BP Cans Cleanup Workers As More Oil Washes Up

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While the National Oil Spill Commission was getting ready to drop a scathing report about the Obama administration’s response to the Gulf disaster, and I was still in Haiti, I got a text from a supervisor of BP’s cleanup operations in Grand Isle, Louisiana, who calls me with anonymous updates now and then. “They’ve cut 2500 people, said they would not do that until hurricane season was over… Which is Dec 1st…,” he wrote. I checked in with him this morning, and he says BP has continued firing more cleanup workers in the two weeks since he sent the text.

But it’s been a long time since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, plus all the oil was gone long ago, right? So is BP cutting even more cleanup workers because the beach looks pretty good these days? “Oh it’s bad still,” my source says. “Where we’re at [Grande Terre], we get oil every day. They clean it up, and by the time we get back the next morning, there’s tar all over the beach.”

With fewer workers, is all the accumulating oil getting cleaned up?

“Well, we can only do some parts; we’re only able to clean what we get with the people we have. We only have 100 people, and 80 of them are supposed to be pulled in eight days. We don’t know what we’re gonna do then.”

Another nearby island, Cheniere, has yet to have a single cleanup worker sent to it. “It’s bad,” the contractor says. “It’s been getting oil this whole time and it’s not been touched. After [another supervisor] went and looked at it, he was like, ‘I don’t wanna go there.'” Good news, boys. At the rate the layoffs are going, it’s lookin’ like you won’t have to.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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