tagged w/ ecocide
The truth about your beauty products...
If you've been hanging out on the site lately, you know we've been doing a lot of writing about cosmetics, personal-care products, sunscreen, and the like in our No More Dirty Looks series. Based on a book I wrote with my friend Alexandra Spunt, the series is our attempt to share what we've learned about the health and environmental impacts of all the goop we put on ourselves every day.
Anyway, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been working tirelessly to change legislation since 2004, and today they have some huge news. First, they announced the introduction of new legislation by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and second, they have launched this amazing new video with the Story of Stuff Project. It's eight minutes long, and you should watch all eight of them.
GOOD is a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward. Since 2006 we've been making a magazine, videos, and events for people who give a damn.
http://www.sustainlane.com/reviews/the-story-of-cosmetics/1H1I82QIWZBC9O3JUQOS1CNJ78PYThe truth about your beauty products...
If you've been hanging out on the site... more
In the nearly two weeks since a temporary cap stopped BP's gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, not much oil has been showing up on the surface of the water.
Scientists caution that doesn't mean the crude is gone. There's still a lot of it in the Gulf, though no one is sure quite how much or exactly where it is.
"You know it didn't just disappear," said Ernst Peebles, a biological oceanographer at the University of South Florida. "We expect that is has been dispersed pretty far by now."
Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said government and independent scientists have been working hard to figure out where the oil might be, but don't yet have numbers. Some is still washing up on beaches and in coastal wetlands, but not in the quantities it was a few weeks ago.
Scientists do know that more than 600 miles of coastline has been oiled in the nearly 100 days since the April 20 explosion of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.
They estimate that between 107 million gallons and 184 million gallons spewed into the Gulf before the cap stopped the flow July 15. The permanent solution, using a relief well to shoot in mud and cement, is still several weeks away.
So far, officials say they have recovered 34.6 million gallons of oily water using skimmer boats and burned about 11.1 million gallons off the sea surface.
So where's the rest?
Scientists are worried that much of it has been trapped below the surface after more than 770,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were used to break up the oil a mile deep. They have found evidence of massive clouds of oil suspended in the water.
"What is down there is a smaller particle," said chemical oceanographer John Kessler from Texas A&M University. "You can't think of it as thick, nasty crude."
Kessler sampled the waters around the broken well and found high natural gas levels more than 3,000 feet below the surface and miles-long underwater oil plumes.
Scientists want to know how fast the oil is being eaten by microbes, how fast it is being diluted, whether it is sinking to the bottom and where it is being carried off to. Scientists say large amounts of oil trapped in the subsurface could contaminate the food chain and deplete oxygen.
Lubchenco, a marine scientist, said the oil was not sinking to the bottom.
"As far as we can determine it is primarily in the water column itself, not sitting on the seafloor," Lubchenco said.
She also said the oil beneath the surface appears to be biodegrading very quickly, which she called a good sign.
Thomas Bianchi, a geochemist and oceanographer at Texas A&M University, said that because the dispersants have pushed oil underwater, scientists may be past the point where they can track it from the air.
"Now it's time to look at the molecular and microbial food web," he said. "We may be beyond people in white suits and booms."
He added: "There's no way to clean up water at that level in a large basin like the Gulf or these estuaries. You have to live with nature's ability to clean it up."In the nearly two weeks since a temporary cap stopped BP's gusher at the bottom... more
A tow boat slammed into an abandoned well north of a bay already hit by crude from the Gulf oil spill, sending a plume of oil and gas spewing into the air Tuesday.
The boat hit the wellhead near Mud Lake early in the day. No one was hurt.
The well is abandoned, the Coast Guard said, and a company called Environmental Safety and Health Inc. hired for the cleanup was on site by the afternoon.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the massive BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, said 6,000 feet of protective boom was placed around the site. The boom and skimming equipment were already nearby because of the Gulf spill.
Chief Petty Officer John Edwards said a strip of oil 50 yards wide and a mile long was spotted on the water near the well. The extent of the damage beyond that was unclear.
Lt. Brian Sattler said a helicopter was dispatched to survey the area, which is accessible only by boat.
Mud Lake is part of a network of bayous and lakes north of Barataria Bay, an ecologically sensitive coastal estuary where authorities have been fighting waves of oil from the spill that started in the Gulf when the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts said he was confident the leak and spill would be stopped quickly.
"This likely can be contained today," he said in an e-mail Tuesday.
He was concerned, however, because the leak stopped water traffic leading into Barataria Bay. That could hamper efforts to send out oil-fighting equipment that was moved inland ahead of last week's Tropical Storm Bonnie.
"This leaves us vulnerable until we can reopen traffic and get resources back out," Roberts said.A tow boat slammed into an abandoned well north of a bay already hit by crude from the... more
Energy giant BP Plc can extend a test on its capped Macondo oil well in the Gulf of Mexico after determining that nearby seepage is not related to the test, a U.S. official said on Monday.
Thad Allen, the top U.S. oil spill official, said the energy company could continue for 24 more hours a pressure test at the well, which was capped last week.
BP shares took a beating on Monday following news that engineers detected seepage on the ocean floor after the well was capped. The stock recovered in New York after BP and Allen said scientists had determined the seepage was not related to the well.
"We do not believe that is associated with this particular ... test or the Macondo well," Allen told reporters, referring to the seepage detected about 3 km (1.9 miles) from the well.
BP's New York shares dropped more than 6 percent as investors sold on fears the seepage could signal that the April 20 blowout of the well might have damaged it, causing oil or gas to leak out the sides or possibly breach the seabed. Shares in New York recovered on the news the seepage was unrelated to the well, finishing down 3.64 percent.
In the test, which began on Thursday, officials are monitoring the pressure in the well to gauge whether it is structurally sound. An intact well would help when a relief well intercepts and tries to plug the leak, but damage could complicate that effort.
The worst oil spill in U.S. history has caused an economic and environmental disaster in five states along the Gulf Coast, hurt President Barack Obama's approval ratings and complicated traditionally close ties with Britain.
BP said in a statement that it had spent $3.95 billion on efforts to tackle the well and clean up the millions of barrels of spilled oil.
The explosion that led to the spill and a three-month long effort to plug the leak and clean up the oil has hit BP's finances. BP has started canvassing shareholders about a restructuring that could include a breakup of its businesses, the Sunday Times reported.
BP talks to sell half its stake in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil field to Apache Corp, which stalled over the weekend, were back on, CNBC reported.
As part of a test of the well, BP choked off the flow a mile under the water's surface with a cap on Thursday, marking the first time oil has not spewed since the April 20 explosion on an offshore rig killed 11 workers.
The company was extending the test in 24-hour intervals, pending U.S. government approval. The latest extension lasts until Tuesday afternoon.
cont.Energy giant BP Plc can extend a test on its capped Macondo oil well in the Gulf of... more
Let's face it, as long as the oil gushed out this was in the media and on our minds. Now that BP says the gusher has been capped with no problem is that going to diminish coverage of this as with every tragedy until it is out of the consciousness of Americans? This is far from being over as the ecocide that has already been put into motion continues. I personally believe the Gulf will never be the same and that the delicate ecosystems here have been forever changed, as have the lives of the residents. So how much easier will it be now for BP to hide even more regarding the true damage to the Gulf, the health concerns, the pollution, the toxicity, their unwillingness to help those who need it? Well, I propose that we never let people forget this and to always remember that they essentially got away with one of the most despicable crimes against nature. The government may not be willing to hold them truly accountable, but in the court of public opinion their name should always be associated with environmental ecocide and the consequences of unfettered greed and corruption.Let's face it, as long as the oil gushed out this was in the media and on our... more
PHOTO: The last rhinoceros cow in Krugersdorp park, South Africa, bled to death on Wednesday after poachers hacked off her horn. Photograph: Reuters
Poachers kill last female rhino in South African park for prized horn - Record levels of poaching are endangering survival of rhinoceros in South Africa
South African wildlife experts are calling for urgent action against poachers after the last female rhinoceros in a popular game reserve near Johannesburg bled to death after having its horn hacked off.
Wildlife officials say poaching for the prized horns has now reached an all-time high. "Last year, 129 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. This year, we have already had 136 deaths," said Japie Mostert, chief game ranger at the 1,500-hectare Krugersdorp game reserve.
The gang used tranquilliser guns and a helicopter to bring down the nine-year-old rhino cow. Her distraught calf was moved to a nearby estate where it was introduced to two other orphaned white rhinos.
Wanda Mkutshulwa, a spokeswoman for South African National Parks, said investigations into the growing number of incidents had been shifted to the country's organised crime unit. "We are dealing with very focused criminals. Police need to help game reserves because they are not at all equipped to handle crime on such an organised level,'' she said.
Rhino horn consists of compressed keratin fibre – similar to hair – and in many Asian cultures it is a fundamental ingredient in traditional medicines.
Mkutshulwa said poaching was also rife in the Kruger Park. Five men were arrested there in the past week alone – four of whom were caught with two bloodied rhino horns, AK-47 assault rifles, bolt-action rifles and an axe.
Krugersdorp game reserve attracts at least 200,000 visitors every year. It is also close to a private airport, which may have been used by the poachers.
"The exercise takes them very little time," Mostert said. "They first fly over the park in the late afternoon to locate where the rhino is grazing. Then they return at night and dart the animal from the air. The tranquilliser takes less than seven minutes to act.
"They saw off the horns with a chainsaw. They do not even need to switch off the rotors of the helicopter. We do not hear anything because our houses are too far away. The animal dies either from an overdose of tranquilliser or bleeds to death."
The committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) warned last year that rhino poaching had reached an all-time high. The Cites conference in Geneva in July 2009 heard that Asia's economic expansion had fuelled the market in rhino horns.
The horns are also used in the Middle East to make handles for ornamental daggers. Cites said demand for them had begun to soar in recent years. In the five years up to 2005, an average of only 36 rhinos had been killed each year.
Conservationists estimate that there are only 18,000 black and white rhinos in Africa, down from 65,000 in the 1970s. Mostert, who has been a ranger for 20 years, said the animals fetch up to 1m rand (£85,000) at game auctions and cannot be insured.
Cites has praised South Africa for its action against poachers. Two weeks ago, a Vietnamese man was jailed for 10 years for trying to smuggle horns out of the country.
Krugersdorp game reserve attracts at least 200,000 visitors every year. It is also close to a private airport, which may have been used by the poachers.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/18/poachers-kill-last-female-rhinoPHOTO: The last rhinoceros cow in Krugersdorp park, South Africa, bled to death on... more
Mangroves disappearing faster than land-based forests
By Matthew Knight, for CNN
July 16, 2010 11:17 a.m. EDT
Photo: A mangrove forest at the Danau Sentarum National Park in West Kalimantan on Indonesian Borneo island.
* Mangroves disappearing faster than land-based forests according to new U.N. report
* An estimated 35,000 hectares of mangrove have been destroyed since 1980
* Preserving mangroves can sustain local fishing and timber industries, report author says
London, England (CNN) -- The destruction of the world's mangrove forests is happening up to four times faster than the world's land-based forests, according to a new United Nations report.
A study commissioned by the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) reports that one fifth (around 35,500 square kilometers) of the world's mangroves -- forests straddling both land and sea -- have been lost since 1980.
Although the study reports that annual destruction has slowed to 0.7 percent a year, the authors of the "World Atlas of Mangroves" report warn that continued coastal destruction and shrimp farming could cause financial and ecologic havoc.
Studies estimate mangroves generate between U.S.$2000 to $9000 per hectare annually from fishing -- much more than the aquaculture, agriculture and tourism, which the U.N. says are the biggest drivers of mangrove loss.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Program (UNEP), said in a statement: "This atlas brings our attention onto mangroves and puts them up front and central, plotting where they are, describing where they have been lost, and underlining the immense costs those losses have had for people as well as nature."
Mangroves cover around 150,000 square kilometers and are found in 123 countries worldwide. The biggest concentration (21 percent) of the world's mangroves is in Indonesia, with Brazil home to around nine percent and Australia, seven percent.
Mark Spalding, lead author of the report and senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy, told CNN: "The value of mangroves has been hugely overlooked. Mangroves are incredibly valuable, left standing."
Preserving the environmental diversity of mangroves is essential to maintaining what Spalding calls "the real hard dollar values" for the people who live near them and depend on their survival.
Apart from providing a degree of coastal protection for communities - there is evidence that mangroves reduced the impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 - mangroves are also of vital economic importance to locals.
"There are a lot of fish that depend on mangroves - mud crabs, oysters, mussels - and there are also a lot of fish that don't seem to be connected to the mangroves but actually are. These fishing industries employ a lot of people," Spalding said.
The U.N. say estimate that mangrove-related species support 30 percent of all fish catch and almost 100 percent of shrimp catch in South-East Asian countries. Mangroves and associated habitats in Queensland, Australia are thought to support 75 percent of commercial fisheries species.
The forestry aspect of mangroves is also important economically.
The wood is dense, rot and termite resistant, Spalding says, making it good for use as timber or as charcoal - it makes some of the best charcoal in the world, he says.
"It's highly productive so you can continue to harvest it, which is rare," Spalding said.
It's taken Spalding five years to piece together the "World Atlas of Mangroves" and despite the findings, he remains positive that mangroves can be preserved.
"My sense is that we can turn this around into a good story," Spalding said.
"Knowing what we know now, mangroves can be restored and help us fight climate change," he said. They are incredibly resilient eco-systems, he says, which aren't bothered by increasing temperatures.
"These are habitats that are going to be around with us if we just look after them and the economic benefits will just accrue. There has been sustainable use of mangroves in Bangladesh and other parts of Asia for over a century."Mangroves disappearing faster than land-based forests
By Matthew Knight, for CNN... more
The oil has stopped. For now. After 85 days and up to 184 million gallons, BP finally gained control over one of America's biggest environmental catastrophes Thursday by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring.
Though a temporary fix, the accomplishment was greeted with hope, high expectations — and, in many cases along the beleaguered coastline, disbelief. From one Gulf Coast resident came this: "Hallelujah." And from another: "I got to see it to believe it."
If the cap holds, if the sea floor doesn't crack and if the relief wells being prepared are completed successfully, this could be the beginning of the end for the spill. But that's a lot of ifs, and no one was declaring any sort of victory beyond the moment.
The oil stopped flowing at 3:25 p.m. EDT when the last of three valves in the 75-ton cap was slowly throttled shut. That set off a 48-hour watch period in which — much like the hours immediately after a surgery — the patient was in stable, guarded condition and being watched closely for complications.
"It's a great sight," said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, who immediately urged caution. The flow, he said, could resume. "It's far from the finish line. ... It's not the time to celebrate."
Nevertheless, one comforting fact stood out: For the first time since an explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers April 20 and unleashed the spill 5,000 feet beneath the water's surface, no oil was flowing into the Gulf.
President Barack Obama, who has encouraged, cajoled and outright ordered BP to stop the leak, called Thursday's development "a positive sign." But Obama, whose political standing has taken a hit because of the spill and accusations of government inaction, cautioned that "we're still in the testing phase."
The worst-case scenario would be if the oil forced down into the bedrock ruptured the seafloor irreparably. Leaks deep in the well bore might also be found, which would mean that oil would continue to flow into the Gulf. And there's always the possiblity of another explosion, either from too much pressure or from a previously unknown unstable piece of piping.
The drama that unfolded quietly in the darkness of deep water Thursday was a combination of trial, error, technology and luck. It came after weeks of repeated attempts to stop the oil — everything from robotics to different capping techniques to stuffing the hole with mud and golf balls.
The week leading up to the moment where the oil stopped was a series of fitful starts and setbacks.
Robotic submarines working deep in the ocean removed a busted piece of pipe last weekend, at which point oil flowed unimpeded into the water. That was followed by installation of a connector that sits atop the spewing well bore — and by Monday the 75-ton metal cap, a stack of lines and valves latched onto the busted well.
After that, engineers spent hours creating a map of the rock under the sea floor to spot potential dangers, like gas pockets. They also shut down two ships collecting oil above the sea to get an accurate reading on the pressure in the cap.
As the oil flowed up to the cap, increasing the pressure, two valves were shut off like light switches, and the third dialed down on a dimmer switch until it too was choked off.
And just like that, the oil stopped.
It's not clear yet whether the oil will remain bottled in the cap, or whether BP will choose to use the new device to funnel the crude into four ships on the surface.
For nearly two months, the world's window into the disaster has been through a battery of BP cameras, known as the "spillcam." The constant stream of spewing oil became a fixture on cable TV news and web feeds.
That made it all the more dramatic on Thursday when, suddenly, it was no more.
On the video feed, the violently churning cloud of oil and gas coming out of a narrow tube thinned, and tapered off. Suddenly, there were a few puffs of oil, surrounded by cloudy dispersant that BP was pumping on top. Then there was nothing.
"Finally!" said Renee Brown, a school guidance counselor visiting Pensacola Beach, Fla., from London, Ky. "Honestly, I'm surprised that they haven't been able to do something sooner, though."
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley's face lit up when he heard the news. "I think a lot of prayers were answered today," he said.
The next 48 hours are critical. Engineers and scientists will be monitoring the cap around the clock, looking for pressure changes. High pressure is good, because it shows there's only a single leak. Low pressure, below 6,000 pounds per square inch or so, could mean more leaks farther down in the well.
Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral overseeing the spill for the government, said they are deciding as they go along whether to release oil into the water again. At the end of the 48-hour test it's possible oil will start to flow again — but, theoretically, in a controlled manner.
When the test is complete, more seafloor mapping will be done to detect any damage or deep-water leaks.The oil has stopped. For now. After 85 days and up to 184 million gallons, BP finally... more
You can see that the oil flow seems to have been diverted to a side spout. It is estimated per this site that over 215 million gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf as it continues. I am still skeptical that this will be stopped completely due to pressure concerns.You can see that the oil flow seems to have been diverted to a side spout. It is... more
The plan to start choking off oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico was suddenly halted as government officials and BP said further analysis must be done Wednesday before critical tests could proceed.
No explanation was given for the decision, and no date was set for when testing would begin on the new, tighter-fitting cap BP installed on the blown-out well Monday.
In the meantime, oil continued spewing into the Gulf.
The oil giant had been scheduled to start slowly shutting off valves Tuesday on the cap, aiming to stop the flow of oil for the first time in three months. BP was initially ahead of schedule on its latest effort to plug the leak. The cap was designed to be a temporary fix until the well is plugged underground.
A series of methodical, preliminary steps were completed before progress stalled. Engineers spent hours on a seismic survey, creating a map of the rock under the sea floor to spot potential dangers, like gas pockets. It also provides a baseline to compare with later surveys during and after the test to see if the pressure on the well is causing underground problems.
An unstable area around the wellbore could create bigger problems if the leak continued elsewhere in the well after the cap valves were shut, experts said.
"It's an incredibly big concern," said Don Van Nieuwenhuise, director of Professional Geoscience Programs at the University of Houston. "They need to get a scan of where things are, that way when they do pressure testing, they know to look out for ruptures or changes."
It was unclear whether there was something in the results of the mapping that prompted officials to delay. Earlier, BP Vice President Kent Wells said he hadn't heard what the results were, but he felt "comfortable that they were good."The plan to start choking off oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico was suddenly halted... more
Robotic submarines removed the cap from the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, beginning a period of at least two days when oil will flow freely into the sea.
It's the first step in placing a tighter dome that is supposed to funnel more oil to collection ships on the surface a mile above. If all goes according to plan, the tandem of the tighter cap and the surface ships could keep all the oil from polluting the fragile Gulf as soon as Monday.
BP spokesman Mark Proegler said the old cap was removed at 12:37 p.m. CDT on Saturday.
"Over the next four to seven days, depending on how things go, we should get that sealing cap on. That's our plan," said Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president.
It would be only a temporary solution to the catastrophe unleashed by a drilling rig explosion nearly 12 weeks ago. It won't plug the busted well and it remains uncertain that it will succeed.
The oil is flowing mostly unabated into the water for about 48 hours — long enough for as much as 5 million gallons to gush out — until the new cap is installed.
The hope for a permanent solution remains with two relief wells intended to plug it completely far beneath the seafloor.
Engineers now begin removing a bolted flange below the dome. The flange has to be taken off so another piece of equipment called a flange spool can go over the drill pipe, where the sealing cap will be connected.
The work could spill over into Sunday, Wells said, depending on how hard it is to pull off the flange. BP has a backup plan in case that doesn't work: A piece of machinery will pry the top and the bottom of the flange apart.
On Friday, National Incident Commander Thad Allen had said the cap could be in place by Monday. That's still possible, given the timeline BP submitted to the federal government, but officials say it could take up to a week of tests before it's clear whether the new cap is working.
The cap now in use was installed June 4, but because it had to be fitted over a jagged cut in the well pipe, it allows some crude to escape. The new cap — dubbed "Top Hat Number 10" — follows 80 days of failures to contain or plug the leak.Robotic submarines removed the cap from the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico on... more
Tell President Obama to demand that BP stop blocking
clean-up workers from using life-saving respirators
Join experts, political leaders, and thousands of Americans in signing the statement:
We cannot let the denial of protective gear that hurt so many 9/11 clean-up workers happen again with the Gulf clean-up workers.
President Obama and the federal government must demand that BP allow every clean-up worker who wants to wear respiratory protective equipment to do so -- and ensure that workers get the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely.
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Waterkeeper Alliance President *
Louisiana Environmental Action Network
Executive Director MaryLee Orr *
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper (Louisiana)
Riverkeeper Paul Orr *
United Commercial Fishermen
Louisiana President George Barisich *
Commercial Fishermen of America
President Jimmy Rule *
Louisiana Shrimp Association
Acting President Clint Guidry *
Blanchard Seafood, Inc.
President Dean Blanchard, a top shrimp seller in the US *
Rep. Alan Grayson (Florida)
Rep. Kendrick Meek (Florida)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (Florida)
Barbara Ann Radnofsky, Texas Attorney General Candidate
Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson
Biloxi City Councilman Bill Stallworth
Gulf Restoration Network
Campaign Director Aaron Viles *
Disaster Accountability Project
Executive Director Ben Smilowitz *
Louisiana Bucket Brigade
Program Manager Anna Hrybyk *
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
Assistant Director Myra M. Lewis *
Tracy Kuhns *
Mobile Baykeeper (Alabama)
Deputy Director Tammy Herrington *
Galveston Baykeeper (Texas)
Baykeeper Charlotte Wells *
Emerald Coastkeeper (Florida)
Coastkeeper Chasidy Hobbs *
Apalachiola Riverkeeper (Florida)
Riverkeeper Don Tonsmeire *
Atchafalaya Basinkeeper (Louisiana)
Executive Director and Basinkeeper Dean Wilson *
Ecology Action of Texas
Co-Director Karly Dixon *
Delta Sierra Club (Louisiana)
New Orleans Representative Dr. Barry Kohl *
Nassau Sierra Club (Florida)
Executive Committee Chair Ray Roberts *
Public Policy Center of Mississippi
Executive Director Warren Yoder *
The Daily Kingfish
Left in Alabama
Burnt Orange Report
Editor Mike Stagg
NOLA Democratic Party Executive Committee member
Margaret Maggie Carroll *
NOLA Democratic Party Executive Committee member
Andrew V. Tuozzolo *
Polk County Democratic Party (Florida)
Chair Karen Welzel *
Lake County Democratic Party (Florida)
Chair Nancy Hurlbert *
Flagler County Democratic Party (Florida)
State Committeeman Paul Tetreault *
John Lingenfelder Jr. (TX-03)
candidate for Congress
Sheila Smoot (AL-07)
candidate for Congress
Doug Tudor (FL-12)
candidate for Congress
Paul Partyka (FL-24)
candidate for Congress
Stephen Jude Gavi (LA-04)
candidate for Congress
Lainey Melnick (TX-21)
candidate for Congress
Click on link to have your say.BPMakesMeSick.com
Tell President Obama to demand that BP stop blocking
Green campaigners have criticised a Scots firm’s plans to drill for oil in the environmentally sensitive Arctic in the wake of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
WWF Scotland called for an immediate moratorium on new drilling activities in the area after Edinbugh-based Cairn Energy won approval from authorities in Greenland to begin the project despite concerns about its impact.
The US, Canada and Norway have all declared moratoria on deepwater drilling in the aftermath of the environmental catastrophe that caused pollution in five states following an explosion on a BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr Dan Barlow, the charity’s head of policy, said: “It’s bitterly disappointing that oil exploration has begun in this sensitive Arctic environment.
“The decision to drill flies in the face of decisions by other countries to postpone drilling while they take stock of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
“The Gulf of Mexico is the world’s centre of drilling technology with thousands of engineers and immense resources in terms of boats, planes, control equipment and manufacturing facilities – and even here it is proving immensely difficult to
handle the tragic event of the Gulf of Mexico blowout.
“It is time for countries to recognise that offshore oil drilling with current technology and response capability poses unacceptable risks in the Arctic, where conditions are far more extreme.
“The consequences of such an event in the cold climate would lead to a persistence of ecological damage over many decades.”
Dr Patrick Lewis, from the WWF Arctic Initiative, said: “An immediate moratorium on new drilling activities in the Arctic is a basic requirement until the international community has considered the need for increased regulation and stronger environmental standards.”
The US Government estimates the oil spill is the biggest-ever environmental disaster, as the oil that has spewed out from the pipeline is expected to pass the 140 million gallon mark.Green campaigners have criticised a Scots firm’s plans to drill for oil in the... more
The Everglades, a subtropical wetland in the southern portion of Florida. A scenic oasis for wild and plant life. The Everglades Have been around long before human habitation took place around 15,000 years ago. And now due the the influx of residents in southern Florida approximately 50% of Florida's "river of grass" is gone. Though Florida has developed a comprehensive restoration plan to rehabilitate the water flow from lake Okeechobee back to the ocean there is a much darker threat on the horizon, OIL. since April 20, 2010 an estimated rate of about 70,000 barrels of oil per day have been pumping out of the gulf of Mexico. Since then an estimated amount of anywhere between 42 million and 100 million gallons have devastated the gulfs fragile waters. Much of the gulfs ecosystem is being affected. So far, 353 turtles and less than 1000 birds have been found dead. But if the oil spill is not taken care of soon we will most likely see these number rise. What does this mean for the Everglades? Will it soon be annihilated? The truth is we don't know, we can only speculate. But what we do know is it is soon to be much more devastating than we ever thought.The Everglades, a subtropical wetland in the southern portion of Florida. A scenic... more
Whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea, may be the latest victims of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this week that four of the polka-dotted creatures, stretching about 40 feet long, had been spotted swimming alongside oil in search of food.
Since whale sharks are filter feeders -- scooping up plankton and small fish with their gaping mouths as they swim just beneath the surface -- scientists are concerned they will swallow large amounts of toxic oil and die.
"The problem is that these are surface feeding animals and if they digest the oil they will sink and we will not know how many are dying," said Dr. Eric Hoffmayer, who has studied whales in the northern Gulf for the University of Southern Mississippi.
"I don't think there is any question we're going to lose whale sharks to this oil spill. That's why we need to tag these sharks so that we can determine how they are impacted by the oil," Hoffmayer told Reuters.
Hoffmayer spent three days on the Gulf where he and other researchers discovered an extraordinary gathering of more than 100 feeding whale sharks about 90 miles south of Grand Isle, La.
The site where they were feeding was about 60 miles west of BP Plc's blown-out Macondo well off the Louisiana coast and the gathering of whale sharks was among the largest seen in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Hoffmayer said.
In addition to the danger inherent in swallowing oil, it could cause untold harm to the giant but vulnerable fish when they force the water they feed on, after it is sucked into their mouths, to filter out through their gills.
Hoffmayer and a team of marine scientists came up with a plan Thursday to tag the sharks so they can track their movements and hopefully find out if oil is being digested.
One of the big problems, he said, is that there is no known way of steering the whale sharks away from oil contaminated areas of the Gulf.
Marine scientists in Mississippi are hoping to save other species from the oil, which breached Mississippi's mainland this week for the first time.
http://www.canada.com/technology/environment/Gulf spill threatens world largest fish/3236621/story.html
http://www.canada.com/technology/environment/3236622.bin?size=620x400Whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea, may be the latest victims of the massive... more
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just released a report that contains even more bad news for the Gulf of Mexico. This year's Gulf Dead Zone will be unusually large -- and that's without accounting for any impact from the ongoing oil spill.
The Dead Zone refers to an annual oxygen-depleting algae bloom in the waters off the Gulf Coast. Krista Hozyash recently described its origin and impact in detail for Grist's series on nitrogen, and Grist's Tom Philpott summarized its cause in a post from the early days of the spill:
Every year, millions of tons of synthetic nitrogen and mined phosphorous leach from Midwestern farm fields and into streams that drain into the Mississippi. The great river deposits those agrichemicals right into the Gulf, where they feed a 7,000-square-mile algae bloom that sucks up oxygen and snuffs out sea life underneath. The bulk of this vast Dead Zone's rogue nutrients comes from the growing of corn, our nation's largest farm crop.
According to NOAA, the average size of the dead zone over the last five years has been about 6,000 square miles. Current models predict something between 6,500 and 7,800 square miles which, as the report observes, is "an area roughly the size of Lake Ontario."
Study scientist and ecologist Donald Scavia says the likeliest outcome is 6,564 square miles. Though at the low end of the projected range, a Dead Zone that size would still make the Gulf's top ten list, with the top five largest all having occurred within the last ten years.
"We're not certain how this will play out. But one fact is clear: The combination of summer hypoxia [oxygen depletion] and toxic-oil impacts on mortality, spawning and recruitment is a one-two punch that could seriously diminish valuable Gulf commercial and recreational fisheries," said Scavia, Special Counsel to the U-M President for Sustainability, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, and a professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, in the release for the report.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just released a report that... more
BP won't stop at dangerous deep water drilling: the company is bent on still more dangerous projects, including genetic modification and hacking the planet's atmosphere...
Sometimes you have to notice the silences. Where has Dr. Steve Koonin, Under Secretary for Science at the US Department of Energy, been since the Gulf disaster happened?
Koonin was intimately acquainted with the very technologies that have failed so spectacularly on the Deepwater Horizon rig in his former job as BP’s chief scientist. While his current employer, Barack Obama is trying to figure out 'whose ass to kick’ over the spill, he might find it instructive to zip back to a presentation by Koonin at MIT in 2005, in which we see Koonin-as-oilman boasting of his company’s technological prowess in taking oil exploration and production into the ultra deep waters of the gulf.
In particular, he says that $50 million to bore a hole in the gulf’s seabed will yield a million barrels a day, describing the technical challenges of depth and pressure. A small note on the bottom of his slide reads 'marine environment creates integrity challenges’ - engineering-speak for 'accidents likely’.
Did senior management at BP such as Koonin know that they were pushing the bounds of environmental safety in deploying these ultra-deep water-drilling technologies? Of course they did. But as Koonin's MIT presentation makes clear, stretching technological boundaries into risky areas is how BP navigates in an era of peak oil. Koonin's much lauded role at BP was precisely to apply cutting-edge science to the problem of declining oil reserves and growing climate crisis. Koonin led a team of researchers that would allow for the more economical extraction of hard-to-get oil (e.g. tar sands, deep water drilling).
More significantly, Koonin took a central role in sinking millions of dollars of investment by BP into the new field of extreme genetic engineering known as synthetic biology, where entrepreneurs are building the DNA of entirely novel microbes from scratch in order convert sugar plantations, corn fields and forests into biofuels to keep the car economy gassed up.
It was under Koonin’s tenure at BP that the oil giant invested an undisclosed sum into Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics Inc to develop microbes that could be injected into coal seams and tar sands to release methane. Such methanogenic bacteria exists naturally in parts of the Earth’s crust but the ecological implications of artificially injecting super powerful methane-creating bugs and the potential for an accidental release of powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere has yet to be studied. Of course BP would counter that their experimental technology would not escape, just like hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil was not expected to gush out of the seabed.
Just over a month ago, Venter announced the ‘birth’ of Synthia, the first artificial self-reproducing organism, thereby stimulating further investment in the controversial field and attracting many calls for more regulation and oversight of these new technologies. If we have learnt one thing out of the BP-Halliburton-Transocean disaster it is this: do not trust those who are profiting from the use of a technology with its safety.
And then there is geo-engineering –the biggest technological gamble of all --which Koonin and BP see as a viable backup plan. Geoengineering refers to seemingly outlandish large-scale schemes to re-engineer atmospheric and ocean systems in order to counteract global warming. Like the massive, improbable-sounding concrete caps, nuclear options and ‘top kill’ plans now being played out on the deepwater horizon well head, such schemes have a boyish sci-fi feel to them – dumping iron in the ocean to prompt plankton blooms that would gobble up C02 or whitening clouds to reflect sunlight back to space.
A Plan B for the world
In 2008 David Eyton, BP VP for science and technology announced that a new area of investigation for BP was indeed geo-engineering. ‘We cannot ignore the scale of the challenge,’ he wrote ,‘and we all need to have a plan B if the world is unable to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations and the worst of climate change predictions are realized.’
cont.BP won't stop at dangerous deep water drilling: the company is bent on still more... more
Oil outrage on Pensacola Beach
By Kim Segal and John Zarrella, CNN
July 2, 2010 7:12 p.m. EDT
This story started on Oprah CNN iReport
Pensacola, Florida (CNN) -- The beaches in Pensacola, Florida, are known for their soft, sugar-white sand. On a sunny day, the contrast of the pure white beach with the blue of the water is postcard perfect. But the scene has changed since the Gulf oil disaster.
"This sand has been stained, it's that brown gritty looking stain on there, I don't know if we'll ever get it out," says Larry Johnson, a Pensacola city councilman. There is no mistaking the anger in Johnson's voice. It is an anger and frustration that is shared by many in this beachside town.
Anger has turned residents Gregg Hall and Diana Stephens into activists. At least twice a day Hall and Stephens document what is happening on their beach, posting photographs and videos on several websites, including CNN's iReport.com.
Hall likes to show the oil in the water by dipping his uncovered hand in the Gulf of Mexico. "The stuff gets all over your hands, all over your body, it's really hard to get off and it's everywhere," says Hall. He says the demonstration is an effective way to show people the severity of the problem, echoed by the county health department's warning to stay out of the water.
Cleaning crews have been hired to walk the beach and pick up tar balls and tar patties. Heavy machinery is also being used, but the surf is washing the oil and tar ashore faster than it can be picked up.
"It's kinda like cleaning this beach with a toothpick. It's an impossible task," says Stephens.
During Johnson's beach visit, the cleanup crews are hard to spot as they work the other end of the beach. "I think we need more crews out here cleaning up," says Johnson. "If they don't pick this stuff up when it's out here and the tide comes in and ends up burying it."
Weather conditions caused by Hurricane Alex made things worse. The stronger winds and higher tidal surge spread the oil farther up the shoreline while the rain delayed the manual cleanup process. Almost anywhere you dig, tar and brown streaks from the oil can be found inches below the sand's surface.
The oil could not have arrived at a worse time for the city.
The two biggest weekends of the year, Fourth of July and the Blue Angels naval aviators air show, are this weekend and next.
"We've lost this summer. The summer of 2010 is gone for Pensacola Beach, the way I see it," Johnson says. "I just hope we don't lose next summer, so BP needs to get on it and deal with this oil now so we maybe we can save the summer of 2011."Oil outrage on Pensacola Beach
By Kim Segal and John Zarrella, CNN
July 2, 2010... more
The latest chapter in the media's ongoing struggle to cover the Gulf Oil Spill comes courtesy of PBS Newshour's Bridget Desimone, who has been working with her colleague, Betty Ann Bowser, in "reporting the health impact of the oil spill in Plaquemines Parish." Desimone reports that on the ground, officials are generally doing a better job answering inquiries and granting access to the clean-up efforts.
But Desimone and Bowser have encountered one "roadblock" that they've struggled to overcome: access to a "federal mobile medical unit" in Venice, Louisiana: "The glorified double-wide trailer sits on a spit of newly graveled land known to some as the "BP compound." Ringed with barbed wire-topped chain link fencing, it's tightly restricted by police and private security guards."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up the facility on May 31. According to a press release, the medical unit is staffed by "a medical team from the HHS National Disaster Medical System -- a doctor, two nurses, two emergency medical technician paramedics (EMT-P) and a pharmacist."
For over two weeks, my NewsHour colleagues and I reached out to media contacts at HHS, the U.S. Coast Guard and everyone listed as a possible media contact for BP, in an attempt to visit the unit and get a general sense of how many people were being treated there , who they were and what illnesses they had. We got nowhere. It was either "access denied," or no response at all. It was something that none of us had ever encountered while covering a disaster. We're usually at some point provided access to the health services being offered by the federal government.
From there, Desimone describes the runaround she and Bowser were treated to, in terms with which you are no doubt familiar with by now. When Desimone finally got to speak with Ron Burger, the "Medical Unit Operations Chief for HHS's National Disaster Medical System," she was told that the facility had been treating responders and could not or would not confirm or deny that any area residents had been treated there or turned away.
Concerns over public health in the Gulf region run high. Experts in the field have called for a "coordinated approach to monitoring and researching affected populations." And residents of the region continue to worry about the near-term effects of the clean-up effort and the long-term health impact the oil spill will have on the seafood. They have good reason to be concerned:
One of the first things BP did after oil started gushing into the Gulf was to spray more than 1.1 million gallons of a dispersant with the optimistic name "Corexit" onto the oil. Then BP hired Louisiana fishermen and others to help with cleanup and containment operations. About two weeks later, over seventy workers fell sick, complaining of irritated throats, coughing, shortness of breath and nausea. Seven workers were hospitalized on May 26. Workers were engaged in a variety of different tasks in different places when they got sick: breaking up oil sheen, doing offshore work, burning oil and deploying boom. BP officials speculated that their illnesses were due to food poisoning or other, unrelated reasons, but others pointed out how unlikely these other causes were, since the sick workers were assigned to different locations.
Burger also told Desimone that the facility was being run under the auspices of the "national contingency plan." I'll remind you for the eleventy billionth time that National Incident Commander Thad Allen specifically directed officials on the ground to grant access to the media, in what appears to be the most widely unheard or ignored set of orders in the world.The latest chapter in the media's ongoing struggle to cover the Gulf Oil Spill... more
PHOTO: Kevin Reed’s dad taught him to swim at Pensacola Beach. It’s here that he taught his own son. “This will never be the same,” he says.
PENSACOLA BEACH, FLORIDA
The tide came in Tuesday night, under a moon almost full, and when the sun came up and the water retreated there it was: a broken band of oil about 5 feet wide and 8 miles long.
It looked like tobacco spit and smelled foreign, and it pooled in yesterday's footprints as far as you could see. State officials called it the worst show of crude on shore from the gusher 120 miles away.
As word spread, the people of Pensacola Beach walked to the black band to take a look, to take photographs, to be sure this wasn't some apocalyptic dream. They poured over the dunes all day, on pilgrimages to bear witness.
Here came Courtney Laczko, 16, who has been coming to the beach almost every morning since school let out because she knew the days were numbered
"It's actually really here," she kept saying.
She thought about the dolphins and how she used to pretend they were a happy little family. She thought about the time her mom wasn't working and she took the kids to the beach every day.
"It was always the prettiest beach around here. You can't say that anymore."
Here came Kathy Allen, 15, a native. She thought about that night in November, after the homecoming dance, when a boy named Dakota leaned in and kissed her lips, her first ever, and how the stars seemed so bright and sparkly.
Here came Stef Ackerman, 22, who learned to fish here and surf here. He walked to the oil and squatted and ran his finger up under his sunglasses. He thought about all those journeys to the beach with his dad to watch the Blue Angels zing down the shoreline and about that fishing trip when his older brother came home from war. How they talked and fished all day.
This? He doesn't know how to process it.
"I don't know what to do," he said. "I don't know if anybody knows what to do."
Four buses of cleanup men showed up. Bulldozers rolled onto the white sand. Men with shovels scooped black onto plastic sheets and fed them to the dozers.
Gov. Charlie Crist came, too, with his people, to the same beach where a week ago he walked and talked with President Barack Obama. He was expecting scattered tar balls, not this.
"It's pretty ugly," he said.
"It's worse than I expected," said Mike Sole, secretary of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection.
"What do we do now?" asked Morgan White, 15, who has a scar on her hip from skimboarding on this water. "This is what we do. We wake up and we come here."
Up the road, a sign flashed: OIL ON BEACH. The bulldozers beeped. News crews gathered.
If the beach is church, Wednesday felt like a funeral.
Kevin Reed, 36, who learned to swim here and taught his own son, right here, how to swim, walked to the oil and cried.
"I can't help it," he said. "This just kills me. It feels like somebody just ripped my heart out. I knew it was going to be bad. I didn't know it was going to be like this."
He looked back at the band. He noticed there were no birds.
"It's damn near biblical."
http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/article1104604.ecePHOTO: Kevin Reed’s dad taught him to swim at Pensacola Beach. It’s here... more