That one includes this feature-puff/advertorial spiel:
Out here, flying at a height of up to 1,400 feet, the clouds are puffy white and brilliantly lighted but cast dark shadows on the wave-capped water below. We can see to the curvature of the earth and eventually pass over dozens of the more than 6,000 platforms that the oil and gas industry has built in US Gulf Coast waters during the past 60 some years.
That relatively brief span of development is remarkable. Although there were some primitive attempts at offshore production as far back as the 1890s off Ohio and California, the really big oil boom for the Gulf of Mexico didn’t begin until after World War II.
Yet the Gulf now supplies roughly one-fourth of the US oil production and one-fifth of its natural gas.
It’s likely there will be no alternative to the Gulf as a key source of American energy for decades to come. That’s why it is so essential to protect it.
Another story helpfully explains why people along the Mississippi coast are so alarmed about the catastrophic oil spill off their beaches:
Waveland has been almost destroyed - twice - by hurricanes among history’s most ferocious. There was Camille in 1969, and then Katrina in 2005. Recovery from Camille took almost a decade, and rebuilding from Katrina is still ongoing.
Perhaps that troubled history swept in from the Gulf explains why there’s such strong interest here in the current oil spill.
Paula Kolmar, the other BP “reporter” isn’t quite as subtle as Seslar. One of her posts lauds the oil cleanup as a “ballet at sea as mesmerising as any performance in a concert hall, and worthy of an audience in its own right.”
You might say the same thing about a brown pelican struggling to get out of the sludge BP dumped on it:
(Charlie Riedel, AP)
And, man, has BP been cutting corners on editors, too?
Flying out on the US Coast Guard HC-144 aircraft to see the oil spill and mitigating activities underway was a privilege that never hit my radar of possible experiences.
The dogged BP reporters try to track down some tarballs on the beach, and—phew!—report the coast is clear!
There was word of a ‘sighting’ of three tar balls on a beach in Pensacola, Florida which is about an hour’s drive from Mobile, Alabama. If you’ve ever been to Pensacola you can understand why it would be worth a trip to check it out; the thought of tar balls on these beaches is heartbreaking.
When my photographer and I arrived we were happy to see the beach crowded with people from every age group from young families to a couple in their 80s.
BP’s “reporters,” yet again, accentuated the positive in a post on how one family kept its reservations for a beach trip to Dauphin Island. Some real reporters, Cary Chow and Ryan Coleman of WALA-TV found an altogether different story just a week later, reporting “business not booming on Dauphin”:
Real estate broker Grace Tyson said those BP contractors have been filling up her rental properties, but overall, business is still down.
“We do have places that are full,” said Tyson. “There are some extra places that are available, but the typical Memorial weekend you have fishing tournaments, let’s go to the beach, kick off the summer. That’s not the general feeling. We’re trying to make that happen, but it’s just not here.”
Not here, unlike the threat of oil.
Three weeks after that, another local TV station reported that vacation rental cancellations on Dauphin were running at 85 percent.
Planet BP never followed up on that story.
— Further Reading:
Beleaguered Pensioners: It’s a good thing that BP investors are taking it on the chin.
BP, Government Still Thwarting Press Access: Despite promises to facilitate oil spill coverage, limited transparency persists in the Gulf.
The Journal Excels on BP: An investigation shows the company repeatedly cutting corners in the Gulf.