BP has rejected the help of thousands of volunteers, many with expert training and experience in handling offshore oil disasters and oil spill cleanup. Yesterday, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd interviewed Don Abrams of OilSpillVolunteers.com, who collected the names of nearly 8,000 volunteers in the first weeks after BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, and tried repeatedly to contribute their expertise to mitigating this national disaster. Many of the volunteers Abrams had organized have certification in the federal government’s official Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER), and were ready and able to train others:
On May 13, we turned over a list of about a hundred highly qualified people to BP, including people with two to three decades of offshore oil experience, people with experience in spill clean ups, people who are HAZWOPER instructors. As of about two days ago, I contacted about half of those people, and none of them have been contacted by BP.
Abrams explained that he has turned over his list to state agencies and local non-profit organizations, after BP and the federal government failed to respond. The Center for American Progress recommends that the government, not BP, run the volunteer hotlines and cleanup efforts. “People actually just want to be called to service,” Center for American Progress fellow Van Jones said on Sunday. “‘What are we supposed to do, Mr. President? And we will do it.’ That’s what’s missing.”