You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #514. ROV #513 is here.
|Follow the Gulf Watchers tag by going clicking on the heart next to the Gulf Watchers tag at the bottom of this diary.||Follow the Gulf Watchers Group by going here and clicking on the heart next to where it says "Follow" in the Gulf Watchers Group profile on the right. You will have to scroll down a little to see the profile.||Bookmark this link to find the latest Gulf Watchers diaries.|
Gulf Watchers Diary Schedule
Monday - evening drive time
Wednesday - morning
Friday - morning
Friday Block Party - evening
Sunday - morning
Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.
And for a wealth of information relevant to our work here at Gulf Watchers, please read Meteor Blades' Green Diary Rescue, published on Saturday afternoons at 3PM Pacific time.
The GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday - the first of three - that would make it much easier for oil companies to drill offshore. The bill would force the government to issue three new permits in the Gulf by June, 2012, and one off the coast of Virginia by June, 2017.
The sales were put on hold after the Macondo blowout, ostensibly to determine the causes for the gusher, and to assess environmental damage.
The White House has said the measure - if it makes it through the Senate - would be subject to a veto by the President, because it "would hastily open up new areas to drilling".
The House passed the first measure 266-149.
At the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week, officials from BP say that deepwater drilling (danger to human life and the environment be damned) is "indispensable" to future world energy demands.
Lamar McKay, the chief executive of BP's Gulf Coast restoration organization, ( Gulf Coast Restoration? Really? ) told the OTC that deep waters could be the future of energy.
No comment from BP on the $25 million they have been ordered to pay for a 2006 spill in Alaska, where the greedy bastards are chomping at the bit to start an even more dangerous and costly project. Of course, $25 million is pocket change... could probably be found under the sofa cushions in the executive lounge.
"This penalty should serve as a wake-up call to all pipeline operators that they will be held accountable for the safety of their operations and their compliance with the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the pipeline safety laws," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. "Companies like BP Alaska must understand that they can no longer afford to ignore, neglect or postpone the proper monitoring and maintenance of their pipelines. This agreement will help prevent future environmental disasters and protect the fragile ecosystem of Alaska's North Slope."
I'll believe that when I see it. After the GOP finishes eviscerating the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the pipeline safety laws, the only thing in good shape will be the corporate bank accounts, and the bank accounts of their bought-off Congressional minions.
And if we didn't have enough problems with the stuff we can see, Big Oil plans to gear up the stuff we can't see...
Jim Tour of Rice University is working on using nanobots to get hard-to-reach oil out of the ground.
Tour and his students are working on ways to put nanoparticles — those atom-sized clusters of carbon that can be manipulated into machines or materials — to work in the oil field.
Why does this frighten me?
Being from Mississippi, I'm not sure how I feel about this... but I'm willing to listen. By the time you get past the shoreline, the Gulf doesn't have boundaries, so what's good for the Louisiana coast is good for the Mississippi coast... and Alabama, and Florida, too.
Louisiana officials claim that the state incurred the most damage from the Deepwater Horizon disaster and subsequent spill, so they should receive the lion's share of the money.
Garret Graves, who leads the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told state lawmakers Wednesday that the state opposes such funds going to the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, given that 60-90 percent of the oil spills impacts have occurred on coastal Louisiana.
Graves said there is also precedent for an alternative - directly negotiating a settlement between local authorities and responsible parties, with up to 80% of the fines to be spent on coastal restoration, including fisheries. He is asking federal officials to begin the process for such a settlement, which he says would be far better for the state than anything that Congress would do.
“One of the challenges in going through Congress is that Sen. Landrieu, Sen. Vitter, our House delegation will have to negotiate with the delegations from those other states,” Graves said. “Texas has a large delegation. Florida has a large delegation.”
Even though the Deepwater Horizon disaster was just that - a disaster - watching the ROVs work under extreme conditions a mile beneath the ocean's surface was, at least to me, totally fascinating. The operators of said little robots were skilled (even when frustrated by the difficulty of tasks that would be simple topside - like putting a socket on a bolt) and their expertise was often evident during the months we watched.
Now the companies that manufacture and operate these machines are planning to advance the technology.
John Edward Davis of Oceaneering International discussed the lack of equipment standards industry-wide for ROV intervention panels or other tools that are used to operate subsea equipment. This was an issue in the Macondo incident. The right-size tool to try to activate sheer rams on the blowout preventer were not readily available from rigs and vessels nearby, leading to nearly a day’s delay before those operations could start.
As if the fishermen on the Louisiana coast didn't have enough problems already, the influx of fresh water from the Mississippi River floods will probably decimate the oyster beds that haven't come close to recovering from the BP spill and Gov. Bobby Jindall's misguided efforts to keep oil out of the marshes.
Just a year after the BP oil spill crippled Louisiana's oyster industry, the fishermen face a new problem. Freshwater is set to be diverted from the mighty Mississippi River into the salty waters where the shellfish grow, potentially killing them.
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:
|5-04-11 06:00 AM||Gulf Watchers Wednesday - Potential Arctic blowout = 58 million gal. spill - BP Catastrophe AUV #513||peraspera|
|5-01-11 12:28 PM||Gulf Watchers Sunday - Oil Biz Trade Show Touts "Safety" - BP Catastrophe AUV #512||Lorinda Pike|
|4-29-11 06:54 PM||Gulf Watchers Block Party: It's Only Rock 'n Roll...||Lorinda Pike|
|4-29-11 08:19 AM||Gulf Watchers Friday - They're Baaaa-aak - BP Catastrophe AUV #511||Lorinda Pike|
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.