“There is no oil in Mississippi,” Governor Hailey Barbour said, speaking from Gulfport on the news June 7th, 2010. On June 8th, we went out in a boat, cruising from Gulfport about 20 miles out to sea, and you know what? The Governor was wrong.
I know there is oil in Mississippi. I know it for certain. I know it because I smeared some on my face, accidentally. That wasn’t covered in the class, but I’m sure I’ll be OK. (UPDATE: I was not ok. Severe chemical poisoning because of airborne Corexit exposure caused me to evacuate from the Gulf Coast and leave my new house behind, soon after this was written. For good.)
Don’t ever scratch your nose when you’re handling oily hairboom and you’ve taken off your mask so you can talk to the camera without sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. That shit stings. Saltwater doesn’t help, either.
Everybody knows Barbour is stumping for the fatcats, apparently, so bless him when the people turn on him. Still, he’s good at casual lying — not many people know there IS oil in Mississippi. Why? Because BP “Corexed” it.
The majority of the oil in Mississippi lurked offshore, 20 miles away or so, just barely under the water, which was dotted for miles with thick, sticky blobs of chocolate-cake-mix-looking crude.
(all photos by Craig Morse / Culture Subculture)
The water itself shone with an eerie gasoline sheen, for as far as the eye could see — and underneath, the usually-green Gulf water opaqued to blackish.
When we came upon The Blob, it was sinking. Who knows how long it was, how deep it went, or where it lies now, two days later — either hovering there, settling on the ocean floor out past Horn Island, or roiling through the Mississippi coast, flattening out to miniscule molecular pieces which will absorb into Little Johnny’s skin when he and his parents go splashing on the still-white shores of Gulfport.
The Corexit is hellish. WHOOSH, did it hit us all in the face all at once. A thick yellow haze hung in the air, and the smell of 2-stroke exhaust, diesel exhaust, and a sickeningly fruity overtone made us all ill upon inhaling it. According to the haz-mat training course we took last weekend, 2-Butoxyethanol, a main ingredient in Corexit, is colorless with a sweet and fruity odor.
And 2-Butoxyethanol irritates the eyes, skin, nose throat; causes hemolysis and hematuria (blood in urine); depresses the central nervous system, causes vomiting and headaches, and damages the blood, central nervous system, hemato systems, kidneys, liver, lymphoid systems, and the endocrine and reproductive systems of both you and your offspring. Oh, and death. READ THIS.
We were all receiving involuntary spinal adjustments, clinging onto the handrails and bouncing at 30mph over 6-foot roller-waves at the time, so we couldn’t really make it to the storage container in the front of the boat to get the masks out without the Captain having to slow down, and the steering was acting funny and we were in the middle of the ocean. (A fisherman’s life seems stressful, non?)
Also it was too hot to wear masks. Luckily after five more minutes of cruising, we passed through the Corexit cloud, and it merrily continued riding the wind to Little Johnny at the shore, and up into the clouds, where it will then benzene-rain down on all of us.
Five minutes after that, we saw it.
No oil in Mississippi, Haley Barbour? No underwater plumes of oil, BP? No harmful ingredients, Corexit (i.e. BP)? … You are all SO NOT OBI-WAN KENOBI.
I’m an American. I can take a bath in motor oil if I want. It’s part of my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If it makes me happy, filling up a kiddie pool with automatic transmission fluid and wading in the water can be my favorite pastime, as long as I properly dispose of the toxic materials in a legal manner and don’t harm anyone else in the process. I won’t do that, ever, but you know what I will do?
I will NOT accept a corporation telling me (and the American military) what to do or how to do it. I will listen to elected authorities, safety officers, and the government, but I will NOT kowtow to the criminal cleaning the crime scene.
I appreciate the free market as much as anyone else, but mega-corporations can all go jump in a lake. Of fire. Forever, in writing, for the good of this nation and the planet. Preach it, preacher woman:
Someone please tell BP there is no more “accept.” With 40,000-odd barrels of oil gushing daily from the hole they poked in the Earth with no caution, foresight, or backup plan, they can no longer pretend to have it under control. They can’t refuse to “accept” American citizens protecting our marshes and our beaches however we see fit.
(UPDATE: Yes they can.)
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