Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today on As the Oil Swirls: Is it Raining Oil in Louisiana? And Drill Companies Dodge Liability

Is it raining oil in Louisiana? Worse, is it raining oil with Corexit in Louisiana? I don't know. As I start this post, I'm collecting some rain in Louisiana in a container outside where it's pouring. My location is about 34 miles from Bay St. Louis, Miss. and technically closer to the Gulf of Mexico than River Ridge, La., where a video producer says it's raining oil. So, I'm about halfway between River Ridge and the Bay St. Louis Bridge, another spot where the producer says he's seen oil.

The container collecting rain filled up pretty quickly before I finished this post, and I didn't smell anything nor did I see the tell-tale rainbow that usually shows up in oily water when light hits it. I also shot video of some puddles. No rainbows there either. The rainwater I collected was clear. Nevertheless, the only real way to tell is to have a chemist test it. Maybe someone with the money to hire a chemist will do that, someone objective with no ties to the oil industry, the Federal Government, or the environmentalist movement.

My instinct says the reported oil could be from any number of sources, including leaky cars and trucks. I've seen rain puddles that glisten rainbows in New Jersey next to Watchung Reservation, and so rainbows in water puddles may mean nothing in terms of the BP oil spill.

I became curious about this topic because someone posted the story about oily rain on Facebook. A video circulating the Web shows what appears to be oil on the rain-soaked streets of River Ridge, La., and it's popped up on a site called PrisonPlanet, which is indeed an odd site, as the person on Facebook points out. The site article has another video with someone saying via cell phone it's raining oil in Texas too.

The guy on the cell phone in that second video, however, is an idiot since he's also spreading the misinformation that President Obama has strong finanical ties to BP, and that simply is not true.

Can Oil Evaporate?

That conversation on Facebook turned into a challenge of whether oil could evaporate. Someone said it could not, and so, there could be no oily rain. Another person said but hydrocarbons can evaporate and we should be concerned also about the Corexit dispersant, which has made oil spill workers ill, showing up in our rain cycle too. O.K. Scarier!

Then someone else came along and said, oil can indeed evaporate under specific circumstances and provided these two links:Yesterday, June 23, Fast Company ran this story too early perhaps with the headline "Raining Oil in Louisiana? Not Likely," and said oil doesn't evaporate, and then later had to update acknowledging oil can evaporate, and so it's possible oil could enter the rain cycle. However, I agree with the writer at Bayou Buzz that we have enough problems down here from this oil spill, and so, we must be careful about creating hysteria. And there is hysteria to be had. Gena Haskett at BlogHer has a round-up of people fearing an apocalypse, in this case "the oilpocalypse," the doomers.

Another YouTube user charges the video was produced by someone he believes is a publicity hound, a man called Casey Nunez, who the user says is an unemployed actor. I don't know if that's true, but it could be. The speaker says, "It's raining oil, right here in River Ridge," which reminded me of the "Trouble in River City" line/song from The Music Man. A theater-addict would be familiar with that, but it could also be that people in River Ridge have adopted the saying because the word "river" is in the town name. Anyway, I don't think this video should be dismissed because people have a personal issue with its producer. The best way to quell hysteria is for someone to investigate and tell the truth.

Here's a video showing the narrator of the first video and it does appear to be Casey Nunez. I'm not sure why so many people on YouTube hate this guy, but it seems a lot do. What has he said in the past to rile people?

In other news from As the Oil Swirls, yesterday the cap on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil leak failed, scaring the bejezus out of folks, and that resulted in Fox 8 asking, "What happens if we can't ever plug the leak?" By evening the cap had been replaced.

Also, the Washington Post reports:
As BP opens its checkbook to pay damages related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it is beginning to do battle over a high-stakes question: Who else bears liability?

Some of the companies involved in the drilling operation are laying the groundwork to argue: not us.
At, the local paper, Paul Rioux has written a good article on BP's PR machine and blogging.

Sen. Mary Landrieu will hold meetings on Friday to answer questions about filing claims for oil spill damage and loss. And the AP has a story about shoddy disposal work making matters worse. The New Orleans Ladder has a longer round-up.


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Girl, if that's your house, I hope your get your gutters fixed soon! Anyhoo, that was a great idea filming a counter video to that fake raining oil one. I wish you could have seen the one Nunez had up where he boasting of making a bunch of money, I think by scamming people, and how he hated Obama, but he removed it since yesterday.

That link about shoddy disposal of the oil waste was interesting; I was wondering where the heck do you put that much tar and sand and boom. Seems like they'd need a small Grand Canyon to fill it. Sad.

I really hope you'll be okay in New Orleans...

Vérité Parlant said...

Those are indeed my gutters. I'm in the process of getting quotes for that and a new driveway, but in less than two months I'll be moving back to the Seventh Ward. Either way, I'm not too far from a large body of water and concern about the oil and clean-up dispersant. Thank you, Kit.