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Commentary :: Environment
Disaster profiteering in the Gulf
19 Jun 2010
In a preview of the profits to come, Wall Street investment firms Goldman Sachs and others sold more than $300 million in BP stock by the end of the first quarter, just weeks before the explosion that eventually sank the Deepwater Horizon and caused the ongoing worst ecological crisis in American history.[1]
There is ample opportunity for money to be made on the clean-up effort. Nalco, the company that has supplied the more than 1.1 million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants known as Corexit 9500 and Corexit 9527, is owned by, among other Wall Street firms, Goldman Sachs.[2] Nalco announced on May 17 that dispersant sales had generated $40 million in sales for the company. This was weeks before BP updated the still climbing number of dispersants used in the Gulf on June 4 to the 1.1 million figure, with almost 500,000 gallons still "available."[3]

Exactly how toxic these chemical dispersants are has not been officially disclosed. However, on May 19, the Environmental Protection Agency directed BP to "identify and use [a] less toxic and more effective dispersant" from a list provided by the EPA.[4] BP responded by stating their belief that Corexit was still the best and most available product to be used and insisted that it falls within EPA guidelines, though they declined to allow the EPA to publicly release the ingredients of the dispersants, "citing confidential business information." [5]

Reports of workers responding to the spill have been detailing ill effects since May while BP maintains there are no ill effects associated with either exposure to oil and gas fumes or toxic chemical dispersants.[6][7] Some reports on the Gulf are stating BP-hired clean-up workers are being told they will be fired if they use respirators.[8] Meanwhile, "something" is killing crops in Tennessee, leaving behind burn marks on plants all over the state .[9] Entire towns from Louisiana to Florida are falling ill with flu-like symptions.[10][11][12] The devastation to wild life in the Gulf has been well documented in the media.

All of this and more is perhaps why the EPA finally, albeit quietly, released the components of Corexit 9500 and 9527, much to the surprise of Nalco, BP and others as well as environmentally-minded citizens.[13] The components? Surprise, made from various derivatives of oil, byproducts in the manufacturing process of gasoline and other commodities. We're "cleaning up" the oil spill by dumping chemical derivatives of oil in the ocean. These dispersants are 55-65% effective but 100% toxic, in fact they are more toxic than oil at 2.6 parts per million, versus 11 parts per million for oil. These dispersants contain compounds that have lasting effects on blood, kidneys, liver, and the central nervous system. Many of these compounds are carcinogenic, some are even laxatives (perhaps accounting for the stories of entire populations being plagued with diarrhea).[14][15]

Could the profits BP, Exxon, Goldman Sachs, etc are making on the clean up effort be the reason BP has flat out refused clean up efforts involving the grassroots efforts to ship hair, straw, and other low-tech and environmentally safe resources?[16]

No to be left out of the profit-making bonanza, Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, reportedly made $270 million from the insurance payout on their oil rig after it exploded and sank into the sea.[17]

Wherever there is a disaster, there are sure to be profiteers. There are plenty of profits to be made. All at the expense of the people and the ecology of the Gulf coast. Surely these disclosures are only the tip of the iceberg.

1. Goldman Sachs Sold $250 Million of BP Stock Before Spill

2. Nalco Company History

3. Operations and Ongoing Response - June 4, 2010

4. EPA: BP Must Use Less Toxic Dispersant!OpenDocument

5. BP's May20 response to EPA's dispersant directive

6. Fishermen sick from clean-up work in gulf

7. People Fall in BP Spill Cleanup

8. Countdown with Keith Olbermann June 15, 2010

9. Mystery Crop Damage Threatens Hundreds of Acres,0,187535.story?track=r

10. 16 Burning Questions About the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill That We Deserve Some Answers To

11. ""

12. The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill is Making A Lot of People Sick

13. Dispersants | EPA Response to BP Spill in Gulf of Mexico

14. BP Scaring the Crap Out of People: Dispersants Having Laxative Effect on Floridians

15. Amount of Neurotoxin Pesticide Corexit Sprayed By BP Tops 1 Million Gallons

16. No hair boom as part of oil spill containment

17. Transocean made $270M profit from insurance payout

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