By Deborah Dupre | Examiner
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request report released Wednesday included a trove of photographs of garbage bag upon garbage bag of dead Gulf sea animals that the White House ordered workers retrieving the corpses to keep secret from the public.
Government veil of secrecy about BP wrecked Macondo well
The Greenpeace independent investigation began with the discovery of a dead, rotting, partially eaten by sharks sperm whale in the Gulf.
“The White House was sitting on this stuff for over two years, at the same time they were saying everything was fine, that the oil was gone, and while they were rushing ahead with plans for new drilling in the Gulf, the Arctic, elsewhere,” John Hocevar of Greenpeace said when the organization began its Gulf investigation.
“It’s just not okay,” said Hocevar. “This is not an acceptable type of collateral damage.”
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in April 2010 that sank on Earth Day resulted in an initial 5 million barrels of oil pouring into waters off the Gulf Coast. The story was that the well was capped and all was well in the Gulf and on the Gulf coast.
“On June 15 2010, about 77 miles from the Deepwater Horizon accident site, the crew of the NOAAresearch vessel Pisces came across a dead sperm whale, floating in the water,” Greenpeace stated in a written statement. “The whale was rotting, had probably been dead for a few days to a week, was likely a sub-adult, and parts of its carcass had been eaten by sharks.
That same day, NOAA observers on another vessel at the Macondo well site in the Gulf saw five sperm whales, including a juvenile, covered in oil. Two days later, NOAA issued a press release about the dead whale, announcing that it would have tests conducted to determine the cause of death.
“The unfortunate whale, and some revealing e-mail exchanges, including the revelation that the crew of the Pisces was instructed not to post or disseminate any pictures they took. There were not any results of the tests that were conducted into the cause of the whale’s demise,” Greenpeace reports.
What they received, and released Wednesday, was a trove of photographs of that unfortunate whale, revealing e-mail exchanges containing alarming information. Among that information was that the crew of the Pisces was instructed not to post or disseminate any pictures they took. There were not any results of the tests that were conducted into the cause of the whale’s demise.
Because the Macondo well capping was unsuccessful, or a well-orchestrated media “sham,” as the oil insider Matt Simmons had said, the oil and methane have been leaking ever since. Huge amounts of gases including methane and pentane spewed from the Macondo oil well, along with at least 206 million gallons of crude oil that is still filling the gulf today.
The journal Nature Geoscience, University of Georgia oceanographers estimated months ago that 500,000 tons of gaseous hydrocarbons escaped during the spill and the gas leak was equivalent to a minimum of 1.6-1.9 million barrels of oil, but could be as high as or 2.2-3.1 million barrels of oil.
On October 15, government scientists definitively linked a new Gulf of Mexico oil slick, that has moved to some 90 miles from the sinkhole, to BP’s 2010 oil catastrophe. The scientists, however, claimed that the oil was probably from a BP Deepwater Horizon rig pipe.
Attorney Stuart Smith was among experts who are not buying that rig pipe claim, and increasingly, people are demanding evidence about the source of the crude oil in the Gulf.
To Greenpeace, the episode of the sea animal coverup has been indicative of what it calls “the veil of secrecy that descended upon the Gulf of Mexico” since the Deepwater Horizon accident, as manifested in a response earlier this year to the same FOIA request – for any communication relating to threatened or endangered Gulf species from April 20, 2010 to July 30, 2010.”
That response, Greenpeace says, revealed previously-unreleased photographs of garbage bag upon garbage bag filled with dead wildlife, including endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. A NOAA spokesman said it had been impossible to ascertain the cause of the whale’s death due to the severe decomposition of its body.
“The admonition to the crew of the Pisces not to post any photographs was standard protocol during that period, so that the government could collect information for its investigation and any possible subsequent legal action,” stated Kieran Mulvaney, author of “The Whaling Season” and “At the Ends of the Earth.”
Greenpeace Research Director Kert Davies said in May that the group is also concerned about what else the public has never been told about the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.