tagged w/ Gulf of Mexico
Taking another major step in sleuthing the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a research team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has determined what chemicals were contained in a deep, hydrocarbon-containing plume at least 22 miles long that WHOI scientists mapped and sampled last summer in the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Moreover, they have taken a big step in explaining why some chemicals, but not others, made their way into the plume.
The findings, published this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “help explain and shed light on the plume formation and verify much of what we thought about the plume’s composition,” said WHOI chemist Christopher Reddy, lead author of the study. The data “provide compelling evidence” that the oil component of the plume sampled in June 2010 essentially comprised benzene, toluene, ethybenzene, and total xylenes—together, called BTEX—at concentrations of about 70 micrograms per liter, the researchers reported.
The 70 micrograms per liter in the plume, were “significantly higher than background,” Reddy said. “We do not know with certainty the adverse effects it might cause on undersea life.”
WHOI Senior Scientist Judith McDowell said that acute toxicity levels of BTEX are in the range of 5 to 50 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for aquatic organisms—100 to 1,000 times greater than that observed in the plume. Sublethal effects, including neurological impairment, are observed at lower levels, she said. “In most instances the BTEX compounds are volatilized very quickly such that exposure duration is very short,” McDowell said. “The persistence of BTEX at depth poses an interesting question as to the potential effects of these compounds on mid-water organisms.”
A critical component of the study was a one-of-a-kind fluid sample the team collected directly from the broken riser at the Macondo well. To accomplish this, the team used an isobaric gas-tight sampler, a unique piece of equipment developed by WHOI geochemist Jeff Seewald and his colleagues and intended for use collecting fluids from deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
With the gas-tight sampler and other necessary equipment, the lead scientists were shuttled from their active research vessel to a smaller boat and brought to the Ocean Intervention III, operating above the Macondo well. They were then given 12 hours -- working with many unknowns -- to do something never done before. Using an oil industry remotely operated vehicle, they maneuvered the gas-tight sampler to the source of the spill to capture an “end-member” sample of fluid as it exited the riser pipe. No other such sample exists. By analyzing this sample, the scientists were able to determine what was in fluid spewing from the Macondo well before nature had a chance to change it and the exact ratio of gas and oil in the fluid.
“Getting this sample was probably the most dramatic and thrilling thing I have done in my life,” Reddy said.
Using petroleum industry terms, they found a gas-to-oil ratio (GOR) of 1,600 cubic feet of gas per barrel of oil. This value is smaller than other proposed values, Reddy said, suggesting “more oil may have been coming out of the well than other people calculated.”
Analyzing samples from the Macondo well and those they collected from the plume in June 2010 aboard the research vessel Endeavor, the researchers found that BTEX represented about 2 percent of the oil that came out of the well, but “nearly 100 percent of what was in the plume,” Reddy said. “A small, selective group of compounds took a right-hand turn” after exiting the well and formed the 3,000-foot-deep plume, he added. This raises a number of questions, he said, including, “Why are those chemical there in those concentrations? Why are they so abundant in the water?”
The answers have to do with the tendency of those chemicals that “like” to dissolve in water to migrate to the plume, Reddy said. Unlike other substances emanating from the well that degrade or evaporate in the water or at the surface, the compounds in the plume showed little evidence of biodegrading when the researchers examined the plume in June 2010. “[O]il and gas experienced a significant residence time in the water column with no opportunity for the release of volatile species into the atmosphere,” the researchers reported. “Hence water-soluble petroleum compounds dissolved into the water column to a much greater extent than is typically observed for surface spills.”
“We needed to have an ‘end-member’ sample, so that we could compare how nature affected the hydrocarbons as they left the riser pipe,” he said. “So this story is really about, ‘From pipe to plume: what chemicals got off the elevator to the surface and migrated to the plume.’”
The findings have “direct implications for the ecotoxicological impact of plumes,” Reddy said. “Now that we know the compounds were there for a certain time, we need to look at what that would mean to ocean life” Reddy said. “This paves the way to look at any environmental effects,” he said.
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The key to locating and mapping of the plume and the collection of samples from the plume was the use of the mass spectrometer TETHYS integrated into the autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry. Developed by Richard Camilli of WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory, the mass spectrometer is capable of identifying minute quantities of petroleum and other chemical compounds in seawater instantly.
During the June 2010 expedition, Sentry/TETHYS, crisscrossed the plume boundaries continuously 19 times to help determine the trapped plume’s size, shape, and composition. This knowledge of the plume structure guided the team in collecting physical samples using a traditional oceanographic tool, a cable-lowered water sampling system that measures conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD). The CTD also was instrumented with a TETHYS the mass spectrometer to positively identify areas containing petroleum hydrocarbons.
Guided by the Sentry/TETHYS system, the team collected about 100 samples—a painstaking and rigorous process undertaken under strict natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) protocol and supervision. Since TETHYS is limited in its ability to analyze petroleum hydrocarbons, Reddy said, the best samples were brought back to the land-based laboratories for more sophisticated analyses, which included the help of NOAA.
Dana Yoerger, a WHOI senior scientist and a co-principal investigator on last year’s cruise, added, “We achieved our results because we had a unique combination of scientific and technological skills.”
The current results validated the findings reported with TETHYS, Reddy said.
“Chris’s work demonstrates why federally funded oceanographic research is important to society,” Camilli said. “This paper exemplifies the nearly century-old vision of the National Academy of Sciences in recommending WHOI’s founding. Its publication in PNAS brings the vision full circle.”
[More at link]Taking another major step in sleuthing the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a... more
DESTIN, Fla. – It has been over a year since BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster led to the soiling and polluting of the north-central portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil and the Corexit dispersant that was used to break-up the oil, while poisoning the Gulf’s ecosystem and hurting workers and residents in the process, washed up and/or lingered just offshore.
However, during a multiple-day visit to Florida’s Emerald Coast, specifically the Sandestin beach resort here in Destin, we discovered that the beaches are full of people, the famous white sands look like sugar and people were out in the water, either unaware or unconcerned about the reports of Corexit poisoning, sick marine life or other issues related to the April 2010 BP oil spill.
http://theintelhub.com/2011/07/21/floridas-gulf-beaches-appear-clean-but-what-lies-below-the-surface/DESTIN, Fla. – It has been over a year since BP’s Deepwater Horizon... more
Sea Life in the Gulf of Mexico continues to suffer and then dies, dies, dies, and, no, it's not over; the death, dying, and depletion will continue.Sea Life in the Gulf of Mexico continues to suffer and then dies, dies, dies, and, no,... more
By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 -- 1:08 pm 3Share
GENEVA (AFP) – Offshore drilling group Transocean on Wednesday charged Wednesday that British energy giant BP had neglected drilling risks, leading to the giant 2010 oil disaster off the US coast.
It said that an internal "report concludes that the Macondo incident was the result of a succession of interrelated well design, construction, and temporary abandonment decisions that compromised the integrity of the well and compounded the likelihood of its failure," said Transocean, which owned the rig leased by BP.
"The decisions, many made by the operator, BP, in the two weeks leading up to the incident, were driven by BP's knowledge that the geological window for safe drilling was becoming increasingly narrow," it charged.
The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and causing millions of gallons of oil to pour into the Gulf of Mexico.
The group said its investigation team found "evidence ... that BP failed to properly assess, manage and communicate risk to its contractors."
Among the elements that the company failed to communicate to the drill crew was the inadequacy of testing on the cement used in the well construction, Transocean said.
In addition, BP neglected to carry out certain risk assessments at the Macondo well, claimed Transocean.
Contacted by AFP, BP declined comment on the Transocean charges.
BP has sued Transocean for damages of $40 billion (27 billion euros) over the disaster and Transocean in turn, has counter-sued.
In April, the US Coast Guard slammed Transocean's "poor safety culture" in a report.
"Yayyy, and now the Blame Game...."By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 -- 1:08 pm 3Share
GENEVA (AFP)... more
Americans like to trumpet the belief that we’re a “nation of laws”. Unfortunately, our laws are unevenly enforced when enforced at all. Congress churns out dozens of laws every year, while at the same time, guaranteeing they’ll fail by not budgeting for enforcement. Tea partiers like to say that most corporate laws constitute “over-regulation”. However, one could make a reasonable case that we don’t over-regulate, we under-enforce – and a law unenforced is no law at all.Americans like to trumpet the belief that we’re a “nation of laws”.... more
The National Wildlife Federation has just received the results of tests on the newly-discovered oil in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, not far from the Delta National Wildlife Refuge. We gave the samples to Ed Overton, professor emeritus in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Louisiana State University. Here’s the email I just got from Maura Wood in NWF’s Coastal Lousiana office in Baton Rouge:
"According to Ed Overton, the sample from the boat captain is not BP oil, either weathered or fresh. Ed called it South Louisiana crude, and said it had not been out there that long, as it still contained light volatiles. He said the Coast Guard had also taken samples and sent them to a different lab."
Those test results counter early suggestions that the oil was stirred-up oil from last year’s BP oil disaster.
As SkyTruth has reported, pollution reports this week had indicated “small amounts of oil spilled” at a platform about 20 miles northwest of the site of the new slick. It’s not clear if this slick is connected to those reports or to another as-yet-unknown incident.
Oil slicks like this show that contrary to the oil drilling industry’s claims, oil spills are tragically common. The National Wildlife Federation detailed the oil and gas industry’s long record of mishaps in our Assault on America report last year.
http://blog.nwf.org/wildlifepromise/2011/06/exclusive-tests-on-new-oil-slick-off-louisiana-point-to-fresh-spill/The National Wildlife Federation has just received the results of tests on the... more
Demand Dispersant Testing on Dead Dolphins & Sea Turtles in the Gulf
To: Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior; Gary Locke, U.S Commerce Secretary and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
In response to the increasing death rate in the Gulf of Mexico occurring in both our Endangered Sea Turtles and Dolphins.
NOAA has declared an “Unusual Mortality Event” (UME)for both species as record numbers of Sea Turtles and Neonatal and New Born Dolphins carcasses are washing ashore daily! What’s causing these UME’s? Unfortunately, due to inadequate testing procedures and delayed response times from both NOAA & MFS we may never know - unless the demands of this Petition are successful! Approximately 2 Millions gallons of the acutely toxic neurotoxin pesticide Corexit was used in BP’s oil spill cleanup efforts, yet NOAA is not testing for chemical compounds found specifically in Corexit 9500 & 9527A.
More than 190 dolphins and 300 Sea Turtles have died in the Gulf of Mexico since Jan 1st 2011. Of the 69 stranded Sea Turtles reported by NOAA in March 2011 only 29 were tested and 0 of them have been attributed to BP’s oil spill. Also disturbing is the unprecedented number of dead carcasses being left to decay along the shorelines - Federally listed Endangered Species that you and I pay to protect are decomposing on the beaches without any testing whatsoever! Witnesses have seen their bodies completely decomposed, spray painted and others dumped into dumpsters. The penalty for killing an ES is $100,000 per offense so why is our gov’t being satisfied to turn a blind eye?
Recent Gov’t Actions Contradictive to the MMPA (Marine Mammal Protection Act) & UME Response Regulations:
The MMPA states: “Solitary stranded animals are generally not refloated (i.e., released from the beach). It is assumed that a solitary animal stranded because it is unhealthy and if the animal is refloated, it is likely to strand again.”*1
In contradiction to this regulation, Kim Amendola, spokeswoman for NOAA “confirmed that two dolphins stranded in low tide on the Louisiana coastline were returned to water deep enough for them to swim away.” "These animals had no signs of external oil and were deemed healthy and robust". Then “the animals were pushed to deeper water by our stranding network partner, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries”. *2
The UME National Contingency Plan *3 details precsie instructions on who is authorized to obtain & anaylize tissue samples and "Because a declared UMME is an emergency situation, all results or research will be provided as soon as feasible". The plan further directs that the Onsite Coordinator will prepare a report for the UME containing results of analyses because they may contain valuable baseline information in determining what actions may be taken to ‘conserve & protect’ the species involved in the current UME. It is also stated that outside requests for tissue samples will be considered.
In complete contradiction to these regulations the following is occurring according to IMMS: “Under normal circumstances, IMMS sends tissues for analysis and can receive results within several months. … IMMS is not allowed to analyze the tissues or to keep duplicate samples. The current NOAA investigation is ongoing and it may be some time before any results or a possible cause for the spike in dolphin calf deaths is revealed.” *4
NOAA claims that “samples have been submitted for analysis” *5 however scientists and Stranding Network participants say otherwise. In an article from WLOX in MS “Gulfport's Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), led by Dr. Moby Solangi, has been taking tissue samples from the dead dolphins, and sending those off to the federal government. That's been going on for months. But now, it’s been learned that the feds have yet to send those samples off to be tested. … we tried to ask federal officials, but got no answer. The only thing we know at this point is a letter, sent by NOAA to agencies gathering the samples, stated there is an ongoing criminal investigation. The dead dolphins are considered potential evidence in a lawsuit the federal government could file against BP.” *6
Reuters also reported “the U.S. government is keeping a tight lid on the lab findings due to the ongoing civil and criminal investigation involving BP.” And that in a letter Reuters obtained in February, NOAA stated "Because of the seriousness of the legal case, no data or findings may be released, presented or discussed outside the (unusual mortality event) investigative team without prior approval,".*7
NOAA claims that “more than 18,000 of these analyses have been validated” *8 yet no report has been submitted for a Peer Review to date.
These actions directly contradict the regulations set forth in the UME National Contingency Plan and eliminate the ability to track tissue samples through the chain of custody and necropsy and ultimately find out who or what killed the animals. Additionally this makes the legal obligation of “protecting & conserving” the species impossible since the test results are not being released, thereby eliminating the opportunity to determine what environmental and critical habitat changes need to be made.
In the NRDA’s “Fish Kill Plan” that was signed in December 2010 in response to BP’s oil spill, representatives of NOAA, The State of Louisiana, and BP concurred that: “Potential impacts of oil and dispersants on fish communities range from, but are not limited to, mortality to sublethal stress that may manifest itself in reduced fitness and decreased reproductive success.”
Per Dr. Susan Shaw, a Marine Toxicologist, “Corexit is particularly toxic. It contains petroleum solvents and a chemical that, when ingested, ruptures red blood cells and causes internal bleeding.” *9
By NOAA & MFS not obtaining the required tissue samples from every dead animal washing ashore in the Gulf of Mexico and testing the samples for the chemical compounds of the dispersant Corexit 9500 & 9527A in addition to the hydrocarbons found in oil, they could potentially be saving BP Millions of $ in Fines & Penalties for the deaths of our Federally Protected Species.
THE DEMANDS OF THIS PETITION ARE SIMPLE & ARE IN ACCORDANCE TO FEDERAL LEGISLATION ALREADY IN PLACE:
1. We Demand immediate toxicological analyses of all Dolphin & Sea Turtle
tissue samples for exposure to the chemical compounds found in Corexit
9500 & 9527A.
2. We Demand that the UME National Contingency Plan be followed to the
letter of the law and be abided by the very agencies who wrote and
implemented federal regulations.
3. We Demand a more thorough & immediate response to reported strandings
of Dolphins & Sea Turtles
Due to length REFERENCES have are published at http://petiontodemandcorexittesting.blogspot.com/2011/05/references-for-petition-to-demand.html. Please feel free to review these critical documents for validation of the opinions stated above.
Thank you for your consideration of the demands of this Petition.
CLICK ON THE LINK TO SIGN THIS PETITIONDemand Dispersant Testing on Dead Dolphins & Sea Turtles in the Gulf
A low-oxygen "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico (map) is causing sexual deformities in fish, a new study says.
The Gulf dead zone occurs when agricultural and waste runoff from the Mississippi River spark blooms of algae and microbes. These organisms gobble up oxygen, starving other marine life and creating huge swaths of "dead" ocean.
Between 2006 and 2007, nearly a quarter of female Atlantic croaker fish caught in the northern Gulf's dead zone had developed deformed, testes-like organs instead of ovaries.
(See "Sex-Changing Chemicals Found in Potomac River.")
It's unclear how long the fish were living in hypoxic—or low oxygen—waters before they began developing such sexual defects. But lab experiments showed that ten weeks of exposure is all that's needed.
The Gulf dead zone, which occurs annually, generally persists between May and September, and has more than doubled since the 1980s.
This zone, which often fluctuates in size, currently occupies a patch of ocean larger than the state of Connecticut. (Related: "Gulf of Mexico 'Dead Zone' Is Size of New Jersey .")
Low Oxygen Screws Up Fish Hormones
Lab analysis of the fish revealed that the masculinized female croakers had decreased levels of a key chemical found in the brain and ovaries called aromatase.
This enzyme regulates the production of the female sex hormone estrogen, which is critical for proper development of the ovaries.
The brain uses about 20 percent of the oxygen that the croakers breathe, said study co-author M.S. Rahman, a marine biologist at the University of Texas in Austin's Marine Science Institute.
"If the oxygen levels go down, it affects the brain and the neurohormones and neuropeptides that it produces."
In croakers and many other fish species, the sex organs are male by default—estrogen exposure is required to transform the testes into ovaries.
Rahman and colleague Peter Thomas, also at the University of Texas, think that when the croaker's estrogen levels were reduced as a result of hypoxia, some of the cells in the animals' ovaries reverted back to testicular tissue.
(Also see "Mercury Poisoning Makes Birds Act Homosexual.")
The sex organs of the masculinized female fish were smaller and less developed than normal male testes. While some of malformed organs even contained sperm, they were incapable of fertilizing normal female eggs, Rahman said.
The study also found that male croakers were affected by hypoxia, although to a lesser degree. Males caught in the Gulf dead zone, as well as those bred in hypoxic lab conditions, had smaller than average testes and lower sperm counts, according to the study, published online recently in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Sexual impairments of both male and female croakers help explain the low hatching rates among fish exposed to dead zones, the scientists added.
cont.A low-oxygen "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico (map) is causing sexual... more
VIDEO- The Big Fix: A Film that Exposes the Biggest Environmental Coverup Ever
Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 by GottaLaff
Trailer for the documentary on the oil disaster; the film premiered at Cannes 2011:
One reviewer, Stuart Smith, says:
It’s a brilliant piece of work, exceeding all hype and expectation. The audience at the screening I attended was completely blown away by both the stunning cinematography and the jaw-dropping evidence that the BP spill involved a coverup at the highest levels of the industry, the military and the Obama Administration.
Hugh Kaufman, (senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response) said to me (sarcastically) in an email:
Thank God NRDC is still in the Gulf and telling us what is REALLY going on down there.
And he also sent this:
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is standing by its declaration that the Gulf of Mexico seafood is safe to eat, but for the first time it’s warning anglers that some fish are sick and may pose health problems if handled or eaten raw.
.VIDEO- The Big Fix: A Film that Exposes the Biggest Environmental Coverup Ever
Obama announces steps to speed US oil production | SF Gate
What a smoke and mirror story. The world market is flooded with gas. Watch Hippie TV news monday. For our report.Obama announces steps to speed US oil production | SF Gate
What a smoke and mirror... more
President Barack Obama, under pressure from Republicans and the public to bring down gasoline prices, announced new measures on Saturday to expand domestic oil production in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
High fuel prices have dented Obama's ratings in opinion polls and threaten to dampen the economic recovery that is critical to his re-election in 2012.
The president, a Democrat, has pushed for reducing U.S. oil consumption and expanding renewable energy sources while also focusing on domestic oil and gas production -- an area Republicans want to expand dramatically.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president met some of those Republican demands, outlining ways to boost domestic drilling and better coordinate the process of issuing permits in Alaska.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/14/us-obama-oil-...
I don't like how it says "Under pressure from the Republicans and the Public"
We all know the rethugs enjoy the payback they receive from screwing the
Tax Payers!!!Source: Reuters
President Barack Obama, under pressure from Republicans and the... more
The Ohio and Mississippi River levels were falling Wednesday at the site where engineers blasted holes in a Missouri levee to relieve pressure. But unleashing torrents of water across 35 miles of farmland in what has already been a terrible flooding season could carry other consequences.
One risk, scientists cautioned, is fertilizer runoff from the flooded farm country along the Mississippi. As it moves downstream, they predicted it would contribute to the largest-ever summertime depletion of oxygen in the Gulf of Mexico, posing a substantial risk to marine life.
The concern is that the water is likely pulling up components of fertilizers—notably nitrogen and phosphorus—and washing them downstream toward the Gulf, helping slash oxygen to levels marine life can't survive, said Nancy Rabalais, a marine scientist who is executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium on the Gulf coast.
Those chemicals act as nutrients in the Gulf, intensifying the growth of microscopic plants. Microbes eat away at those plants. In the process, they consume oxygen, reducing it to levels that kill marine life.
In the days leading up to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' breach of the levee near Birds Point, Mo., authorities began removing fuel and other chemicals stored in tanks in a 35-mile long floodway bordering the Mississippi River, said Karl Brooks, administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency region that includes much of the Midwest.
In addition to the effects in the Gulf, another concern has begun to emerge: drinking water. Much of the Midwest gets its water from rivers, and scientists say they'll be monitoring to see whether the floodwaters show elevated levels of nitrate, a derivative of nitrogen in fertilizers. Nitrate can cause sickness, particularly in infants, the EPA says.
Water-treatment plants filter out nitrate to government limits. But "the faster the water moves across the land, the more sediment it picks up, and the more nitrate and other pollutants," said John Downing, a professor at Iowa State University specializing in inland-water issues.
James Kopp, chemistry manager for the water division in St. Louis, said nitrate levels of water filtered in the city don't appear to be any higher than in a normal May—a month when nitrate levels are typically elevated because of spring runoff.
Not far from the breached levee, some 3,800 Western Kentucky residents have evacuated their homes as the Mississippi River and its tributaries continue to rise.
Kentucky, along with Tennessee, Mississippi, and other Southern states have been urging evacuations and bracing for what state officials say could be near-record crests of the Mississippi River in the coming days after the intentional breach of a flood wall upstream in Missouri.
Heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday brought as much as four-and-a-half inches of rain to Kentucky and have contributed to flooding that has already hit low-lying parts of the state; in addition, authorities expect the Ohio River to crest on Thursday, and the Mississippi River to do so on Friday.
The levee breach sent water rushing across the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway, and water levels Tuesday dropped as much as three feet from expected levels on the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill. The Corps blew a second hole Tuesday and was preparing Wednesday to blow a third, to let the water drain back into the river.
Springtime flooding is natural along the Mississippi, as melting snow and ice and seasonal rains swell the river. But in recent years some floods have gotten more severe, and their ecological effects heightened.
Officials probably won't have a sense of how the flood affected the area until the weekend, when they expect rushing water will have slowed enough so they can enter the area and begin environmental testing, said the EPA's Mr. Brooks. "Until we see what the landscape looks like, it's going to be hard to know how extensive that is," he said.
This week's flooding comes one year after the country's largest-ever offshore oil spill sent 4.1 million barrels of crude into the Gulf ecosystem.
For decades, summertime oxygen levels in a large swath of the Gulf spreading out from the mouth of the Mississippi have plummeted to levels that have killed fish, shrimp crabs and other marine life. The oxygen depleted areas, known as dead zones, began to appear in the early 1970s, also the time when chemical-fertilizer use was intensifying on Midwest farms, said Ms. Rabalais, a dead-zone expert.
Even before the latest flooding, high water levels along the Mississippi earlier this year were creating signs of an earlier—and larger—than normal dead zone in the Gulf, she said. Now, she said, scientists are predicting a Gulf dead zone this year far larger than the prior record—an 8,500-square-mile dead zone in 2002.
cont,The Ohio and Mississippi River levels were falling Wednesday at the site where... more
Human Rights Examiner...
Exclusive: Gulf Plague survivors being radiated
April 29th, 2011 3:20 pm ET
Corexit is not the only killer loose from the Gulf Operation, commonly called "BP's Oil Spill 2010." A new report by environmental attorney Stuart Smith emphasizes that radiation amounts from the Gulf oil gusher are larger than discussed. In an exclusive interview, head of Gulf Coast Barefoot Doctors, Delia Labarre reported that radiation poisoning signs are what suffering Gulf people typically exhibit.
Small traces of radioactivity can prove deadly.
Smith's report title reflects the Gulf state of affairs, "Chernobyl in the Gulf", an accurate term according to head of Gulf Barefoot Doctor, Delia LaBarre. For almost a year, LaBarre has been witnessing people with "Gulf Plague," also called "BP Flu," "BP Crud," or "Blue Plague." Most of them have radiation poisoning signs she said.
LaBarre has almost single-handedly provided approximately 300 Survival Kits to Gulf Plague victims over the past year.
Ongoing atrocities in the Gulf that Smith lists since on-start of the Gulf Operation, that former top oil executive Ian Crane evidences as planned for depopulation include:
Residents up and down the Gulf Coast report tar balls and mats continue to litter beaches
Re-oilings are common
The multi-billion-dollar Gulf seafood industry is reeling from contamination
Dead dolphins and sea turtles wash ashore at record-breaking rates
Oyster beds are devastated
Increasingly large numbers of Gulf coast people and clean-up workers 'are getting sick.'
Oil production produces radiation
Oil production releases radiation. Oil waste is ladened with radiation. These radioactive elements include but are not limited to radium, thorium and uranium, all now in the Gulf Region in unprecedented dangerous amounts according to Smith.
Radioactive elements are typically extracted from the ground with oil and gas and then separated from the fossil fuels, all part of the daily production process to make the array of oil-based goods westerners use daily, from plastic to car fuel.
"Once the NORM [naturally occurring radioactive materials] is extracted, it is flushed directly back into the ocean in the waste-stream byproduct known as produced water. Their discharge into the Gulf of Mexico has been a daily reality since the 1950s – but the amount that was released into the water from the runaway Macondo Well is unprecedented."
Even a small amount of radioactive material can have a devastating impact on humans unfortunate enough to come into direct contact with it according to Smith.
Ground Zero workers familiar with radiation poisoning signs
"Reports of unexplained health problems are soaring... [f]rom flu-like symptoms to blindness to intense chest pain to severe sinus inflammation, people across the Gulf region are reporting debilitating illnesses in the wake of the spill."
Radiation poisoning symptoms include: neurological problems such as memory loss; headaches and balance problems; seizures; stomach and digestive problems such as diarrhea; sweating; dizziness; nosebleeds and bleeding from ears, rectum and urinary tract; trouble sleeping; and rashes or skin irritations.
"We've had reports on all these symptoms," LaBarre reported Friday. "They've been well documented."
Most people have assumed that Corexit has been the cause of the illnesses, but, LaBarre said that these "very well may be caused by radiation exposure, as Smith says," adding, "This information has definitely been covered up."
Smith's report was partially based on Dr. Chris Busby's research project.
As Dupré reported after the untimely death of oil guru Matt Simmons, "Heeding his call for evacuation soon after the explosion would have helped prevent ongoing chemical and radiation poisoning of thousands of children and adults now being poorly treated. It would have helped prevent the 'heavy resident death toll' that Simmons predicted. ("Gulf oil whistleblower, renewable energy guru Matt Simmons RIP (videos)", Examiner.com)
BP's Gulf Oil Spill: 1 Year Later
One year after the blowout at the Macondo oil well in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent burning and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, what has been learned?
April 20, 2011 |
Click on above link to see articles Scientific American has compiled.BP's Gulf Oil Spill: 1 Year Later
One year after the blowout at the Macondo... more
More than 3,200 oil and gas wells classified as active lie abandoned beneath the Gulf of Mexico, with no cement plugging to help prevent leaks that could threaten the same waters fouled by last year’s BP spill, The Associated Press has learned.
These wells likely pose an even greater environmental threat than the 27,000 wells in the Gulf that have been plugged and classified officially as “permanently abandoned” or “temporarily abandoned.” Those sealed wells were first tallied and reported as a major leaking threat in an investigative report by the AP in July.
The unplugged wells haven’t been used for at least five years, and there are no plans to restore production on them, according to the federal government. Operators have not been required to plug the wells because their leases have not expired.
As a result, there is little to prevent powerful leaks from pushing to the surface. Even depleted wells can repressurize from work on nearby wells or shifts in oil or gas layers beneath the surface, petroleum engineers say. But no one is watching to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The addition of the unused but officially active wells, as documented in a list provided to the AP by federal officials under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, means at least three-fifths of the 50,000 wells ever drilled in the Gulf have been left behind with no routine monitoring for leaks.
The 27,000 decommissioned wells were drilled mostly on federal leases that have now expired. Government rules for expired leases on the sea floor require operators to plug the wells or make plans to reuse them within a year. In its original report, the AP documented how oil and gas companies regularly flouted the rules regarding temporary abandonment, with some wells “temporarily abandoned” since the 1950s.
Rules for unexpired leases are different, and have allowed operators to simply walk away from idle wells. Some of the roughly 3,200 unsealed wells contained in the latest list were drilled 60 years ago, and most are more than 10 years old.
Federal regulators described idle wells on active leases as a “potential threat” to the environment in a September letter to operators announcing a new program, dubbed “Idle Iron,” to plug them within three years. The letter said the program would cover more than 3,000 idle wells but didn’t say what kind of wells would be included or whether the wells already contained at least some cement plugging.
The list of specific wells covered by the Idle Iron initiative was provided to the AP by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which regulates oil and gas leases on federal lands on the sea floor.
BOEMRE refused to provide the list when the AP first requested it in September. The agency said at the time that it first wanted to verify with gas and oil companies that the wells were correctly classified. The AP argued that the FOIA provides access to records as they exist at the time of the request, but the agency still refused to release the material.
In finally providing the list last month, BOEMRE said the wells had been “verified.” But several weeks later, a representative of the agency, Eileen Angelico, contacted the AP and said it had mistakenly released the original unverified list.
cont.More than 3,200 oil and gas wells classified as active lie abandoned beneath the Gulf... more
1. BP is gunning to get back to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. When the Department of Interior issued its first deepwater permit since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it was for a well that BP owns half of. Earlier this month, company officials also announced that they are seeking an agreement with the US government to resume drilling at their 10 deepwater wells in the Gulf this July, arguing that they will follow tougher safety rules, the New York Times reported earlier this month. This comes even as the government is said to be considering manslaughter charges against the oil giant for the deaths of 11 workers last year.
2. People are sick. Nearly three-quarters of Gulf coast residents that the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental justice group, polled this year reported health concerns that they believe are related to the spill. Of the 954 residents in seven coastal communities, almost half said they had experienced health problems like coughing, skin and eye irritation, or headaches that are consistent with common symptoms of chemical exposure. While the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting health monitoring for spill cleanup workers, residents in the areas closest to the spill are concerned that their own health problems have gone unattended.
3. Fish and other sea life in the Gulf are still struggling after the disaster. The death toll for dolphins and whales in the Gulf may have been 50 times higher than the number of bodies found, according to a recent paper in Conservation Letters. Earlier this year, a large number of dead dolphin calves were found on the coast, and scientists have linked many of those deaths to the oil disaster. Anglers are also reporting dark lesions, rotting fins, and discoloration in the fish they're catching in the Gulf, as the St. Petersburg Times reported last week.
4. While those most affected by the spill are still waiting for payments, some state and local officials have been making bank off the disaster. As the Associated Press reported recently, some local governments have been using the $754 million from BP to buy iPads, SUVs, and laptops. Meanwhile, BP just gave another $30 million to Florida to help entice tourists onto its beaches this summer.
5. Congress hasn't changed a single law on oil and gas drilling in the past year. A year later, the liability cap for companies that cause a major spill is still just $75 million, companies with dismal safety records can still obtain new leases, and they can still avoid compensating families when workers die on rigs. In January, the National Oil Spill Commission released 300 pages of findings and recommendations that Congress has largely ignored.
6. GOP House members want more drilling off all our coasts with less environmental review. The Natural Resources Committee is considering a trio of bills that would open new areas for drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans for drilling, speed up the process of approving permits, and force the Department of Interior to move forward with lease sales in the central Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia without further environmental review. And, for good measure, the legislation would even create economic incentives for oil companies to use seismic technology to survey for oil reserves, letting taxpayers cover half the cost.
7. "Fail safe" technology isn't fail safe. The blowout preventer (BOP), the device that was supposed to stop a catastrophic spill after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, failed due to a faulty design and a bent piece of pipe, according to a report released in March. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement contracted the Norwegian firm Det Norske Veritas to conduct a forensic examination of the BOP. The blind shear rams, which were supposed cut through and close off the well, failed because a pipe had buckled, the 551-page report concluded—a problem that casts doubt on all the other BOPs in use today.
8. The country's offshore regulator has a new name, but it's still got plenty of problems. The much-maligned Minerals Management Service (MMS) got a branding overhaul and is now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE). And while it's made a number of changes in the past year, there are still plenty of concerns about whether the agency is up to the task. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BOEMRE head Michael Bromwich acknowledge that it will take years of reforms to ensure that drilling is safe for workers and the environment.
9. Fewer than half of people who have filed claims from the spill have been paid. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility, under the direction of administrator Kenneth Feinberg, has approved approximately 300,000 claims out of the 857,000 it has received from individuals and businesses, totaling $3.8 billion. The claims facility cited the "unprecedented magnitude of the task" in its announcement marking the year since the spill. A number of residents have grown frustrated with the process and say they would rather sue than wait on the claims facility.
10. BP still doesn't want you to see its tar balls. That's right—even a year later, BP is still blocking reporters from the beaches.1. BP is gunning to get back to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. When the Department of... more