Saturday, May 15, 2010

Like I Said... It's Gonna Get Much, Much Worse... For A Long, Long Time

Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given (emphasis mine).
The article goes on to say...
The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes (emphasis mine).

How much oil is really flowing into the gulf?

We don't really know.

Previous estimates were based on satellite images of oil on the surface... but observations of these plumes proves that there's a helluva lot more oil flowing than the government thought, and what BP will admit.

Can we find out?


Again, from the article (again, with my emphasis):
BP has resisted entreaties from scientists that they be allowed to use sophisticated instruments at the ocean floor that would give a far more accurate picture of how much oil is really gushing from the well.
“The answer is no to that,” a BP spokesman, Tom Mueller, said on Saturday. “We’re not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It’s not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.” 
Well, Mr. Mueller... it might help when we try to figure out just how badly BP has messed up the planet.

BP Spill... This Still Isn't Going Well.

Back to the drawing board.  Again.

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the Associated Press that BP's efforts to staunch the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico "had a problem Saturday with the latest effort to stop the leak," but didn't elaborate further.

But there's nothing to fret about, is there?  It's all chocolate milk and rainbows, according to Congressman Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi). 

If that doesn't calm you down, BP CEO Tony Hayward reminded everyone that:
"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."
Wow.  I never thought of it that way.  The HIV virus that causes AIDS is really, really tiny.  I guess it's nothing to worry about, either.

In the meantime, somewhere between 5,000 barrels and 50,000 barrels a day is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, and they aren't any closer to stopping it than they were when the explosion and blowout occurred on April 20, 2010.

Meanwhile, Federal approval has been given to use Corexit 9500 dispersant in the water column (it was designed for use on the surface)... a stuff which is itself a health hazard.

It's an act of desperation, sort of like BP's efforts to plug the gusher. Louisiana Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine has strong misgivings about Corexit 9500, and the fact that federal regulators dismissed his  worries about the chemicals.
 "Our concerns about the use of these dispersants underwater is based on the fact that there is virtually no science that supports the use of those chemicals" Levine said (emphasis mine).

This is going to get worse before it gets better... and it won't "get better" for a long, long time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Senator "Lease A Murkowski" Protects BP's Profits... And Her Campaign War Chest

A bill that would increase the liability cap for oil spills from the current $75 million to $10 billion was defeated Thursday by our own Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Lisa maintains that anyone with a damages claim against an oil company for a spill can "go to court" to collect it.

That worked out real well in the Exxon Valdez case, didn't it, Lisa?

A couple of facts:

BP's profits are $93 million per day

In her tenure as a US Senator (since 2004), Murkowski has received over $400 thousand from the oil and gas industry.

You can draw your own conclusions, but it sure appears "Lease A's" allegiance is to BP... not to Alaskans, or Americans everywhere.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

How's That "Rainbows and Chocolate Milk" Thingy Working For Ya, Representative Taylor?

On May 1, Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor flew over the BP Gulf Spill, and pronounced to his constituency and to the world at large the oil spill is large but it's "not Armageddon." (emphasis mine).  Taylor described the spill as a light, rainbow sheen with patches that look like chocolate milk.

When I pointed out on May 2 that Taylor sounded like an ignorant asshat, I was sternly rebuked by Rep. Taylor's aide, Brian Martin, who made the following comment:
The oil is already breaking down by the time it surfaces from 5000 feet down, then on the surface the waves and sun break it down further. The thin sheen is the last of it (emphasis mine).
When I concurred with Broadway Carl's view that Representative Taylor comments were not too bright, Mr. Martin couldn't let it lie.  On Broadway Carl's blog, he called both me and Carl "morons."

Now, it's revealed that the BP Spill is flowing at a rate possiblly 10 times worse than previously thought... the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez every four days... and no one knows where the hell the undersea oil is going or what environmental havoc is being wreaked.

Hey, Gene and Brian:  How's that "rainbows and chocolate milk" thingy working out for ya?

h/t to Broadway Carl and to AP for the picture.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

BP Spill Bad News - The "Dome" Didn't Work.

Officials for BP on Saturday encountered a significant setback in their efforts to attach a containment dome over a leaking well on the seabed of the Gulf of Mexico, forcing them to move the dome aside while they find another method to cap the crude oil flowing into the Gulf since April 20.
Officials discovered that gas hydrates, ice-like crystals lighter than water, had built up inside the 100-ton metal container. The hydrates threatened to make the dome buoyant, and they also plugged up the top of the dome,  preventing it from being effective.
“I wouldn’t say it has failed yet,” Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, said at a news conference in Robert, La. “What we attempted to do last night hasn’t worked.”(emphasis mine)

As a consequence, crews had to lift the dome off the well and place it on the seabed.
BP officials said they had anticipated a problem with hydration — but not this soon in the operation. Since last week they had been cautioning that this type of procedure had never before been attempted at 5,000 feet below the surface.
The news on Saturday came as BP has struggled to find any method to stem the majority of the oil, leaking at least 5,000 barrels — roughly 210,000 gallons — per day.
For now, they have put the dome 650 feet to the side of the leaking well, “while we evaluate options,” Mr. Suttles said.
Please remember - the real cause of this was the quest for profit... or, to put it bluntly, unadulterated greed.

Let's hope they can figure out a way to check this ongoing disaster, the eventual results are too enormous to even begin to comprehend.

I wonder if we'll learn anything this time around?