Topics: Nearly one year in, where are we? Oil still washing ashore. BP says dead oysters are not their problem. New (and untested) capping stacks ready to go. BP tried to limit political damage. Offshore failures or new permits? Hydrofracking is probably worse than advertised. Praise for rescue efforts.
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Nearly one year in after the explosion and blowout on the Deepwater Horizon, Coast residents say the disaster is still wreaking havoc with their lives. New words are being invented to describe what is happening: "chronic re-oiling" as submerged oil mats break apart and and produce "surface residue balls" that wash onto beaches and into marshes. Coast Guard Commander Dan Lauer says the residual oil poses no health risk to humans (but it does look nasty on the beaches, and might offend tourists...) so cleanups are being continued before the hurricane season, when a storm would churn more sludge onto the shore.
Lauer said Thursday that crews are experimenting with different types of sonar and radar to locate the mats resting on the sea floor. They are typically about 300 square feet and have been found from Louisiana to Florida, he said.
Oil-choked mats of marshgrass in Barataria Bay and Pass a Loutre are a particular problem, and crews have been cutting back the grasses in an attempt to encourage oil degradation.
"There is absolutely some damage to the wetlands, but we're also seeing good regrowth," he said. "If the root system stays healthy, the grass seems to grow back very well."
But residents of Grand Isle have not been impressed, maintaining that the Coast Guard is performing cleanup for the TV cameras only, and the real work goes undone.
"How come we don't see this every day and not just when the TV cameras are here?" said Dean Blanchard, who owns a seafood-processing plant on the barrier island.
Lauer says cleanup will continue through the hurricane season, that a reassessment on more cleaning will be made. If more oil comes ashore, he says the Coast Guard will be there to clean that up too.
"Regardless of where the oil came from, we are mandated to take care of it," he said. "We'll be here as long as it takes."
And how is the continuing impact of the spill affecting the non-tourists? You know, the things that live here, like... say, things IN the ocean? Well, BP says it is in no way responsible for dead oysters. Wasn't their fault.It was all that fresh water that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and state officials diverted from the Mississippi River in a futile attempt to keep the oil out. They can't be responsible for a few dead oysters. Why, oysters aren't cute and cuddly. Who cares about them?
Well, maybe the oyster fishermen do. And the Gulf food chain certainly does. But a senior BP official says the diversion was not approved by the Unified Command overseaing the response, and BP cannot be blamed.
"Having been a part of this response since the beginning, I can tell you categorically that the Coast Guard indicated that it was not necessary and was not seen as a viable response technique," Mike Utsler, chief operating officer of BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, said Friday. "As a Unified Command, we saw this as a not-needed exercise, and the state still chose to pursue that course of action."
Jindal's coastal adviser, Garret Graves, immediately went on the offensive, stating that the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers (long known for their stellar environmental work) and BP agreed that the flow diversion would be effective.
"BP's comments prove what we have been saying all along -- BP thinks that they are unilaterally in charge of the Deepwater Horizon disaster response and recovery," said Graves, who is chairman of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. "Neither the Coast Guard, that was supposed to be in charge, nor BP objected to the use of diversions.
Well, if I remember my biology, oysters are estuary/tidal range dwellers, and are euryhaline - able to tolerate changes in salinity. But too much fresh water weakens oysters, and when they are in fresh water only, they die.
Utsler's comments came hours after Graves and other state officials held a news conference to slam BP for not paying for cultch projects, and to announce that the state had increased by $2 million, to $4 million, the amount of money it had found in various departments to pay for the projects.
So...oil=dead. Lots of fresh water=dead. Such a Catch-22... How about we work on not having a blowout, and don't have the oil in the first place? Just a thought.
The new Marine Well Containment Company's capping stack is ready to go. As yet untested in real world extreme conditions, the company claims the New and Improved CAPPING STACK! can capture 60,000 barrels a day in 8,000 feet of water. But wait! There's MORE! You can have your very own capping stack for the bargain price of only ONE BILLION DOLLARS! Don't let this offer slip away! CALL NOW! Operators are standing by to take your call!
Standing 30 feet tall and weighing 100 tons, the capping stack is designed to be lowered on top of a runaway well, with the goal of either shutting it in or, if that can’t be done safely, collecting and routing the oil to ships above.
...shipped to an offshore well “in a matter of days.” Okay.
So, best case scenario for this Rube Goldberg contraption is only a week to ten days or so of fouling whatever ocean is the next unlucky victim of greed and corporate excess...
Makes me feel better already.
British diplomats in Washington made immediate attempts to limit the political damage following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act reveal.
The offshore energy industry has been awash in conspiracy theories for the past year, many of which go something like this: the Obama administration is trying to destroy the oil business by withholding drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico.
Despite great protests to the contrary, more chemicals than you can ever imagineare used in the fracking process. Even instant coffee. Srsly...
Oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats.
The American Petroleum Institute could not be reached for comment...
Please click on the link and read the whole story of the tender/supply ship Damon B. Bankston, and the heroic efforts of the captain and crew on the night of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Alwin Landry stood silently in a Coast Guard hangar Friday morning, appearing gracious amid more of the kind of attention he's received during the past year.
Heroes, for real... And I will take it as good that they are not talking to the media. They know a great deal of what happened, both leading up to that night and what occurred during and after the explosion. What they can tell is evidence, and should probably be kept that way until a trial.. if that ever happens. It might.
I still want to see Tony Hayward's perp walk.
PLEASE visit Pam LaPier's diary to find out how you can help the Gulf now and in the future. We don't have to be idle! And thanks to Crashing Vor and Pam LaPier for working on this!
Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:
|4-15-11 06:37 PM||Gulf Watchers Block Party - Who Are You?||Lorinda Pike|
|4-15-11 08:15 AM||Gulf Watchers Friday - We'll Have Another Blowout Within Five Years - BP Catastrophe AUV #503||Lorinda Pike|
|4-13-11 06:00 AM||Gulf Watchers Wednesday - Mississippi AG v/s Feinberg, Round 2 - BP Catastrophe AUV #502||peraspera|
|4-11-11 05:42 PM||Gulf Watchers Monday-BP Money Paid for That? - BP Catastrophe AUV #501||shanesnana|
|4-10-11 11:57 AM||Gulf Watchers Sunday - Why did BP buy a beach? - BP Catastrophe AUV #500||Lorinda Pike|
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.
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