may be right.
Note: The timing on this sudden grab for gold that coincided with the Boston bombings is quite interesting when you factor in the SwissIndo offer (based on gold) to restore the wealth to the One People of the world, made on behalf of the Indonesia-Javanese Royal family. The offer also came out at the same time in mid-April as the release of the Sirius documentary, which was quickly followed by the Citizens Hearings on Disclosure.
All of it happened in the same time period, when the bombings were subsequently followed by Martial Law in Boston. To a very large degree both events effectively served to overshadow and distract the public and the media, while the foundations of the elites systems of power, wealth and of secrecy began the process of disintegrating.
It just goes to show nothing is ever as it seems in the game of Smoke and Mirrors, in the interview Henrick states it brilliantly when he says “When happening over here, I always look in the other direction to see what’s really happening over there” (paraphrased)…
The elites have long been aware that the eye is distracted by shiny objects, that way they can pick your pocket while you’re looking the other way. Fortunately we’re catching on, for myself the moment I read the headline for the bombings I knew without a doubt it was a false flag…
“It’s as safe as Dawn dishwashing liquid.” That’s what Jamie Griffin says the BP man told her about the smelly, rainbow-streaked gunk coating the floor of the “floating hotel” where Griffin was feeding hundreds of cleanup workers during the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently, the workers were tracking the gunk inside on their boots. Griffin, as chief cook and maid, was trying to clean it. But even boiling water didn’t work.
“The BP representative said, ‘Jamie, just mop it like you’d mop any other dirty floor,’” Griffin recalls in her Louisiana drawl.
It was the opening weeks of what everyone, echoing President Barack Obama, was calling “the worst environmental disaster in American history.” At 9:45 p.m. local time on April 20, 2010, a fiery explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had killed 11 workers and injured 17. One mile underwater, the Macondo well had blown apart, unleashing a gusher of oil into the gulf. At risk were fishing areas that supplied one third of the seafood consumed in the U.S., beaches from Texas to Florida that drew billions of dollars’ worth of tourism to local economies, and Obama’s chances of reelection. Republicans were blaming him for mishandling the disaster, his poll numbers were falling, even his 11-year-old daughter was demanding, “Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?”
Griffin did as she was told: “I tried Pine-Sol, bleach, I even tried Dawn on those floors.” As she scrubbed, the mix of cleanser and gunk occasionally splashed onto her arms and face.
Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. She lost her voice. “My throat felt like I’d swallowed razor blades,” she says.
Then things got much worse.
Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. After cooking professionally for 10 years, she couldn’t remember the recipe for vegetable soup; one morning, she got in the car to go to work, only to discover she hadn’t put on pants. The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”
“These are the same symptoms experienced by soldiers who returned from the Persian Gulf War with Gulf War syndrome,” says Dr. Michael Robichaux, a Louisiana physician and former state senator, who treated Griffin and 113 other patients with similar complaints. As a general practitioner, Robichaux says he had “never seen this grouping of symptoms together: skin problems, neurological impairments, plus pulmonary problems.” Only months later, after Kaye H. Kilburn, a former professor of medicine at the University of Southern California and one of the nation’s leading environmental health experts, came to Louisiana and tested 14 of Robichaux’s patients did the two physicians make the connection with Gulf War syndrome, the malady that afflicted an estimated 250,000 veterans of that war with a mysterious combination of fatigue, skin inflammation, and cognitive problems.
Meanwhile, the well kept hemorrhaging oil. The world watched with bated breath as BP failed in one attempt after another to stop the leak. An agonizing 87 days passed before the well was finally plugged on July 15. By then, 210 million gallons of Louisiana sweet crude had escaped into the Gulf of Mexico, according to government estimates, making the BP disaster the largest accidental oil leak in world history.
In 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winning animator Mark Fiore created this humorous and poignant take on the BP oil spill.
Yet three years later, the BP disaster has been largely forgotten, both overseas and in the U.S. Popular anger has cooled. The media have moved on. Today, only the business press offers serious coverage of what the Financial Times calls “the trial of the century”—the trial now under way in New Orleans, where BP faces tens of billions of dollars in potential penalties for the disaster. As for Obama, the same president who early in the BP crisis blasted the “scandalously close relationship” between oil companies and government regulators two years later ran for reelection boasting about how much new oil and gas development his administration had approved.
Such collective amnesia may seem surprising, but there may be a good explanation for it: BP mounted a cover-up that concealed the full extent of its crimes from public view. This cover-up prevented the media and therefore the public from knowing—and above all, seeing—just how much oil was gushing into the gulf. The disaster appeared much less extensive and destructive than it actually was. BP declined to comment for this article.
That BP lied about the amount of oil it discharged into the gulf is already established. Lying to Congress about that was one of 14 felonies to which BP pleaded guilty last year in a legal settlement with the Justice Department that included a $4.5 billion fine, the largest fine ever levied against a corporation in the U.S.
What has not been revealed until now is how BP hid that massive amount of oil from TV cameras and the price that this “disappearing act” imposed on cleanup workers, coastal residents, and the ecosystem of the gulf. That story can now be told because an anonymous whistleblower has provided evidence that BP was warned in advance about the safety risks of attempting to cover up its leaking oil. Nevertheless, BP proceeded. Furthermore, BP appears to have withheld these safety warnings, as well as protective measures, both from the thousands of workers hired for the cleanup and from the millions of Gulf Coast residents who stood to be affected.
The financial implications are enormous. The trial now under way in New Orleans is wrestling with whether BP was guilty of “negligence” or “gross negligence” for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. If found guilty of “negligence,” BP would be fined, under the Clean Water Act, $1,100 for each barrel of oil that leaked. But if found guilty of “gross negligence”—which a cover-up would seem to imply—BP would be fined $4,300 per barrel, almost four times as much, for a total of $17.5 billion. That large a fine, combined with an additional $34 billion that the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida are seeking, could have a powerful effect on BP’s economic health.
Yet the most astonishing thing about BP’s cover-up? It was carried out in plain sight, right in front of the world’s uncomprehending news media (including, I regret to say, this reporter).
The chief instrument of BP’s cover-up was the same substance that apparently sickened Jamie Griffin and countless other cleanup workers and local residents. Its brand name is Corexit, but most news reports at the time referred to it simply as a “dispersant.” Its function was to attach itself to leaked oil, break it into droplets, and disperse them into the vast reaches of the gulf, thereby keeping the oil from reaching Gulf Coast shorelines. And the Corexit did largely achieve this goal.
But the 1.84 million gallons of Corexit that BP applied during the cleanup also served a public-relations purpose: they made the oil spill all but disappear, at least from TV screens. By late July 2010, the Associated Press and The New York Times were questioning whether the spill had been such a big deal after all. Time went so far as to assert that right-wing talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh “has a point” when he accused journalists and environmentalists of exaggerating the crisis.
But BP had a problem: it had lied about how safe Corexit is, and proof of its dishonesty would eventually fall into the hands of the Government Accountability Project, the premiere whistleblower-protection group in the U.S. The proof? A technical manual BP had received from NALCO, the firm that supplied the Corexit that BP used in the gulf.
An electronic copy of that manual is included in a new report GAP has issued, “Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf.” On the basis of interviews with dozens of cleanup workers, scientists, and Gulf Coast residents, GAP concludes that the health impacts endured by Griffin were visited upon many other locals as well. What’s more, the combination of Corexit and crude oil also caused terrible damage to gulf wildlife and ecosystems, including an unprecedented number of seafood mutations; declines of up to 80 percent in seafood catch; and massive die-offs of the microscopic life-forms at the base of the marine food chain. GAP warns that BP and the U.S. government nevertheless appear poised to repeat the exercise after the next major oil spill: “As a result of Corexit’s perceived success, Corexit … has become the dispersant of choice in the U.S. to ‘clean up’ oil spills.”
BP’s cover-up was not planned in advance but devised in the heat of the moment as the oil giant scrambled to limit the PR and other damages of the disaster. Indeed, one of the chief scandals of the disaster is just how unprepared both BP and federal and state authorities were for an oil leak of this magnitude. U.S. law required that a response plan be in place before drilling began, but the plan was embarrassingly flawed.
“We weren’t managing for actual risk; we were checking a box,” says Mark Davis, director of the Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy at Tulane University. “That’s how we ended up with a response plan that included provisions for dealing with the impacts to walruses: because [BP] copied word for word the response plans that had been developed after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill [in Alaska, in 1989] instead of a plan tailored to the conditions in the gulf.”
As days turned into weeks and it became obvious that no one knew how to plug the gushing well, BP began insisting that Corexit be used to disperse the leaking oil. This triggered alarms from scientists and from a leading environmental NGO in Louisiana, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN).
The group’s scientific adviser, Wilma Subra, a chemist whose work on environmental pollution had won her a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, told state and federal authorities that she was especially concerned about how dangerous the mixture of crude and Corexit was: “The short-term health symptoms include acute respiratory problems, skin rashes, cardiovascular impacts, gastrointestinal impacts, and short-term loss of memory,” she told GAP investigators. “Long-term impacts include cancer, decreased lung function, liver damage, and kidney damage.”
(Nineteen months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, a scientific study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution found that crude oil becomes 52 times more toxic when combined with Corexit.)
BP even rebuffed a direct request from the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, who wrote BP a letter on May 19, asking the company to deploy a less toxic dispersant in the cleanup. Jackson could only ask BP to do this; she could not legally require it. Why? Because use of Corexit had been authorized years before under the federal Oil Pollution Act.
In a recent interview, Jackson explains that she and other officials “had to determine, with less-than-perfect scientific testing and data, whether use of dispersants would, despite potential side effects, improve the overall situation in the gulf and coastal ecosystems. The tradeoff, as I have said many times, was potential damage in the deep water versus the potential for larger amounts of undispersed oil in the ecologically rich coastal shallows and estuaries.” She adds that the presidential commission that later studied the BP oil disaster did not fault the decision to use dispersants.
Knowing that EPA lacked the authority to stop it, BP wrote back to Jackson on May 20, declaring that Corexit was safe. What’s more, BP wrote, there was a ready supply of Corexit, which was not the case with alternative dispersants. (A NALCO plant was located just 30 miles west of New Orleans.)
But Corexit was decidedly not safe without taking proper precautions, as the manual BP got from NALCO spelled out in black and white. The “Vessel Captains Hazard Communication” resource manual, which GAP shared with me, looks innocuous enough. A three-ring binder with a black plastic cover, the manual contained 61 sheets, each wrapped in plastic, that detailed the scientific properties of the two types of Corexit that BP was buying, as well as their health hazards and recommended measures against those hazards.
BP applied two types of Corexit in the gulf. The first, Corexit 9527, was considerably more toxic. According to the NALCO manual, Corexit 9527 is an “eye and skin irritant. Repeated or excessive exposure … may cause injury to red blood cells (hemolysis), kidney or the liver.” The manual adds: “Excessive exposure may cause central nervous system effects, nausea, vomiting, anesthetic or narcotic effects.” It advises, “Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing,” and “Wear suitable protective clothing.”
When available supplies of Corexit 9527 were exhausted early in the cleanup, BP switched to the second type of dispersant, Corexit 9500. In its recommendations for dealing with Corexit 9500, the NALCO manual advised, “Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing,” “Avoid breathing vapor,” and “Wear suitable protective clothing.”
It’s standard procedure—and required by U.S. law—for companies to distribute this kind of information to any work site where hazardous materials are present so workers can know about the dangers they face and how to protect themselves. But interviews with numerous cleanup workers suggest that this legally required precaution was rarely if ever followed during the BP cleanup. Instead, it appears that BP told NALCO to stop including the manuals with the Corexit that NALCO was delivering to cleanup work sites.
“It’s my understanding that some manuals were sent out with the shipments of Corexit in the beginning [of the cleanup],” the anonymous source tells me. “Then, BP told NALCO to stop sending them. So NALCO was left with a roomful of unused binders.”
Roman Blahoski, NALCO’s director of global communications, says: “NALCO responded to requests for its pre-approved dispersants from those charged with protecting the gulf and mitigating the environmental, health, and economic impact of this event. NALCO was never involved in decisions relating to the use, volume, and application of its dispersant.”
Misrepresenting the safety of Corexit went hand in hand with BP’s previously noted lie about how much oil was leaking from the Macondo well. As reported by John Rudolf in The Huffington Post, internal BP emails show that BP privately estimated that “the runaway well could be leaking from 62,000 barrels a day to 146,000 barrels a day.” Meanwhile, BP officials were telling the government and the media that only 5,000 barrels a day were leaking.
In short, applying Corexit enabled BP to mask the fact that a much larger amount of oil was actually leaking into the gulf. “Like any good magician, the oil industry has learned that if you can’t see something that was there, it must have ‘disappeared,’” Scott Porter, a scientist and deep-sea diver who consults for oil companies and oystermen, says in the GAP report. “Oil companies have also learned that, in the public mind, ‘out of sight equals out of mind.’ Therefore, they have chosen crude oil dispersants as the primary tool for handling large marine oil spills.”
BP also had a more direct financial interest in using Corexit, argues Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, whose members include not only shrimpers but fishermen of all sorts. As it happens, local fishermen constituted a significant portion of BP’s cleanup force (which numbered as many as 47,000 workers at the height of the cleanup). Because the spill caused the closure of their fishing grounds, BP and state and federal authorities established the Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) program, in which BP paid fishermen to take their boats out and skim, burn, and otherwise get rid of leaked oil. Applying dispersants, Guidry points out, reduced the total volume of oil that could be traced back to BP.
“The next phase of this trial [against BP] is going to turn on how much oil was leaked,” Guidry tells me. [If found guilty, BP will be fined a certain amount for each barrel of oil judged to have leaked.] “So hiding the oil with Corexit worked not only to hide the size of the spill but also to lower the amount of oil that BP may get charged for releasing.”
Not only did BP fail to inform workers of the potential hazards of Corexit and to provide them with safety training and protective gear, according to interviews with dozens of cleanup workers, the company also allegedly threatened to fire workers who complained about the lack of respirators and protective clothing.
“I worked with probably a couple hundred different fishermen on the [cleanup],” Acy Cooper, Guidry’s second in command, tells me in Venice, the coastal town from which many VoO vessels departed. “Not one of them got any safety information or training concerning the toxic materials they encountered.” Cooper says that BP did provide workers with body suits and gloves designed for handling hazardous materials. “But when I’d talk with [the BP representative] about getting my guys respirators and air monitors, I’d never get any response.”
Roughly 58 percent of the 1.84 million gallons of Corexit used in the cleanup was sprayed onto the gulf from C-130 airplanes. The spray sometimes ended up hitting cleanup workers in the face.
“Our boat was sprayed four times,” says Jorey Danos, a 32-year-old father of three who suffered racking coughing fits, severe fatigue, and memory loss after working on the BP cleanup. “I could see the stuff coming out of the plane—like a shower of mist, a smoky color. I could see [it] coming at me, but there was nothing I could do.”
“The next day,” Danos continues, “when the BP rep came around on his speed boat, I asked, ‘Hey, what’s the deal with that stuff that was coming out of those planes yesterday?’ He told me, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ I said, ‘Man, that s–t was burning my face—it ain’t right.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ I said, ‘Well, could we get some respirators or something, because that s–t is bad.’ He said, ‘No, that wouldn’t look good to the media. You got two choices: you can either be relieved of your duties or you can deal with it.’”
Perhaps the single most hazardous chemical compound found in Corexit 9527 is 2-Butoxyethanol, a substance that had been linked to cancers and other health impacts among cleanup workers on the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska. According to BP’s own data, 20 percent of offshore workers in the gulf had levels of 2-Butoxyethanol two times higher than the level certified as safe by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Cleanup workers were not the only victims; coastal residents also suffered. “My 2-year-old grandson and I would play out in the yard,” says Shirley Tillman of the Mississippi coastal town Pass Christian. “You could smell oil and stuff in the air, but on the news they were saying it’s fine, don’t worry. Well, by October, he was one sick little fellow. All of a sudden, this very active little 2-year-old was constantly sick. He was having headaches, upper respiratory infections, earaches. The night of his birthday party, his parents had to rush him to the emergency room. He went to nine different doctors, but they treated just the symptoms; they’re not toxicologists.”
“It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” Ever since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, that’s been the mantra. Cover-ups don’t work, goes the argument. They only dig a deeper hole, because the truth eventually comes out.
But does it?
GAP investigators were hopeful that obtaining the NALCO manual might persuade BP to meet with them, and it did. On July 10, 2012, BP hosted a private meeting at its Houston offices. Presiding over the meeting, which is described here publicly for the first time, was BP’s public ombudsman, Stanley Sporkin, joining by telephone from Washington. Ironically, Sporkin had made his professional reputation during the Watergate scandal. As a lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sporkin investigated illegal corporate payments to the slush fund that President Nixon used to buy the silence of the Watergate burglars.
Also attending the meeting were two senior BP attorneys; BP Vice President Luke Keller; other BP officials; Thomas Devine, GAP’s senior attorney on the BP case; Shanna Devine, GAP’s investigator on the case; Dr. Michael Robichaux; Dr. Wilma Subra; and Marylee Orr, the executive director of LEAN. The following account is based on my interviews with Thomas Devine, Robichaux, Subra, and Orr. BP declined to comment.
BP officials had previously confirmed the authenticity of the NALCO manual, says Thomas Devine, but now they refused to discuss it, even though this had been one of the stated purposes for the meeting. Nor would BP address the allegation, made by the whistleblower who had given the manual to GAP, that BP had ordered the manual withheld from cleanup work sites, perhaps to maintain the fiction that Corexit was safe.
“They opened the meeting with this upbeat presentation about how seriously they took their responsibilities for the spill and all the wonderful things they were doing to make things right,” says Devine. “When it was my turn to speak, I said that the manual our whistleblower had provided contradicted what they just said. I asked whether they had ordered the manual withdrawn from work sites. Their attorneys said that was a matter they would not discuss because of the pending litigation on the spill.” [Disclosure: Thomas Devine is a friend of this reporter.]
The visitors’ top priority was to get BP to agree not to use Corexit in the future. Keller said that Corexit was still authorized for use by the U.S. government and BP would indeed feel free to use it against any future oil spills.
A second priority was to get BP to provide medical treatment for Jamie Griffin and the many other apparent victims of Corexit-and-crude poisoning. This request too was refused by BP.
Robichaux doubts his patients will receive proper compensation from the $7.8 billion settlement BP reached in 2012 with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, 19 court-appointed attorneys who represent the hundreds of individuals and entities that have sued BP for damages related to the gulf disaster. “Nine of the most common symptoms of my patients do not appear on the list of illnesses that settlement says can be compensated, including memory loss, fatigue, and joint and muscular pain,” says Robichaux. “So how are the attorneys going to file suits on behalf of those victims?”
At one level, BP’s cover-up of the gulf oil disaster speaks to the enormous power that giant corporations exercise in modern society, and how unable, or unwilling, governments are to limit that power. To be sure, BP has not entirely escaped censure for its actions; depending on the outcome of the trial now under way in New Orleans, the company could end up paying tens of billions of dollars in fines and damages over and above the $4.5 billion imposed by the Justice Department in the settlement last year. But BP’s reputation appears to have survived: its market value as this article went to press was a tidy $132 billion, and few, if any, BP officials appear likely to face any legal repercussions. “If I would have killed 11 people, I’d be hanging from a noose,” says Jorey Danos. “Not BP. It’s the golden rule: the man with the gold makes the rules.”
As unchastened as anyone at BP is Bob Dudley, the American who was catapulted into the CEO job a few weeks into the gulf disaster to replace Tony Hayward, whose propensity for imprudent comments—“I want my life back,” the multimillionaire had pouted while thousands of gulf workers and residents were suffering—had made him a globally derided figure. Dudley told the annual BP shareholders meeting in London last week that Corexit “is effectively … dishwashing soap,” no more toxic than that, as all scientific studies supposedly showed. What’s more, Dudley added, he himself had grown up in Mississippi and knows that the Gulf of Mexico is “an ecosystem that is used to oil.”
Nor has the BP oil disaster triggered the kind of changes in law and public priorities one might have expected. “Not much has actually changed,” says Mark Davis of Tulane. “It reflects just how wedded our country is to keeping the Gulf of Mexico producing oil and bringing it to our shores as cheaply as possible. Going forward, no one should assume that just because something really bad happened we’re going to manage oil and gas production with greater sensitivity and wisdom. That will only happen if people get involved and compel both the industry and the government to be more diligent.”
And so the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history has been whitewashed—its true dimensions obscured, its victims forgotten, its lessons ignored. Who says cover-ups never work?
Mark Hertsgaard is a fellow at the New American Foundation and the author, most recently, of HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. This article was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.
Three years ago, when BP’s Deepwater Horizon began leaking some 210 million gallons of Louisiana Crude into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. government allowed the company to apply chemical “dispersants” to the blossoming oil slick to prevent toxic gunk from reaching the fragile bays, beaches, and mangroves of the coast, where so much marine life originates. But a number of recent studies show that BP and the feds may have made a huge mistake, for which everything from microscopic organisms to bottlenose dolphins are now paying the highest price.
After the spill, BP secured about a third of the world’s supply of dispersants, namely Corexit 9500 and 9527, according to The New York Times. Of the two, 9527 is more toxic. Corexit dispersants emulsify oil into tiny beads, causing them to sink toward the bottom. Wave action and wind turbulence degrade the oil further, and evaporation concentrates the toxins in the oil-Corexit mixture, including dangerous compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), known to cause cancer and developmental disorders.
When BP began spraying the Gulf, critics cried foul. They said Corexit is not only toxic to marine life on its own, but when combined with crude oil, the mixture becomes several times more toxic than oil or dispersant alone.
Not surprisingly, BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley defended use of the dispersant. “The toxicity of Corexit is about the same as dish soap, which is effectively what it is and how it works,” he told stockholders. “In hindsight no one believes that that was the wrong thing and it would have been much worse without the use of it. I do not believe anybody—anybody with almost common sense—would say waves of black oil washing into the marshes and beaches would have been a better thing, under any circumstances.”
But many scientists, such as Dr. William Sawyer, a Louisiana toxicologist, argue that Corexit can be deadly to people and sea creatures alike. “Corexit components are also known as deodorized kerosene,” Sawyer said in a written statement for the Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group, a legal consortium representing environmental groups and individuals affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill. “With respect to marine toxicity and potential human health risks, studies of kerosene exposures strongly indicate potential health risks to volunteers, workers, sea turtles, dolphins, breathing reptiles and all species which need to surface for air exchanges, as well as birds and all other mammals.” When Corexit mixes with and breaks down crude, it makes the oil far more “bioavailable” to plants and animals, critics allege, because it is more easily absorbed in its emulsified state.
Sawyer tested edible fish and shellfish from the Gulf for absorption of petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC), believed to have been facilitated by Corexit. Tissue samples taken prior to the accident had no measurable PHC. But after the oil spill, Sawyer found tissue concentrations up to 10,000 parts per million, or 1 percent of the total. The study, he said, “shows that the absorption [of the oil] was enhanced by the Corexit.”
In April 2012, Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences was finding lesions and grotesque deformities in sea life—including millions of shrimp with no eyes and crabs without eyes or claws—possibly linked to oil and dispersants.
The shocking story was ignored by major U.S. media, but covered in depth by Al Jazeera. BP said such deformities were “common” in aquatic life in the Gulf and caused by bacteria or parasites. But further studies point back to the spill.
A just-released study from the University of South Florida found that underwater plumes of BP oil, dispersed by Corexit, had produced a “massive die-off” of foraminifera, microscopic organisms at the base of the food chain. Other studies show that, as a result of oil and dispersants, plankton have either been killed or have absorbed PAHs before being consumed by other sea creatures.
Hydrocarbon-laden, mutated seafood is not the only legacy left behind by Corexit, many scientists, physicians, environmentalists, fishermen, and Gulf Coast residents contend. Earlier this week, TakePart wrote about Steve Kolian, a researcher and founder of the nonprofit group EcoRigs, whose volunteer scientists and divers seek to preserve offshore oil and gas platforms after production stops, for use as artificial reefs and for alternative energy production.
EcoRigs divers took water and marine life samples at several locations in the months following the blowout. Now, they and countless other Gulf residents are sick, with symptoms resembling something from a sci-fi horror film, including bleeding from the nose, ears, breasts, and even anus. Others complain of cognitive damage, including what one man calls getting “stuck stupid,” when he temporarily cannot move or speak, but can still hear.
“If we are getting sick, then you know the marine life out in the Gulf is too,” Kolian said. The diver and researcher completed an affidavit on human and marine health used in GAP’s report.
Kolian’s team has done studies of their own to alarming results. “We recently submitted a paper showing levels of hydrocarbons in seafood were up to 3,000 times higher than safety thresholds for human consumption,” he said. “Concentrations in biota [i.e. all marine life] samples were even greater.”
Kolian’s friend and colleague, Scott Porter, described in his affidavit to GAP how Corexit had caused dispersed crude to coat the bottom of the sea in a sickening, deadly film. In July 2011, he and other divers traveled to a part of the Florida Panhandle, known as the Emerald Coast for its pristine seawater, to collect samples for the Surfrider Foundation.
“When we went diving, however, the water had a brownish white haze that resembled what we saw in offshore Louisiana at 30 feet below sea level,” Porter’s affidavit stated. “I have never witnessed anything like that since I began diving in the Emerald Coast 20 years ago. We witnessed…a reddish brown substance on the seafloor that resembled tar and spanned a much larger area than is typical of natural runoff.”
In areas covered with the substance, “we noticed much less sea life,” Porter continued. “There were hardly any sand dollars or crabs and only some fish, whereas we would normally see an abundance of organisms. It was desolate.”