American voices are getting louder as the days of the Gulf oil spill mount. Not all of the frustration is with BP however as citizens begin to demand of the their Congress members and the Obama Administration to do more than they have so far. Frustrations have mounted as the Government has restricted use of available equipment, skimmer ships, and military personnel and have allowed BP to direct the cleanup and containment efforts.
As more reports and news come to light each day the frustration grows as citizens realize how very dire the situation really is and how long the problem may continue. While payouts from claims have been coming, they are slow and some requests go without a response.
Over the last two days in Louisiana crews have collected 1,700 pounds of tar balls. Texas has tar balls on their beaches, Alabama has oil smeared animals needing rescue, Mississipi is putting out more oil booms daily, and Florida has public health cautions about swimming in the Gulf waters at some beaches. All Gulf states are now affected by the spill. Tourism has drastically dropped for all Gulf areas, fisherman have no way to make a living, other businesses are failing, and people are scared, depressed and extremely heart broken as the oil damages more of their treasured environment.
News that BP had promised just weeks before the actual spill to the US Federal Government that in the event of a spill they could remove 500,000 barrels of oily water a day has people outraged. In the 79 days of the crisis that would amount to 38.5 million barrels, and BP has only collected slightly over 670,000 barrels. That means BP is already over 37 million barrels short.
Coupled with BP underestimating for weeks the amount of oil leaking into the water, and then overestimating their ability to respond to a spill it is leading to more distrust of anything BP might say to the public.
Meanwhile the public is demanding answers as to why a company that has purposely misled the government is continuing to be allowed to head the cleanup and containment of the largest oil spill in the nation’s history. Members of Obama’s own party are voicing their concerns and have asked for Naval Command to assist the efforts and their requests have gone unanswered.
BP is also trying to limit access of the press to cleanup areas and prohibiting any cleanup workers from making comments, even comments that only refer to their own situation from the spill and not cleanup efforts. Many of the cleanup workers are unemployed fishermen and boat owners that lost their income due to the spill. So in many ways those that have been hurt by the spill have been silenced from talking about how the spill has hurt them or taken away their regular income. If they talk to press they have been threatened of losing their temporary cleanup job.
BP has reportedly ignored requests from the State of Louisiana to provide funds for a mental health program for those affected by the spill. One such program being funded by donations and local charity is counseling fishermen’s families on how to deal with the frustration, rage, and depression of the fishermen. CNN reported contacting BP concerning Louisiana’s two formal requests and their inquiry went unanswered by the oil company.
Many believe the Obama Administration and the Federal Government in general is too cozy with BP. Julia Reed, a Louisiana native and Newsweek Contributing Editor commented in a news interview that the “only thing the Administration has done is make this worse.”
One Louisiana citizen commented that she was not surprised at the lack of full response of BP to the needs of this disaster. She said that BP doesn’t care about the catastrophe or the damage it is causing, that “we are just an inconvenience to BP.”
While stock prices for BP raise as Tony Hayward visits with potential investors in Abu Dahbi and rumors of increased stock holdings by Middle East investors swirl about, US petrol station owners are switching brands due to nation wide boycotts of the BP brand. As of Wednesday midday trading BP shares had a gain of 4.83 per cent and were at 362.20.