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sydneyst
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 Posted: Tue Nov 9th, 2010 06:14 pm

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Dear Fergie,




Support Endangered Species Act
protections for bluefin tuna today.


Bluefin tuna urgently need your help. Overfishing has reduced Atlantic bluefin tuna populations by more than 80 percent since industrial fishing practices began. On September 21, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced it will consider protecting Atlantic bluefin tuna under the Endangered Species Act in response to a Center for Biological Diversity petition.

There are two imperiled populations of Atlantic bluefin tuna: one that spawns in the Gulf of Mexico and another that spawns in the Mediterranean. The petition seeks endangered status for both populations, which are intensely overfished due to demand for high-grade sushi. Scientists estimate that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed more than 20 percent of juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna this year, further reducing an already-imperiled species.

Please take action today. Your letter will help persuade NMFS to act quickly and give these fish Endangered Species Act protections before it's too late.


Last edited on Tue Nov 9th, 2010 06:15 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 09:31 pm

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Another Platform Explosion and Spill in the Gulf;
Shallow Water This Time; 13 Workers Rescued

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7183306.html

Structure off Louisiana is operated by Houston-based Mariner Energy Associated Press Sept. 2, 2010, 11:43AM

NEW ORLEANS, La. — An offshore petroleum platform exploded and was burning Friday in the Gulf of Mexico about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay.

The Coast Guard says no one was killed in the explosion, which was reported by a commercial helicopter flying over the site around 9 a.m. CDT. All 13 people aboard the rig have been accounted for, with one injury. The extent of the injury was not known.
Coast Guard Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesau says seven Coast Guard helicopters, two airplanes and three cutters were dispatched to the scene from New Orleans, Houston and Mobile, Ala. She said authorities do not know whether oil is leaking from the site.

Ben-Iesau said all 13 people were rescued from the water by an offshore service vessel, the Crystal Clear, and taken to a nearby platform. All were being flown to the Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma to be checked over.

The Department of Homeland Security said the platform, known as Vermilion Oil Platform 380, was owned by Mariner Energy of Houston. DHS said it was not producing oil and gas.
A call to the company seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Ben-Iesau says some of those from the rig were spotted in emergency flotation devices.
Mariner Energy focuses on oil and gas exploration and production company focused on the Gulf of Mexico. In April, Apache Corp., another independent petroleum company, announced plans to buy Mariner in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $3.9 billion, including the assumption of about $1.2 billion of Mariner's debt. That deal is pending.

Apache spokesman Bob Dye said the platform is in shallow water. A company report said the well was drilled in the third quarter of 2008 in 340 feet of water.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama was in a nationals ecurity meeting and did not know whether Obama had been informed of the explosion.
"We obviously have response assets ready for deployment should we receive reports of pollution in the water," Gibbs said.

Responding to an oil spill in shallow water is much easier than in deepwater, where crews depend on remote-operated vehicles access equipment on the sea floor.

The platform is about 200 miles west of BP's blown out Macondo well. On Friday, BP was expected to begin the process of removing the cap and failed blow-out preventer, another step toward completion of a relief well that would complete the choke of the well. The BP-leased rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 people and setting off a massive oil spill.

Last edited on Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 09:36 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Tue Aug 24th, 2010 08:29 pm

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Gulf Oil Spill: University Study Contradicts Government Estimates, Up To 79% Of Oil Could Remain

AP/Huffington Post
First Posted: 08-17-10 03:10 AM   |   Updated: 08-17-10 03:15 AM


Get Green Alerts A group of scientists say that most of that BP oil the government claimed was gone from the Gulf of Mexico is actually still there. The scientists believe that roughly three-quarters of the oil (70% to 79%) still lurks under the surface.

The research team, affiliated with the University of Georgia, said that it is a misinterpretation of data to claim that oil that has dissolved is actually gone or harmless. The report was based on an analysis of federal estimates, but the Wall Street Journal notes that it hasn't been published or peer-reviewed yet.

Charles Hopkinson, who helped lead the investigation, claims "the oil is still out there, and it will likely take years to completely degrade." The UGA marine sciences professor, and director of the Georgia Sea Grant, added, "We are still far from a complete understanding of what its impacts are."

Earlier this month, federal scientists said that only about a quarter of the oil remained and the rest was either removed, dissolved or dispersed. Whether a glass is one-quarter full or one-quarter empty isn't exactly a matter of perspective. Why the discrepancy? According to a news release from UGA:
Hopkinson notes that the reports arrive at different conclusions largely because the Sea Grant and UGA scientists estimate that the vast majority of the oil classified as dispersed, dissolved or residual is still present, whereas the NIC report has been interpreted to suggest that only the "residual" form of oil is still present.

Hopkinson said that his group also estimated how much of the oil could have evaporated, degraded or weathered as of the date of the report. Using a range of reasonable evaporation and degradation estimates, the group calculated that 70-79 percent of oil spilled into the Gulf still remains. The group showed that it was impossible for all the dissolved oil to have evaporated because only oil at the surface of the ocean can evaporate into the atmosphere and large plumes of oil are trapped in deep water.
While both reports are optimistic that the oil will continue to break down, neither accounts for hydrocarbon gasses like methane. "That's a gaping hole [in the reports]," admitted one of the researchers.
Click here for the full UGA report (PDF).

Last edited on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 07:25 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Tue Aug 24th, 2010 07:58 pm

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Evidence of Plume Quickens Argument on Oil Fate

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/08/massive_oil_plume_found_underw.html
 
Massive oil plume found underwater by scientists

Friday, August 20, 2010, 11:58 AM     Updated: Friday, August 20, 2010, 2:22 PM
 
A massive, 22-mile-long underwater plume of oil droplets flowed to the southwest of the BP's failed Macondo well at the end of June, and the threat it poses to natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico remains uncertain, scientists who mapped the plume said Thursday.

The finding confirms that plumes of oil from the failed well have existed deep beneath the surface, and that the oil is not seeping from natural fissures on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientists who authored the peer-reviewed article published Thursday in the online research magazine ScienceXpress.

The question of whether there are large oil plumes in the Gulf, hidden underwater, has been hotly debated. And the release of the new plume study comes as a debate rages over the rosy picture painted by an Aug. 4 federal interagency report on the fate of the vast majority of the 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled from the well. That report, released in a White House ceremony, concluded that only 26 percent of the oil remained on or near the surface of the Gulf or onshore, and that much of the rest of the oil had dissolved or was dispersed and is degrading naturally.

But on Tuesday, Bill Lehr of NOAA, the lead scientist on the White House report, backtracked from those estimates, telling a congressional committee that only about 10 percent of the spilled oil had been skimmed or burned off and between 60 and 90 percent is still in the Gulf in some form.

The new plume study uses the concentration of four toxic chemicals found in the plume that are ingredients of crude oil to estimate that twice as much oil was supplied by the wellhead to the plume during the time of the study than was released by all natural petroleum seeps in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the same time.

The results of the survey and previous surveys also indicate "that this plume persisted at this depth interval for months, " the report said, and calls into question assumptions used by some federal officials that the oil will be quickly eaten by microbes in the Gulf and disappear.

"The evidence we collected showed conclusively that the plume existed at that depth," said Woods Hole oceanographer Richard Camilli, lead author on the scientific paper, during a Thursday news conference. "Furthermore, it shows fairly clearly that it was created by the Macondo site, the Deepwater Horizon well, and it was not created by naturally occurring seeps."

Camilli said the monitoring indicated the plume stayed at a constant depth, flowing through what amounts to an underwater valley away from the wellhead, instead of floating to the surface.

He said the research cruise had to be cut short at the end of June as Hurricane Alex entered the Gulf.

"The data suggests the plume extended much further than we tracked it," he said.

The scientists found droplets of dispersed oil in a layer between 1,067 meters and 1,300 meters beneath the Gulf's surface, that contained concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons in excess of 50 parts per billion, which they said indicates that at least 12,125 pounds of the oil component entered the plume each day.

They based that conclusion on samples taken from the plume in several locations that were tested for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, also known as BTEX. Based on those measurements and the assumption that the well released between 53,000 and 62,000 barrels a day, they also concluded that between 6 percent and 7 percent of all BTEX leaking from the well was contained in the plume.

On Thursday, Camilli and Woods Hole marine geochemist Christopher Reddy said more work remains to be done on the samples collected from the plume. Reddy said the researchers are not yet sure how much oil actually was contained in the plume, or its potential effects on biological activity.

"We will know more with time as more data comes out of the pipeline, with the hundreds of samples we collected with NOAA," he said.

Reddy warned that the data represent a snapshot in time, and the fate of the oil that was measured then is unknown. And it likely won't be found in the same location, as the plume was moving at about 4 miles per day, due to currents at that depth.

Photographs taken during the cruise from a remotely operated vehicle about 1,500 feet southwest of the well site, which is about 65 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, show the beginning of brownish cloudy water at 1,065 meters, turning to a deeper brown color at 1,100 meters and 1,200 meters, and lessening in intensity at 1,300 meters. Photos from above and below those levels show purple- or blue-tinged water.



Cameron McIntyre / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution via APChief Scientist Rich Camilli, left, a WHOI environmental engineer, and co-principal investigator Chris Reddy, a WHOI marine chemist and oil spill expert, aboard the research vessel Endeavor in the Gulf of Mexico. Camilli is the chief author of a study released Thursday in which scientists report the first conclusive evidence of an underwater plume from the BP spill. Aug. 19, 2010


The scientists reported that small oil droplets temporarily collected on the camera lens within the plume.

The scientists also found that oxygen levels near the plume did not seem to be affected by the presence of hydrocarbons, which they said raises questions about the ability of bacteria and other organisms to break down oil in deep water. But that may also be a plus for fisheries, they said.

"This suggests that if the hydrocarbons are indeed susceptible to biodegradation, then it may require many months before microbes significantly attenuate the hydrocarbon plume to the point that oxygen minimum zones develop that are intense enough to threaten Gulf fisheries, " they wrote.

Researchers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney in Australia, and Monitor Instruments Co., LLC, also participated in the cruise aboard the R/V Endeavor between June 19 and June 28. The research was funded by three grants under the National Science Foundation RAPID grant award program, which has already spent $10 million on 90 grants for spill-related science.



View full size
The research also was conducted under testing protocols set up by federal officials as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process. Water samples were shared with NOAA and BP.

The scientists collected data using the National Deep Submergence Facility's autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry, which has no physical connection to the surface when lowered into the water, but is controlled by on-board computers. The Sentry carried a mass spectrometer that was able to determine the constituents of the petroleum, and other chemical sensors to analyze the water.

The research on the plume was conducted from June 23-27, during which time the Sentry made three surveys and traveled in a zig-zag pattern totaling 146 miles.

Water samples also were collected with a "rosette" of scientific instruments lowered into the water at different locations.


Last edited on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 08:11 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Tue Aug 24th, 2010 07:44 pm

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Gulf Oil Spill:  What Happened to the Oil?


Argument Heats Up After NOAA Report  


from Science:


A Lot of Oil on the Loose, Not So Much to Be Found


by Richard Kerr


Now that the gusher that spewed oil for 85 days into the Gulf of Mexico has stopped, scientists are wondering where it all went. A federal report released last week should have begun to answer that question. Instead, political spin and media hype transformed the scientists' message even before it was released.


According to one CNN reporter, the interagency report led by the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that of the 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled, "75% has been cleaned up by Man or Mother Nature." Nothing in the report supports that interpretation. But there are multiple ways to read the report's iconic pie chart while remaining grounded in fact.

Last edited on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 07:55 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Thu Jul 8th, 2010 07:00 pm

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From NRDC:
Disaster on Ice


Dear Chris (and Sydney),


They’re BACK ...

The same company that just brought you the most catastrophic oil spill in American history is now planning a risky new project that would use untested drilling technology in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea -- the heart of America’s polar bear habitat.

BP’s so-called Liberty Project would use the biggest rig in the world -- propped up by a manmade gravel island three miles from shore – to drill up to eight miles horizontally, exposing pipes to the same kind of explosive “gas kicks” that led to the blowout in the Gulf.

In other words, this latest BP project is a disaster waiting to happen!

Please help stop it by signing this urgent Petition of Protest to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

You might have thought BP would lay low after the Gulf disaster: focusing on the cleanup effort and repairing its dismal environmental record.

Instead, the company is planning to begin drilling this fall in one of the two Polar Bear Seas that are home to HALF of our nation’s polar bears.

Let me share a few facts about BP’s Liberty Project:

  • Even though it’s three miles offshore, this project is NOT subject to President Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling in the Arctic! That’s because the operation is built on a 31-acre manmade gravel island. In other words, BP is getting a free pass based on a technicality.
  • BP is prepared to drill up to eight miles horizontally in search of oil, even though this type of drilling is even more prone to gas kicks like the one that caused the huge blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. In order to drill these unprecedented wells, BP has commissioned the building of the largest drilling rig in the world!
  • Shockingly, BP was allowed to write its own environmental assessment and emergency response plan for the Liberty Project, just like it did in the Gulf. And we know what happened there.
The Obama Administration needs to make clear that the days of BP running the show are over.

Tell Secretary Salazar to stop the Liberty Project immediately by denying BP’s application to drill. He is unlikely to do that unless he hears a groundswell of public opposition -- starting with you.

BP’s horrendous environmental record is well documented. It is already responsible for the 2010 Gulf disaster, the 2006 oil spill on Alaska’s North Slope (the largest oil spill to date in the region) and the 2005 Texas City explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 more.

We can’t afford a repeat performance in the Arctic. High winds, freezing temperatures and dangerous sea ice could make cleanup impossible. The nearest Coast Guard station is over 1,000 miles away, and much of the oil spill response equipment on-site is more than two decades old!

Tell Secretary Salazar to prevent a disaster on ice by saying No to BP.

Sincerely,

Peter Lehner
Executive Director
Natural Resources Defense Council 
 

Last edited on Thu Jul 8th, 2010 07:06 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Jul 7th, 2010 10:30 pm

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Whale Ship Looking to Swallow Oiled Ocean

http://www.gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/


U.S. Coast Guard photo

This week, all eyes have been on A-Whale, the 1,100-foot iron-ore and crude carrier that was recently converted into what’s being billed as the world’s first large scale oil skimmer.  The vessel, in theory, has the capacity to collect 500,000 barrels of oily water per day through 12 horizontal slits (shown in the image above) in the vessels bow.  The contaminated water is then “decanted” through a series of tanks that separates the oil before discharging the water back into the sea.

CONTINUE READING →→

Last edited on Wed Jul 7th, 2010 10:33 pm by sydneyst

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 Posted: Sun Jun 6th, 2010 11:48 am

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Latest Weather: Winds to Carry Spill to Coast

http://english.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html


Posted by: JeffMasters, 3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over through Tuesday, resulting in a continued threat of landfalling oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana.

The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday through Tuesday.

If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Panama City, Florida, by Wednesday. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now predict a return to a southeasterly wind regime, which would bring the oil back over Louisiana by mid-June. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Last edited on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 11:50 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 07:51 am

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Latest Status Report on Turtles and Marine Mammals
Marine mammals and turtles (effective May 30):
Sea Turtles
  • The total number of sea turtles verified from April 30 to May 31 within the designated spill area is 253. Seven live turtles were captured on May 31 during directed search efforts from a search vessel that included NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission staff and other partners working approximately 40 miles offshore. All the turtles were pelagic stage juveniles (6 Kemp’s ridley and one green turtle), alive and very oiled. Their behavior was abnormal, but they were responsive. All were initially cleaned on the support vessel, received initial veterinary care and were transported to Audubon Aquarium outside New Orleans, where they are undergoing further care.  Another Kemp’s ridley was captured during a skimmer vessel operation approximately 17 miles offshore, oiled and alive. This turtle was transported to shore by the US Coast Guard and Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife and is also now at the Audubon Aquarium undergoing further care. On water surveys for sea turtles will continue this week. The 253 turtles verified in the spill area include 12 turtles collected alive with visible external evidence of oil and one dead stranded turtle with visible external evidence of oil. All others have not had visible evidence of external oil.
    A total of 228 turtles stranded dead. A total of 15 stranded alive. Three of those subsequently died and one of the live stranded turtles –caught in marine debris -- was disentangled and released. There are 21 turtles in rehabilitation. Turtle strandings during this time period have been higher in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama than in previous years for this same time period. This may be due in part to increased detection and reporting, but this does not fully account for the increase.
Dolphins
  • From April 30 to May 31, there have been 29 dead dolphins verified within the designated spill area. So far, one of the 29 dolphins had evidence of external oil. Because it was found on an oiled beach, we are unable at this time to determine whether the animal was covered in oil prior to its death or after its death. The other 28 dolphins have had no visible evidence of external oil. Since April 30, the stranding rate for dolphins in Louisiana has been higher than the historic numbers for the same time period in previous years. This may be due to increased detection and reporting and the lingering effects of the earlier observed spike in strandings.
http://www.sydneysthumb.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=70&forum_id=1

Last edited on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 07:53 am by sydneyst

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 07:41 am

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NOAA Launches Public Information Effort on Response Efforts, Damage Assessment

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/topic_subtopic_entry.php?RECORD_KEY%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=entry_id,subtopic_id,topic_id&entry_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=809&subtopic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=2&topic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=1

Deepwater Horizon Incident, Gulf of Mexico

NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program is conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment. The focus currently is to assemble existing data on resources and their habitats and collect baseline (pre-spill impact) data.  Data on oiled resources and habitats are also being collected. Current Trajectory Maps on this page for full-sized versions.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment. The focus currently is to assemble existing data on resources and their habitats and collect baseline (pre-spill impact) data.  Data on oiled resources and habitats are also being collected.

Current Trajectory Maps on this page for full-sized versions.

Ben Sherman, John Ewald or Rachel Wilhelm or phone 301.713.3066.

  • To offer suggestions to clean, contain, recover or stop the flow of oil visit Deepwater Horizon Response Suggestions. This website also provides procedures and forms for Alternative Response Tool Evaluation System (ARTES) proposals.
  • For response-related inquiries, please phone the Joint Information Center (JIC) at 985.902.5231 or 985.902.5240.
  • To report oil on land, or for general community information, please phone 866.448.5816.
  • To report oiled or injured wildlife, please phone 866.557.1401.
  • To learn about volunteer opportunities in all areas and what training is required, please phone  866.448.5816.
  • To discuss spill related damage claims, please phone 800.440.0858.
  • BP is asking fishermen for their assistance in cleaning up the oil spill. BP is calling this the Vessel of Opportunities Program and through it, BP is looking to contract shrimp boats, oyster boats and other vessels for hire to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. To learn more about the Vessel of Opportunity Program, fishermen should phone 281.366.5511.[/list]






  •  

    Last edited on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 07:49 am by sydneyst

    sydneyst
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     Posted: Sun May 30th, 2010 08:09 am

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    BP Prepares to Take New Tack on Leak After ‘Top Kill’ Fails
    "Nothing is Good"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/us/30spill.html


    Win Mcnamee/Getty Images Crews worked Saturday on the failed top kill effort to stanch the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP will try another strategy.

    May 29, 2010
    NEW ORLEANS — In another serious setback in the effort to stem the flow of oil gushing from a well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers said Saturday that the “top kill” technique had failed and, after consultation with government officials, they had decided to move on to another strategy.
     
    Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, said at a news conference that the engineers would try once again to solve the problem with a containment cap and that it could take four to seven days for the device to be in place.

    fter three full days of attempting top kill, we now believe it is time to move on to the next of our options,” Mr. Suttles said. The abandonment of the top kill technique, the most ambitious effort yet to plug the well, was the latest in a series of failures.


    First, BP failed in efforts to repair a blowout preventer with submarine robots. Then its initial efforts to cap the well with a containment dome failed when it became clogged with a frothy mix of frigid water and gas. Efforts to use a hose to gather escaping oil have managed to catch only a fraction of the spill.

    BP has started work on two relief wells, but officials have said that they will not be completed until August — further contributing to what is already the worst
    in United States history.

    The latest failure will undoubtedly put more pressure — both politically and from the public — on the Obama administration to take some sort of action, perhaps taking control of the repair effort completely from BP.


    President Obama
    , who is spending the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, issued a statement Saturday evening on the decision to abandon the top kill.
    “While we initially received optimistic reports about the procedure, it is now clear that it has not worked,” Mr. Obama said.

    He said that Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard had “directed BP to launch a new procedure whereby the riser pipe will be cut and a containment structure fitted over the leak.”


    “This approach is not without risk and has never been attempted before at this depth,” Mr. Obama said. “That is why it was not activated until other methods had been exhausted.”


    The president continued, “We will continue to pursue any and all responsible means of stopping this leak until the completion of the two relief wells currently being drilled.”

    For BP, the besieged British company, the failure could mean billions of dollars of additional liabilities, as the spill potentially worsens in the weeks and months ahead.

    “I am disappointed that this operation did not work,” Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, said in a statement. “We remain committed to doing everything we can to make this situation right.”


    A technician who has been working on the project to stem the oil leak said Saturday that neither the top kill nor the “junk shot” came close to succeeding because the pressure of oil and gas escaping from the well was simply too powerful to overcome. He added that engineers never had a complete enough understanding of the inner workings of drill pipe casing or blowout preventer mechanisms to make the efforts work.


    “Simply too much of what we pumped in was escaping,” said the technician, who spoke on condition of remaining unnamed because he is not authorized to speak publicly for the company.


    “The engineers are disappointed, and management is upset,” said the technician. “Nothing is good, nothing is good.”


    Last edited on Sun May 30th, 2010 08:20 am by sydneyst

    sydneyst
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     Posted: Sat May 29th, 2010 06:21 am

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    Obama Makes Promises on Gulf Spill
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2010/2010-05-28-02.html

    GRANDE ISLE, Louisiana, May 28, 2010 (ENS) - As the top kill effort continues, President Barack Obama spent the day in Louisiana on his second visit to assess federal response to the oil spill. He met with LaFourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph; with members of Congress representing the Gulf states; with Incident Commander U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen; and with the governors of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.
    Calling it "the largest spill in American history," President Obama said

    "I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis," Obama said. "I'm the President and the buck stops with me. So I give the people of this community and the entire Gulf my word that we're going to hold ourselves accountable to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stop this catastrophe, to defend our natural resources, to repair the damage, and to keep this region on its feet."

    Sydney: Does Obama understand that only a small amount of oil can be cleaned up once it hits sensitive areas and that the damage will be long-lasting?  Who is advising him on this matters?

    "Justice will be done for those whose lives have been upended by this disaster, for the families of those whose lives have been lost," Obama said. "That is a solemn pledge that I am making."

    The government has stationed doctors and scientists across the five Gulf States to look out for people's health and then to monitor any ill effects felt by cleanup workers and local residents, Obama said. "We've begun setting up a system to track these effects and ensure folks get the care that they need. And we've told BP that we expect them to pay for that, too."

    The President says to prepare for more oil washing up onshore "in accordance with input from folks down here," he has directed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Admiral Allen to triple the manpower in places where oil has hit the shore or is within 24 hours of impact. He said that whatever Admiral Allen needs to respond will be provided.
    Admiral Allen today authorized building a two-mile-long land barrier that may stop some of the oil from coming ashore in Louisiana as requested by Governor Bobby Jindal.

    Oil clings to reeds in the mouth of the Mississippi River where it meets the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner courtesy Greenpeace) The authorized segment of the state and coastal parish sand boom plan to protect Louisiana is on a two-mile gap of an island off Plaquemines Parish. The state's total plan requests work on 24 segments totaling around 100 miles to protect the coast.

    "We need this first project to be done as quickly as possible so work on the next five segments can get underway," said Governor Jindal today. "This first segment is only two miles of a 100-mile sand boom plan."

    Governor Jindal said frustrated Louisiana officials have "started taking matters into our own hands." Last Friday, the governor redirected a dredge that was doing a coastal restoration of a barrier island in East Grand Terre near Grande Isle to build a 2.5 mile sand boom against the oil spill.

    Today, the governor and local elected officials visited the state-directed dredging work to view the effectiveness of sand booming operations in preventing oil from intruding into the interior wetlands.

    "We re-routed this project in support of our sand boom plan because we wanted to do whatever we could to keep more oil out of our marshes and off of our coast while we waited for approval from the Corps and the Coast Guard on our plan," Governor Jindal said.
    The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has confirmed shoreline impacts to date on about 100 miles of coastline on the Chandeleurs Islands, Whiskey Island, Trinity Island, Raccoon Island, South Pass, Fourchon Beach, Grand Isle, Elmer's Island, Pass A Loutre, Brush Island, Marsh Island, Lake Raccourci, East Timbalier Island, Devil's Bay shoreline, and Grand Terre. Cleanup operations are scheduled today for Grande Isle and Fourchon.

    A cleanup crew rakes in and collects oily waste in Grand Isle, Louisiana. May 27, 2010 (Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard) Speaking at the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Grande Isle, President Obama addressed the people of the Gulf coast, saying, "I know that you've weathered your fair share of trials and tragedy. I know there have been times where you've wondered if you were being asked to face them alone. I am here to tell you that you're not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind."

    "The cameras at some point may leave; the media may get tired of the story; but we will not. We are on your side and we will see this through. We're going to keep at this every day until the leak has stopped, until this coastline is clean, and your communities are made whole again," said the President. "That's my promise to you. And that is a promise on behalf of a nation. It is one that we will keep."

    Finally, today President Obama signed a proclamation designating June as National Oceans Month. "In 2010, this annual observance falls at a time of environmental crisis, as we continue our relentless efforts to stop and contain the oil spill threatening the Gulf Coast region," he wrote.

    "As we respond to this disaster, we must not forget that our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes demand our constant attention," Obama wrote. "They have long been under considerable strain from pollution, overfishing, climate change, and other human activity."
    "This year marks the 40th anniversary of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As we commemorate this special milestone, we are reminded by the ongoing Gulf Coast crisis that we still have much to do in order to safeguard our vast oceanic resources for generations to come," the President wrote. "Forty years from now, when our children look back on this moment, let them say that we did not waiver, but rather seized this opportunity to fulfill our duty to protect the waters that sustain us."
    Response by the numbers:
    • Some 20,000 people are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
    • Approximately 1,300 vessels are responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts, in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
    • More than 1.88 million feet of containment boom and 1.25 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill, and approximately 280,000 feet of containment boom and one million feet of sorbent boom are available.
    • Approximately 11.5 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
    • About 850,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed - 700,000 on the surface and 150,000 subsea. More than 400,000 gallons are available.
    • 17 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines, including: Dauphin Island, Orange Beach, and Theodore, Alabama; Panama City, Pensacola, Port St. Joe, and St. Marks, Florida; Amelia, Cocodrie, Grand Isle, Shell Beach, Slidell, St. Mary, and Venice, Louisiana; and Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Pass Christian, Mississippi.

    Last edited on Sat May 29th, 2010 06:29 am by sydneyst

    sydneyst
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     Posted: Fri May 28th, 2010 11:08 pm

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    BP Resumes Effort to Plug Oil Leak After Suspension

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/us/29spill.html



    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times President Barack Obama toured a beach in Port Fourchon, La., on Friday. He was joined by Admiral Thad W. Allen, far left, and the Lafourche parish president Charlotte Randolph.

    May 28, 2010



     HOUSTON — BP’s renewed efforts at plugging the flow of oil from its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico stalled again on Friday, as the company suspended pumping operations for the second time in two days before resuming the procedure Friday evening, according to a technician involved with the response effort.









    In an operation known as a “junk shot,” BP engineers poured pieces of rubber, golf balls and other materials into the crippled blowout preventer, trying to clog the device that sits atop the wellhead. The maneuver was designed to work in conjunction with the continuing “top kill” operation, in which heavy drilling liquids are pumped into the well to counteract the pressure of the gushing oil.

    The company suspended pumping operations at 2:30 a.m. Friday after two junk shot attempts, said the technician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the efforts. They resumed the procedure at about 3:45 local time, after the nearly 12-hour interruption.

    The suspension of the effort was not announced, and appeared to again contradict statements by company and government officials that suggested the top kill procedure was progressing Friday.

    Word that the top kill had been suspended came as President Obama
    , accompanied by Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, the leader of the government effort, toured the region affected by the largest oil spill in United States history. Mr. Obama walked along a beach dotted with balls of tar in Port Fourchon, La., and met with the parish president, Charlotte Randolph, and with the governors of Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.
    In Grand Isle, La., Mr. Obama said that “we don’t know the outcome of the highly complex top kill procedure,” and added that if it was ultimately unsuccessful, experts were ready to intervene with alternative maneuvers.

    Standing on the beach with state and local officials, Mr. Obama called the spill “an assault on our shores, the people, our regional economy and on communities like this one.”

    “This isn’t just a mess that we’ve got to mop up,” he said. “People are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach,Mr. Obama said he was ordering an increase in manpower involved in the containment and cleanup effort in the Gulf Coast and sought to reassure area residents that “you are not alone, you will not be abandoned, not left behind.” He added that even after the news media tired of the story, “we are on your side, and we will see this through.”

    On ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, Admiral Allen said the top kill effort was continuing, and that BP engineers had been able “to push the hydrocarbons and the oil down with the mud.”


    But the technician working on the effort said later Friday that despite the injections at various pressure levels, engineers had been able to keep less than 10 percent of the injection fluids inside the stack of pipes above the well. He said that was barely an improvement on Wednesday’s results when the operation began and was suspended after 11 hours. BP resumed the pumping effort Thursday evening for about 10 more hours.

    “I won’t say progress was zero, but I don’t know if we can round up enough mud to make it work,” the technician said. “Everyone is disappointed at this time.”


    Last edited on Fri May 28th, 2010 11:15 pm by sydneyst

    sydneyst
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     Posted: Wed May 26th, 2010 07:54 pm

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    Latest Situation Maps Posted

     Deepwater Horizon (MC-252) - Situation Status Map 5/26/2010 0600 Hrs (pdf, 772KB)

    The maps below will be updated daily.





    Last edited on Wed May 26th, 2010 08:00 pm by sydneyst

    sydneyst
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     Posted: Wed May 26th, 2010 07:45 pm

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    Live Video Cam Shows Damaged Riser

    http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/homepage/STAGING/local_assets/bp_homepage/html/rov_stream.html


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