Archive | Gulf Oil Catastrophe

Living on a dying delta

Story by Dahr Jamail
Photography by Erika Blumenfeld
Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Our first full day in Louisiana finds us venturing south from New Orleans to Houma, a town about an hours drive to the southwest. It is from here we are to take a flight over the marsh to inspect the damage, thus far, caused by the ongoing BP oil catastrophe.

Walking into the office of Butler Aviation Services at the airport, the downtrodden mood, and accompanying anger, are palpable. Of course this is not assisted by the fact that Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Louisiana today.

“What would you tell Joe if he walked into your office,” Robbie Butler, with the flight service of his name, asks me. He then adds, “Hey Joe, lead, follow, or get out of the way. That’s what I’d tell him.”

At approximately the same time Butler is telling me of these three excellent suggestions, Biden is in downtown New Orleans inside the “command center” meeting with more than 100 BP, government and military officials inside a cavernous office dubbed “the bullpen.” In case anyone wasn’t clear about the priorities of the US government, included in Biden’s entourage are BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. It was Jindal who, on June 2nd, sent an urgent letter to President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar regarding his grave concerns at the time of the administration’s decision to place a moratorium on deepwater drilling.

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