Saturday, July 3, 2010

Updated Information on Oil Spill & Rumor Patrol

First of all let me say that I had to take a bit of time off, as the story was really getting to me and I was struggling with the depression that comes hand in hand with spending so much time looking at all the information that is out there about this situation.   When that happens I feel guilty for feeling that way, as for the moment, I am the "outsider looking in" on the story.  While I do live along the gulf coast, I have fortunately have not had to deal with the oil on my own beaches as of yet, so I do not understand personally what it is that those who have dealt with it are going through.

I can imagine what it is like, as I worry about how this is going to change the way of life in the gulf coast.  So many will lose out on a way of life, so many creatures have died, and others will die because of the oil spill.  Sometimes there are just not the words to describe it.   Sometimes you just have to walk away from it all, if even for a short time, to save your sanity.

Okay, so what is going on?

So, based on what Unified Command is stating here is how things look as far as what is going on:

Thursday, July 1 Statistics

Vessels of Opportunity: 3,200
Barges: more than 600
Skimmers: more than 550
Other Vessels: more than 2,600
Total active response vessels: more than 6,950

Aircraft: 115

Boom deployed: more than 2.79 million feet
Boom available: more than 811,000 feet
Total boom: more than 3.6 million feet

Oily water recovered: nearly 28.17 million gallons
Amount estimated burned: nearly 9.99 million gallons

Oil captured (CAP) over last 24hrs: more than 1.05 million gallons

Surface dispersant used: more than 1.05 million gallons
Subsea dispersant used: more than 600,000 gallons
Total dispersant used: more than 1,650,000 gallons

Overall personnel responding: more than 43,000 personnel responding

Here is your Day 73 daily tally on the animals:

dead birds : 881
oiled but alive : 1,248
cleaned and released : 322

dead sea turtles: 441
oiled but alive: 102 
cleaned and released: 3

dead mammals: 52         
oiled but alive: 2
cleaned and released: 1

Rep. Edward Markey says BP's disaster response plan for an oil spill doesn't mention hurricanes or tropical storms.      Markey says the omission is yet another example of what the oil giant was not prepared to handle.

Big Surprise there right?  Obviously BP (nor any of the other oil companies) have shown themselves to be prepared for a spill nor the consequences that follow, so why expect them to have any kind of real time plan on what they should do in the event of a  hurricane.   You do have to wonder if they considered anything at all besides rushing a job done in order to claim as many profits as possible.

Okay Now Onto Rumor Patrol~

I've heard rumors that the Unified Command is threatening arrest of a class D felony and or a $40,000.00 fine of anyone including press who is caught within 20 meters of a "safe zone".
Of course there have been no links or verified proof to those claims so I went looking to see what I could find.

I did find something sorta similar but not really.

Coast Guard establishes 20-meter safety zone around all Deepwater Horizon protective boom; operations

NEW ORLEANS - The Captains of the Port for Morgan City, La., New Orleans, La., and Mobile, Ala. , under the authority of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, has established a 20- meter safety zone surrounding all Deepwater Horizon booming operations and oil response efforts taking place in Southeast Louisiana.

Vessels must not come within 20 meters of booming operations, boom, or oil spill response operations under penalty of law.
The safety zone has been put in place to protect members of the response effort, the installation and maintenance of oil containment boom, the operation of response equipment and protection of the environment by limiting access to and through deployed protective boom.
In areas where vessels operators cannot avoid the 20-meter rule, they are required to be cautious of boom and boom operations by transiting at a safe speed and distance.
Violation of a safety zone can result in up to a $40,000 civil penalty. Willful violations may result in a class D felony.
Permission to enter any safety zone must be granted by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans by calling 504-846-5923.

Unified Command Deepwater Horizon Response

So that sounds a bit different from what I have seen reported on some of the conspiracy websites.

I was also reading Huffington Post and came across this story by Allison Kilkenny who says she spoke to a friend of hers named C.S. Muncy, who is a photojournalist and had taken a very, very brief video that shows some potentially disturbing images.
Video claiming that sand has been dumped over oil in attempt to cover it up:

After watching the video, I cannot confirm or deny the claims made in this video, but I have say I remain skeptical simply because  there was no attempt to remove the sand from the top to show what was underneath, and the description of it as seeming to be like "asphalt" under the sand seems unrealistic.  I cannot imagine that it would become that hard and unyielding.   We've seen the images of the tarballs, and the oil that is washing ashore, and it is gooey and sticky not hard like a rock.
I could be wrong, but I think before I call this one confirmed, I'll wait for more information, and more independent verification.

Now another rumor I've heard is that there is a giant methane gas bubble forming beneath the surface of the sea floor which is going to explode out and possibly cause a giant Tsunami.

Now this is patently ridiculous.  First and foremost, I cannot imagine that if this was indeed happening that BP or the Coast Guard would allow themselves to be sitting atop a potential danger like that that could kill all of them should such a thing happen.   Take into account that methane is coming up with the oil as that is what is being burned off on the rig/ship on the surface.   Methane bubbling up is not unusual and it is being studied, but it has been naturally occurring instances.   Now am I prepared to say that this would never happen? No, because I know better than to say "never", but in all likelihood it is not happening and won't happen.  As with the gushing itself, we would have independent scientists who are knowledgeable on this issue who would be stepping to the forefront to state this was indeed not only possible but probable.  So far, I have not see a rush rush from the scientific community to make any such claims.

The bigger concern is the amount of methane which is escaping (and not building up) which could cause more dead zones as it depletes the oxygen in the ocean.

For anyone who has never heard of it before, a dead zone in the ocean is an area where the oxygen in the water has depleted to the point where it cannot sustain life.  

The Gulf of Mexico is already home to one the the largest dead zones in the world, so this would be just another deadly blow to the gulf.


  1. RE: Sand being brought in to cover oil. A Pensacola City Counsel man (NOT county or Pensacola Beach) was on Chris Matthews show, Hardball, telling Chris that this is happening on P.Beach. However, No one that I can find has seen any such thing happening, including the counsel man. It would take LOTS of big dump trucks to bring the sand in and could not be done in secret in the middle of the night. There is one toll bridge to come to the island. Be hard to hide that kind of activity. Also, where would the sand come from? It is patently ridiculous, at least at this time.

    There has been heavy machinery moving some sand around on the beach and appeared to be pushing it into the water to soak of some of the oil coming in.

    Gulf Breeze was a few years ago, the UFO "capital". That tapered off but now the joke going around is that the aliens are bringing in the sand. Gotta find humor somewhere I guess, although it's pretty lame IMO.

    I understand having to get away from this subject for awhile. I can't look at the photos of the dead/dying animals. Just breaks my heart again and again.

    Keep up the great work and have a great 4th.
    Surfpnsbch - Sara

  2. Thanks Surf...

    I have to agree with you about the trucking in of sand. It would take a lot of work and a huge amount of dumptrucks doing that kind of work which would hardly be unnoticed, no matter where it was supposed to be taking place.

    Hope you have a good 4th, and try to get your mind off the disaster for a little bit anyway, as hard as it might be.

    Take care!

  3. Eye,

    I don't want to add to your depression, but I read a good Al Jazeera blog on a Brazilian oil spill ten years afterwards. In comparison to the current spill, it was only 8,000 barrels. The writer, Gabriel Eizonda, wanted to see the area when it was estimated that it should have recovered after ten years. It is not a pretty picture.

    Take care.


  4. Eye,

    here is the video report that goes with the piece.