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Topics: USM develops a dispersant safer for birds and humans. Conservative talk radio aids Gulf Restoration. Feinberg under attack...again. BP profits take hit.

You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #509. ROV #508 is here.

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Gulf Watchers Diary Schedule
Monday - evening drive time
Wednesday - morning
Friday - morning
Friday Block Party - evening
Sunday - morning

Part one of the digest of diaries is here and part two is here.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.

Robert Lochhead and colleagues in the polymer science labs at the University of Southern Mississippi, with a small grant ($150,000) from the National Science Foundation,have developed a dispersant that prevents oil from sticking to bird feathers (or anything).  Corexit, while it disperses the oil into droplets, it is also a wetting agent, making it spread on things like bird feathers when the droplets hit them.

Using an expensive robot to test thousands of mixtures a day, they found that soylecithin, the emulsifier that keeps chocolate creamy, mixed in the right proportion with water-loving polymers, breaks oil into droplets and wraps those droplets so they don’t stick to things.

The combination also lets in microbes that eat oil.

They tested it on duck feathers in the USM polymer science labs, using motor oil in saltwater. The dispersant has been a success.

A pelican could sit on water with dispersed oil in it, duck into the water, flap its wings and the dispersed oil would fall right off, he said.

Traditionally, oil-spill response has been to boom areas of water to keep birds and wildlife out, then clean them with Dawn dish-washing detergent when they get oiled.But detergent also takes the natural oils off a bird’s wings, the oils that keep a bird buoyant and water resistant. After such a cleaning, a bird is vulnerable for weeks until those natural oils come back.

“Dish-washing liquid is a cure,” he said. “But ours is a prevention.”

Seems unbelievable that the oil related industries with all their money couldn't have thought of this! Lochhead says he now needs funding for the extensive environmental testing required for EPA approval. He expects that testing will need to be more rigorous now that we are just beginning to find out the effects of Corexit.

Lochhead has worked in the private sector and helped develop the the formula for hand sanitizers.

“There’s tremendous technology just in consumer goods,” he said. “We take it for granted because it’s so common.

“When the oil was spilled, I thought we could use the same techniques we use in the laundry to stop dirt from redepositing on clothes,” he said.

And that helped him formulate the theory that a polymer could surround oil in water and keep it from sticking to organic material like feathers.

“We were looking for something biodegradable and safe, very safe,” he said, “food or pharmaceutical material that could be ingested.

It may not be harmful to eat, but what about inhaling it? Or could it have an ill effect on crab larvae?

“I think the regulations will be changed and the hoops we have to jump through will be higher,” Lochhead said. “And that’s good.”

If BP really cared about it's image, instead of hiring people to tweet all day they would fund the testing for this product.

Under the category of "who would believe?" Conservative radio runs radio ads for Gulf Renewal Project.  A new radio ad campaign begins today on Gulf coast conservative news/talk radio. The ads will educate residents that under current law BP fines will go into the federal treasury, unless Congress takes action.
Thankfully, the restoration of the Gulf seems to be something that transcends politics.
The campaign is sponsored by the Gulf Renewal Project and follows its release of new polling last week showing that 83 percent of voters nationwide support—and 69 percent strongly support—dedicating the BP oil spill penalties to restoring the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast.
The poll showed that an overwhelming majority of conservative voters favor this proposal, including 76 percent (60 percent strongly) of Republicans, and 78 percent (62 percent strongly) of voters who agree with the Tea Party movement.

"Voters across all party lines all over the nation agree that BP's fines for the oil spill belong in the Gulf.  We need Gulf leaders to get together and get restoration done for the region's environment and economy this spring," said a statement from the Gulf Renewal Project.

Congressional members from both parties have introduced legislation to dedicate these fines to Gulf Restoration.
The ads will be aired during the morning and evening drive times on 22 stations in five Gulf states. Below is the ad copy.

One year ago, the BP oil well blowout dumped millions of barrels of oil into our Gulf Coast waters.

It caused major damage to wildlife, and our fishing, and tourism industries.

This unprecedented environmental and economic disaster could cost our region's tourism industry alone $23 billion in lost revenues, according to one study.  

And nearly nine out of 10 voters polled in the Gulf states agree that the health of our coastal environment affects the health of our economy.

Yet, one year after the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, Congress still has not passed legislation to dedicate the oil spill penalties to restoring our coast's environment and economy.  

And unless Congress takes action, the oil spill fines could be diverted to other things.

Congress must get together, and get it done now, by passing legislation to dedicate the BP oil spill penalties to restoring our coast's environment and economy.

Paid for by the Gulf Renewal Project.

Last Thursday at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside, Kenneth Feinberg and Senator Mary Landrieu were part of a panel at the Gulf coast Leadership Summit. The question and answer session ended early when angry comments outweighed questions. Once again Feinberg seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth. He says at one point that private non-profits should be the ones helping those sick and out of work, while at the same time denying BP money to those agencies that are trying to help.
... twice during the meeting he[Feinberg] indicated that he thinks public money - not BP's money - should be used to pay for people who are sick or out of work because of the oil spill.
    "We enlisted Catholic Charities to figure out what to do and what to do about subsistence claims," Feinberg said.
     He did not say, however, that both BP and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), which he oversees, recently refused to help Catholic Charities with any money to ease the nonprofit's operating deficit.

     Immediately after the oil spill one year ago, BP gave Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans $1.25 million. Catholic Charities spent $700,000 of it right away on food vouchers for the people who had lost their jobs to the oil spill. It spent the rest quickly on bringing resources to hard-hit communities.
     The charity's bank account has been slammed by the oil spill; it estimates it can continue operating only until June unless more money comes in.

When Catholic Charities appealed to BP for more funds, they were told by Iris Cross (BP's human resources manager in new Orleans) that they had to apply to Feinberg's GCCF.

  From his personal email account, Feinberg denied Catholic Charities' request on April 6.
     "Under the GCCF protocols for payment of claims and under the Oil Pollution Act, these losses would not be considered losses of profits and would not be compensable by the GCCF," Feinberg wrote.

    Still, during the meeting Thursday, Feinberg recognized the need for nonprofits to address the human disaster left by the spill.
     "Nonprofits don't get the press, they don't get the thanks," Feinberg said. "I don't think this country could be what it is without the nonprofits."

So...Feinberg says that nonprofits are best able to help the sick and out of work. Non profits get their funding from where? Not the companies that caused the illness and unemployment. I am speechless, and if I weren't, I couldn't publish it here!  

And Feinberg wasn't the only clueless one.

   Kindra Arnesen of Venice, La., 33, the wife of an offshore oil worker and mother of two, asked Sen. Landrieu why offshore drilling is continuing, though blowout preventers are just 65 percent effective.
     Landrieu sidestepped the question, saying many families in Louisiana have both oil workers and fishermen.
    Landrieu said more oil is dumped into the ocean from tanker accidents, such as the Exxon Valdez, than from well blowouts, and that tanker accidents are the unfortunate byproduct of drilling too far away and of having to transport oil.
     The Deepwater Horizon accident was "horrific" Landrieu said, but not normal.
     "The wives of the men who died in the [Deepwater Horizon explosion], sitting at my kitchen table, said: 'Mary, if our husbands were alive, they would be right out there drilling oil,'" the senator said.

     Landrieu continued: "We're here to make it safe. But we're not here to stomp all over the industries that are here."

Can you believe that she would bring the wives of the dead into her idiotic argument!
But almost as good, she told one man who had been trying to get his medical claim paid after faxing his medical records to the GCCF six different times.

 "Believe me," Landrieu said, "the country doesn't have the kind of research to help you as much as we should."

Mary, he wasn't asking for research...just asking that his bills get paid!
Attorneys that were present reiterated the need for judicial oversight of the claims process. Seems like a no brainer.

BP is this week expected to reveal profits hit by lower production – but an official report into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has boosted the group's hopes of recovering some costs.
Analysts expect BP on Wednesday to unveil first quarter profits only slightly higher than last year at around $5.6bn – despite the fact that the oil price has risen by 31pc since then.
In contrast, Royal Dutch Shell, reporting on Thursday, is expected to reveal profits boosted by the $100-plus oil price in the first quarter, although its production figures are likely to be little changed.

BP's lawsuit against Transocean for $40 billion gains strength from the Coast Guard  report that cited equipment failures and poor safety practices aboard the Deepwater Horizon. (see AUV #508)   BP is suing Halliburton and Cameron also. Yet, it reportedly is only budgeting 41 billion for the total cost of the spill, including clean up, fines and legal fees. Meaning...BP could actually profit from the spill!

Transocean was banned by a Swiss court from paying a $1bn dividend in case it has to contribute towards the cost of the accident.

However, the company has found a way of still paying the dividend under a different type of scheme that does not require approval from the Swiss authorities.

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:

4-24-11 12:02 PM Gulf Watchers Sunday - Deficiencies and Omissions = Death - BP Catastrophe AUV #508 Lorinda Pike
4-22-11 06:49 PM Gulf Watchers Block Party: Burning Edition BlackSheep1
4-22-11 08:27 AM Gulf Watchers Friday - Ready, Set... Sue! - BP Catastrophe AUV #507 Lorinda Pike
4-20-11 06:00 AM Gulf Watchers Wed. - Deepwater Horizon anniversary - 30k FOIA docs - BP Catastrophe AUV #506 peraspera
The last Mothership has links to reference material.

Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.

Again, to keep bandwidth down, please do not post images or videos.

Originally posted to Gulf Watchers Group on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by lundi channel.

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