WWL>Topics>>4-25-14 3:10pm Angela: on the BP oil spill's continuing effects

4-25-14 3:10pm Angela: on the BP oil spill's continuing effects

Apr 25, 2014|

Angela talks about the lingering effects of the BP oil spill with Dr. Mike Robichaux, an ear, nose, & throat specialist, as well as On Wings of Care founder Bonny Schumaker and filmmaker Drew Landry.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

-- the BP oil spill happened four years ago this month but its effects are still being felt literally by people animals and the environment. We're gonna spend the next hour talking with three people who have firsthand accounts of the continuing effects of that spill. Doctor microbe -- ear nose throat physician who to this day is seeing those who are suffering from the dispersants used after the spill. Bonnie Schumacher president and founder of on wings of care. A nonprofit dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife habitat. And natural ecosystems. Andrew Landry a filmmaker who was recorded what is going on for years after the explosion. Took the lives of eleven man. His documentary film entitled the restoration. Focuses on the long term health impacts of the -- I am honored that all three if you would come in on Friday. I really really appreciate this and and what you're doing and you work keeping the light on a situation that has not and it. So let me -- almost don't know where to start let me start with you drew you have done. This documentary in your hand it was born out of watched. I don't know I think this this and it's not all of them are struggle you know I I think. Hurricanes. We all make a living somewhere -- oil and gas industry. And so how was a member Louisiana National Guard you know and I did my time. And I got out right before. Katrina in our job before then was to -- the river walk and and be at the superdome with empty magazines and tell people what to do and freedom and you know. Where I guess an oil spill it. The 'cause. The Louisiana National Guard was primarily in Iraq when Hurricane Katrina hit -- felt like I was my chance to go down and do something so. I drove down to dress with a friend of mine and volunteered to clean oil I didn't get it I didn't get hired on but took the first safety class in -- realized that -- things were kind of red flags happened at first. Number one. And AM. Change contracts on the fishermen -- the blue program not to cover their health. And number two they refuse to let him Wear respirators even in conditions where oil was being Burton were spraying dispersants and all this because I assume that with Annika. Didn't want to alert the public can scare people off. But down you know with a backdrop of those two things I kind of disorder recording things on myself on it seemed a little weird. And then a year later. Start seeing sick kids and grand now. Dennis and south Mississippi that had identical symptoms. Rest -- probably weren't going away rashes. And -- like this can't just vehicle incidents in only one thing that's changed in these people's lives so. So I met these two wonderful people doctor -- can and in this -- and and doctor my casino hundred. At least a hundred people that have been sick with spill related illnesses that can show where they were exposed in Bonnie has. Flown over the gulf since -- matter and monitor the wildlife and how that recovery. Is. How that can happen and so they're they're both important people to me personally and the film. On the back of the film doctor microbe show. Tell tell us the people you've seen. Well. I have them. Pleasure of treating formally in -- detoxification program. A 113 people under people completed the course. And this evolved because. I'm a country doctor and a little bit of a populace and we had a whole group of people coming in. From Florida Alabama Mississippi and Louisiana coast all the identical symptoms and with things and with substance that I never seen or heard of before. There was none of that insurance than many resources and so we had to fly by the seat of their pants. Not realizing at the time that most of the the studies that you could run on the -- on the -- this is really wouldn't reveal anything in the first place. But don't him. I got a call one day from the -- -- executive director of Louisiana government action network which is the largest and armed group in the state. And she asked me if I would see a group of people. She was convinced you know from the scale. And so one afternoon so about twelve to fifteen people in the office and -- became. Convinced at that point that there was some real serious problems over there. We had 23 year old is one of them was spotted just covered with horrible crash. And down. And has been like that since daddy worked at the -- were among Gramm about me -- told that it was safe to swim and eat some food and so forth. And they did that. And and also -- And other three year old who had been in Pensacola swimming and swimming pool in Pensacola. But they -- cleaning -- on the beach right adjacent to and he became deathly ill -- had to be admitted to hospital in Baton Rouge waves from. And I. They had no idea what was going on there actually -- operated on taken it was kidney problem. And the -- towards the end of this stay in the hospital. Talked to one of the doctors and said. Do you think it's possible that -- to be ill from the effects of the oil spill could right next. And he said doctor can't if -- indignant and went on that for the story but it was something that happened to this job. The game indignant the next day he was -- -- in the hospital. To the best to my knowledge that child is doing satisfied with it prison. But it became very very very obvious that -- was some serious problems there because people from Florida Alabama Mississippi and Louisiana all have identical symptoms. And the symptoms were. Where things never seen before. I was walking to the waiting room and I noticed it was a young man having a seizure I assume that he was. This was something that he had a regular basis. And I was more into my house to get something in the past has anybody said I just started he said he was working out -- -- trying to get in -- to join the Marines. And the swimming in the beach Pensacola. And became ill and been having these seasons since that time so it was a fairly shocking. Situation for me to have seen that and so forth. At that point we started talking to. My wife. At the time was principal chief of 171000 in the native American -- -- Indians. And done. The largest -- of the population works he's in a field are fisherman has done a -- it was a commercial fish. And we have talked to a handful of them about whether or not anybody had been ill and nobody's said anything to us. And so we went back and a couple of days later. We were having much. With the former. Chief for the trial winner to be another woman whom tried its doors in matriarch. And Josh had a paper and Anderson tomorrow what's what's that papers she says though of English out there hospital local charity hospital. And they think I have leukemia willow looked at paper that you didn't play came to me. But I said what did you work -- husband who worked the food program bodily from stands for vessel of opportunity program these with the guys pay to use from votes and so forth to a couple of left. The most. And around Austin did you get did you washes clothes and so forth she suggested that Wendy's close majority at the wrong way. So moral national question her about how she's feeling -- classic symptoms that everybody else had not talked to her husband later on he -- classics. So cajun people or -- in this that are actually Indian agents. A pretty tough folks and they don't complain and so these people weren't. Fussing about this but that was quite. And so on. That's that's -- became involved with this and this is how long after this. Com this may have been six months after the spill I don't recall exactly but probably six months this. So your thought is. Are you still seeing people today that are having symptoms I got a call this week from a doctor evil people who's who's who from the -- the so the bottom line is it it is not over it is not over for people and women talked about you know it's not over for people. That this is sort of until late. No there's nothing delayed about the people that are sick right -- instance this. I mean and and sick. And continue to be sick and continue to BC we're gonna take a break. To come back I wanted to talk to -- -- -- about. This detox program you had for them and what impact it had we're also gonna talk to run two in the Schumacher about. What's happened to the animals right after this. We are with doctor Mike wrote the show who was an ear nose throat physician. Who is still seeing people without suffering the effects of medical effects of but we feel or the dispersants in the oil spill. Bonnie Schumacher who's president and founder of on wings of care a nonprofit dedicated the protection of and preservation of wildlife and habitat and drew Landry a filmmaker who has a film that we're gonna talk about a little bit later that cult restoration. Which is going to be showing tomorrow. We want to talk about that but yes it's already shown. Yes ma'am -- post production we're just showing it for outreach so people that aren't sick are there might have actually people that I have some of these symptoms. And they -- oil can get some kind treatment. OK but we had left off talking with -- -- a shot about what he saw. With people that you want had never seen before of all ages and in different areas but all related do you feel to the spill. I've been a doctor for 43 years and I've never seen anything anywhere close to where we -- Initially a lot of the patient's head to head to spark to our problems and skin problems and so forth but -- follows pretty much dissipated with time. By the time we started our treatment clinic. They were primarily having neurological problems in your endocrine problems and that -- headaches memory lost. A great deal fatigue -- fatigue ability. Dizziness and and -- center and abdominal cramps sometimes horrendous for these people. And but these things all occurred after this bill. We. We had somebody come up to us. Out of the blue ethic they refer to rest primarily your once again. And they came up to us with this cock and bull story about him being detox program that we can initiate that was -- -- people that. And -- -- didn't have much faith in it that I was not doing a lot of good guys are treating some for. So my wife and I. And in order over this -- investment recently given worlds if this works. So we apprehensive to me but. Optimistically went into the program and the program was sensational -- the scene like we took some very very sick people and we got him feeling. Significantly better and relatively short period of time. The program consisted of going into way -- -- -- detox program. And you've spent about an average of 25 days between. Going into Osama. As sweating he would exercise first and only. Medicine you took it which is not really Madison personally -- would prescription medicine was just. Niacin and organize and help mobilize some of the toxins in the system. And and they spent time in the -- and it was phenomenal people got that and we -- That's so awesome. Absolutely remarkable things we had two women that could barely walk and started the program. One of them could only walk with with a walker just moving it along to -- it's time. And she walked out of the building. The other one was just able to walk in the buildings sit down that was it she started off with an exercise part of -- program just being able to walk around New York. When she finished up she was on the treadmill for 36 minutes. Let me move and out yes and I've never seen this before. If you were telling this story right now to give you an excellent witnessed. Let me -- I do wanna get to Bonnie because. Again habitats and animals were clearly affected by -- -- You all coming together is really just say it's been four years. A lot has changed. But there are still people who are going to feel the effects for years later. The certain -- certain. And the BP. Wasn't there a class action giant lawsuit and not mean they settled for billions of dollars. But the -- correct and please do correct me if I'm wrong only about a hundred million of that of billions and billions went for medical care. And a lot of that to studies they're doing. I can speak to that OK. Pretty clear. The federal courts appointed. Federal court church called Barbie -- -- nineteen attorneys. To what was called. The plane steering committee. And the purpose of that committee was to sit down with BP and negotiate the terms of the settlement that they would make. To prevent people from going to individual lawsuits and and to be in the class action suit so. BP's representatives and this group of attorneys and many of these attorneys represented. Some of my patients okay. They met and they came up with a group of symptoms that would -- compare and some that do you could be paid for having symptoms with this. Well ahead by this time in my head records on -- hundred people that completed a program 113 people in the program. And I know I knew exactly how many people that headaches and how many people that memory loss and I mean people like this this -- If you took out the top ten things that patients. And their clients head. Not one of those things showed up in the BP plaintiffs' steering committee agreement. Not one. Assets five registered letters to the judge in this case and so forth and I've outlined everything I'm telling you right now. And it was ignored and and these patients are still having the same problem that article this week from a doctor about all things -- Was -- with some problems and and hence you're asking -- if -- people still chewing out of a couple of weeks I'll have some new issue with with. And this detox thing you were talking about will not eliminate those neurological issues and actually it helped a lot of them but. What happens after the detox program. And I haven't had. Full follow me is just me doing this. And had a follow up on these people I'm working on that right now. But many -- work on multiple chemical sensitivities and that they become sensed that things of about that the foursome. This one boy that's -- a couple of newspaper articles have right here. -- He can't. Put -- in the scorer he's got three daughters at home and they can't do that fingernails and in the house to -- source so versions and do things bother. We've got to one family that was fortunate enough to be able to move to Alabama and as long as there in Alabama they feel fine if they come back. Where -- home isn't with -- livelihoods are with fishing and questioned and so forth they meet its. So these problems that persist in those people that haven't been able to leave. Persistent persistent having -- and those symptoms are not covered. Under not -- one of the serious ones that covered under the BP -- committee agreement. OK stay with the second moment -- a dozen newsroom will be right back. Over talking about the ongoing effects of the BP oil spill for years out and were still hearing the stories that we just heard from a doctor wrote the show. From Brian drew Landry I'm sorry on the documentary he's put together and -- Schumacher. On the wings of care. Not wonderful non profit that just wants to save animals and habitats and what makes this area very special. Where are -- Now. Where he -- Right I wish we could bring them into the doctor's office and tell you exactly. You all know that we have more than three times as many Strianese. Of turtles and dolphins in the years subsequent to BP disaster than we did before. And yet -- did not allow independent laboratories to do toxicology analyses on these animals. All -- -- had to be turned over to -- and today the public does not have a satisfactory explanation. Of what was wrong with the animals. And various hypotheses brucellosis and things -- various bacterial infections that they might have always had. -- have been proposed but no link has ever been made officially. Formula. Apparently two BP disaster causing. So what I can tell you since I'm not privy to those analyses. Is it. Our organization has flown now over 700 hours low and slow. Over the Gulf of Mexico and in about it -- I think recalculated once it's about a 38000. Square mile area and that's nautical miles so you can just we can quadruple that club owners. So we've gone. South of Mississippi and all the -- -- almost to the Texas border and out about 200 miles. And for four -- reduced in collaboration with wildlife researchers studying with sharks. Which are the probably the most difficult to find. Mammals like dolphins. An -- breeders like turtles and of course whales have relatively easy to spot from the air. Did you see if in -- fluke but many -- Pallet. On -- -- and hand rather large or just shadows under the surface so you have to wait for the days when the seas are calm. Your visibility is good and you just goal and you -- and we have lots of fuel in the -- who were out there for six hours at a time. With trained spotters who know what they're seeing and everybody's all eyes out very -- work. A soul -- and we have a series of surveys remark every substantial citing. Of bait balls smaller fish smaller sharks of course -- -- Dolphins whales turtles ray's group to raise its target as a -- wherever we can spotted. Unambiguously and we can make a statement about the size of the pod -- it. Health of the animals. On so we have documented records from may tweak and until this past September and we're just starting up again this year. And at a crucial so and monitoring bird populations in Mercury -- -- so what I can tell you these that there has been a trend. India. And 2010. We couldn't go for more than a minute without having to jot down a substantial citing an it was these beautiful night in a fifty mile radius of the BP. But everywhere else it was just. And very exciting time to be flying in like two -- In 2011 the numbers were way down but hundred miles away from the institute 52 area we still found some. The whale sharks were returning. Large animals seemed to be returning in 2011. -- great numbers point twelve -- 2013 numbers have been greatly. The enormously down. I have yet to see more than four leather back turtles in in the space -- maybe so what's happening. Well I'd like to think that they decided after giving it second tried to eleven did the food here didn't taste good but it was enough. And they just stayed away. I don't know because not playing for yourself in the gulf and other places they go. And in there isn't really a program like cars it's that connects. 250 miles out from shore here with. With 800 self. So that's possible. I hope that's likely certainly this Strianese might also and and the death. Might also indicate that that's what's happened to them well and just here in the generations. It would it will lose them for several generations. Did any of the settlement with BP. Help to rebuild habitat senator. There's there are some funds in their story that are going to. To rebuild the marsh areas. So yes some of that but that rebuilds the coastal zones I don't know and -- -- correctly he's he's honored to this closely. I don't know that there's any substantial funding this gone to help examine. Do something to repair and I don't know what they could do. Off hand on the farther off to -- wildlife populations. Well and they do AM they're gonna build some pilgrims and some hotels -- -- in the and I and and and and encourage people to go down there I think the -- dollars go after. After the 87 day. Leak. That -- continued to see large amounts oil down Obama Condo and we have reports of fishermen's and they were spray and all the way in 2012 the dispersant. Now. When they call them on it they called the federal government on this in the first they said they weren't Brando in and said you know first these guys -- -- we're not spread. Then they sets of pictures and put them on the Internet and says oh we will we will do the practice were just bread and water so. You know. For the in the continue to change your story I don't know what the truth is I don't think we ever will but I Bonnie can tell you and show you pictures of when she last spotted oil. And I think you know if in fact all is finally not coming back to the -- servers then they may start to recover but. What what was that the timetable that. We're gonna have to take a break and pick it up front there. We were talking with Bonnie Schumacher on the wings of care about what you've been seeing what happens. Yeah well if I can move from while that I'd like to point out that we also also see oil everywhere and there are oil leaks. In my ignorance some not so minor pollution incidents all over the gulf. -- -- NRC reports every flight. The initial response there so. Did with the gulf is littered with small pollution incidents daily. Non related to BP not related BP not related to be peace if I can say the importance of citizens -- their flying. You know that there were subsequent three major leaks that it's still continued the deep water horizon site subsequent to that. We found at all. August 2011. Then again in September October 2012 and then begin December 2012. In the public heard about them pursues the riser pipe and for don't been residual matter in the riser pipe but each time. It was us citizens. -- their flying looking for animals but also always finding an excuse to. Fly over in the kind of sighed again. And I am happy say that two weeks ago we flew over again and it was clear. Among the first time some good news. Let's talk bottom line you want. Eight a regional citizens' advisory council we do we do indeed it was recommended in -- ten when the senate introduce the shore act. I think it stands for securing health of ocean resources and environment. And it they recommended establishment of accounts such council exactly as OpenId. Mandated in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez in 1990. Very very successful why don't we haven't. Why don't we have I don't know the building past it was recommended again by the Nationalists the commission in 2011. It needs to be mandated federally it doesn't matter that states -- it the government has to say it. I believe it was. Lobbied heavily against by the oil and gas industries. What -- last year we tried to meet with the oil and gas industries invited sixteen of them all the serious players in the gulf. And also government agencies they politely declined every one of them. -- very very quickly before we we lose time. The restoration your documentary is gonna be shown tomorrow in Lafayette. Yes -- -- 7 o'clock -- -- in Lafayette and you know I'm in post production of this film. We're gonna follow their stories until the criminal case is done and we go back and ask these people was justice served and I think that'll be a fitting into it. Well I think this whole thing is is that the story isn't over and that's the bottom and stay with us we'll be right back. I wanna thank -- doctor -- a -- and Bonnie Schumacher and drew Landry. I you're bringing up something that I think most of us didn't know. And that is that the story goes on after the BP oil -- isn't over it's affecting lives both human and animal and we will continue to discuss this. Thank you again for being here and everybody have a good week --