Friday, June 25, 2010

Goodbye Pensacola Beach

The tide came in Tuesday night, under a moon almost full, and when the sun came up and the water retreated there it was: a broken band of oil about 5 feet wide and 8 miles long.
It looked like tobacco spit and smelled foreign, and it pooled in yesterday's footprints as far as you could see. State officials called it the worst show of crude on shore from the gusher 120 miles away.

As word spread, the people of Pensacola Beach walked to the black band to take a look, to take photographs, to be sure this wasn't some apocalyptic dream. They poured over the dunes all day, on pilgrimages to bear witness.

If the beach is church, Wednesday felt like a funeral.
Kevin Reed, 36, who learned to swim here and taught his own son, right here, how to swim, walked to the oil and cried.
"I can't help it," he said. "This just kills me. It feels like somebody just ripped my heart out. I knew it was going to be bad. I didn't know it was going to be like this."
He looked back at the band. He noticed there were no birds.

Kevin Reed, Pensacola breaks down and weeps upon seeing the oil-defiled shores of Pensacola Beach on June 23, 2010. "This will never be the same," he says. "I'd like to take the CEO of BP and jam his face in that pile on the beach."

Clean up crews are out, but they are leaving behind contaminated soil that is invisible to the naked eye..........

USF Coastal Reasearch Lab geologist Rip Kirby illuminates his foot and Pensacola Beach with a UV light on June 24. Oil specks glow orange in the sand on this beach that had been cleaned. Sifters used by cleanup crews allow contaminated sand to fall back to the beach, even though contamination is not visible to the unaided eye.

USF Coastal Reasearch Lab geologist Rip Kirby illuminates Pensacola Beach with a UV light on June 24. Oil specks glow orange in the sand on this beach that had been cleaned. Sifters used by cleanup crews allow contaminated sand to fall back to the beach, even though contamination is not visible to the unaided eye.

More frightening is what is found beneath the sand..........a vein of oil hidden 6 inches beneath the surface of the sand which researchers believe was buried overnight by the tide.

So even if the top layer of oil is shoveled up and taken away, contaminated sand remains on the beach, while a layer sits just beneath the surface. 
This is only the beginning.
Oil Blankets Pensacola Beach

More Photo's Of the Oil On Pensacola Beach

The following is a Video from Destin Beach, FL.  Oil globs washing up onto the beach and parents walking through it like it isn't even there.  Allowing their child to swim in the water, and play in the oil covered sand. 

Sickening to watch that child scream at her mother to get the oil off her foot, and yet mother acts as if it is no big deal and allows the kids to continue to play in it.  

Okay, onto an update on the Hurricane situation.

This is the latest Spaghetti Model for the "Tropical Depression" that has formed.  As you can tell it is too far out yet for any of the models to accurately predict where it might be headed, but my money is on the Blue (GDFL) Black (NOGAPS) & Gray (BAMM) as they tend to be the most accurate, or at least they have been the closest for the last 7 years that I have paid attention to them. I suspect that by Sunday we'll have a more cohesive track with more of the models coming together.

As I stated in my previous post about the Hurricane's I have been relying on Weather Underground for quite a few years as they are good, not prone to sensationalism and Dr.Jeff Masters does a good job of explaining his reasoning on his blog. 

A trough of low pressure is expected to swing down over the Eastern U.S. on Monday. If this trough is strong enough and 93L develops significantly, the storm could get pulled northwards and make landfall along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. This is the solution of the GFDL and HWRF models. If 93L stays weak and/or the trough is not so strong, the storm would get pushed west-northwestwards across Mexico's Bay of Campeche and make landfall along Mexican coast south of Texas, or in Texas. This is the solution of the NOGAPS, ECMWF, and Canadian models. A likely landfall location is difficult to speculate on at this point, and the storm could hit virtually anywhere along the Gulf of Mexico coast given the current uncertainty in its development. The amount of wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico next week is also highly uncertain. There is currently a band of high shear near 30 knots over the Gulf. The GFS model predicts that this band of high shear will lift northwards, keeping low wind shear over the Gulf next week. However, the ECMWF model keeps high shear entrenched over the Gulf of Mexico, which would make it unlikely 93L could intensify into a hurricane. In summary, I give 93L a 60% chance of eventually becoming Tropical Storm Alex, and 10% chance of eventually becoming a hurricane.

Weather Underground Jeff Masters Blog

Now I did have someone share this plot map with me that gives some additional models and their positions as it stands now, but it is more or less the same with some heading towards the Texas/Mexico direction vs others headed towards the Louisiana/ Florida direction. 

This explains what each model is: (I have bolded the ones I tend to watch as most accurate, but remember that they could be wrong, and more will be known over the next couple of days when the weather patterns establish themselves better and we see if the storm organizes into a stronger pattern)

Sources of Hurricane Models Plotted by SFWMD:

XTRP - Extrapolation using past 12-hr motion (NHC)
TVCN - Consensus of GFS, UKMET, NOGAPS, GFDL, HWRF, GFDN, and ECMWF models (replaces old CONU model)
NHC - National Hurricane Center official forecast

BAMD - Beta and Advection model, deep (NHC)
BAMM - Beta and Advection model, medium (NHC)
BAMS - Beta and Advection model, shallow (NHC)

GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) model
UKM - United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMET) model (Developmental)
NGPS - United States Navy Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) model

AVNO - NOAA Global Forecast System (GFS) model (formerly known as the AVN/MRF)
AEMN - NOAA GFS Ensemble Mean
HWRF - NOAA Hurricane Weather and Research Forecast (HWRF) model

CMC2 - Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) model
APxx - NOAA GFS Ensemble Members
CLP5 - CLImatology-PERsistance (CLIPER) model 5-day (NHC)

By the way, SFWMD stands for South Florida Water Management District

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Potential Hurricane, The Gulf Oil Spill, The Clean Up & Containment

What Happens If A Hurricane Develops In The Gulf?

Hurricane Season started June 1st and runs until November 30th.  This year they have been predicting it to be a much more active season than normal, but that is only a prediction and they have been wrong before.  In my personal opinion, I think it is better to prepare for a much more active season, and be prepared for that than to do as so many do and wait until the last minute to make plans and decide what to do when time is too important to be wasting on making plans.  We'll get into that later, but for now lets consider just the amount of  equipment that is out in the gulf.

Right now, we are going to have to think about several things. No only do we need to be concerned about how a hurricane will effect the oil spilled into the gulf, and how that will travel, but we also need to consider the ships and rigs out in the gulf which are working on containment of oil, as well as cleaning up the oil.   I have no idea what it takes for these rigs out there, 3 or 4 of them the same size as the Deepwater Horizen which went down after the massive explosion and fire, but there are a lot of other ships out there as well.  So I went to the Deepwater Horizon   Response website and found this:

Q: Hi. Thank you. There’s been some reports that the first major storm of the hurricane season might enter the Gulf as soon as next week. Could you walk us through what will happen with the collection operation if that happened next week?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: Sure. First of all, we’re watching the hurricane season very, very closely. I’m in constant contact with Jane Lubchenco, administrator of NOAA, and in fact, this week I talked to Craig Fugate, the FEMA administrator. We are informing each other of our respective operations. Of course you know they were involved with hurricane prep, so they would be anyway this time of year. And we do have that low depression that’s been informed in the Southeast Caribbean, and we’re watching that as well.

How we respond to a hurricane will be dictated by which production capacity we have on scene, and as you know this is evolving and will continue to evolve over the next two to three weeks. By the end of next week, let’s say, we would anticipate having three production vessels out there over the well site; the Discovery Enterprise, the Q4000 and the Helix Producer. Of those production capabilities, one of them is fixed hard to do the platform itself, and that’s the Discovery Enterprise down to the wellbore. The other two are on flexible couplings for vertical riser packages.

We would need in total to disconnect, recover to a safe harbor and return probably around 10 days to accomplish that, and we would probably have to start doing that anywhere between three to seven days in advance of the hurricane. Those procedures are being finalized right now. We’re discussing that with BP and the folks that are down at the area unified command in New Orleans. But if it happens—if we got notice that a hurricane was coming, we would need anywhere from three to seven days in advance of that to demobilize and redeploy the equipment.

Is that responsive?

Q: What kind of storm would have to be coming your way for you to do that? How—what kind of wind speed, or could you give anymore specifics on that?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: Well, what we’re going to do is—I was asked the question yesterday. I asked some folks working on how are mooring systems related to Saffir-Simpson Scales, because I think that’s the easiest way for people to understand that. And we will get that out to you in the next 24 hours. But basically, the least capable platform that’s in production to ride out heavy weather would be the Discovery Enterprise because it’s physically hooked to the well itself.

Anything that’s working through our vertical riser that’s floating with a flexible hose coupling will have a little bit more flexibility as far as the sea state, and the large vessels that will be coming on later in July, the shuttle tankers, have much more sea keeping capability, although none of them are designed or created, nor are the production mooring facilities and everything else, created to withstand a major hurricane. Exactly when the cutoff is as far as the sea state goes, we will put that together, and we’ll give you a brief in 24 hours.

June 22, 2010 Unified Command Press Briefing

Are there any storms brewing in the gulf that these guys should be worried about?  Well there is Invest 93 that should be watched for development:

Weather Underground Tropical Storm Computer Model of Invest 93
That is Invest 93 and this is what Jeff Masters has to say about it:

Forecast for 93L
NHC is giving 93L a 40% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday morning, which is a reasonable forecast. Given the storm's current lack of spin and relatively modest amount of heavy thunderstorms, the earliest I'd expect 93L to become a tropical depression would be Wednesday afternoon, with Thursday more likely. Wind shear is expected to be low, less than 10 knots, over the central and western Caribbean this week. Water temperatures will be warm, dry air absent, and the MJO favorable. I don't see any major impediments to the storm becoming a tropical depression by Thursday, and it is a bit of a surprise to me that the computer models have been reluctant to develop 93L. The GFS, NOGAPS, and UKMET models do not develop 93L, and the ECMWF model doesn't develop 93L until after it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula and enters the Gulf of Mexico in a about a week. The current (2am EDT) run of the GFDL model predicts 93L will be a weak tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico in five days; its previous run had 93L as a major hurricane in the Gulf. Given all this model reluctance and the current disorganization of 93L, I give the storm a low (less than 20% chance) of becoming a hurricane in the Caribbean. Expect 93L to bring flooding rains of 3 - 6 inches to Jamaica, eastern Cuba, and southwestern Haiti today through Wednesday. These rains will spread to the Cayman Islands and central Cuba by Thursday, and western Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday. The current run of the SHIPS model has 93L slowing down late this week to a forward speed of just 6 knots (7 mph) from its current speed of about 10 mph, in response to a weakening in the steering currents. A trough of low pressure is expected to swing down over the Eastern U.S. early next week. If this trough is strong enough and 93L develops significantly, the storm could get pulled northwards and make landfall along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast in the oil spill region. This is the solution of the Canadian GEM model. If 93L stays weak and/or the trough is not so strong, the storm would get pushed west-northwestwards towards the Texas coast. This is the solution of the ECMWF model. The amount of wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico next week is highly uncertain. There is currently a band of high shear near 30 knots over the Gulf, and some of the models predict this shear will remain over the Gulf over the next 7 - 10 days. However, other models predict that this band of high shear will retreat northwards and leave the Gulf nearly shear-free. The long-term fate of 93L remains very murky. My main concerns at this point are the potential for 3 - 6 inches of rain in Haiti over the next two days, and the possibility 93L could become a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico next week.
Jeff Masters Weather Underground Blog

If the rigs in the gulf need a week to disengage what they are working on and move to safe harbor, then they are going to be running into some issues, especially in light of the fact that hurricane's are not predictable and sometimes they can blow up in strength and change direction pretty quickly depending on the weather circumstances.

If you have any interest in looking at the history of hurricanes in the Gulf/Atlantic you can find each year from 2009 all the way back to 1995 located at NOAA:
History of Hurricane Activity

There was also a new development today.  The LRMC was removed and this caused quite a stir.  It seems based on what Adm. Thad Allen had to say at the press conference, it seems that one of the ROV's hit a vent on the cap and it closed it which in turn caused some gas to go up the water tube they have run down there which is pumping warm water into the riser pipe to help prevent the formation of hydrates (crystals formed by the gas hitting the cold water).  

The LRMC is at the surface now being repaired so the oil & gas is gushing freely until that cap is placed back on.   Another concern is how this Tropical system starts to develop as they have said that they will need aprox. 5 days to disconnect everything and move to safety.   So if they are paying attention and they think that this tropical system could come towards the rig's they will have to move out in just a few days time at the most, which means that for 10 days the pipe will gush unimpeded and that will bring a lot more oil up for any hurricane to push around with the winds, and bring up onto the beaches.

What Have We Done?

We've spent a lot of time lately discussing the oil spill and the effect it is having on not just the land and the environment, but on the animals and sea life as well.   We are paying a high price for our addiction to oil and petroleum products, but that cost is much more than just what we see gushing into the gulf every day due to the negligence of BP in their desire to ignore safety for speed and greed.  Another effect that isn't being talked about as much at this time is the petroleum products we use based on our never ending craving for oil.

We are damaging our environment and our wild & sea life additionally by the products derived from the oil industry.  Plastics.  Convenient, and easily disposed of without a second thought as to what happens to it after we toss it into the trash.  I've been as guilty as any other for this behavior and I have tried to change that behavior, especially after seeing what our plastics and trash are doing to our world.  When I started looking into it, I was brokenhearted at what I found and one question kept ringing in my head........

What have we done to our world? 

What price are the creatures and our planet paying for our insatiable desire for convenience and our thoughtless treatment of the world we live in?

These photographs of albatross chicks were made just a few weeks ago on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents,who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged,or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.

Chris Jordon

Seeing these pictures turned my stomach, and I could not "click away" from the page fast enough, but then I stopped and thought about it. Leaving the page so quickly is what a lot of people like myself would do, after all who wants to view these kinds of pictures? It is much more fun to see pictures of cuddly and warm fuzzy animals rather than seeing the death and destruction we humans have brought down upon the creatures of our planet.

Yes OUR planet. We all live here. We, who are the most intelligent species on this planet have a responsibility to take care of it and we have been sorely lacking in that responsibility.

Scientists had previously thought plastics broke down only at very high temperatures and over hundreds of years.

The researchers behind a new study, however, found that plastic breaks down at cooler temperatures than expected, and within a year of the trash hitting the water.

The Japan-based team collected samples in waters from the U.S., Europe, India, Japan, and elsewhere, lead researcher Katsuhiko Saido, a chemist with the College of Pharmacy at Nihon University in Japan, said via email.

All the water samples were found to contain derivatives of polystyrene, a common plastic used in disposable cutlery, Styrofoam, and DVD cases, among other things, said Saido, who presented the findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C., today.

Plastic, he said, should be considered a new source of chemical pollution in the ocean.

About 44 percent of all seabirds eat plastic, apparently by mistake, sometimes with fatal effects. And 267 marine species are affected by plastic garbage—animals are known to swallow plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish in mid-ocean, for example—according to a 2008 study in the journal Environmental Research by oceanographer and chemist Charles Moore, of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

Just plastic bags:

Giant Ocean-Trash Vortex Attracts Explorers

n t he broad expanse of the northern Pacific Ocean, there exists the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. The area is an oceanic desert, filled with tiny phytoplankton but few big fish or mammals. Due to its lack of large fish and gentle breezes, fishermen and  s ailors rarely travel through the gyre. But the area is filled with something besides plankton: trash, millions of pounds of it, most of it plastic. It's the largest landfillin the world, and it floats in the middle of the ocean.
The gyre has actually given birth to two large masses of ever-accumulating trash, known as theWestern and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California; scientists estimate its size as two times bigger than Texas [source: LA Times]. The Western Garbage Patch forms east ofJapan and west of Hawaii. Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. The patches are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone. Research flights showed that significant amounts of trash also accumulate in the Convergence Zone.
**In the vast area of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, jellyfish and other filter feeders frequently consume or become tangled in floating trash.**
The garbage patches present numerous hazards to marine life, fishing and tourism. But before we discuss those, it's important to look at the role of plastic. Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world's oceans [source: LA Times]. The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic [source: UN Environment Program]. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one. Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean [source: Greenpeace]. Seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor [source: Greenpeace]. The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres and the massive garbage patches that form there, with some plastic eventually washing up on a distant shore.

How Stuff Works; The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

What have we done?

Study finds plastic 'diet' in leatherback turtles
Necropsy reports show a third of specimens had it in their digestive system

Leatherback turtles are critically endangered and highly charismatic creatures. They are big, weighing 1,000 pounds or more, with shells that can measure more than 6 feet across. These peaceful creatures have had the same basic body plan for 150 million years.

Leatherbacks are also popular for what they eat: namely, large quantities of jellyfish. The problem is that plastic bags look a lot like jellyfish, and plastic often ends up in the oceans, piling up in areas where currents -- and turtles -- converge. That led James to wonder how much often the turtles were swallowing plastic in their hunt for yummy jellyfish.

The researchers ended up with a sample size of 408 turtles, stranded at some point during the last 125 years. Of those, 138 -- or 34 percent -- contained plastic. Alongside the rise in plastic production, there has been a sharp rise in plastic-containing turtles since the 1950s.

Plastic can block a turtle's gut, causing bloating, interfering with digestion, and leading to a slow, painful death. "I can't imagine it's very comfortable," he said. "Their guts weren't designed to digest plastic."

Leatherback turtles are ancient creatures with a modern problem: Plastic.

Is anyone trying to do anything other than those "pesky" environmentalists who are consistently demonized in the media and by some politicians?

Date: Sept. 19, 2008
Contacts: Jennifer Walsh, Media Relations Officer
Luwam Yeibio, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail



WASHINGTON -- Current measures to prevent and reduce marine debris are inadequate, and the problem will likely worsen, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. The United States and the international maritime community should adopt a goal of "zero discharge" of waste into the marine environment, and a system to assess the effectiveness of existing and future marine debris prevention and reduction actions should be implemented. In addition, better leadership, coordination, and integration of mandates and resources are needed, as responsibilities for preventing and mitigating marine debris are scattered across federal organizations and management regimes.

"The committee found that despite all the regulations and limitations over the last 20 years, there are still large quantities of waste and litter in the oceans," said Keith Criddle, chair of the committee that wrote the report and the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professor of Marine Policy at the Juneau Center for Fisheries and Ocean Science, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. "We concluded that the United States must take the lead and coordinate with other coastal countries, as well as with local and state governments, to better manage marine debris and try to achieve zero discharge."

A National Research Council committee was convened at the request of Congress to assess the effectiveness of international and national measures to prevent and reduce marine debris and its impact. Marine debris, man-made materials that intentionally or accidentally enter and pollute the ocean, can cause significant harm. For instance, birds, fish, and marine mammals ingest debris, especially plastics, which can lead to digestive problems and uptake of toxic compounds. Animals can also suffer injuries or die after becoming entangled in fishing-related debris such as plastic net fragments, rope, and packing straps. Marine debris also poses a health and safety hazard to beachgoers and divers, and could impact coastal recreation and tourism revenue. While marine debris comes from sources both on land and at sea, the committee focused on debris discharged at sea for the purposes of this report.

Although Congress previously called for federal interagency coordination to address the marine debris problem, leadership and governance remain inefficient and current mitigation efforts are episodic and crisis driven, the committee found. A national framework to identify priorities for dealing with marine debris and its removal efforts should be established. Additionally, Congress should designate a lead agency to expand programs to comprehensively address the problem, including land-based marine litter, derelict fishing gear, shipborne waste, and abandoned vessels.

The rest of the Press Release can be read here which also provides a link to the full report itself (it is in book form at it is well over 200 pages long).

What can we do?

  • Some centers require you to wash items or remove labels or lids. Find out what your center requires before making the trip.
  • Try to avoid making special trips in your car to recycle, as you will be using fuel unnecessarily. Combine it with a trip you are making anyway.
  • If you are in school or at work where you use a lot of paper and then throw it away, try having a recycling bin under your desk, or a recycling pocket in your file. Make a mental note to put all recyclable paper in there each time you feel like heading for the normal trash bin.
  • Don't just think of the normal items you can recycle, do some research and expand it. Some things you might be able to recycle easily are:

    • Batteries (very important)- car batteries, equipment batteries, flashlight
    • Beer and wine bottles, jars, other glass items
    • Paper and plastic bags (reuse first if possible)
    • Magazines, newspapers, phone-books
    • Plastic bottles, plastic containers
    • Packing peanuts (plastic loose fill) can often be recycled at local postal services. You can locate one at
    • Cans and tins
    • Juice/soup/milk cartons
    • Any items with recycle symbol on them
    • Cell phones
    • Old televisions
    • Old computers
  • It is vital to separate the magazines glass cardboard etc and it is especially good to recycle styrofoam because it is one of the things that take FOREVER to decompose
Wikihow Tips On How & What To Recycle

Do what you can, for every little bit helps, and we need to start paying attention to what we are doing to this planet and all of the others who inhabit it besides "man".  They have as much right to live here as we do, and  we need to ensure that we are not causing their destructions simply as a matter of convenience for ourselves.  We will reach a point of no return and we need to stop this before it gets to that breaking point for ourselves as well as the planet and its other inhabitants.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Louisiana Police Pull Over Activist at Behest of BP

Last week, Drew Wheelan, the conservation coordinator for the American Birding Association, was filming himself across the street from the BP building/Deepwater Horizon response command in Houma, Louisiana. As he explained to me, he was standing in a field that did not belong to the oil company when a police officer approached him and asked him for ID and "strongly suggest[ed]" that he get lost since "BP doesn't want people filming":

Here's the key exchange:
Wheelan: "Am I violating any laws or anything like that?"
Officer: "Um...not particularly. BP doesn't want people filming."
Wheelan: "Well, I'm not on their property so BP doesn't have anything to say about what I do right now."
Officer: "Let me explain: BP doesn't want any filming. So all I can really do is strongly suggest that you not film anything right now. If that makes any sense."
Not really! Shortly thereafter, Wheelan got in his car and drove away but was soon was pulled over.
It was the same cop, but this time he had company: Kenneth Thomas, whose badge, Wheelan told me, read "Chief BP Security." The cop stood by as Thomas interrogated Wheelan for 20 minutes, asking him who he worked with, who he answered to, what he was doing, why he was down here in Louisiana. He phoned Wheelan's information in to someone. Wheelan says Thomas confiscated his Audubon volunteer badge (he'd recently attended an official Audubon/BP bird-helper volunteer training) and then wouldn't give it back, which sounds like something only a bully in a bad movie would do. Eventually, Thomas let Wheelan go.
"Then two unmarked security cars followed me," Wheelan told me. "Maybe I'm paranoid, but I was specifically trying to figure out if they were following me, and every time I pulled over, they pulled over." This went on for 20 miles. Which does little to mitigate my own developing paranoia about reporting from what can feel like a corporate-police state.
Louisiana Police working for BP

So now our police are working for BP?  This is outrageous.  The police strongly suggests that this guy not film while on private property, and yet it wasn't BP's property.  What the hell is going on?  How in the hell is this being allowed to happen.  Why does BP have any kind of authority with the police?

**By the way, Mother Jones is a non profit group and therefore could any support they can get to help them keep going.  If you can help them out, it is worth doing even if it is only a little, and I am sure that they would appreciate it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Updates, Interactive Graphics, & Pictures

BBC News has a fantastic Interactive guide that gives photos as well as moving graphics that explain & show what happened with both the sinking, the BOP, the attempts to stop the oil and it is incredibly easy to follow along, not to mention makes the whole thing a lot easier to understand from a laymen's point of view.

Interactive guide on what happened, and the details in easy to follow picture guide.

These are some screenshots of the wreckage of the rig:

Now this is supposed to be the shots from the different ROV's and their positions so you have a better understanding on what you are looking at. From the diagram you can see that these ROV's are not in a tight circle but are spread out at various key points.  This suggests to me that there is no reason why there cannot be independent ROV's down there to verify the information that BP is giving.  We've seen how they are willing to do everything within their power to hide the truth from not only us but from the government as well, and that should just be counted on as they are the ones who are going to ultimately pay based on damages, so they will obviously do everything in their power to minimize the damage done in order to minimize how much they are going to pay.

As more and more information continues to come out, BP is going to be hard pressed to keep pointing fingers at everyone else as this was their operation and they are the ones who had the final say on what was done and not done. I, along with many others are going to be watching closely to see exactly how this plays out due to the politics.

A Deepwater Horizon rig worker has told the BBC that he identified a leak in the oil rig's safety equipment weeks before the explosion.
Tyrone Benton said the leak was not fixed at the time, but that instead the faulty device was shut down and a second one relied on.
BP said rig owners Transocean were responsible for the operation and maintenance of that piece of equipment.
Transocean said it tested the device successfully before the accident.
Several rig workers the BBC spoke to who were on the Deepwater Horizon said there was pressure in April to work fast.
Work to prepare and then seal the well was behind schedule and had to be completed before a production rig could move in and start turning profits.
"Too many jobs were being done at one time. It should have just really slowed down and just took one job at a time, to make sure everything was done the way it should have been," said Mr Benton, who is now suing BP and Transocean for negligence.
BP has responded to Mr Benton's account saying Transocean was responsible for both the maintenance and operation of the blowout preventer.

BP was told of oil safety fault 'weeks before blast'

One can only hope that when this is all said and done that someone is criminally charged for this disaster.  11 people died due to yet again ignoring safety to maximize profits.  The gulf has been damaged beyond calculation and people's lives have been destroyed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Markey Obtains Doc's Showing BP Knew Worst Case of 100,000 Daily Possible

Markey: Internal BP Document Shows Worst Case Scenario for Spill Could Be 100,000 Barrels Per Day

WASHINGTON (June 20, 2010) -- Today Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released an internal BP document showing that the company's own analysis believed that a worst-case scenario, based on damage to the well bore, could result in 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
In the document, BP stated: If BOP and wellhead are removed and if we have incorrectly modeled the restrictions – the rate could be as high as ~ 100,000 barrels per day up the casing or 55,000 barrels per day up the annulus (low probability worst cases)
To read the document, CLICK HERE.
This number is in sharp contrast to BP’s initial claim that the leak was just 1,000 barrels a day. At the time this document was made available to Congress, BP claimed the leak was 5,000 barrels a day, and told Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the worst case scenario was be 60,000 barrels a day. This document tells a different story.
“Considering what is now known about BP’s problems with this well prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, including cementing issues, leaks in the blowout preventer and gas kicks, BP should have been more honest about the dangerous condition of the well bore,” said Markey, the chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
On Thursday, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was asked in his daily briefing about the condition of the well bore.  He said there, “So what I would tell you is we don’t know exactly the condition of the well bore. And that’s one of the unknowns that we’re managing around in terms of risks.  And that’s the reason we didn’t go, didn’t go to excessive pressures on the top kill and decided that we’d deal with containment and then go for the final relief well.”
According to Admiral Allen: "I think that one thing that nobody knows is the condition of the well bore from below the blowout preventer down to the actual oil field itself.  And we don’t know, we don’t know if the well bore has been compromised or not."
What the BP document suggests that if the well bore is compromised or becomes compromised, we now know we could be looking at a flow rate 100 times BP's initial estimate.  Even if we can't know for certain the condition of the well bore, we should have known how much oil could flow from it--BP did.
“When the oil spill started, BP said it was only 1,000 barrels a day. Now we know it could end up being 100 times larger than that in a worst-case scenario,” said Markey. “This document raises very troubling questions about what BP knew and when they knew it. It is clear that, from the beginning, BP has not been straightforward with the government or the American people about the true size of this spill. Now the families living and working in the Gulf are suffering from their incompetence.”
“BP needs to tell us what it will do if the well bore is compromised and 100,000 barrels per day of oil spills into the ocean. At this point, we need real contingency planning, not a plan with dead scientists and walruses,” said Markey.

Questions Remain on Integrity of Well

Documents Include:

At the time this document was made available to Congress, BP claimed the leak was 5,000 barrels a day, and told Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the worst case scenario was be 60,000 barrels a day.   These documents tell a different story altoghter, which shows the reason that I've been saying all along that it was important to get independent verification of what BP was claiming and that we should NEVER trust the criminal to give us accurate information on his crime.

This information is just mind blowing especially in light of the previous information that we got from dougr from the oil drum, which suggests that the well casing is damaged and could cause a loss of the BOP before the relief wells are completed.

Now since we nor they (BP/Coast Guard) know where the casing may or may not be damaged, if the relief well is not drilled far enough down it could cause a more significant problem.

We are after all dealing with unknowns here.  What a shame that that those who are supposed to be protecting us are unwilling to be honest with us about this disaster.  It is obvious that BP has no plan, they are simply playing it by ear.

What would they do if the well bore was damaged or if the BOP is further damaged before the relief wells blow out?  They haven't been able to stop or even contain the leak as it is, and this isn't gushing at full capacity as of yet.  This should be a huge red flag that tells our government that BP should no longer be in charge of any aspect of this operation, as they are simply not going to be forthright and tell us what is going on.

Then to top off the day, we have members of the GOP now wanting us all to pray the oil spill away.
Yes, that is what I said, pray it away.

Louisiana lawmakers propose prayer to stop oil disaster

While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are proposing a different approach: prayer.
State senators designated Sunday as a day for citizens to ask for God's help dealing with the oil disaster.
"Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement released after last week's unanimous vote for the day of prayer. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us."
The resolution names Sunday as a statewide day of prayer in Louisiana and calls on people of all religions throughout the Gulf Coast "to pray for an end to this environmental emergency, sparing us all from the destruction of both culture and livelihood."
Yes, brothers & sisters, you too can bring about the healing of the gulf and stop the oil simply by bowing your head and falling to your knees and direct your prayers skyward

Why doesn't this surprise me? Maybe Sarah Palin can get her Kenyan Witch-Doctor Priest, Rev. Muthee and he can join her down there and pray the oil out just like the can pray away the witchcraft!

And in other news, Tony Hayward took some time to reconnect with his family, and his yacht.  Reports that he was over watching his yacht "Bob" race at the Isle of Wight proved to be true, and while some reported that he was only there with his son, photos prove otherwise.

Trying to maintain a 'low profile', he was unsuccessful at that, but did manage to parttake of the race on his $700,000.00 yacht while those in the gulf were still struggling with issues like losing their business and homes.

I don't begrudge the man time with his family, but this is like rubbing salt into the wounds of those who have lost everything, are watching their environment be destroyed, while the CEO who stated he wanted his life back is out sailing on his yacht.   Talk about a PR disaster, this man is the perfect example of what not to do.

Happy Father's Day

A Happy Father's Day  to all the Dad's out there!

A Dad is a person
who is loving and kind,
And often he knows
what you have on your mind.
He's someone who listens,
suggests, and defends.
A dad can be one
of your very best friends!
He's proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
A dad can be patient
and helpful and strong
In all that you do,
a dad's love plays a part.
There's always a place for him
deep in your heart.
And each year that passes,
you're even more glad,
More grateful and proud
just to call him your dad!
Thank you, Dad...
for listening and caring,
for giving and sharing,
but, especially, for just being you!

Happy Father's Day