RSS

Category Archives: gulf of mexico

Two videos.

In the US, we have entirely forgotten about the BP oil spill.  (Well, unless you are one of the unlucky down south who is sick and/or dying from Corexit – aka Fuxit – the dispersant that BP sprayed all over the place in an effort to “clean up” the spill.)  The Macondo site is still leaking and there are reports that someone is still spraying dispersants in various places around the Gulf.  Sea life is still washing up dead on beaches and the fish caught for our consumption are deformed and showing signs of genetic mutation.  Despite this, we have resumed eating the seafood and swimming in the Gulf waters.  We do this because the only media coverage in our country about the Gulf of Mexico are commercials, sponsored by BP,  telling us that the “Gulf is open for business”.  We are apparently not only a resilient people, we are fairly dumb; something that BP and the other big corporations count on with great success.

It was up to the Australian version of “60 Minutes” to do a follow-up on the continuing health problems caused by the oil spill here.  Their concern was generated by the fact that oil companies in Australia are allowed to use Corexit in the waters around Australia, including in the Great Barrier Reef.

The video of the 60 Minutes broadcast lasts about 25 minutes.  Their coverage of the Corexit issue is split roughly 50/50 between its use in the US and its use in Australia.

BP oil spill investigation, Sixty Minutes summary:

When petroleum giant BP spilled millions of litres of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico three years ago, it was the worst ever offshore oil disaster.

To try and break up that massive slick, vast quantities of chemical dispersant was sprayed on the spill. It seemed to work: the oil disappeared. But people started getting sick and then people started dying.

Now, this environmental disaster has become a health catastrophe. The dispersant, when mixed with the oil, increases in toxicity by 52 times. This sickly, invisible toxin, still lurks in the water and absorbs straight into peoples’ skin.

In this special 60 Minutes investigation, we reveal the same chemical dispersants have been sprayed on the Great Barrier Reef and off the north west coast of Australia.

They’re still approved for use and our authorities are clueless as to how deadly they are.

The broadcast, from August this year:

 

The second video is very short, as it is just a preview of the longer film entitled “Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives”, a film by Jeffrey M. Smith.

Description from their website:

Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives has won the 2012 Movie of the Year by the Solari Report and the Top Transformational Film of 2012 by AwareGuide!

Never-before-seen-evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children.  Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.  Monsanto’s strong arm tactics, the FDA’s fraudulent policies, and how the USDA ignores a growing health emergency are also laid bare. This sometimes shocking film may change your diet, help you protect your family, and accelerate the consumer tipping point against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). […]

http://geneticroulettemovie.com/

You can buy the full-length film from their website or from Amazon.  I have watched the film, and can tell you that it is not sensationalism.  It is a sober and scientific look at the GMO foods being forced on the American public by companies like Monsanto, Sygenta and Bayer, and by the US Congress, which serve as their lackeys.  If you have fourteen bucks, buy the film, watch it yourself, and then show it to everyone you know.

The three minute trailer:

http://geneticroulettemovie.com/trailer/

Advertisements
 

Environmental news.

[..] 17 months before BP’s DeepwaterHorizon blew out and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig suffered an identical blow-out in the Caspian Sea.

Crucially, both the Gulf and Caspian Sea blow-outs had the same identical cause: the failure of the cement “plug”. […]

So, when its Caspian Sea rig blew out in 2008, rather than change its ways, BP simply covered it up. Our investigators discovered that the company hid the information from its own shareholders, from British regulators and from the US Securities Exchange Commission. The Vice-President of BP USA, David Rainey, withheld the information from the US Senate in a testimony he gave six months before the Gulf deaths. (Rainey was later charged with obstruction of justice on a spill-related matter.) […]

Only after I dove into deep water in Baku did I discover, trolling through the so-called “WikiLeaks” documents, secret State Department cables released by Manning. The information was stunning: the US State Department knew about the BP blow-out in the Caspian and joined in the cover-up. Apparently BP refused to tell its own partners, Chevron and Exxon, why the lucrative Caspian oil flow had stopped. Chevron bitched to the office of the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. […]

The US Ambassador in Baku got Chevron the answer: a blow-out of the nitrogen-laced cement cap on a giant Caspian Sea platform. The information was marked “SECRET”. Apparently loose lips about sinking ships would help neither Chevron nor the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, the beneficiary of millions of dollars in payments of oil company baksheesh.

So what about Bradley Manning? […]  Had Manning’s memos come out just a few months earlier, the truth about BP’s deadly drilling methods would have been revealed, and there’s little doubt BP would have had to change its ways. Those eleven men could well have been alive today. […]

http://www.gregpalast.com/bradley-manning-the-deepwater-horizon/#more-7998

 

While the US media tries to drive us to war with North Korea and Iran, they pass over news about the environment.  We sure have enough money to bomb and/or invade other countries and “secure” the Homeland.  Unfortunately, the Homeland is looking more like a wasteland every day, and we don’t have enough money to take care of that.  It’s a strange phenomenon, this dearth of environmental news, given that the environment is (literally) all around us and that too many disruptions and hazards will end up killing us humans.  We are not going to kill the earth, just certain life-forms that dwell on it.  We are one of those life-forms.  The earth makes no distinction and has no preferences for one species over another.  No, I am not going to go off on a rant about climate change.  That’s a futile exercise – people who don’t “believe” cannot be convinced.  The fact that the Pentagon believes – and likes the opportunities it presents – ought to be of some interest to deniers; those guys are some hard-nosed sumbitches with access to all the reports and science available.  We know next to nothing about the geoengineering going on all around us in attempts to alleviate climate change; but the military and some rich companies and individuals are messing around with far-fetched ideas all the time.  (A gratuitous “fuck Bill Gates” here.)  Unfortunately, these half-assed schemes are making things worse and the public has next to no input on the experiments.  The closest we come to hearing “discussions” is when some Congressional committee kicks around the idea of carbon credits, a plan that always ends up pretty much looking like the fossil fuel companies being able to pass some more costs onto customers, which is why the public always hates the idea.

Nah, I’m talking about pollution, toxins, the die-off of other species, all of which will affect homo sapiens negatively.  We think that we can evolve quickly (hey, look at how many varieties of i-shits we have!), but we cannot evolve fast enough to adapt to a world without fresh potable water.  Some of us will survive if we kill off all marine life, but not many of us.  Some of us can survive if the pollinators are allowed to continue dying off – we’ll eat foodstuffs that don’t need bees – but not many of us will continue living at that point.  We ignore the problems unless they are a local issue.  I guarantee you the people in Arkansas are aware of the details of the most recent oil spill, for example.

Congress does not care about any of this, at least not in the same way we, the fracked, do.  They care about what Monsanto and Exxon tell them to care about, which doesn’t happen to go beyond securing more profits for these corporations.  They’ve been bought off.

There are no real science committees in Congress.  They do not want to know facts about GMO food or allow any long-term tests on the effects genetic modification will have.  They want us to eat the shit and shut up so they can collect their payola.  They have convinced a large portion of the population that regulations of any sort are bad, even regulations that keep our food and water safe to ingest.  After Fukushima, Hillary Clinton assured the agricultural attache in Japan that the US would continue importing food from Japan without testing it for radiation and the US nuclear agency loosened regulations on nuclear power plants operating here.  The Macondo site continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico; after the BP explosion, Obama fast-tracked deepwater drilling permits.

At this point, I say that our rulers, i.e., Congress and the administration, should be tried for treason. They no longer serve the good of the American people. They have chosen, deliberately and with malice aforethought, to serve a different clientele, one which is bent on taking all the assets, land, and resources from the US public no matter the cost to that public.

I have collected a set of news items related to the environment.  Very few of them made national news by themselves, but the overall picture they present is grim.  Almost all of these are very recent – within the past month.  I have included a few older ones, as they show a progression from “then” to “now” or an earlier event may have resulted in what is happening now.  And I am aware that Fukushima is in Japan.  There is news about Fukushima included because that affects us here in the States whether or not we want to face it.

The United States on Monday criticized “unnecessary” European Union rules against genetically modified US crop imports as it prepares to enter free-trade talks with the EU.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/01/u-s-criticizes-unnecessary-eu-rules-on-genetically-modified-crops/

For the price of the Iraq War, the U.S. could have gotten halfway to a renewable power system.
http://grist.org/climate-energy/for-the-price-of-the-iraq-war-the-u-s-could-have-gotten-halfway-to-a-renewable-power-system/

“[…] Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were found to be in poor condition for aquatic life due to fertilizers and other runoff.  The EPA has found harmful levels of phosphorus and nitrogen as well as runoff from urban areas that have continued to degrade our 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers. […]”
http://jonathanturley.org/2013/03/27/report-fifty-five-percent-of-u-s-river-unfit-for-aquatic-life/#more-62243

US loosens safety rules at nuclear sites after Fukushima:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43455859/ns/us_news-environment/#.UWQskldGQe0

Fukushima: “Yet another radioactive water leak has been detected at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials announced Tuesday, as the nuclear catastrophe continues to unfold more than two years after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the plant.
“The new leak marks the third of seven underground radioactive water pools that are leaking since Saturday, and follows two failures of the plant’s cooling system in a month.[…]”
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/09-5

Fukushima: underground storage tanks for wastewater built like waterlily ponds.
“[…] TEPCO is moving tons of highly radioactive water from the temporary tanks to two similar ones nearby to minimize the leak. They are among seven underground tanks of different sizes which employ the same design.
“TEPCO admitted Sunday it had dismissed earlier signs of water loss as within a margin of error and waited until a spike in radiation levels around the tanks was detected. Critics suspect cash-strapped TEPCO built poorly designed underground pits instead of safer and more manageable steel tanks to save money. TEPCO has also been criticized for delaying replacement of makeshift equipment, raising questions about whether the plant is really under control.
“The underground tanks, several times the size of an Olympic swimming pool and similar to an industrial waste dump, are dug directly into the ground and protected by double-layer polyethylene linings inside an outermost clay-based lining, with a felt padding between each layer. Officials suspect there were ruptures in the linings due to the weight of the water.[…]”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/accident-investigators-say-japan-nuclear-safety-plans-too-lax-for-crowded-quake-prone-nation/2013/04/08/3c2ae7ee-a04d-11e2-bd52-614156372695_story.html

And:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/is-fukushima-leaking-or-is-the-the-reactor-wholly-uncontained.html

From an Aug, 2011 article on Clinton’s secret pact with Japan:
http://www.examiner.com/article/radiating-americans-fukushima-rain-clinton-s-secret-food-pact

No-one knows what to do with nuclear waste.  Fukushima cooling water – highly contaminated – simply stored in more and more tanks with plans to eventually “clean” it and dump it back into the ocean:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/04/20134681324337410.html

Thyroid illnesses showing up in US after Fukushima:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/02-1

And:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/study-almost-one-third-of-babies-born-after-fukushima-in-alaska-california-hawaii-oregon-and-washington-have-thyroid-problems.html

One dead, three injured in Arkansas nuclear plant accident.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/31/17540838-one-dead-three-injured-in-arkansas-nuclear-plant-accident#.UVwtFQjQY74.email

Hanford Nuclear Waste Site at Risk of Hydrogen Explosion, Report Warns.
Following report of leaks, nuclear safety board finds dangerous hydrogen build up in waste holding tanks:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/03-1

“[…] But there’s growing evidence that these two impulses, toward energy and food independence, may be at odds with each other.
Tonight’s guests have heard about residential drinking wells tainted by fracking fluids in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Colorado. They’ve read about lingering rashes, nosebleeds and respiratory trauma in oil-patch communities, which are mostly rural, undeveloped, and lacking in political influence and economic prospects. The trout nibblers in the winery sympathize with the suffering of those communities. But their main concern tonight is a more insidious matter: the potential for drilling and fracking operations to contaminate our food. The early evidence from heavily fracked regions, especially from ranchers, is not reassuring.  […]” – from Nov, 2012 article
http://www.thenation.com/print/article/171504/fracking-our-food-supply

Fracking and toxins in the aquifers as a result:
http://www.nationofchange.org/poisoning-well-how-feds-let-industry-pollute-nation-s-underground-water-supply-1355676143

” ‘There has always been a scientific link between fracking and earthquakes,’ U.S. Geological Survey spokesperson Clarice Ransom told AlterNet.” – http://www.alternet.org/water/153717

Natural gas (obtained through fracking) insiders admit there may not be all that much gas anyway – well productivity is vastly overestimated:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/us/26gas.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Yes, fracking causes earthquakes. (Duh.)
“[…] Researchers from Oklahoma and Columbia universities found that over time, depositing used-up drilling fluid into the ground may have snapped geological tension that had built up near rural Prague, Oklahoma, causing a 5.7 quake that destroyed 14 homes and injured two.
The authors also write that the number of large earthquakes in and around the center of the country has skyrocketed in recent years. […]”
http://www.businessinsider.com/fracking-wastewater-oklahoma-earthquake-2013-3

Natural gas extraction causing frequent quakes, property damage in northern Netherlands.
“Farmers living atop Europe’s largest gas field in the isolated northern Netherlands are angry at increasingly frequent earthquakes caused by extraction. Freezing winds and a glimmer of cold light pass through the three-foot by two-inch (one metre by five centimetre) crack in Martha and Jan Bos’s stable in Middelstum, a few miles (kilometres) from the Netherlands’ most northern.[…]”
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/31/natural-gas-extraction-causing-frequent-quakes-property-damage-in-northern-netherlands/

The Obama administration has broken the law, issuing oil leases across California without examining the risks of fracking. A federal judge ruled that the administration has “completely ignored” environmental concerns upon issuing the leases.:
http://rt.com/usa/fracking-judge-california-obama-583/

Judge in Wyoming says fracking chemicals must remain secret from the public.
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2013/03/25/judge-sides-with-wyoming-in-fracking-chemical-suit

Arkansas oil spill: martial law, how is it that the public didn’t know the oil pipeline ran beneath their neighborhood (for God’s sake, 9/11?  Really?  That’s the excuse?).
http://www.alternet.org/14-things-you-need-know-about-horrifying-arkansas-oil-spill?paging=off

No-fly zone imposed over Arkansas spill (sound familiar?) and oil diverted to wetlands:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/07/activists-claim-arkansas-oil-spill-diverted-into-wetland/

Oil spill in Texas, third in a week:
http://rt.com/usa/shell-pipeline-oil-texas-409/

Minnesota Oil Spill: Canadian Train Derails, Spilling 30,000 Gallons Of Crude In U.S.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/28/minnesota-oil-spill_n_2967118.html

“Chevron’s third pipeline spill in Utah in as many years on March 25 released hundreds of barrels of oil, polluting a river and leading to the closure of a state park and the evacuation of campers. Dozens of cleanup workers are now mopping up the fuel along the north-eastern edge of the Great Salt Lake in an attempt to avert a wildlife disaster. […]”
http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article/57174/Chevron-pipeline-oil-spill-is-third-major-leak-in-Utah-in-three-years.aspx?AreaID=2

Overfished and under-protected: Oceans on the brink of catastrophic collapse.
“The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans, victims primarily of overfishing. […] At the same time fisheries and vital marine ecosystems like coral are being decimated, the oceans continue to provide vital services, absorbing up to one third of human carbon dioxide emissions while producing 50% of all the oxygen we breathe.
“But absorbing increasing quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) has come at a cost, increasing the acidity of the water. […] ‘I could sum it up as: we need to fish less and in less destructive measures, waste less, pollute less and protect more,’ says Roberts.
‘This change of course will see us rebuild the abundance, variety and vitality of life in the sea which will give the oceans the resilience they need to weather the difficult times ahead. Without such action, our future is bleak.’ ”
http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/22/world/oceans-overfishing-climate-change/index.html

The garbage patches in the oceans (there is more than one): “So on the way back to our home port in Long Beach, California, we decided to take a shortcut through the gyre, which few seafarers ever cross. Fishermen shun it because its waters lack the nutrients to support an abundant catch. Sailors dodge it because it lacks the wind to propel their sailboats.

“Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic.

“It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world’s leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the ‘eastern garbage patch.'”

Capt. Charles Moore, discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in an article for Natural History magazine in 1993.
http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1

CBS Los Angeles: “Dead sea lions everywhere” — Rescuer: I’ve never seen anything like this… we never would have imagined the numbers — Expert: No oceanographic explanation for what we’re seeing.
http://enenews.com/cbs-los-angeles-dead-sea-lions-everywhere-rescuer-ive-never-anything-like-never-imagined-numbers-expert-oceanographic-explanation-video

This may have something to do with the above.  As the radiation-filled seaweed works its way up the food chain, larger animals die. From March 2012: Southern California had 2,500 Bq/kg of iodine-131 in seaweed — Over 500% higher than other tests in U.S., Canada
http://enenews.com/california-2500-bqkg-iodine-131-seaweed-500-higher-other-tests-canada

Dead dolphin spike in Louisiana, Mississippi — “We have been advised not to discuss our findings” — Mostly babies washing up…This is from March of this year.
http://enenews.com/tv-spike-in-dolphins-washing-up-in-gulf-of-mexico-mostly-dead-babies-we-have-been-advised-not-to-discuss-our-findings-video

“Manatees Dying in Droves on Both Coasts of Florida” — Deaths of pelicans, turtles, dolphins also increasing — “Scientists fear this is the beginning of a devastating ecosystem collapse.”  This is also from March of this year.
http://enenews.com/manatees-dying-record-numbers-florida-deaths-pelicans-turtles-dolphins-spiking-scientists-fear-beginning-devastating-ecosystem-collapse-videos

UPDATE, Thurs. 11 April

Lead in rice: “Commercially available rice imported into the U.S. contains levels of lead far higher than what’s considered safe, according to a study by the American Chemical Society and reported by Jason Palmer of the BBC. […] The U.S. imports 7 percent of its rice. The team sampled packages from Bhutan, Italy, China, Taiwan, India, Israel, the Czech Republic, and Thailand — accounting for 65 percent of U.S. imports — and calculated lead intake on the basis of daily consumption.
“Rice from China and Taiwan had the highest lead levels.[…]
“Rice products also contain ‘moderate to moderately high levels of arsenic’ (which is also highly toxic), according to a study by Consumer Reports. Palmer notes that Dr. Tongesayi has also worked on quantifying arsenic contamination, and plans on testing the prevalence of other heavy metals.[…]
http://www.businessinsider.com/lead-found-in-us-rice-2013-4

This comes on the heels of last fall’s report that rice grown in the US contains arsenic. The FDA said it would have a report out by Dec. ’12, but nothing has been released from them yet.  (Funny how the reports about lead in imported rice made the mainstream immediately, while the arsenic reports never made it much beyond Consumer Reports. Also note that the article – about lead – above does not mention that the arsenic is in US-grown rice.)  About the arsenic in rice:
http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/10/arsenic-in-us-grown-rice/

Bonus video.  Tina Turner sings “We Don’t Need Another Hero”  from “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”.

Lyrics:

Out of the ruins, out from the wreckage
Can’t make the same mistake this time
We are the children, the last generation
We are the ones they left behind
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the thunderdome
Looking for something we can rely on
There’s got to be something better out there
Love and compassion, their day is coming
All else are castles built in the air
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
All the children say, “We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the thunderdome”

(Fan made music video to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and The Road Warrior movies. All images, video, and sound recordings belong to their respective artists Warner Bros and Music Entities.)

 

If at first you don’t succeed…

BP has searched its soul – corporations now being people, they feel pretty certain that they can claim after-life rights to the Kingdom of Heaven – and decided that seeing as to how there is still unoiled blue water in certain locations of the Gulf of Mexico, they must continue with plans to entirely kill the place off once and for all.  The BP executive in charge of new wells, the aptly-named Mr. Looney, expressed shock that there were eyeless shrimp being netted in the Gulf and that baby dolphins were apparently being born with such remarkable genetic defects as to guarantee their early deaths.  This indicates, much to BP’s dismay, that blind shrimp can indeed swim and that dolphins are still engaging in marine coitus.  BP thought they had put a stop to that sort of activity.  Okay, I made the up the part about Mr. Looney discussing shrimp and dolphins.  That was sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell.  He doesn’t actually give a fuck about sea life and wouldn’t talk about sea creatures on a bet.

The Obama administration, also notably silent about the fish, animals, and humans in or near the GoM, is allowing BP to forge ahead on three new rigs, which is eight more than the number BP was operating prior to the spill.  Giving them a few more shots at killing off the last few fish in the barrel.  Literally.   One of BP’s next new projects (after these three rigs start up) will likely be in what the company calls “Mad Dog phase 2” – and if that name isn’t a finger to the GoM, I don’t know what is.  They are hoping to open up Mad Dog within the next decade.  By that time, the Gulf will be so obviously and completely dead that no-one could reasonably claim that the oil companies were doing “further” damage, thus removing the possibility that any lawsuits will be brought forward.

If you are interested, you might want to read my telescoped summary of the Deepwater Horizon spill here:

http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/02/deepwater-horizon-spill-continues/

BP is planning to start three new oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico this year. The launch of the new rigs will bring the number of BP rigs in the Gulf to eight more than the oil giant had before the devastating Deepwater Horizon disaster three years ago.

Bernard Looney, BP’s executive in charge of new wells, said BP is expecting to spend $4bn (2.5bn pounds) on new developments in the Gulf of Mexico this year and hopes to “invest at least that much every year over the next decade”.

After much soul-searching in the fall of 2010, we concluded it would be wrong to walk away [from the Gulf of Mexico],” Looney said at an offshore oil conference in Houston, Texas, on Monday. “We would have been walking away not only from our past, but from a key component of our future.

He said the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 people, had “challenged us to the core”, but said the company has been working hard to help prevent “such an accident from ever happening again”.

While conceding that BP was in “absolutely no position to preach”, he called on the industry to adopt broader safety standards.

Last October US regulators granted BP its first permit to drill a new well since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that spewed 4.9m barrels of oil into the fragile Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. The permit, for drilling in BP’s Kaskida field 250 miles south-west of New Orleans, was approved after BP’s well design met more stringent post-spill standards. [Teri’s note: the “more stringent” part was thrown in there for propaganda purposes.  The standards are “more stringent” in the same way we have “re-regulated” the banks.]

Looney did not state where the new rigs will drill, but industry figures said they expect an appraisal well in BP’s “giant” Tiber field 250 miles south-west of New Orleans. BP has long wanted to explore the area it discovered in 2009, but had been banned by regulators.

The company’s next big project, Mad Dog phase 2, is expected to start production towards the end of the decade. Looney said the field, which was discovered in 1998 and first began producing oil in 2005, holds more than 4bn barrels of oil – enough to promote it to the “super-giant” oil field category.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/apr/30/bp-new-gulf-mexico-oil-rigs

 

Here is a 14 minute interview conducted by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on 5 March this year regarding the proposed BP monetary settlement. She is talking with Antonia Juhasz, Greg Palast, and Ian MacDonald.  Note that at the 5:54 mark, Greg Palast says “horrific” deal, not “terrific” deal; it’s a little tough to catch the word.  This is a great interview, and although I don’t like the way Juhasz makes an attempt to make the settlement sound like it is “reasonable”, Palast does a wonderful job dispelling any such notion.  And since BP didn’t quite manage to make its mark felt in a horrible enough way in the Gulf, the Obama administration is giving them a chance to join Shell in destroying the Arctic as well, as is brought out in this interview.  BP and the other big oil companies will not declare success until all the oceans are dead.  Your future is of no concern.  They are interested in their profitable futures as oil giants.  Perhaps they also believe in corporate reincarnation, wherein they get to come back and make more money off whatever species rules the planet once they have made the place uninhabitable for humans, mammals, fish, etc., etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OvsOomTnbUE

 

Deepwater Horizon spill continues.

The BP Deepwater Horizon spill is not over.

On 20 April, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig blew up, releasing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  BP admits to using almost two million gallons of chemical dispersants during the clean-up effort.  We were told that the well had been capped and the leak stopped.  The media seems to have a virtual black-out on the subject, unless you are deliberately seeking information in the nooks and crannies of the internet.  But the oil is still leaking, and in fact, has never really stopped, although the flow has lessened.  Fishermen along the Gulf claim that Corexit is still being sprayed to this day.  New evidence has been presented in advance of the BP trial (scheduled to begin yesterday – although it appears that a settlement may be reached and the trial may never take place) showing that the well which was presented to the public as successfully capped was not the only well that was leaking at the Macando site and may not have been the main source of the leak at all.

A brief recap of some of the very few stories about the spill since the “well was capped”.

In June ’10, BP set up a 20 b fund to compensate those who had suffered hardship due to the spill.  No objection was raised when President Obama assigned a BP lawyer, Kenneth Feinberg, to oversee the claim fund.  BP has paid Feinberg’s firm $850,000 a month to administer the fund.  As of June ’11, the fund has paid just 4.7 b to less than 200,000 claimants, although there have been over one million claims filed, with thousands more each week continuing to be filed.

Immediately after the spill, a moratorium on deep water drilling was put in place, but was lifted in Oct. ’10.  (No new permits were actually issued until Feb. ’11.)  Ironically, the first new permit issued went to a company for drilling in an area very close to the Deepwater spill.

Jan., ’11: The White House released its final report of the spill, blaming BP and its partners for cost cutting and lack of a system to ensure well safety.  The spill was “not an isolated incident”, the report stated, but the “root causes are systemic, and absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, [such spills] might well recur”.  This statement makes no mention of the fact that the WH had lifted the moratorium 3 months before, without its own recommended “significant reform”.  (The US government issued its final report in Sept., ’11, laying the blame on BP, Halliburton, and Transocean equally.)

Feb., ’11: Research teams find oil on the seafloor which is not degrading, despite the heavy use of the dispersants.  This continues to be true to this date.

May, ’11:  Louisiana extends its state of emergency related to the spill, as problems are on-going.

July, ’11: It is found that 491 miles of coastline remain contaminated by BP oil.

Aug., ’11: Fresh oil is seen surfacing in the same area as the Deepwater site.  This is confirmed as a chemical match for the oil from the original Macando well.  BP quietly reactivates its clean-up crews, paying local fishermen to lay boom.

Sept., ’11: al jazeera article:

Sick Gulf residents continue to blame BP
from Al Jazeera Sept 2011

Many people living near the site of the BP oil spill have reported a long list of similar health problems… The smell of chemicals on the Mississippi coastline is present on many days when wind blows in from the Gulf.  
Presley’s list of symptoms mirrors what many people living in the areas affected by BP’s oil spill have told Al Jazeera.
  “I was having them then, and still have killer headaches. I’m experiencing memory loss, and when I had my blood tested for chemicals, they found m,p-Xylene, hexane, and ethylbenzene in my body.”
…

Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic dispersants, which are banned by many countries, including the UK.  According to many scientists, these dispersants create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil.  
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist in New Iberia, Louisiana, has tested the blood of BP cleanup workers and residents.
“Ethylbenzene, m,p-Xylene and hexane are volatile organic chemicals that are present in the BP crude oil,” Subra explained to Al Jazeera.  “The acute impacts of these chemicals include nose and throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, lung irritation, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea and vomiting.”

Subra explained that exposure has been long enough to create long-term effects, such as “liver damage, kidney damage, and damage to the nervous system. So the presence of these chemicals in the blood indicates exposure”.
  Testing by Subra has also revealed BP’s chemicals are present “in coastal soil sediment, wetlands, and in crab, oyster and mussel tissues”.  
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, and skin and eye contact.  Symptoms of exposure include headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, genetic mutations, cardiac arrhythmia, and cardiovascular damage. The chemicals can also cause birth defects, mutations, and cancer…

In ‘Generations at Risk’, medical doctor Ted Schettler and others warn that solvents can rapidly enter the human body,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist, and Exxon Valdez survivor, told Al Jazeera. ..

Dr Soto’s main concern is that most residents who are being exposed will only show symptoms later.
“I’m concerned with the illnesses like cancer and brain degeneration for the future,” he told Al Jazeera. “This is very important because a lot of the population down here may not have symptoms. But people are unaware they are ingesting chemicals that are certainly toxic to humans and have significant effect on the brain and hormonal systems.”
..

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/09/201191716821664814.html

 

Today is Thursday September 29, 2011. A friend of mine just returned from Venice, Louisiana on a fact finding mission. He spent 2 days there and talked to dozens of fishermen and BP contractors and Coast Guard personnel and there is alot of oil at the Deepwater Horizon-Macondo well site. It is not a sheen, it is several inches thick in some spots. A chemical analysis has confirmed it is Macondo oil. There is alot of activity in Venice and resources are being ramped up.
Word is that geological formation above oil deposit is unstable and oil is leaking from fissures around wellhead. All sealife on ocean bottom is dead according to Woods Hole Oceanograpic Institute in 30+ mile radius from site and Corexit dispersant is present in large amounts…

There are alot of sick people that worked on the initial oil spill cleanup and residents in many coastal towns and cities that are sick. This is the second inning of a long nightmare and anyone who signed a release to get a ‘quickpay’ from BP and their minion Fienberg should hire a lawyer asap and hope they can get their release annulled. BP top brass are sociopaths… “
http://bpoil.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/deepwater-site-still-leaking-fish-have-tumors-shrimp-with-no-eyes-did-bp-kill-the-gulf/

Oct., ’11:  NOAA reports that dolphins and whales continue to die at twice the normal rate.
BP is given permission to resume drilling in the Gulf.  A news story from Oct., ’11 (this references a letter sent to Congress in January ’11, although I doubt you ever heard this evidence being mentioned in the MSM):

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has not gone away. In fact, it has grown exponentially since the main stream media stopped talking about it. According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, an organization composed of scientists, medical professionals and seafood industry professionals, among others, the problem cannot be simplified to the damage already caused by the oil spill. It is worse, much worse…

The latest assessment performed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance reveals not only that the oil spill is still happening, but also that the Gulf of Mexico’s sea floor grew more unstable since the explosion in 2010. Additionally, analysis provided by experts like BK Lim, shows that the geohazards developed that derive from the rolling leakage of toxic matter, combined with the on-going use of the highly toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit will most likely result in the permanent decline of marine life, while posing out-of-control public health risks, just as it did after the Exxon Valdez spill ...

In a letter dated 14 January, 2011 that was sent to Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Congressman John Shimkus Chairman Subcommittee on Environment and Economy,  BK Lim warned the congressmen and their committees about the current state of the sub-seabed in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). In the document, an in-depth assessment of the emergency was provided. It explains why action must be taken immediately…

While BP was officially battling to kill well A, their contractors and other vessels went about with other covert underwater operations, many of which did not seem to be in sync with the urgency of killing “a third undisclosed well which was gushing even more oil”…

In fact, in early media reports animated graphics suggested 3 different leaks locations. BP admitted initially 3 leaks but conveniently reduced to only 1 later; ignoring to explain the “why, when and how”. BP had maintained from the start they had drilled only 1 well. From my analysis in early Aug 2010 I concluded BP could not have drilled only 1 well. They must have drilled 3 wells to account for all the conflicting information…

During the first few weeks of the disaster, there was a struggle within BP between thosewho wanted to come clean about the reality of the situation and another group that wanted to cover it up. Apparently the latter group managed to win the struggle and they decided to use the well with the least of the problems (the first and shallowest, Well A, which was drilled to about 5,000 feet below mudline) to be the one staged for the world media as the “show capping” of an oil spill. The third and bigger leak at Well 3, which the late Matt Simmons kept asserting was “the deepest well that reached the Macondo oil resevoir”, was kept out of the public limelight…

http://gosrc.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/gulf-of-mexico-sea-floor-unstable-fractured-spilling-hydrocarbons/

 

There is another interesting article from Oct, ’11 about Gulf Coast residents who have become activists on the spill issue being harassed, followed, and in some cases had their homes broken into and computers stolen.  See:

http://bpoil.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/gulf-of-mexico-residents-accuse-bp-and-their-security-company-of-harassment-dahr-jamail/

Nov., ’11:  The Coast Guard decides it is okay to wind down the oil clean-up efforts, although Gulf residents continue to see oil coming ashore and signs of serious illness in the fish catches.

BP will no longer be responsible for cleaning up oil that washes up on the Gulf Coast unless officials can prove it comes from the company’s well that blew out in 2010, causing the worst offshore spill in U.S. history, according to a plan approved by the Coast Guard and obtained by The Associated Press…

Louisiana officials wouldn’t give their approval because they were concerned about what they perceived as a lack of long-term monitoring in the document. They also complained that the Coast Guard gave them only five days to review the plan, according to a letter sent to the agency by Garret Graves, a top aide to Gov. Bobby Jindal for coastal affairs…

“Everything is just not how it used to be. When you pull a fish up, it doesn’t look like it is supposed to look, like they did before” said Ryan Johnson a fishermen on the pier. Johnson said many fish now have an unnatural brownish color.

Despite the concerns, the Coast Guard said its finalized plan would apply to Louisiana and all the Gulf states…

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/11/09/coast-guard-oks-winding-down-bp-oil-spill-cleanup/?test=latestnews

9 Nov., ’11:

The catastrophic oil spill caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon petroleum rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 was a disaster of epic proportions, and according to the new documentary “The Big Fix,” the havoc it wreaked is far from over.  Filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Harrell Tickell (“Fuel”) used their cameras to expose the ugly truth after a visit to Josh’s native New Orleans, when it became clear that the problems are ongoing and getting worse. “The oil appears to still be leaking. The deadly chemical dispersant Corexit 9527 is still being sprayed and humans along the Gulf Coast as well as shrimp and fish populations appear to be sick,” he said, showing photos of tumor-ridden fish and abnormal crab at a press conference for the film, where several fellow Louisianans corroborated his statements.

“Lives are devastated by this environmental crime for which no one has been indicted,” said attorney Stuart Smith, who represents more than 1,000 individuals and businesses in the Gulf and appears in the film. Citing the thousands of dolphins, turtles, shellfish and other marine creatures that have died, “The impact is bad enough, but what’s even more frightening is the oil is still leaking and bubbling up at the site where the rig once stood,” he said. “We have been lied to. It was leaking when Josh and Rebecca were filming, and it’s still leaking. BP downplayed the significance of the spill, which they’re still doing today. It’s time that the government and BP tell the American people the truth.”

Dean Blanchard, whose shrimp processing company was once the largest in the U.S., has seen his supply dwindle to “less than 1 percent of the shrimp we produced before. We get shrimp with oil in the gills and shrimp with no eyes. The fish are dead and there are no dolphins swimming around my house.” He knows five people who worked on cleanup crews who have died, and he suffers from sinus and throat problems. Former shrimper Margaret Curole’s healthy 31-year-old son worked two months on the cleanup and became so sick from dispersant exposure that he lost 52 pounds and is now unable to walk without a cane. “Most of the seafood is dead or toxic. I wouldn’t feed it to my cat,” said her husband Kevin Curole..

“The larger issue is the system is corrupt,” continued [actor Tim] Robbins, questioning why “the first license issued for offshore drilling
after the moratorium [was] granted to BP. The government has given up on its responsibility to protect the public interest and instead is allowing corporations to determine policy and environmental safety. What we’re seeing with the oil spill and the illnesses from it is what happens when we allow corporations to determine public policy. Corporations’ interest is purely profit. It’s nothing to do with our safety and interests. Why are we allowing this? It’s our responsibility as citizens of this country to keep these people in check, particularly when they threaten our environment with extinction and our lives.”…


The attorney mentioned in the above article, Stuart Smith, who is representing over 1,000 individuals and businesses in a lawsuit against BP, issued a press release in Nov. regarding the test results which prove that the oil still leaking into the Gulf comes from the Mocando site.  http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/11/21/41602.htm

One reporter who has remained doggedly on the oil spill story is Deborah Dupre of examiner.com.  She has written a review of the movie “The Big Fix”, which can be found here: http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/bp-government-carpet-bomb-gulf-people-world-now-knows   At the bottom of that article, you will find links to many other stories she has written on the subject.  The movie, by the way, is scheduled for release to the public in April.

Now we come to the present time.  I went through the exercise of presenting all the above articles in an attempt to show that the BP oil spill story is on-going and a current crisis – it is not over.  You will not hear about it on the nightly news or read about it in the Wash. Post or NYTimes; but that does not mean that everything is fine in the Gulf of Mexico.  I doubt, though, that anyone except the sick people along the coast and the fishermen who can’t find healthy fish know anything about conditions there.  The rest of us may become aware of the situation when either the entire seabed cracks apart or when some otherwise remarkably ignorant Republican candidate decides to use it as a story to smear Obama – not that the environmental issues mean a thing to Republicans.  Obama certainly ought to be held responsible, but what a dismal state of apathy and ignorance we live in for the issue to have been so easily tossed aside.  The Gulf is dying.  Oil is still leaking.  People are sick.  And we are fast-tracking more drilling sites.  The evidence is in: we are too stupid to survive as a species for much longer.

Yesterday was supposed to be the start of the BP trial; in advance of that, the following information was handed over to Congress and the Attorneys General of AL and LA.

Gulf Res­cue Al­liance (GRA) has just sent a brief­ing pack­age to the At­tor­neys Gen­er­al of Al­abama and Louisiana which pre­sents ev­i­dence they be­lieve has never seen the light of day con­cern­ing the how and why of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon Dis­as­ter and sub­se­quent re­lease of toxic oil into the Gulf—oil that is still gush­ing from var­i­ous seabed frac­tures and fis­sures.

The ev­i­dence pro­vided therein clearly in­di­cates:

  • The un­men­tioned ex­is­tence of a 3rd Ma­condo well (the real source of the ex­plo­sion, DWH sink­ing and en­su­ing oil spill).
  •  The cur­rent con­di­tion of this well being such that it can never be prop­erly capped.
  • The com­pro­mised con­di­tion of the seabed floor being such that there are mul­ti­ple un­nat­ural sources of gush­ers con­tin­u­ing to pour into the Gulf, with Corexit dis­per­sant still sup­press­ing its vis­i­bil­ity.
  • That the highly pub­li­cized capped well (Well A) never oc­curred as re­ported, and in fact was an aban­doned well, hence it was never the source of the mil­lions of gal­lons re­leased into the Gulf….

This ex­tra­or­di­nary re­port goes on to doc­u­ment a sce­nario in which it ap­pears that BP il­le­gally drilled more than one well at the Ma­condo Prospect in the Gulf of Mex­ico (GOM). Fur­ther­more, the well that was ul­ti­mately capped after 87 straight days of gush­ing oil and gas into the Gulf may not be the one that was li­censed by the ap­pro­pri­ate US per­mit­ting agen­cies.

The fac­tual se­quence of events, and es­pe­cially the ac­tual re­sponse by BP, ap­pear to be far dif­fer­ent from those re­ported in the media and by the Coast Guard.  It is im­por­tant to note that BP was given a lead po­si­tion in the uni­fied com­mand struc­ture au­tho­rized by the US Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the burn­ing and sink­ing of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon.  This trans­fer­ence of au­thor­ity away from the im­pacted state gov­ern­ments was un­prece­dented in US his­tory and cre­ated a vir­tual mo­nop­oly over the flow of in­for­ma­tion from BP to the ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­i­ties, as well as to the pub­lic-at-large

“All this is ab­solutely rel­e­vant to the case at hand; and par­tic­u­larly get­ting this vital in­for­ma­tion into the hands of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Al­abama and any­one else in­volved in this trial. But our pur­pose for doing so is to gain at­ten­tion to what we con­sider the real sit­u­a­tion: EPA’s con­tin­ued en­dorse­ment of toxic Corexit dis­per­sants being used in the Gulf wa­ters, as well as their en­forced ban on safe, non-toxic biore­me­di­a­tion prod­ucts such as Oil Spill Eater II-an ef­fec­tive EPA tested and ap­proved prod­uct used around the world,” said GRA.

“It would seem plau­si­ble that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials knew of the in­for­ma­tion about the 3rd Well but aided in cov­er­ing it up sim­i­lar to the re­cent PEER re­port re­veal­ing the fact that top White House of­fi­cials ma­nip­u­lated sci­en­tific analy­ses by in­de­pen­dent ex­perts to se­ri­ously low­ball the amount of oil leak­ing from the BP Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon.

http://www.nationofchange.org/conclusive-evidence-bp-misrepresented-gulf-oil-spill-sent-congress-1330360084

The PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) report mentioned above reads in part:

For Immediate Release: January 23, 2012

HIGH-LEVEL LOWBALL IN GULF DEEPWATER CRISIS — Scientific Integrity Complaint Details Official Underestimation of BP Spill Rate

Washington, DC — Top Obama officials manipulated scientific analyses of independent experts to seriously lowball the amount of oil leaking from the BP Deepwater Horizon, according to a scientific integrity complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Documents obtained by PEER through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit indicate White House pressure to present low-range estimates as best estimates.  In fact, numbers presented to the public were less than half the true flow rate.

On May 19, 2010, one month after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, the White House announced creation of a group of experts from academia, industry and government to generate an accurate and independent estimate of the oil leak rate.  This group was called the Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG).

Using new scientific integrity rules, PEER today filed a complaint charging that the leader of one of the FRTG Teams, Dr. William Lehr of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), manipulated the scientific results of the FRTG experts throughout the entire crisis to significantly understate the spill rate.  Lehr is also the author of the now infamous “Oil Budget Calculator” and a report concluding 75% of the oil was gone from the Gulf by August 2010…

These underestimates [of the spill rate] were repeated to the public and media.  When experts on the FRTG complained to Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director of the U.S. Geologic Survey, she cited pressure from the White House, saying in a May 29 email that:

“I cannot tell you what a nightmare the past two days have been dealing with the communications people at the White House, DOI, and the NIC who seem incapable of understanding the concept of a lower bound. The press release that went out on our results was misleading and was not reviewed by a scientist for accuracy.”

Throughout the Plume Team’s work it was widely thought that physical measurement of the leak was not possible and therefore it was assumed that Plume Team estimates of the leak rate would be used to assess damages in future litigation.  Thus, manipulating spill rate estimates down to 25,000 bpd instead of 60,000 bpd could have reduced damages paid by BP and/or other responsible parties by tens of billions of dollars.  Even more significantly, the President’s National Commission concluded that underestimates of the size of the spill hampered clean-up efforts and caused numerous attempts to cap the well to fail.

In fact, the leak rate was physically measured by an Energy Department team as the well was capped.  This final official estimate set the leak rate at 62,000 bpd (decreasing to 53,000 bpd when finally closed), proving correct the suppressed estimates from dissenting Plume Team members.

“This complaint serves as a litmus test as to whether the Obama administration will apply its scientific integrity rules to its own actions,” stated PEER executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that his organization has waged an 18-month court battle to obtain approximately 100 highly redacted emails while several hundred more emails are still being withheld.  “Hopefully, the investigation of this complaint will force the immediate release of the full deliberations so that the scientific record can be set straight.”

http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=1546

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 29, 2012 in corporatocracy, environment, fossil fuels, gulf of mexico

 

And for big oil, business is a-boomin’.

From Obama’s SOTU address Tuesday night:

“…Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources….”

Well, he sure wasn’t just whistling Dixie.  Today, we see that the Obama administration is going to sell off remaining oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.  What could possibly go wrong?  The Macondo well site is still leaking oil in the Gulf.  No, they don’t show you the plumes of oil on the nightly news because they have a few buffoons running for President that they want you to look at instead.  Oil is still washing ashore along the Gulf coast.  But BP sponsored a new series of ads recently with very nice average-looking people saying things like, “We’d love for y’all to come on down to our Alabama/Louisiana/Mississippi/Florida coasts!  Our beaches are clean, the water sparkling, and we love our guests!  We are open for business.”  Only they pronounce it ‘Bama or Lewsanna or Miss Sippi or Florda for the sake of authenticity.  You are meant to mistake the ads for reality.  Not a particularly difficult con job, these days.

Many of the fisherman are still out of business, as quite a portion of them find that despite being allowed to return to their fishing areas, the catch is showing signs of toxic exposure: lesions, bloody gills and fin rot.  They chuck the fish back into the sea and come home empty-handed.  The catch that is brought in – well, what are they doing with that?  Last I heard, the plan was to sell it to prisons, public schools and military PX’s; sort of your three captive markets right there.  Dead silence about that lately.

Perhaps they have simply quit testing the fish for toxins and sell it to restaurants anyway.  It is how we do things these days.  After radioactivity levels climbed in the Pacific northwest after Fukushima, the EPA did three things: they raised the level of “acceptable” radiation, they took their readings off-line (once the public protested, they put the readings back on-line, but in charts so difficult to decipher that one could spend hours on their website and still have no idea of radiation levels in the area) and they quit testing altogether in some areas.  This is the sort of teen-age answer for everything we get now.  (Once, while driving a friend’s teen-age daughter somewhere, I heard a peculiar noise from the car’s engine.  “Hmmm,” I said aloud, worriedly, “I wonder what that is.”  She said, “Oh, I know how to fix that.”  “Really?” I asked in disbelief.  She shrugged, nodded, and reached over to turn the radio volume up so high that we could no longer hear the noise.  “And there ya go,” she said.)  The Republican plan to correct problems like oil spills and nuclear accidents is to abolish the EPA altogether.  And there ya go.

The oil company errors which led to the BP spill have not been adequately addressed; we see, however, that the Obama administration has pretty much the same teen-age fix that the Republicans do.  Without even knowing exactly what went wrong with the drilling site, or addressing cronyism in the regulatory agency involved (the Minerals Management Service), Obama fast-tracked new leases in the Gulf within months of the spill.  The warnings from independent scientists and geologists regarding possible cracks and seeps sustained in the Gulf sea floor by the sheer number of wells drilled have gone ignored.  Likewise, no-one has addressed the issue of potential and deadly methane seeps.  (It was a methane explosion which caused the drilling platform to explode in the first place.  Methane is extant in every oil reservoir.  Usually the oil and gas companies burn it off as it escapes.  There is probably methane being released along with the oil still bubbling up from the Macondo site, but it is not measured or monitored in any way.)

 

(CNN) — The federal government Thursday announced plans to sell off oil and gas leases on 38 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor in a new domestic energy push by the Obama administration.

The leases could yield as much as 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Interior Department estimates. The scheduled sale in June will be the second since the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 when nearly 5 million barrels of crude spewed into the Gulf…

The leases up for sale in June include the remaining, unclaimed areas off Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, ranging from as close as three miles from the coast to up to 230 miles offshore. The minimum bid for deepwater leases will be $100 per acre, according to the Interior Department.

The agency is working on plans for a dozen more lease sales through 2017, which it estimates will open up three-quarters of the recoverable oil and gas below the outer Continental Shelf — reserves Obama pledged to open up in his Tuesday night speech.

Supporters say more energy exploration will bring more jobs for Americans still reeling from the steepest economic downturn in decades. But others remain wary of the risks illuminated when the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon blew up and sank in April 2010, killing 11 men aboard and uncorking an undersea gusher that took three months to cap.

“We’ve got oil continuing to wash up. We’ve got ongoing restoration needs down there that haven’t been addressed yet,” said Aaron Viles, a spokesman for the New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network.

Viles said that the depths at which drilling is planned are worrisome and that residents of coastal communities should have more input into the decisions.

The BP-owned well that blew up in 2010 was nearly a mile below the surface, at depths that made efforts to cap it extremely difficult. Future drillers have to have arrangements in place to deal with a deep-sea spill, but the new requirements may be a case of “fighting the last war,” Viles said.

“These are complicated systems. They’re going to fail in complicated ways,” Viles told CNN…

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/26/us/us-gulf-oil/index.html

From a 2008 Scientific American article:

  …In fact, oil companies have yet to take advantage of the nearly 86 billion barrels of offshore oil in areas already available for leasing and development. So why are they chomping at the drill bit to open up the moratorium waters and survey them anew?

Oil company stocks are valued in large part based on how much proved reserves they have,” says Robert Kaufman, an expert on world oil markets and director of Boston University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. Translation: just having more promising leases in hand would be worth billions of dollars….

…Kaufman dismisses as “nonsense” any promises that offshore drilling could make the U.S. “oil independent.” Even if it could somehow insulate itself from the ups and downs of the global oil market, he notes, the U.S. would have to make a huge leap in domestic oil production to replace what it buys from overseas.

“At its peak in production, which occurred in 1970s, the U.S. produced about 10 million [barrels of oil] a day,” Kaufman says. “Now, after 30 years of fairly steady decline, we produce about five million barrels a day,” whereas we consume 20 million barrels daily. “Whoever talks about oil independence has to tell a story about how we close a 15-million-barrel gap.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-offshore-drilling-make-us-independent&page=3

Ah, now we get to the bare essentials of the thing.  Oil company stocks go up when they have new leases in hand.  That is the bottom line.  That is the entire point in opening new leases.  It is just another way for oil companies, speculators, and hedge funds to make money on the market.  Hate to break it to you, but the DOW is not the economy.  (Looking at you, Timmeh.)  Speculation in the oil market, based on new leases and such, is what makes gas prices at the pump go up.  And here is a news flash – no-one really knows how much oil is any given reserve.  It’s all guesswork.  Furthermore, it takes at least 5 years to get from the point of leasing to the point of production.  And in case it escaped everyone’s notice (it has), no-one knows how to fix the cracks in the sea floor caused by events like the BP Macondo spill, nor does anyone know just how much tolerance the sea floor has for more drilling sites without splitting wide open.  Fracking causes earthquakes and deep-sea drilling causes….?  Turn up the volume there, will ya?

“So long, and thanks for all the fish,”  –  big oil companies to the world.

 

What to do with the toxic Gulf seafood.

 

Here’s an idea: force-feed it to the military, prisoners, and students. Sort of like the smell tests the government scientists are conducting to see if the shrimp are safe to eat, only this has the advantage of actual human guinea pigs.

“Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who doubles as President Barack Obama’s point man on Gulf Coast oil spill recovery, is pressing America’s armed services to consume as much Gulf seafood as possible.

“Navy Capt. Beci Brenton said Monday that Mabus has talked with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the secretaries of the Air Force and Army, and his staff has talked to the Defense Commissary Agency, which operates a worldwide chain of stores for military personnel, making the point ‘that we should be buying Gulf Coast seafood.’

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

“In a meeting Monday with Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Mabus reaffirmed his commitment to using the tools at his disposal to help the Gulf seafood industry recover from the damage the BP oil spill has done in reality and perception. The board is gearing up for a large-scale national marketing campaign, with $30 million in BP money and millions more in federal dollars, to reassure restaurants and markets across the country that Gulf seafood is safe.

” ‘He expressed what we wanted to hear: He is in favor of the federal government buying seafood from the Gulf,’ said Smith, who said he would like to see Gulf seafood as the choice throughout the public domain, ‘whether it’s the military or prison systems or school systems.’

Smith met with Mabus as a representative of the Gulf Coast Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition, an alliance of businesses and government entities from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida working for economic recovery in the Gulf. Smith was joined at the meeting by Mayor Sam Jones of Mobile, Ala., and Mayor-elect Ashton Hayward of Pensacola, Fla.

“BP is giving the Louisiana marketing board $30 million to spend over the next three years to promote Gulf seafood, and Smith said a request for proposals from agencies that would craft the marketing campaign will be going out shortly. The Louisiana board also will be getting a share of the $15 million the Commerce Department has given to the Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission to divide among the Louisiana board and its sister groups in the other Gulf states, including Texas.

“Ralph Hode, fisheries disaster recovery coordinator for the commission, said the money will be used for direct marketing, web-based marketing, supporting testing efforts in the states to ensure the quality and safety of the seafood, and helping fishers to have their products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as coming from a sustainable fishery. That last can be an invaluable marketing tool. Wal-mart, for example, plans to buy all of its wild-caught fresh and frozen fish from MSC-certified fisheries beginning next year.

“Smith said the industry is facing a kind of chicken-and-egg — or perhaps fish-and-roe — conundrum in getting back on its feet after the trauma of the BP spill….

“While the number of fishers back in the water has risen in the past month, Smith said only 40 percent to 50 percent of the fleet is back on the job, which he blamed on the uncertainties surrounding the claims process being administered by Kenneth Feinberg, and continuing market concerns among fishers. Then, with less supply, Smith said, some demand goes unmet and buyers look elsewhere, perhaps not to return for some time to come, if ever….

“The still unanswerable question is the long-term effect of the oil spilled and the dispersants used to break it up, effects that might not show up for years. ‘We don’t know that answer and I don’t think there’s a scientist that could give you a definitive answer,’ Smith said….

” ‘Our biggest challenge aside from hurricanes and oil spills has been imports,’ he said, particularly from places like China, which, he said, from children’s toys to drywall to fish-farms, puts no premium on safety.”

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/12/armed_services_are_urged_to_st.html

Heh, heh, heh. Yeah, it’s the Chinese we need to be worried about, all right.

 

While Washington parties….

shit keeps blowing up all over the place.

Some members of the press and some Congressmen and other Washington insiders attended a “beach party” at the (vice-president) Biden residence the other day. I’m sure they had a good time squirting each other with water pistols and cavorting around. At least, one assumes they did based on the cute, breathless tweets some of them sent out. Oh, and the Pres had some entertainment for himself – Paul McCartney in to sing for the POTUS and FLOTUS! In the meantime, it doesn’t seen to have occurred to our Louis XIV-like administration, the lords and ladies of the court, or the courtiers and sycophants who surround them that just perhaps a “beach party” might appear a little bit thoughtless and callous to the serfs outside the gates who anxiously turn on the evening news to find out which beach has been hit with globs of toxic oil today while the Gulf dies from the massive oil volcano erupting beneath its surface.

Just now, I saw on MSNBC that a natural gas mine has exploded in Texas. Reports so far are that 6 people have been injured.

This makes quite a message Someone is trying to send:

April : coal mine blast in W Va.

April: oil rig explosion and continuing massive leak in Gulf.

June: natural gas mine explosion in Pa

(“Natural gas and drilling fluids are spewing from an out-of-control well in Clearfield County. Emergency officials said a mile-wide area has been evacuated after an operation drilling into the Marcellus Shale ruptured on Friday. The FAA has issued a flight restriction in the immediate area.

“According to a news release from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, a well which was in the frack process ruptured in Clearfield, spilling frack water and unignited wet gas.

“This spill is likely a toxic mix of who know what (because industry won’t reveal what’s in their fracking fluid). So yeah, it’s not just off-shore drilling that is an environmental and human health threat and it’s not just oil.” -alternet article)

Today: natural gas mine explosion, Texas.

We are just stupid. I picture God saying, “Hello, humans. I’m sending you a message here. Are you listening?” Taps burning bush in frustration. “Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?”