Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gulf Oil, Spokane, Confrontation

May 27, 2010

The Ghost of Huey Long Floating Belly Up with Rest of the Sea Gulls
A Fist Full of Dollars for a Few More Million Acres of Ocean Covered in Oil

Paul K. Haeder as told by Marc Gauthier

"God, don’t let me die, I have so much left to do.” Last words of The Kingfish (Long), age 42, while he bled on the floor of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge after being assassinated.

Marc’s thinking the 100-degree in the shade midday climes, 90 percent humidity and haphazard infrastructure of the Louisiana coast are a charm compared to puppetry of the British Petroleum hack and talking-out-the-side-of-their-mouths Coast Guard and EPA officials covering their butts at the town hall meeting.

Three hundred people pack the Oilers high school gymnasium in Venice to get a chance to confront the culprits in this Gulf Coast mess. Everyone from the Environmental Protection Agency representative to the lone PR specialist are leaving a sour taste in all these people’s mouths.

“Can you believe that? They send out one guy. That’s all BP can muster,” Marc said.

Marc Gauthier is winding down his filmmaking foray into the South Saturday, ready for some instant air-conditioned Spokane weather and real intense editing and post-production work. His goal is to bust open British Petroleum and to follow through on both a personal and collective pledge:
“BP should never profit from that busted-open well, not one penny … all profits go to the people of the Gulf Coast.”

That’s what the sport fishing captain said, and the people at the food mart where local food and produce are sold.

The EPA was mealy-mouthed, even Wednesday, giving these straight-shooting Louisiana folk a line of bull.

“Explain this. Your boss in Washington demanded you stop using dispersant,” Capt. Mike Ferret told the BP flack, Larry Thomas, EPA’s Greg Herald, and the Coast Guard’s Ed Stanton. “Since when did it happen in this country that a corporation can dictate to the government what it can and can’t do?”

The toxic dispersant is still being applied by the tens of thousands of gallons. It was clear to Marc after filming the three-hour event that BP is hobbled by top-down inefficiency.

“I really see how screwed we are with how detached these people are. One city councilman in a Florida city just walked out of the meeting when the female head of BP’s public relations team couldn’t answer the council’s first four questions.”

Plaquemine’s Parish president Bill Nungeffer was steaming mad at the Venice high school meeting, demanding how it was that the EPA had stalled day after day on permitting able-bodied men and women from starting the process of constructing artificial barrier islands. “If they [EPA honchos] don’t act now, we’re going to build them regardless.”

All the yammering about the full force of the U.S. military helping in this mess, especially by President Obama, is sticking in their craws since there aren’t any mobilized companies, brigades or even platoons of military or National Guard units doing a thing.

Others at this charade of a town hall meeting were confrontational, wondering how BP could profess it’ committed to providing $5,000 a month to Louisianans when the citizens have no criteria and no paperwork to fill out.

“Look, we are a proud people and don’t expect any handouts,” one attendee told the BP flak. “We just want to go back to work. We need to know your plan, not promises, so our families don’t need to worry about getting next month’s rent.”

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