US

Cleanup workers on Gulf Coast doubt oil ‘disappeared’

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

BP announced that 74 percent of the oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon rig’s Macondo well has been evaporated, skimmed, burned or dispersed, something that the Gulf Coast’s cleanup workers find hard to believe.

BP and the Unified Command Center’s cleanup staff said that they have searched “pretty extensively” for the oil, but haven’t been able to find it.

James Martin, a former recruiter and cleanup trainer for a subcontractor of a company BP hired to clean up oil off the beaches and out of the water in the Gulf of Mexico, said BP is laying off workers and sending them home in huge rounds.

“The day I was fired, there were about 250 people let go,” Martin said.

The biggest problem Martin faced while working for that subcontractor was that he never received any of his per diem pay, or cost-of-living expenses at a set rate per day. About a week after he was laid off, another subcontractor hired Martin into a similar role, so he’s now back on a cleanup crew.

“Any of us workers know that 75 percent of the oil is still there, not that 75 percent of it is gone,” Martin said.

Louisiana coastal advocate and facilitator Jimmy Delery, on the other hand, said several scientists have confirmed and even predicted that about 40 percent of the oil from the spill would evaporate into methane gas when it rose to the surface.

In a release, BP said, of that 74 percent, only 33 percent was actually removed or recovered by Unified Command Center workers. BP said 16 percent of the “missing oil” went into microscopic droplets and 25 percent of it naturally evaporated or dissolved.

The remaining 26 percent, BP said, is on or just beneath the surface of the sand or water.

BP’s announcement came on the heels of a Department of Interior and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study of where the oil ended up.

U.S. undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said in the BP release that the new information doesn’t mean the cleanup effort should be viewed as over.

“Less oil on the surface does not mean that there isn’t oil still in the water column or that our beaches and marshes aren’t still at risk,” Lubchenco said.

As for what’s next in the Gulf cleanup effort, Delery said locals and volunteers should practice diligence.

“We need to be prepared for what comes up when it comes up,” he said. “There are going to be pockets [of oil] that are going to show up that we didn’t see before.”

Delery said cleanup crews have to be ready to go for whenever a small plume is reported, keeping skimmers and other necessary cleanup equipment available. A lot of the time, he said, something as simple as cloudy or sunny weather can determine whether or not crews can see plumes.

Through a Unified Command Center spokesperson, BP said it plans to follow a strategy similar to the one Delery recommended: deploying ready-to-respond teams.

BP DISTRUST HIGH WITH GULF RESIDENTS

  • maladroit

    Yep, I was laid-off from my beach clean-up job by my company 2 weeks ago and they are screwing w/me over my days/hours and per diem. I fully-expected it because of what was happening to other guys who were laid-off prior to me.

    Wednesday, BP sent ALL per diem eligible workers home with no notice. Friends of mine and mu supervisors are all unemployed.

    But go dig 4-inches down on ANY Pensacola Beach, Ft. Pickens or even points eastward and you’ll find so much “Texas Tea” you’d think you were Jed Clampet!

    • maladroit

      BTW, we were ORDERED not to dig into the sand.

      You decide why.

  • Dafney

    The public doesn’t believe the oil “disappeared” either. And the 4 millions gallons of Corexit certainly didn’t.

    Matt Simmons, who harshly criticized BP operations on numerous Youtubes, was “drowned” in his own pool Sunday night. The article below mentions a connection to Bush Sr., who has been known to rid himself of liabilities via his directing the Langley assassination teams. A description of the book “Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty” can be found at Amazon.com

    ARTICLE
    “Matthew Simmons: Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Ocean Energy Institute & Former Chairman Emeritus of Simmons & Company International – Matt was past Chairman of the National Ocean Industries Association, and served as energy adviser to President George W. Bush, among others. Simmons is author of the book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, which examines oil reserve decline rates to help raise awareness of the unreliability of Middle East oil reserves. Simmons is one of the top minds in the world when it comes to energy. His work has been followed internationally for over 35 years and Matt’s company Simmons & Company International has served as co-manager on over $38 billion in public debt and equity offerings. Simmons & Company has also acted as financial advisor in $140 billion of transactions, including 550 merger and acquisitions worth over $97 billion.

    http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Broadcast/Entries/2010/7/17_Matt_Simmons.html

  • ohthehugemanatee

    They must not have gotten the memo that BO has swooped in and sucked up the oil with a straw.