Scientists on a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico are finding a substantial layer of oily sediment stretching for dozens of miles in all directions. Their discovery suggests that a lot of oil from the Deepwater Horizon didn’t simply evaporate or dissipate into the water – it has settled to the seafloor.
NEW ORLEANS, LA. — Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, Kieran Suckling, is on his cell phone as he steers a rental car through downtown New Orleans. Beside him, the Center’s assistant director Sarah Bergman gives directions while working on a laptop and sending email from her cell. Since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, the controversial environmental organization has filed seven lawsuits worth $19 billion against BP and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Yet this is the first trip its busy directors have made to the place that they have been fighting to protect.
Few people in the world know more about oil drilling disasters than Dr. Robert Bea, who spoke with Washington’s Blog yesterday.
Bea teaches engineering at the University of California Berkeley, and has 55 years of experience in engineering and management of design, construction, maintenance, operation, and decommissioning of engineered systems including offshore platforms, pipelines and floating facilities. Bea has worked for many years in governmental and quasi-governmental roles, and has been a high-level governmental adviser concerning disasters. He worked for 16 years as a top mechanical engineer and manager for Shell Oil, and has worked with Bechtel and the Army Corps of Engineers. One of the world’s top experts in offshore drilling problems, Bea is a member of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group, and has been interviewed by news media around the world concerning the BP oil disaster.
NOAA’s Bill Lehr says three-quarters of the oil that gushed from the Deepwater Horizon rig is still in sea while scientists identify 22-mile plume in ocean depths.
A NOAA team reported two weeks ago that just over a quarter of oil remained in the Gulf as a light sheen on the surface or degraded tar balls washing ashore.
White House claims that the worst of the was over were undermined yesterday when a senior government scientist said three-quarters of the oil was still in the Gulf and a research study detected a 22-mile plume of oil in the ocean depths.
Jeffrey St. Clair is co-editor with Alexander Cockburn of the muckracking Web site and newsletter CounterPunch–where he has written extensively on BP’s Gulf catastrophe and other environmental issues. At the Socialism 2010 conference in San Francisco, he described the conveyor belt between the executive suites of energy companies and the offices of government agencies that regulate them–and how this incestuous relationship set the stage for the BP disaster.
Dr. Susan Shaw is a marine toxicologist who has spent the past two decades documenting the effects of hundreds of man-made chemicals in marine ecosystems. She studied the impacts from the Exxon Valdez spill and the oil dispersants used in the clean up. Her bio explains that “she dove in the Gulf of Mexico oil slick in May, 2010, to observe first-hand how oil and dispersants were impacting life in the water column.” The experience prompted her to call for an independent investigation, the Gulf EcoTox Project, to track the impacts of oil and chemical dispersants in the Gulf food web.
Since BP announced that CEO Tony Hayward would receive a multi-million dollar golden parachute and be replaced by Bob Dudley, we have witnessed an incredibly broad, and powerful, propaganda campaign. A campaign that peaked this week with the US government, clearly acting in BP’s best interests, itself announcing, via outlets willing to allow themselves to be used to transfer the propaganda, like the New York Times, this message: “The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.”
On 12 May, Vernon Asper was cruising through the Gulf of Mexico, just a few kilometres south of where the Macondo well was gushing tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day into the ocean. Asper, an oceanographer at the University of Southern Mississippi near Diamondhead, wasn’t there to see the carnival of response ships and drilling rigs at the site, or to look for oil slicks on the surface. He and his colleagues were hunting for something more elusive — an answer to what might be happening to the unseen oil and natural gas billowing into the bottom of the Gulf.
BP won’t stop at dangerous deep water drilling: the company is bent on still more dangerous projects, including genetic modification and hacking the planet’s atmosphere…
Sometimes you have to notice the silences. Where has Dr. Steve Koonin, Under Secretary for Science at the US Department of Energy, been since the Gulf disaster happened?
Koonin was intimately acquainted with the very technologies that have failed so spectacularly on the Deepwater Horizon rig in his former job as BP’s chief scientist. While his current employer, Barack Obama is trying to figure out ‘whose ass to kick’ over the spill, he might find it instructive to zip back to a presentation by Koonin at MIT in 2005, in which we see Koonin-as-oilman boasting of his company’s technological prowess in taking oil exploration and production into the ultra deep waters of the gulf.
A dolphin rises up out of the water off the coast near Grand Terre Island off the coast of Louisiana on Monday, June 14, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill continues to impact areas across the coast of gulf states. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle)
By JAY REEVES, JOHN FLESHER and TAMARA LUSH
June 17, 2010 “AP” — GULF SHORES, Ala. — Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again.
Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange — and troubling — phenomena.
Fish and other wildlife are fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast. But that is not the hopeful sign it might appear to be, researchers say.
10 June 2010 — Shot by Robert M. Young and Edward James Olmos on a trip to the heart of the oil spill in the Gulf. Edited by Stephen Cohen. Robert Young and I jumped on a plane and went to the Gulf of Mexico just to lend our support by documenting what we saw…
Reports have been coming out of the Gulf for days about British Petroleum blocking access to beaches and animal-cleaning stations, in some instances using private Blackwater-style mercenaries to do so. Journalists as well as citizens have been thwarted in their attempts to see for themselves the extent of the damage being done by the runaway Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Know what I’d like to see happen? I would like to see a thousand people, ten thousand, a hundred thousand, just show the hell up down there and demand access. Citizens and reporters alike, just get down there, link arms, and walk to the beaches and the marshlands with digital cameras and cell phones for instantaneous blogging of what they see, hear and smell. Pile into as many rented, borrowed and begged boats as can be mustered and plow out there to the scene of the crime. Dare the gendarmes to stop us.
Theoretical physicist, bestselling author and Science Channel host, Dr. Michio Kaku, discusses the ramifications of using a nuclear device to stop the oil flow. He says radioactive oil and tar balls could be “raining down on hair” and “rooftops”.
The Center for Biological Diversity today filed an official notice of its intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for authorizing the use of toxic dispersants without ensuring that these chemicals would not harm endangered species and their habitats. The letter requests that the agency, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, immediately study the effects of dispersants on species such as sea turtles, sperm whales, piping plovers, and corals and incorporate this knowledge into oil-spill response efforts.
“The Gulf of Mexico has become Frankenstein’s laboratory for BP’s enormous, uncontrolled experiment in flooding the ocean with toxic chemicals,” said Andrea Treece, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The fact that no one in the federal government ever required that these chemicals be proven safe for this sort of use before they were set loose on the environment is inexcusable.”
How the owner of the exploded oil rig has made $270 million off the disaster, and nine other shocking, depressing facts about the oil spill.
It’s been 37 days since BP’s offshore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, crude oil has been hemorrhaging into ocean waters and wreaking unknown havoc on our ecosystem — unknown because there is no accurate estimate of how many barrels of oil are contaminating the Gulf.
On May 24, 2010, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this false-color, high-resolution view of the very tip of the Mississippi River Delta. Ribbons and patches of oil from the Deepwater Horizon explosion are silver against the light blue color of the adjacent water. Vegetation is red.
Fine BP $100 million each day the oil is gushing, and imprison regulators and BP executives
Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré commanded the military response to Hurricane Katrina. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2008 after 37 years, sits on the board of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation and is an adjunct professor at Emory and Vanderbilt universities. He is the author of Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness Can Save America and You from Disasters. “You are your own first responder.”
It’s interesting how many people have swallowed the BP public relations’ bait to call the explosion from Deepwater Horizon oil rig the Gulf oil spill. We need to call it what it is: the BP oil spill. The federal government needs to take control and take punitive action against BP and any negligent government regulators immediately.
IT IS DIFFICULT to conceive of a more resounding insult to our intelligence than BP’s full-page advertisements in the New York Times and USA Today about its response to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The BP ad begins, “Since the tragic accident on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig first occurred, we have been committed to doing everything possible to stop the flow of oil at the seabed, collect the oil on the surface and keep it away from the shore . . . on the seabed, we are using multiple technologies to reduce the flow of oil and ultimately stop it.’’
This is after multiple failures to use intelligence.
A Twitter user with an account dubbed BPGlobalPR is posting satirical entries about the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — and already has more than twice as many followers as BP America’s actual account.
With posts such as “The good news: Mermaids are real. The bad news: They are now extinct. #bpcares,” the stream of tweets from the account is long on dark humor and subtle outrage at BP’s actions. It’s also peppered with responses to twitterers who did not know that the account was fake and were angered at the thought that an oil company would post content such as “If we had a dollar for every complaint about this oil spill, it wouldn’t compare to our current fortune. Oil is a lucrative industry!”
Caldwell advised Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, that under the U.S. constitution the federal government does not have the legal authority to deny a state the right to conduct such emergency operations to protect its citizens and territory….