Saturday, May 1, 2010

**Update On Gulf Oil Spill**

It seems that with each passing moment the news grows more grim coming from the Gulf of Mexico.

WASHINGTON—The Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be leaking at a rate of 25,000 barrels a day, five times the government's current estimate, industry experts say.
Basing their calculations on government data and standard industry measurement tools, the experts said the Gulf spill may already rival the historic 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., and 1989 Exxon Valdez disasters.
Ian MacDonald, professor of oceanography at Florida State University who specializes in tracking ocean oil seeps from satellite imagery, said there may already be more than 9 million gallons of oil floating in the Gulf now, based on his estimate of a 25,000 barrel-a-day leak rate. That's compared to 12 million gallons spilled in the Valdez accident.
Interior Department officials said it may take 90 days to cap the leaking well. If the 25,000 barrels a day is accurate and it leaks for 90 days, that's 2.25 million barrels or 94.5 million gallons.
Experts: Oil May Be Leaking at Rate of 25,000 Barrels a Day in Gulf

So the 5,000 gallon daily is a low ball estimate of what is flowing into the Gulf at this point?  What other news are we going to find out?

BP plan deemed major spill from Gulf well unlikely

The worst U.S. oil spill in decades reached into precious shoreline habitat along the Gulf Coastas documents emerged showing British Petroleum downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the offshore rig that exploded.
BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill— and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals — was unlikely, or virtually impossible.
The plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, said repeatedly that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities."
The company conceded a spill would impact beaches, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas, but argued that "due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected."
Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs, Miss.-based environmental lawyer and board member for the Gulf Restoration Network, said he doesn't see anything in the document suggesting BP addressed the kind of technology needed to control a spill at that depth of water.
Documents Show BP Didn't Plan for Major Spill

To give you an idea on just what is going on underneath the water:

Just when you thought that it could not get worse, it turns out not only could it get worse but there is a good chance it will.  Ben Raines from the Hunstville Press Register has written a startling piece:

A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.

"The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."

Asked Friday to comment on the document, NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen said that the additional leaks described were reported to the public late Wednesday night. Regarding the possibility of the spill becoming an order of magnitude larger, Smullen said, "I'm letting the document you have speak for itself."

In scientific circles, an order of magnitude means something is 10 times larger. In this case, an order of magnitude higher would mean the volume of oil coming from the well could be 10 times higher than the 5,000 barrels a day coming out now. That would mean 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day. It appears the new leaks mentioned in the Wednesday release are the leaks reported to the public late Wednesday night.   

"There is no official change in the volume released but the USCG is no longer stating that the release rate is 1,000 barrels a day," continues the document, referred to as report No. 12. "Instead they are saying that they are preparing for a worst-case release and bringing all assets to bear."

The emergency document also states that the spill has grown in size so quickly that only 1 to 2 percent of it has been sprayed with dispersants.

The Press-Register obtained the emergency report from a government official. The White House, NOAA, the Coast Guard and BP Plc did not immediately return calls for comment made early this morning.

Leaked report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked gusher

So was this unexpected like we've been lead to believe it was?  Yeah, not so much if you take into account that BP has had a lot of problems reports Publica.

BP Had Other Problems in Years Leading to Gulf Spill

BP, the global oil giant responsible for the fast-spreading spill in the Gulf of Mexico that will soon make landfall, is no stranger to major accidents.
In fact, the company has found itself at the center of several of the nation's worst oil and gas–related disasters in the last five years.
In March 2005, a massive explosion ripped through a tower at BP's refinery in Texas City, Texas, killing 15 workers and injuring 170 others. Investigators later determined that the company had ignored its own protocols on operating the tower, which was filled with gasoline, and that a warning system had been disabled.
The company pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and was fined more than $50 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Almost a year after the refinery explosion, technicians discovered that some 4,800 barrels of oil had spread into the Alaskan snow through a tiny hole in the company's pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. BP had been warned to check the pipeline in 2002, but hadn't, according to a report in Fortune. When it did inspect it, four years later, it found that a six-mile length of pipeline was corroded. The company temporarily shut down its operations in Prudhoe Bay, causing one of the largest disruptions in U.S. oil supply in recent history.
BP faced $12 million in fines for a misdemeanor violation of the federal Water Pollution Control Act. A congressional committee determined that BP had ignored opportunities to prevent the spill and that "draconian" cost-saving measures had led to shortcuts in its operation.
Other problems followed. There were more spills in Alaska. And BP was charged with manipulating the market price of propane. In that case, it settled with the U.S. Department of Justice and agreed to pay more than $300 million in fines.
At each step along the way, the company's executives were contrite.
"This was a preventable incident. ... It should be seen as a process failure, a cultural failure and a management failure," John Mogford, then BP's senior group vice president for safety and operations, said in an April 2006 speech about the lessons learned in Texas City. "It's not an easy story to tell. BP doesn't come out of it well."
In a 2006 interview with this reporter after the Prudhoe Bay spill,published in Fortune, BP's chief executive of American operations, Robert Malone, said, "There is no doubt in my mind, what happened may not have broken the law, but it broke our values."
Malone insisted at the time that there was no pattern of mismanagement that increased environmental risk.
"I cannot draw a systemic problem in BP America," he said. "What I've seen is refineries and facilities and plants that are operating to the highest level of safety and integrity standards."
Nonetheless, Malone, who spent three decades at BP and was promoted to the CEO of BP America shortly after the Texas refinery blast, promised to increase scrutiny over BP's operations and invest in environmental and safety measures.
He told Congress that it was imperative BP management learn from its mistakes.
"The public's faith has been tested recently," he said. "We have fallen short of the high standards we hold for ourselves and the expectations that others have for us."
Time will tell whether the accident that killed 11 workers and sent the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig -- a $500 million platform as wide as a football field -- floating to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico was simply an accident or something else.
Malone, who retired last year, declined to comment for this article. A spokesman for BP was not available for comment.
BP Had Problems Leading Up To Gulf Spill

Of course this couldn't have happened at a worse time for this area.

Another thing to remember in all of isn't just the environment that is going to be effected by this spill, not just the wildlife and the sea animals, but also our people.  There are those who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, who depend on the ability to fish, shrimp live, pay bills and to attempt to recover from past devastations.  This is going to cost people everything they have.  Some generational businesses will be going under...permanently.   How much damage can people survive and continue to have hope?  How many times can a person lose it all and still pick themselves back up?  

I know that there will be more to report, and I dread it deeply because I know it is only going to get worse. The photos we will see are going to be devastating. The death toll on our wildlife will be more than we want to know about. The damage to our environment will be more destructive than we want to think about. People will lose everything and it will be heartbreaking to hear about.

We must bear witness to this. We must remind ourselves and our family, our friends, our neighbors and our country that this is unacceptable.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sarah Palin Says "Drill Baby Drill" & Look What We Get!

Sarah Palin, darling of the lunatic fringe and the GOP has been screeching for the United States to "Drill Baby Drill" .

She even wrote a piece for the NRO (National Review Online) and had this to say.....

Many Americans fear that President Obama’s new energy proposal is once again “all talk and no real action,” this time in an effort to shore up fading support for the Democrats’ job-killing cap-and-trade (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) proposals. Behind the rhetoric lie new drilling bans and leasing delays; soon to follow are burdensome new environmental regulations. Instead of “drill, baby, drill,” the more you look into this the more you realize it’s “stall, baby, stall.”

Sarah Says "Drill Baby Drill" not Stall Baby Stall

So she doesn't like the idea of "burdensome new environmental regulations"

Oil from massive Gulf spill reaching La. coast

Faint fingers of oily sheen have reached the mouth of Mississippi River

Oil Spill in Gulf is 5 Times Worse Than First Reported by BP

This photo/graph represents the anticipated & projected path of the oil spill for tonight and into tomorrow:

 This could go on for months!  Yes MONTHS!  Because it can take that long to cap the well and there is no way to know how much damage is going to happen before it can be brought under control.

Let's revisit some images from past oil spill disasters to see what we are in store for in the coming days, weeks and perhaps even months..........

But it is safe right Sarah?  Just Drill Baby Drill and damn those environmental protections!  

Remember what she said at the SRLC just a few short weeks ago? Some Don't! 

Much, much worse than first reported:

Fishing Communities Fear the Effects of this Spill:

So what is the potential impact?  How bad could this be?  Worse than you can imagine:

It's not just birds that could be affected, although they are usually the first to feel the effects, said Gregory Bossart, chief veterinary officer for the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. The birds are right at the surface, get covered in the oil and swallow it, causing liver and kidney problems.
"They need to be rescued and cleaned," he said.
But the coastline of Louisiana, with its barrier islands and estuaries, "is a very unique ecosystem. It's very complex," Bossart said.
Plankton found in the estuaries nourish organisms all the way up the food chain. Crabs, mussels, oysters and shrimp feed on the plankton, he said. Oil smothers the plankton, meaning they cannot eat.
Also, "the estuaries here are a nursery ground, literally a nursery ground, for the entire fish population in this area," Bossart said.
River otters in the region eat mussels and other animals. And "we know, in this area right now, that there are sperm whales. There are dolphins right in the oil slick," he said.
If an oil spill is small enough, animals can leave the area.
"Some of them can get away," Bossart said. "It's totally dependent on the size of the slick, and this is huge."
Exposure to the oil for a prolonged period of time can result in a toxic effect on the skin, and mammals can suffer lung damage or death after breathing it in, Bossart said.
"When the oil starts to settle, it'll smother the oyster beds. It'll kill the oysters," he said.
The Audubon Society, which is affiliated with the Louisiana Coastal Initiative, is recruiting volunteers in Florida and making its Center for Birds of Prey available for bird cleansing and rehabilitation. Elsewhere, Audubon said it was gearing up to mobilize volunteers and provide assistance as the oil reaches land.
The spill also threatens the Louisiana and Mississippi fishing industry, as crab, oysters and shrimp along the coast could be affected, along with numerous species of fish. Gulf shrimp are in their spawning season.
More than 400 species are threatened by the spill, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Thursday, citing the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
"When you stop and begin considering everything that this could impact, it really is stunning," Karen Foote, biologist administrator with the department, told the newspaper.
A handful of "Important Bird Areas" -- designated because of their value to bird species -- face immediate threat from the oil, the initiative said. They include the Chandeleur Islands and Gulf Islands National Seashore areas in Louisiana and Mississippi, along with the Active Delta area in Louisiana, which includes Delta Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area.
Several species of birds are cause for special concern, the Louisiana Coastal Initiative said. They include the brown pelican, the state bird of Louisiana, which nests on barrier islands and feeds near shore. The brown pelican's breeding season just began, according to the Initiative, and "many pairs are already incubating eggs."
The species was taken off the federal endangered species list last year, but "their relatively low reproductive rate means any disruption to their breeding cycle could have serious effects on the population."
More than 800 brown pelicans died when a smaller oil spill hit Louisiana's Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge a few years ago, MacKenzie said.
Species of beach-nesting terns and gulls, beach-nesting shorebirds, large wading birds, marsh birds and ocean-dwelling birds are also at risk, along with migratory shorebirds and songbirds, the Initiative said.
The migratory songbirds move across the Gulf during a two-week period from late April to early May, for instance.
"The journey across 500 miles of open water strains their endurance to its limits," the Initiative said. "They depend on clear skies and healthy habitats on both sides of the Gulf in order to survive the journey."
According to a 1998 study by Louisiana State University, more than 500 million birds fly over the Gulf and enter the United States along coastal areas in Louisiana and Texas each spring.
The barrier islands east of Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain have still not recovered from the blow dealt by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Bossart said, and a spill such as this one could seriously threaten their recovery.

Oil spill could be disaster for animals, experts say

But none of this matters to Sarah Palin and her ilk. They don't want you to think about the dangers, or the potential cost to all of us should a spill happen, so we should forget about regulations, let the private industry regulate themselves, and we should be damning the environmentalists who are for tougher regulations, no, we should not Stall Baby Stall but instead    LISTEN TO SARAH AND DRILL BABY DRILL!