Mississippi flood waters could create the largest ever dead zone in the Gulf. Taxpayers hit with clean up costs as BP takes tax break. Marine mammal researcher wins prestigious award.
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According to researchers at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium,
the flood waters flowing from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers could produce the largest ever dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. A dead zone, an area of oxygen depleted water, forms annually off of Louisiana's coast.Each year LUCOM sends out a research cruise to measure it. The largest recorded was in 2002 and measured 8,484 square miles.
Last year's was 7,722 square miles, or the size of the state of Massachusetts.
The larger the dead zone the bigger the setback for fishermen trying to recover from last year's oil spill.
A huge dead zone will be another setback for fishermen trawling the Gulf in hopes of making up for last year’s spring fishing season, which was shut down in much of the state by the BP oil spill, said Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium researcher Nancy Rabalais, Marine organisms, especially bottom-feeders like crabs and shrimp, must flee the oxygen starved waters or die, creating large areas of “dead” fishing that lend the annual phenomenon its name.
The large dead zone will further stress marine life, especially bottom feeders that have already been stressed by the effects of the oil and dispersants.
The rising water is still expected to threaten a variety of oil and gas production facilities within the Atchafalaya Basin, according to state and federal officials. There are 589 producing oil and gas wells within areas that will be inundated with the opening of the Morganza Floodway, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, representing 19,300 barrels of oil a day and 252.6 million cubic feet of gas.
The US Geological Survey's National Stream Quality Network will be sampling and testing the water for several months. They will be testing for nutrients, pesticides, suspended sediment, turbidity, alkalinity, and oil and grease. They will post their data at
At last week's Senate hearing on tax breaks for oil companies BP revealed that it is moving to cut its tax bill by 11.8 billion by writing off the costs of the oil spill as the cost of doing business. In short, the clean up costs will be paid by...you, the taxpayer.
All this unfolded at a testy hearing last Thursday of the Senate Finance Committee, where oil executives defended their lucrative profits and attempted to explain away rising gas prices.
Senator Nelson has introduced a bill that would prohibit deductions for legal, clean up and other costs associated with oil spills in US territorial waters.
A marine toxicologist from Maine is recognised for her work in the Gulf of Mexico Susan Shaw normally works in a lab at the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Blue Hill, Maine. As an environmental toxicologist, she is renowned for studying the buildup of industrial chemicals in seals and other marine mammals. During the past year, however, she has been part of a team of federally funded scientists studying the long term impact of oil and the chemicals used to disperse it in the Gulf of Mexico.
This month, Shaw will receive the Gold Medal award from the Society of Women Geographers. There have been only 18 other recipients of the society's most prestigious award in its 85-year history, including aviator Amelia Earhart, primatologist Jane Goodall, anthropologist Margaret Mead and archaeologist Mary Leakey.
Susan Shaw grew up far from Maine and began her career as a filmmaker. Didn't get her doctorate until the age of 55. Read the article to find out how the twists and turns of life led to her diving in the Gulf. Maybe its never to late to start over.
|Further reading for those interested....
An interview with Nigerian author Helon Habila about his book, Oil On Water, a novel about the human toll of having the oil companies do business in his country.
Oceans of tears fall. The heartbreaking story of one young widow whose husband died on the Deepwater Horizon. She talks about her two young daughters who still cry for Daddy and an empty grave, as his remains were never found.
A little comedic relief. Shrimper Dean Blanchard created quite a stir when he proposed a demonstration against BP this past weekend at Grand Isle.
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:
|5-15-11 12:45 PM||Gulf Watchers Sunday - More Drilling and Fewer Oysters - BP Catastrophe AUV #518||Lorinda Pike|
|5-13-11 06:25 PM||GW Friday Block Party--House Edition (??)||Phil S 33|
|5-11-11 06:00 AM||Gulf Watchers Wednesday - Gulf rig worker aid funds wanting for applicants - BP Catastrophe AUV||peraspera|
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.
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