Responding to reports that BP was restricting media access to public beaches and other areas affected by the Gulf oil spill, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said in a statement on June 9th: "BP has not and will not prevent anyone working in the the cleanup operations from sharing his or her own experiences and opinions." Two days later, a New Orleans-based TV News reporter tried to interview some clean-up workers on a public beach. Watch the infuriating video:
At today's congressional hearings with oil executives, Rep. Anthony Weiner cited that video as just one example of many incidents of BP's stupid attempts to censor the catastrophe. "I don't understand on any level why you guys should be in charge of anything," said Weiner. "Why should there be any decision-making ability on your part at all here? And that's one thing my Republican friends, who want to criticize the administration for not doing enough, maybe we agree. Maybe we do need to have BP involved in a heckuva lot less. Anything to do with our environment, anything to do with our citizens, going forward."
Yesterday, the congressional committee released documents revealing that days before the rig explosion, BP engineer Brian Morel referred to it as a "nightmare rig." And today Rep. Edward J. Markey excoriated big oil executives for relying on essentially identical—and demonstrably inadequate—spill response plans. "The plans cite identical response capabilities and tout identical ineffective equipment," said Markey. "In some cases, they use the exact same words. Three other companies include references to protecting walruses, which have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for three million years. Two other plans are such dead ringers for BP’s that they list a phone number for the same long-dead expert."
And in another galling article published today, the Times reports that BP's contigency plans "do consider an uncontrolled blowout, one that releases 240,000 barrels a day into the gulf for at least 100 days — far worse than the current spill. In the event of such an enormous spill, according to these plans, 'no significant adverse impacts are expected' to beaches, wetlands or coast-dwelling birds." The plan was "fully approved" by the Minerals Management Service. Today BP stopped collecting oil from the blown-out well because the ship was struck by lightning and caught on fire.
Tonight at 8 p.m. EST, President Obama will deliver his first Oval Office address to the nation on the topic of the Gulf oil spill. (You can also watch it live on the White House YouTube channel.) Starting 5 minutes after the remarks, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will answer your questions. Starting now, you can submit questions about the disaster via Google Moderator, and vote the best ones to the top. "Dick from Povertyland" already wants to know if the spill "can cause martial law and fema evacuations."