Monday, June 14, 2010

Gulf Oil and Spokane, continued

May 25, 2010

Increasing security from sheriffs, and new appearance of dead animals

By Paul K. Haeder as told by Marc Gauthier

On Sunday, Marc had seen the damage – a dead sea turtle, probably a leatherback; a dead gannet; and a porpoise. He was with another filmmaker-activist from Anacortes Island and a bird biologist from Louisiana State University.

Back out on the ocean, Marc was filing away another day’s worth of filmmaking and developing the next set of strategies to capture the true cost of America’s oil addiction and our corporate-government duopoly of incompetence and environmental injustice.

Marc’s not finding a huge John Muir or Sea Shepherd ethos herewith the common folk, but he is talking with more than just compliant and resigned folk. The husband of that three-child family from earlier in the weekend gave Marc insight into all the grand yammering about building this or that barrier island to sponge up the oil.

“He’s a dredger, and while he wasn’t on camera, he did tell me that you can’t build a barrier island with mud and muck.” That boondoggle of a proposed 7-mile long artificial barrier island is impossible in any short timeframe. Sand has to be shipped and piped in.

The actual material to build the island – vital sand — is over 8 miles away. It takes a regatta of special dredging and hauling vessels. Marc’s sources tell him it would take six months to build a man-made island this size, under any number of ideal situations.

The conditions now have changed: oil is everywhere; and the marshes around places like Elmer Island are being inundated with toxic oil and the more toxic dispersant. “They are now just focusing on the narrow gaps … protecting small sections at a time,” Marc said.

Now the beaches are off limits, as of Sunday, per the Parrish Sheriff’s orders, and the cops are now serious about protecting BP’s image. It’s spin control, when scientists from Florida, all over, really, are saying spin has to stop and science has to begin. Now.

Who’s talking about the noxious-nauseous effects of all that off-gassing? Who’s actually down there recording the lives of people directly affected by the oil nightmare?
Marc Gauthier and scant few others.

People continue telling the guy from Spokane their stories, and the history of the Gulf – their home — and what it was and what it is now becoming: a toxic slurry. The oil’s bad, real bad. Yet Marc’s got an even more bitter taste in his mouth from all the government inaction, the British Petroleum image control, the lies in the media, the national debates (bickering) about who really pays the price of oil spill incompetence.

While people suffer and untold amounts of future pain are now being set up to be released for decades to come, we’re still listening to retrogrades on Fox News who keep saying the thing is just an “oil spill … nothing big … a drop in the bucket … just a small shot to the foot of the ocean.”

We need to thank Marc for not just begging to differ from that Limbaugh-Beck narrative, but for leaving Spokane in the first place, for sticking it out as he enters into his second week on the Gulf. We need to thank him for practicing the trade of documentarian and activist, with no holds barred in the journalistic pugilistic ring. We need to thank him for each and every intersection he has gained with the culture and people down there.

Every day of Marc’s Gulf dispatches becomes our story.

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