Friday, June 25, 2010

Evacuate the Entire Gulf?

I'm getting very frustrated trying to not only disseminate fact from fiction during this crisis, but dispel fear mongering perpetuated by supposedly reputed national news sources.

The Huffington Post picked up an idiotic YouTube video claiming it was raining oil in the city;  it spread like wildfire across the country and even went viral, internationally.  Since then, none of the web entities who posted that nonsense have come forward with a story admitting the claim was crap.  The Drudge Report just pulled the story down as if it never existed, without informing their readers it was false.

Now I run across this Washington Post article where Joel Achenbach prints a quote from oil trading financial analyst, Matt Simmons as if he is an authority on emergency procedures:

"We're going to have to evacuate the gulf states," said Matt Simmons, founder of Simmons and Co., an oil investment firm and, since the April 20 blowout, the unflagging source of end-of-the-world predictions. "Can you imagine evacuating 20 million people? . . . This story is 80 times worse than I thought." 

No shit?  And how is that a financial trader who is known for promoting the highly contended notion of "Peak Oil" (basically states the planet's oil needs have now surpassed it's capacity) knows what the emergency preparedness plan is for the entire Gulf Coast?  If the story is "80 times worse" than he thought, I'd like to know who wrote that story for him and informed him of DHS's game plan.  If the WaPo is breaking this news via a financial oil trader, buried seven paragraphs into the story, I'm not only questioning their integrity I'm questioning their business acumen.  If this claim is true, it should be a headline on every news resource on the planet and the WaPo may have just landed the scoop of the century.

To make matters worse the very next paragraph quotes Coast Guard Admiral, and point man for the disaster, Thad Allen, talking about the integrity of the wellhead.  Achenbach just prints the entire Gulf Coast will have to be evacuated in the wake of a tropical event, then instead of confirming that claim with Allen, he shifts the story to the integrity of the wellhead and the efforts on drilling the relief well.

Did he not think to ask Allen, Napolitano, or even the White House if Simmons claims were true or baseless?

Did he consider that Simmons is a financial analyst and may have an agenda in creating heightened hysteria surrounding the spill?

Did he consider the effect printing this claim could have on the people of the Gulf Coast?

Is it too much to ask to have the WaPo confirm or deny the claim?  Can they pick up the phone and call someone with a big official title and ask them if DHS does indeed have plans to evacuate the entire Gulf Coast?

Is there a local reporter out there who want's to bitch slap the WaPo?


Charlotte said...

I followed a tweet link late yesterday to this man's website and concluded he was a hysteria-spewing jerk-off. I am getting a bit freaked about how much bullshit is being published without any kind of scientific back-up and that people are believing and regurgitating it.

Charlotte said...

I take that back - it's a different guy....this is the tweet link I unfortunately followed:

Anonymous said...

Yes! The plan is going according to plan.

Anonymous said...

There is so much we are not being told about the bad effects of this spill on whales, dolphins, fish, marshes, people, and so on, it is frustrating to also see these crazy, over the top stories.

Do you remember Dr. Dolittle and the creature the "push-me-pull-you"?

That's what this is like.

On the "push me" side, I want to know a lot more about how bad this really is.

I want to hear credible figures about how much oil is coming out, I want to know what is going on on the sea bed, I'd like to know about all the fish and animals.

I want to know if and when the oil is going to go into the Gulf Stream, and what that menas for all of us.

What will happen if a lot of the oxygen producing plankton dies?

This is a bad enough situation, and I hate feeling that there is a lot of high priced PR talent working to make sure that the bad news does not come out.

On the "pull you" side, I want these morons with their oil rains and their evacuations of 20 million people to go shit up a tree.

It is an odd feeling, to be simultaneously ready to believe that this is the single worst thing ever to have happened, ever... and also to want people to chill the fuck out.

Tht video of the oil rain guy made me wish that the man from "Mutal of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" would come up behind him with one of those tranquilizer darts they use on bears.

Maybe I just need a cocktail.

Mark Folse said...

Have you seen this?

Kindra's last update on Facebook is that she had sent her children to be with relatives (presumably because of the rashes they broke out in that disappeared when they were not in Venice).

I hate to give credence to the whackos out there grabbing their 15 minutes of marketing on the cable news, but evacuating portions of the coast very close to the oil is a very real possibility.

Jason Brad Berry said...


I understand that it may be necessary to evacuate specific areas due to air quality, but for one of the most highly respected news resources in our country to publish that quote without validating it is quite pathetic.

Simmons is notorious for making outrageous claims, and they quoting him here on a matter in which he has no authority whatsoever...disaster response and emergency preparedness.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Simmons is convinced the well will collapse before they can finish the relief wells and thus nuking it is the Only Option.
From Dr Doolittle to Dr Stranglove.
The BOP is in fact leaning, the cap is Not on tight, the well casing indeed seems to be collapsing as evidenced by the loss of 50,000 barrels of mud into the kill shot: mostly went out the sides below the BOP. Kill shots should normally take no more than 6 hours before you know it has worked.
So the smart people at Oil Drum are convinced that the casing will collapse at the bad concrete joints bringing down the 450 ton BOP and releasing nearly 3 miles of drill-pipe out of an ever growing un-plugable hole.
There are no more kill shots. There is no more "containment" to stop this flow even now, only the relief wells which are like trying to hit a vein with a mile long rotating needle blind in a sandstorm.

We are in for dangerous times, seriously.

Jason Brad Berry said...

sober up. It's serious shit, but the sky isn't falling yet and this is not a time to panic. We have to take this one day at a time...may be for decades...but right now we have to take it a day at a time.

bruthaman1 said...

i also heard that simmons said nuking it is the only way to stop the leak. i don't think they'll ever be able to get this thing under control. i know a guy whose father in-law works as an engineer for halliburton. he claims his father in-law said that they know they can't stop the leak their just trying to buy time (i.e top kill and junk shot).

i wonder what your opinion on this martin feldman MF'er is?

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

This is Kit. I found your site a few days ago and this post and your last one really nails it. The sloppy reporting and misinformation are flying as fast as the speed of the Internet. The blurring of facts from opinions is maddening.

@ Anonymous, your feelings reflect my own so much that I included your comment in my current post.

Just thought I'd come back to let you and Dambala know. I'll visit again.

Anonymous said...

It's all about disaster porn. People love drama because it provides an outlet for their irrationality. It's like the whole "I can smell the oil from uptown!". Bullshit.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Ashe, I'm not saying the sky is falling. I'm saying the Well Is Collapsing.
Now we have a former CEO of Shell saying the same thing as Simmons:
I'm not saying freak out and go nuts. I'm saying learn and pay attention to the National Response Framework which is The Law right now:
That is hard cold fact. You can kid yourself about representative democracy all you want, but that democracy enacted the NRF, which became the Law of the Land the moment the President declared this an Incident of National Significance in May. It was deployed on Galveston Beach after Ike thoroughly and to ruthless efficiency. Not One Dot of that Law has been changed with Obama. It is the same machinery. Please pay particular attention to the Annex Section.

Put everything in hard copy --esp phone numbers.
Establish your networks now, hard networks with alternates.
This will not be like a hurricane evactuation.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Yes. Seriously.

bayoustjohndavid said...

"known for promoting the highly contended notion of "Peak Oil" (basically states the planet's oil needs have now surpassed it's capacity)"

Please, don't go around acting a tea partier because you're mad at the hysterics. Matt Simmons is primarily known for raising doubts about the size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves, but that's related to the highly contended notion of Peak Oil. I don't want to get too nasty, but Peak Oil deniers are every bit as irresponsible as climate change deniers, IMO.

Jason Brad Berry said...

oh give me a fucking break. Peak oil is as scientifically sound as Creationism.

Peak Oil is not even in the same ballpark as the science of climate change.

We know fossil fuels are heating up the planet, that is science.

The notion that we've reached a point where we are consuming more fossil fuels than we can harvest is not science. Sorry bro, but it's not.

I'm not promoting the use of more carbon, I'm just saying that Peak Oil is a fringe theory...and it is.

And more importantly, Simmons is notorious for creating doomsday scenarios in order to shift the market. His agenda is not in our best interest.

Jason Brad Berry said...

you called me a tea partier?

We need to meet mono y mono and lay our shit on the table over a beer or two.

Anonymous said...

Well, friends, he's had the effect he may have been aiming for, though, right?

Dambala, you are one of my heros for your ability to spy things out and to communicate what you learn.

I was sorry to lose access to your insight on the city issues as the end of the Nagin era coincided with the oil hell, but I wholeheartedly agreed with your switch in focus to what was most important.

I'm one of those who thinks you should write about whatever you darn well please, and we're blessed to have you.

But notice, the first eyewitness videos of what was happening out on the water that you were bringing to all of us as this began, have, in the past couple of posts, been replaced by refutations of the crazy man(s)/ArrianaAdam'sApple.

Do what you will, brother, but I'm fine to stop giving those dudes any more attention, even to refute them.

I want to know about fish kills.

Kindra Arneson's explaination of BP's "ponies and balloons" phrase might be worth a post; how they've changed up their public meeting styles, too.

I'm not saying you have to be the guy to write those things, and I don't think you need to stay on any kind of message at all. You write what you feel is right.

But I liked the way you were connecting to the oyster fishermen and the others who go out on the water.

You gave us something precious when you did that.

Just bearing witnesses to the things that need witnessing, and leaving the rest to sort out itself, one day at a time, is where I'm at right now.

Thanks for all that you do, though.

Monica said...

" Anonymous said...

It's all about disaster porn. People love drama because it provides an outlet for their irrationality. It's like the whole "I can smell the oil from uptown!". Bullshit."

And you can smell oil uptown. That is a fact.
Unless your nasal passages have been blown out from a decades worth of blow.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Yeah, there are definitely days when you can smell shit wafting through the city. I won't deny that.

But there are alos days when you can smell Norco's nastiness wafting through the city.

Judy Thorne said...

Professor Eric Smith of the Tulane Energy Institute has this opinion on the article:

"termites are coming out of the woodwork".

Anonymous said...

Pretty good (and funny) article at

6 Objective Reasons The US Army Should Invade BP

Anonymous said...

" And you can smell oil uptown. That is a fact.
Unless your nasal passages have been blown out from a decades worth of blow."
I'm sorry but I still don't smell it and I tried really hard today and I think I just smelled my neighbors fart mixed with the gas sheen on the road surface mixed with whatever is parked at the port. Remember in April when people were saying their eyes were burning? Shouldn't we be vomiting all over ourselves by now?

On a related note, how much will one day of oil smell be worth in the class action? I need to know so I can offer that much to by friend so I can fart in his face.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is that there is no source for credible information. BP has this thing locked down tighter than a drum. Until there is some real data about the actual conditions released from another source other than BP that backs up what they have been saying these wild speculations will continue.