Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Fisherman to BP: I like you, but only as friends

Posted in BP, offshore drilling, worker rights by allisonkilkenny on June 1, 2010

Louisiana National Guardsmen unravel support straps far a Tiger Dam, to protect the Grand Isle from encroaching oil coming in with the high tide in Grand Isle, Louisiana May 31, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Sean Gardner

John Wutsell Jr., a fisherman who was hospitalized after becoming ill while cleaning up oil in the Gulf, has filed a temporary restraining order in federal court against BP.

Apparently, Wutsell missed the update issued by BP CEO Tony Hayward that he wasn’t made sick by oil fumes, or exposure to Corexit, but by food poisoning.

Wutsell (who experienced severe headaches, nosebleeds, and stomach pains) humbly disagrees, and he wants BP to give the clean-up workers masks, and — get this insane demand — not harass workers who publicly voice their health concerns.

On Friday, Wutstell was airlifted to West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, Louisiana, where he remained hospitalized Sunday.

“At West Jefferson, there were tents set up outside the hospital, where I was stripped of my clothing, washed with water and several showers, before I was allowed into the hospital,” Wutstell sais. “When I asked for my clothing, I was told that BP had confiscated all of my clothing and it would not be returned.”

Hm, now why would BP want to confiscate all of Wutsell’s clothing? One possibility is that they want to destroy any evidence that they’ve been exposing workers to unsafe conditions so as to avoid future criminal liability charges.

This is the same warped logic behind BP refusing to allow fishermen to wear respirators that I reported last week.

Wutsell’s restraining order also demands that BP stop using Corexit, the toxic dispersant, which has been banned in the UK.

The safety data information sheet from the manufacturer states that people should “avoid breathing in vapor” from Corexit, and that masks should be work when Corexit is present in certain concentrations in the air.

BP has not supplied workers with masks when they work near the oil and dispersants.

BP doesn’t want to give these workers masks because doing so would be an acknowledgement that the company is exposing them to harmful chemicals. If workers later develops respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney or blood disorders, symptoms that have been linked to Corexit exposure, it would be easier for them to sue BP for damages.

Stories have been coming in of workers reporting feeling “drugged and disoriented.”  Meanwhile, doctors at West Jefferson have said that the symptoms appear to be caused by “a combination of some sort of chemical irritant and dehydration, and they have diagnosed one of the 11 oil-spill workers with “chemical exposure.”

8 Responses

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  1. KC said, on June 1, 2010 at 8:52 am

    BP’s priority is clearly not aligned with the clean-up workers’s.

  2. Tyler said, on June 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

    BP is in enough trouble already, you’d think that they’d be covering their asses as best as they can. BP could easily buy masks at less than $1 per mask at bulk pricing which I’m sure is less expensive than the law suit or other legal action that will ensue. I’m absolutely appalled that the BP Exec who appeared on Meet The Press this weekend seemed not to be shaken at all even though almost every civilian in America is furious with his corporation. I would be terrified that public opinion could cause my oil conglomerate to evaporate into thin air through a boycott as we’re forced to fund our expensive attempts to fix our problem that should have never happened in the first place.

    Way to go BP. You’re a bunch of smug ass bastards that will stop at nothing to ruin the environment and try to cut every corner imaginable, no matter how much life, both human and animal, you take in the process.

  3. Felix Holt said, on June 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I am very worried about this conflict, very worried. It demonstrates a continuing lack of ontological concern on the part of the company and their shareholders who are to blame for this awful disaster.

    I am a Nigerian prince looking to expand my mining operations into your country. For your assistance I can pay you sums up to $100,000 in consulting fees; more if you are able to secure mining zone regulation and aid in lobbying appropriate legislators on the federal level. If you are interested please contact me at nbotu@nigerianminingoperations4u.org.

    I thank you for your time.

  4. Neil D said, on June 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    It is rather odd that these workers aren’t using the proper safety gear. I personally cannot imagine wearing respirators and heavy gloves while working in the heat of summer. Obviously, working to clean up dispersed oil will involve exposure to chemicals (no matter how non-toxic the dispersant!)

    I hope you will soon turn your sharp intellect on the dishonesty of the American people who demand cheap oil and yet seem oblivious to the hidden costs. You know, the wars and pollution.

    Personally, I think there is much greater benefit to be had by making Americans feel guilty for their part in this than there is by BP bashing.

  5. […] In a sane world, a company guilty of gross negligence that resulted in the deaths of 11 workers would be under criminal investigation, and not be parading around the coast, telling the media where they can go and who they can talk to, while forbidding their clean-up crews from wearing protective gear. […]

  6. […] In a sane world, a company guilty of gross negligence that resulted in the deaths of 11 workers would be under criminal investigation, and not be parading around the coast, telling the media where they can go and who they can talk to, while forbidding their clean-up crews from wearing protective gear. […]

  7. Pamela De Baun said, on June 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    The amazing thing about the stupidity of the path BP is taking is that there is a completely NON toxic dispersant called MPCD ( http://mpcd.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75&Itemid=91 ) that they could be using that is non toxic to humans, animal, sea life and biodegrades the oil in about 30 days. No one gets sick, no one ends up toxic, sea life survives, ecology repaired in substantially less time than the current course will take. But will BP or the Obama administration respond to the company’s offers to help? NO. Not yet, anyway. If BP is worried about future liabilities for the health they’re destroying, you would think they’d be all over this. At LEAST checking it out. I am planning on volunteering if this is used, but cannot if it’s only going to be the toxic waste BP is using. I’m already toxic from the FEMA camper I’m about to leave from Katrina, so my body simply won’t tolerate any additional toxicity.

    I think that this is a case of give them enough rope to hang themselves with. They think they’ll escape liability for making workers sick and denying them basic common sense safeguards, destroying all evidence of what could have made them sick by confiscating their clothing and enforcing a media blackout to hide visual evidence to give juries. I think there are not 12 people in this country who would not see through this transparent attempt to escape justice….and will be a defining set of behaviors that indicate BP’s ownership of guilt.

    They should be criminally charged with at least 11 murders already, by virtue of already knowing the safety problems just as they already know them at the Atlantis platform. Denying safety measures, knowing the danger to life by doing so should constitute premeditation, just as taking a weapon with you to commit a crime does. AT THE MINIMUM, it should be criminally negligent manslaughter. You can bet your azz that if it was one of us down here in the trenches instead of a giant Congress buying oil company, we’d already BE in jail.

    Mr. I Just Want My Life Back can spout all the propaganda he wants about how BP will absorb the full cost of the cleanup, my response is I can see your lips moving but while I watch you screw the people who are cleaning up your mess, all I hear is blahblahblah. All I really want to hear from him and a whole lot of other people responsible here is Guilty, Your Honor and then them allocute to the charges.

  8. […] PDRTJS_settings_132826_post_8637 = { "id" : "132826", "unique_id" : "wp-post-8637", "title" : "Quote+of+the+day%3B+or%2C+CSI%3A+BP", "item_id" : "_post_8637", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fblogontherun.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F06%2F03%2Fquote-of-the-day-or-csi-bp%2F" } Allison Kilkenny, FTW: In a sane world, a company guilty of gross negligence that resulted in the deaths of 11 workers would be under criminal investigation, and not be parading around the coast, telling the media where they can go and who they can talk to, while forbidding their clean-up crews from wearing protective gear. […]


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