”Who Can You Trust?” is an ongoing look at some of the main players in the Gulf Coast oil-spill disaster. We analyze the media appearances and public statements of those covering, controlling, and combating the spill to determine who’s spinning for personal advantage, who’s playing to the crowd, and who (or what) we can truly count on.
The Mother Jones reporter has been on site in Grand Isle for weeks, and her coverage of on-the-ground activity has been some of the best. It was McClelland who originally reported on the Coast Guard and BP limiting journalistic access to spill sites, and while other reporters are focusing on the big picture of the spill’s cleanup efforts, she’s reported on the day-to-day operations on site: operations that often involve too few workers, dead animals, and paper towels. It’s compelling stuff.
Pay attention: to her Web site, found here.
The 11-year-old from Long Island has raised more than $70,000 for the Audubon Society by soliciting donations for her art—pictures of gulf-area birds. Donations have ranged from $10 to $250. The Audubon Society is one of the charities doing legitimate good work in the gulf, but the FTC is warning people about potential oil-spill-related frauds.
Pay attention: to whether charities are established. Click here for ideas on where to give.
Thanks to a series of missteps and lax regulations by federal authorities, the spill is much worse than it could have been. A report in The New York Times shows that not only were there too few emergency plans in action before the spill, during the spill and subsequent cleanup efforts communications were thwarted, supplies were in short supply, and chaos reigned supreme.
Pay attention: to Obama’s instruction for federal agencies in his speech this evening.
The stock’s credit rating was downgraded six notches, from AAA to AA by Fitch Ratings, a significant reduction that comes just as BP execs are testifying in front of Congress regarding the spill. (Some highlights: no one from BP has yet lost their job, though some workers have been placed on administrative leave; BP claims they didn’t willingly underestimate the flow rate from the spill). Still, though it declined after the initial news of the rating, BP’s stock is on the rise.
Pay attention: to the rest of the congressional hearings.
Secretary of Interior Salazar is under attack for allegedly changing a report after the experts had signed it. The report, which put forth the new standards for offshore drilling, placed a moratorium on new wells drilled by floating rigs in water greater than 500 feet, and an immediate six-month halt on drilling in the 33 wells that use floating rigs in the gulf. But experts from the National Academy of Engineers say they signed off on a version that recommended eliminating wells in more than 1,000 feet of water, and a temporary halt on wells for a “sufficient length” of time. Reps for Salazar’s office say that the specific conclusions of the peer review, on which the experts were asked to sign off, were exclusive of the recommendations presented with them.
Pay attention: to whether the recommendations change as Salazar feels more pressure from both the oil industry and the politicians whose constituents make their living in oil services.
Volume six: The Spills keep coming
Volume three: Google vs. the Containment Cap—What’s More Reliable?
Volume two: Landry Steps Back. Suttles Lays Low.
Volume one: Academics, Admirals, and Angry Politicians