Thursday, November 18, 2010

Suncoast Sierra Club's Gulf Truth Forum Did Not Speak Truth--Scientists on Their Panel Have Studies Funded by BP

By Anita Stewart
November 18, 2010

This event was held on November 16, 2010 at the Fish and Wildlife Center in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida from 6 until 830PM.

First statement on the invitation to this event is this:
"What do scientists say about how the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster affected the fish, wildlife and people in the Gulf of Mexico?"
People? The Human Impact in relation to the Catastrophe and Crime Scene in the Gulf was never mentioned in this forum. Not ONCE!
With the erasing of the Human Impact and the Public Health calamity happening in the Gulf Region this has become a Human Rights Issue that the whole world is now watching.

Since we already know that the global public opinion is that the US government is subjugating it's people to draconian laws, enacting laws that corporations lobby and even author, restricting citizen's movements, disregarding dissent or arresting the dissenters, distortion or the erasing of facts by the propaganda mainstream media, arresting and incarcerating without due cause, lack of habeus corpus, black ops, COINTELPRO, then this is just further evidence that the Human Rights violations are continuing unabated here in the US. And the BP Gulf Oil Crime Scene now affects 40 million people that live in the Gulf Region--per one doctor, up to 1000 miles from the coast, on all levels; economically, spiritually, mentally, and physically. See:

This is how the "public forum" was described on the invitation and widely disseminated via email:
"Public Forum on the Gulf Oil Disaster. There will be time to ask the scientists questions, and learn from environmental organizations, including Sierra Club, how you can get involved to restore the Gulf and reform drilling to protect the Gulf from further harm." REFORM DRILLING? Are they SERIOUS? Drilling? As in MORE of it? Drilling is the LAST thing we need!

The first panel were the three scientists. They were:

    * Bob Weisberg, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor of Physical Oceanography and leading expert on the role of the Gulf's loop currents affecting the path of oil towards or away from coastlines.
    * Ernst Peebles, Ph.D., Associate Professor Biological Oceanography, specializes in research on coastal fisheries, was part of the crew of the research vessel that in May 1st identified subsurface oil in the Gulf.
    * David Hollander, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chemical Oceanography, whose work in isotopic biogeochemistry led to his discovery of oil on the floor of the Gulf.

Their presentations were devoted to animals, marine life, plumes, chemistry, fishing, coastlines, loop current and a myriad of other technical and scientific topics. Attendees were not allowed to directly question the three professors who each gave presentations of the Science of the Spill.

The second panel consisted of representatives from different environmental groups. Discussions included wildlife casualties, relocation of turtle eggs, beach clean up, NRDA, responses and what the different groups were doing, legislation, etc. And we cannot forget the dollars from tourism. This panel also reported from the 1st meeting of the White House’s Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, held Monday, November 15th in Pensacola, as well as an assessment of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process and how citizens can engage in the process of restoration. 

Did this second panel think that the White House or any Federal Agency is going to help the people of the Gulf? Our leaders going back decades allowed for 37,000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. With no oversight. And our elected leaders got paid for this in the way of campaign contributions from Big Oil. 

Those attending were instructed to write their questions on 3 by 5 cards and the questions were cherry picked from that stack, grouped together per similar topics and read aloud to the first panel. Some of the questions that were handed in were divided up from the questions presented to the scientists and given to this second panel to address if these questions were something those panelists could cover. It was quite apparent from the cherry picking of the questions, that some would be presented and some would not be. IS THIS FREE SPEECH? This system of inquiry was designed to disregard, manipulate and/or suppress the real message about what is actually happening in the Gulf Region in real time.

This was not a FORUM, as that indicates interaction with PEOPLE, this program was designed to "program" what the facilitators wanted us to hear. It was a series of presentations.

Within the three presentations given by each member of each panel, there was no mention of the human impact of the spill or the toxic levels of water and air in the Gulf of Mexico, levels of toxicity in air and water samples taken locally, the Public Health HAZARDS, safety testing of the seafood, medical reports, labs or labwork, testimonies from people who live near the water, diseases or symptoms of people living in the Gulf Region, discussions with doctors and other licensed medical professionals that are treating the suffering, sick and dying.

The first question asked of the scientists was if they were funded by BP. They said they were not. Their studies are so they lied. See:
"Right now, the Florida Institute of Oceanography has 27 projects funded by BP to delve deeper into Gulf research and recovery. USF is working on six of those."
"...a recent letter confirming a $10 million grant to the Florida Institute of Oceanography, based at USF in St. Petersburg."
List of BP Funded Proposals at USF--both ongoing and projected:

Professor Peebles even said that there were no problems with seafood testing and sampling and nothing to show the risk or hazards of eating it and that he ate it with no problem. Unknown to him and the rest of the panel and the attendees since I was not permitted to speak, the most recent sampling, testing and analysis of two pounds of shrimp from the Gulf showed a 193ppm (parts per million) reading. The sample was taken by Mac MacKenzie of Louisiana and evaluated by Bob Naiman of ACT Labs in Alabama.

It was implied by all three of the panel members that the waters were fine for swimming and recreation even though Hollander noted that we just did not know for sure. He said this while I was holding in my hand, a second lab report from ACT LABS in Alabama, the results of a test in September that showed 173ppm from a sand sample taken on Sarasota Beach. The report included a FINGERPRINT match of the same contaminants from the Macondo site.

I was able to hand a report to each one of the members of the first panel, but I was not permitted to stand and tell anyone attending about this important scientific report. It seems to me that the Precautionary Principle should have been taken into account--these were scientists after all. But the "program" was designed to show that it would be "business as usual."

As we now know, there would not be any valid, practical, important, common sense information that people could really use coming from this so called "forum" for any of the attendees to make informed decisions and choices regarding Public Health hazards, whether or not they could eat the seafood or if they can swim in the water, breathe the air, or even hear about symptoms related to toxins, etc. I was under the impression that many of the people attending knew these panels would not answer their questions or give them any time to speak early on and that is why people left the forum before both panels had completed their presentations. The description of this forum included info for humans and this was on the Sierra Club website. But it was not to happen.

The real story?
PEOPLE ARE SICK, THEY ARE SLOWLY BEING POISONED AND THEY ARE DYING IN THE GULF REGION! And this much we know: the mainstream media will not cover the HUMAN ELEMENT of the Gulf Oil crime scene. Any info coming from the Gulf Coast Region regarding Public Health and the Human Element is manipulated, suppressed, distorted, lied about or just plain omitted like it is not happening and everything in the Gulf Region is back to normal and has been since the well was capped. The CDC left the Gulf Region on August 20th. Their so called testing results are either inaccessible, inconclusive or incomplete on their website. I don't know a single poisoned person in the Gulf Region that I have interacted with over the past 6 months that ever saw anyone from CDC or was interviewed or tested by any official from this agency.

We attended as representatives of the Gulf Coast Barefoot Doctors being fully in the trenches and working with the people directly. My colleague, Trisha Springstead, RN was not allowed to speak and her VALID, SCIENTIFIC questions written on the cards were not addressed. Trisha asked the scientists as we were leaving why people did not matter? They said to us that they were scientists. Aren't they HUMAN too or are they something else entirely?

My question to the Suncoast Sierra Club is this: who does your organization serve? One thing that corporations, organizations and our leaders need to know from us, we the people right now is: you all can tell all the lies you want, but the TRUTH will eventually prevail. We that live here in the Gulf will not be silenced or shut down...

Voices from the Gulf:
Kindra Arnesen, a spokesperson and victim:

Cherri Foytlin, BP Thieves, living in Toxins:

Dr. Riki Ott's advice? EVACUATE! "The lies will OUT!"

NRDC'S Gina Solomon on Seafood Testing:

Mac MacKenzie on sampling/testing shrimp:
Dr. Soto says he's seeing more and more patients with symptoms of toxic exposure to oil and Corexit:
From the Gulf Stream to the Bloodstream (Michelle Nix):

Lisa Nelson from Orange Beach--DYING:

Anita Stewart
Candidate Elect--Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation Board, Seat 5
Advisory Committee


bacon boy said...

This critique is unfair and full of falsehoods. The author and her colleagues that attended the forum made up their minds that they were unhappy with the forum before talking to anyone involved or attending as evidenced by the "controversy" they created on

First, not one question was censored. Each question given to the moderator was asked verbatim to the panelists. Nothing was "cherry picked". This was clearly explained at the forum. Similar questions were grouped so that the panelists could focus on one thing at a time. Each card was handed out the panelists so they could read and answer them. With a room of 200 people this format actually worked well to get as many questions answered as possible. If microphones are handed out in the crowd, it is inevitable that one or two people will control the entire question and answer time. The use of cards also gives people that would not feel comfortable asking a question in front of that many people a voice. The panelists and the crowd overwhelmingly supported the question and answer format.

Second, the first question of the night from the audience asked if the scientists were funded by BP. The answer was "no". Clear as day. Then why include in the title of this blog "scientists on their panel have studies funded by BP"? More false "controversy".

Third, humans were not left out of the forum. All of the information shared at the forum has implications for the people that live along the Gulf coast. That's the whole reason the forum was created.

Lastly, holding a forum of this size and importance is no easy task. Instead of being a Monday morning quarterback, I suggest the author and her colleagues hold their own public forum to deal with any issues that did not make it into the 2 and 1/2 hour agenda of this forum. There are many important issues involving the Gulf oil spill. All of them deserve attention.

It's a big old sandbox. Quit throwing sand and start building your own castle.

Anita Stewart said...

There is nothing false about this article, I reported facts and I was sitting in the 2nd row. There is no controversy. The questions were cherry picked and the questions that were not acceptable were not read aloud.


ANGRY? The licensed medical professionals SHOULD be!

The scientists studies are funded by BP, that is a FACT! I provided the link to the approved and projected projects and the $$$ for each...

The forum never brought up SICK AND DYING PEOPLE and the PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARDS. This information was SUPPRESSED and the people/attendees that needed to have the information did not get it--because SCIENTIFIC PEOPLE SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE COULD NOT SPEAK. I sat through the FORUM with lab results including FINGERPRINT TESTS in my hand and I did hand them out and gave a copy to each of the scientists.

But most of the people in that room did not get the info that they needed to have. If you think the info that the public needs to have consists of the size of plumes or relocation of turtle eggs, that is not what the people wanted or needed to hear.

The Sierra Club serves $$$ and not the masses.

It is PROFITS before PEOPLE!

If you think that it is anything different, then you need to sit in that sandbox with a diaper on.

Bacon Boy said...

Are you going to protest this forum, too? It's many of the same scientists sharing their research. Or are you going to learn from this experience and contact the hosts and calmly and politely ask to set up a meeting with them to share your thoughts on how you can be valuable to the discussion? Or will you and your colleagues blast the organizers of the forum on the internet before making an attempt to meet with them, like this time? Will you then follow up with more bashing of the event on the internet again?

Stop being loud, mean, and accusatory and somebody might stop what they are doing and listen to you.

You have important information to share about the impacts of this spill on human health and you choose to yell at and fire false accusations at people that normally would be open to working with you.

Here is a bit of wisdom I learned a long time ago doing advocacy work: Don't piss off the people that can give you what you want. They will never give you the time of day again. Did you really expect to get time in the agenda during the forum after that article on was published?

From the sandbox... BB

Anonymous said...

I am sure questions re: public health were not asked because the panelists, a marine biologist, a chemical oceanographer and a physical oceanographer, had no expertise in that area and, therefore, were not qualified to answer. There are so many issues related to the Gulf Spill that it would be impossible to cover them all in one forum. It was clear from the outset, although apparently not to Ms Stewart, what topics were going to be covered that night. No claims that all matters relating to the Gulf crisis would be discussed ever was made. Sierra Club did an excellent job of provding scientific information to the public. If Ms Stewart wants to present a forum on public health I encourage her to do so. I am sure Sierra won't be inclined to do another one after this nonsense.

I must add that Ms Stewart's conduct is typical of the Pinellas progressive community which appears to be too busy fighting each other to fight the real enemies. This is why they continue to lose and why so many activists burn out and give up. Even when we do not agree 100% on everything WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE. Gratuitous insults and accusations hurt our cause.

Anita Stewart said...

To answer both comments, we already have someone speaking with Mote and they were kind enough to take our information when we offered it. I am not angry or fighting with anyone, this article simply stated facts. Who is yelling? Not me. I did present information. I did give my information. It was not even acknowledged and I have to wonder if any of it was read. There have certainly been no comments on any of it in my email inbox. I did not write the article on the Examiner. And I was told that there could possibly be 5 minutes devoted to the Human Element at the forum after that article was published. I have that in an email. I am not fighting with anyone. Rather I am being accused of yelling, being loud, and accusatory. How is that when I just wrote an article? Your panelists lied, they take money from BP, people are sick and dying, those are facts. I want to know why it is considered yelling and fighting when I am stating those facts presented in my article?

Trisha Springstead RN said...


Anonymous said...

The Sierra Club is a joke. BP absolutely loves "environmental groups" and their "experts" who sat around and debated things dispassionately as the Gulf died, and many Gulf residents die a slow, perfectly concealed death from "missing oil" and dispersant poisoning. The BP agents (and you are, whether you know it or not) commenting need to stand down because it is obvious that you have no concern for the real impacts this disaster has had and is having on those who live in the region.

Bacon Boy said...

@ Trisha.


Very sweet of you to wish me harm. Are you really a registered nurse hoping I choke? That boggles my mind.


WRITING IN ALL CAPS ONLINE IS CONSIDERED YELLING - I apologize for yelling at you to make this point.

@ Anonymous

I don't work for BP.

@ anyone that cares to listen.

I volunteered for the Sierra Club to help with the question and answer section of the forum. I know that none of the questions were censored because I was the person collecting, sorting and asking them. There is actually a picture of me on this site asking the questions. So when I say you are lying that questions were censored, you are lying. That's a fact. There was one question left over after the forum about oil eating bacteria. The man that submitted the question was introduced to the scientists that could best answer his question after the forum. The only reason I did not read it out loud was because by the time he handed me the question, we were already in the second panel (ie the scientists had left the room). He was not angry and appreciated the fact that I sought him out to get his question answered. Not one person complained to me during the forum about the question and answer format. If there was a problem, why did you not come to me? I could have worked something out. I'm an extremely reasonable person. Instead you create conspiracy theories about the Sierra Club, and me, surpressing information. Also, the scientists at USF are highly esteemed in their fields and gave up their personal time with no compensation to share their research. I think the public owes them a thank you, not a blog post such as this calling them liars.
Lastly, I've been involved with the Sierra Club as a member and volunteer for a long time. The staff of the Club is highly motivated and hard working. We owe them our gratitude. The Club is a bottom up organization. It's the members at the local level that set the agenda. It's impossible for the Club to be bought and owned by an individual, a foundation, or a corporation because of this bottom up structure. All are welcomed at the monthly membership meetings. I encourage you to attend a meeting so that you may meet some of your neighbors that Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the planet. I think you'll find you have a lot in common with them if you come with an open mind.

Best of luck exposing the horrible human health toll that the Gulf oil disaster wrought on our neighbors. I mean that. Get the word out, but please don't try to disrupt other people's hard work to do so. It's counterproductive.

Finally, I will not be posting anymore to this blog as the false accusations and threats have left me rather annoyed.

Sifting through the sandbox for lost treasures - BB