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The Gulf Disaster As You Have Not Yet Seen It
July 1, 2010 8:20 AM   Subscribe

BP Slick Covers Dolphins and Whales. (YouTube) John L. Wathen, (MySpace Video) Hurricane Creekkeeper and Alabama environmental activist, flew over the oil slick area on June 21. This video documents a truly terrifying aerial tour of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, with activist and journalist David Helvarg providing narration. More remarkable videos can be found on his YouTube channel.
posted by fourcheesemac (70 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
nicoe143 24 minutes ago
The solution is called a mircobe type of bacteria that eats oil and then dies, leaving oil free in a few day and its dead body can be eat by fish


It is just that easy!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:27 AM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


BP Slick Covers Dolphins and Whales.

Nothing could make me click that. Well, probably something, but it would have to equal the force of my desire not to sit in my office weeping all afternoon.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:33 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Where is the link to 'BP burns turtles alive?' I'm not clicking that one either.
posted by fixedgear at 8:35 AM on July 1, 2010


I saw some of this video on Olberman last night, and it is heartbreaking. Words fail.
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:46 AM on July 1, 2010


We are so screwed.
posted by scalefree at 8:50 AM on July 1, 2010


"Rainbows of death" - man that was really disturbing to watch.
posted by dabitch at 8:50 AM on July 1, 2010


Rumor that sounds credible enough for me to repeat claims that the entire upper well is compromised, that the explosion turned the thing, in essence, into swiss cheese, and that the relief well absolutely will not work, because it's dependent on an intact wellhead.

That source claims that the only way to seal it will be with a nuke, and that this is the real reason they're drilling the relief well so deep; they're aiming for hard rock, hoping that a large explosion will melt it into a dome over the oil.

Per this source, when the relief well is complete, the company will try the normal procedure, but it will fail. Then they'll announce, "gee, the relief well process isn't working, maybe we could try a nuke? If we don't, it's going to leak at this rate for about fifteen years." And Congress will rush through the legislation and get the nuke deployed before public opinion has time to get solidified.

I have NO idea if this is the truth, but it fits what I know about the state of the well perfectly, so I'm very curious to see if this is how it plays out. If the relief well fails, and we do use a nuke very quickly thereafter, it's time to start asking some hard questions.
posted by Malor at 8:52 AM on July 1, 2010


Hearbreaking. Would that it were required viewing for every member of Congress.
posted by ambrosia at 8:56 AM on July 1, 2010


I have NO idea if this is the truth

Well, then internet's your place.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on July 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


If the relief well fails, and we do use a nuke very quickly thereafter, it's time to start asking some hard questions.

That'd be a little late. How about in the meantime we spread some more FUD?
posted by monospace at 9:07 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


We need to arrest BP executives before they can escape. Something needs to be done about this kind of criminal behavior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:13 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


That source claims that the only way to seal it will be with a nuke, and that this is the real reason they're drilling the relief well so deep; they're aiming for hard rock, hoping that a large explosion will melt it into a dome over the oil.

I'm no expert, but the pipe is probably not big enough to get a nuclear bomb down it. Also the pipe isn't straight, it twists and bends along the way. Wired is reporting one idea to use a fuel-air bomb - but where are they going to get the "air" part in a thin little pipe miles underground? Most likely they could pack the pipe with gelatin-like explosive, but even then, the explosive would be spread out since the pipe diameter is not very big. I think it was 20" at the well head but more like 7" in the main.
posted by stbalbach at 9:18 AM on July 1, 2010


Also, I've seen interviews of the guys running the relief well and they are old, experienced and highly confident. When asked if there was any question about it, they said no, no question at all, it would be stopped. This is what they do, they know what they are doing. I find the postulation that the relief well depends on the original well head being in good shape to be unlikely - all they need do is tap into the original well at any point underground and inject concrete into it. If that point is compromised, go deeper and find a better spot.
posted by stbalbach at 9:24 AM on July 1, 2010


This is what they do, they know what they are doing.

Where to begin here?
posted by fixedgear at 9:26 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


"I meant to do that" /Pee-Wee Herman
posted by dabitch at 9:38 AM on July 1, 2010


The solution is called a mircobe type of bacteria that eats oil and then dies, leaving oil free in a few day and its dead body can be eat by fish

It is just that easy!


Quentin Cooper interviewed the scientists who are studying these bacteria, alcanivorax borkumensis, in this episode of Material World. Their paper is published in Nature (paywall).

It really does sounds like it would at least be worth some preliminary tests in the Gulf, naive of me perhaps. Christoph Gertler explained in the interview that there are so many people, 99% kooks I'm sure, inundating the government with solutions (e.g. the Costners, that new skim boat) that they haven't had a look-in.
posted by NailsTheCat at 9:39 AM on July 1, 2010


Per this source, when the relief well is complete, the company will try the normal procedure, but it will fail. Then they'll announce, "gee, the relief well process isn't working, maybe we could try a nuke?

Here's what I'd like to have explained to my satisfaction. Why did everyone make the abrupt leap, bypassing the use of conventional explosives to seal the leak, to nukes? It seems to me that all this nuke talk is really just so much fashionable nonsense.

The original source of the nuke idea was Russia, I'm led to understand. And gee, it sure sounds like a good idea to trust them to be disinterested providers of advice.

And even assuming the proposal wasn't offered in bad-faith, my understanding is the Russians have only ever used this technique on land--in a completely different context than an oil leak.

If the point is to collapse the well to obstruct the flow, surely the same thing could be accomplished with some well-placed, powerful non-nuclear explosives.

I think this whole "nuke it" craze is just some kind of reactionary emotionally driven panic response, as much a result of the fact that we've been conditioned through the many years of the cold war to view nuclear weapons as the de facto be-all-end-all solution of last resort as any rational impulse, taking the actual engineering problems into account.

For one thing, a nuke, according to many experts, could literally backfire and just leave us with a giant crater leaking oil. For another thing, the entire area is saturated in high concentrations of flammable gases. We'd be lucky if a nuke didn't set much of the Gulf on fire. Plus, the area of the leak is known to be extremely seismically unstable already, and a nuclear explosion would almost certainly trigger seismic events that could further deteriorate the situation.

Oh, and did I mention, even in the best case, this idea fills the Gulf with substantial amounts of radioactive waste in addition to the oil that's already gushing?

And to date, the most vocal advocates of using nukes are people like National Review's Daniel Foster, or former Bush admin energy flunkie Matt Simmons, who it doesn't take a big stretch of imagination just might not be as seriously committed to improving this situation as one would like.

Or: Government and private nuclear experts agreed that using a nuclear bomb would be not only risky technically, with unknown and possibly disastrous consequences from radiation, but also unwise geopolitically — it would violate arms treaties that the United States has signed and championed over the decades and do so at a time when President Barack Obama is pushing for global nuclear disarmament.

posted by saulgoodman at 9:40 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rumor that sounds credible enough for me to repeat

Please stop spreading this bullshit. I've seen this exact thing, with minor edits, posted everywhere. There isn't going to be a cave-in, or anything like that. Don't turn metafilter into everybody's idiot overreacting distant relative that FWD:s everything they hear on the internet.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:44 AM on July 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think this whole "nuke it" craze is just some kind of reactionary emotionally driven panic response

When all you have is a hammer...
posted by Max Power at 9:53 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Project Rulison
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:13 AM on July 1, 2010


Here's what bugs me:

Nukes are politically complicated.

So?

Either a nuke will stop the leak, or it won't. Either conventional explosives will stop the leak, or they won't. There's either historical data to suggest one or the other, or there isn't.

The discussion about whether we like the politics of the fix should, and indeed must be orthogonal to discussion of the fix itself.
posted by effugas at 10:23 AM on July 1, 2010


Hurricane Creekkeeper and Alabama environmental activist, flew over the oil slick area on June 21...
I'm frankly amazed that BP didn't somehow have that flight shot-down. I mean, they seem to have some pretty surprising influence over just about every other aspect of law enforcement down there right now.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:32 AM on July 1, 2010


I mean, they seem to have some pretty surprising influence over just about every other aspect of law enforcement down there right now.

Tangentially related: Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu demands equal role for oil industry in spill inquiry

And:

As Jindal Criticized Federal Bureaucracy, Louisiana Guard Troops Sat Idle

Here's what bugs me:

Nukes are politically complicated.

So?


It's not just that it's politically complicated: it's that it would put us in violation of longstanding international treaties, and involve us taking a unilateral action with the potential to impact other regional nations (it's not called the Gulf of USA for a reason, you know), just to carry out some stupid macho-impulse satisfying exercise we can't even say with any confidence beforehand won't make the situation drastically worse!

If you were opposed to just disregarding the Geneva Conventions when it was inconvenient during the Gulf War, then for fuck's sake, why wouldn't you be opposed to disregarding international law when it's inconvenient in this case--especially when no one arguing for this option can even honestly claim that the use of a nuke would be anything more than an incredibly risky crap shoot, and when the one thing we know with near certainty is that the immediate result will be to significantly increase the amount of pollution in the Gulf even if by some miracle it did work?

But you know what? On second thought, let's just go ahead and nuke it. Why not nuke the economy, too? And let's nuke Afghanistan, just to be sure. Hell, nuke everything. Just turn it all to glass, because it's all too much trouble anyway. I mean, if there's anything the 20th century must have taught us by now it's that rushing headlong to embrace the first half-baked technological solutions with potential consequences that are poorly-understood and potentially large scale in their impacts almost always turns out to be a good idea, right?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:46 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


it's not called the Gulf of USA for a reason, you know

Actually, under the "you break it, you bought it" clause, Stephen Colbert has renamed it and established a charity fund to benefit non-profits and wildlife relief.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fifteen feet from well bore says Thad Allen. Preser on now.
posted by fixedgear at 10:54 AM on July 1, 2010


The solution is called a mircobe type of bacteria that eats oil and then dies, leaving oil free in a few day and its dead body can be eat by fish

That's what the natural bacteria (and other microbes) do. The problem is that the speed at which the microbial consortia work is many times slower that the rate at which the oil is coming out. If containment can finally be achieved, this is exactly how most of the oil will be removed from the ocean.

these bacteria, alcanivorax borkumensis

The problem is not the bacteria (and there are hundreds of oleophagic bacteria, not just one), it's that the aquatic ecology is limited, by oxygen, by nutrients, by the physics of the way bacteria colonize oil droplets. The biggest problem is getting the bacteria into the oil.

The way to increase the rate of colonization of oil with bacteria and the other necessary micro-organisms is to break the oil into very small droplets. This happens either naturally with wind or waves, or can be speeded up by using dispersants. This is why those chemicals are being applied.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 11:00 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem is not the bacteria (and there are hundreds of oleophagic bacteria, not just one), it's that the aquatic ecology is limited, by oxygen, by nutrients, by the physics of the way bacteria colonize oil droplets. The biggest problem is getting the bacteria into the oil.

According to one biologist I heard interviewed recently, that's not even the worst of it. The bacteria consume oxygen while they eat the oil, which normally isn't a problem, but with this much oil and such, we'll see the bacterial equivalent of an algae bloom as the oil is consumed, leaving vast swaths of the Gulf lacking in oxygen altogether. These dead zones won't support any marine life which requires oxygen to live, and we'll end up with the underwater equivalent of the Sahara where we used to have vast fisheries.

Perhaps pumping air down into the water would help alleviate this problem. I don't really know enough to say whether that would help or not.

Plus, there's the whole "dispersants are toxic" problem. Do bacteria actually survive the (from what I've read) horrible toxicity of these very strong chemicals which are being sprayed both underwater and on the surface?
posted by hippybear at 11:06 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rumor that sounds credible enough for me to repeat claims that the entire upper well is compromised, that the explosion turned the thing, in essence, into swiss cheese, and that the relief well absolutely will not work, because it's dependent on an intact wellhead.

This has been a widely-discussed scenario, which probably started over at the Oil Drum blog a few weeks ago. It's been pretty thoroughly contradicted by the available evidence.
1. The Oil Drum had a retired well engineer offer good comment on this directly.
2. The Joint Command (BP and USCG) replied directly to the Oil Drum indicating that they had no evidence to support this scenario.
3. The results of the deepwater monitoring by the MV Brooks McCall (one of the EPA/NOAA monitoring vessels) shows that the oil oil at depth, the sub-surface oil plumes, appear to be chemically-dispersed oil, consistent with an origin in the oil coming out the top of the BOP and being dispersed by the ROV operations. There's no evidence of non-dispersed oil escaping into the water around the well and no evidence for oil pooling on the ocean floor.

From the best available evidence, from a couple of independent agencies, it does not appear that the well head has ruptured or the rock fragmented to the degree that that scenario requires.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 11:23 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Plus, there's the whole "dispersants are toxic" problem. Do bacteria actually survive the (from what I've read) horrible toxicity of these very strong chemicals which are being sprayed both underwater and on the surface?

Oleophages do not appear to be significantly affected by the presence of dispersant. Chemically-dispersed oil seems to biodegrade, get metabolised by bacteria, at the same rate or even faster compared to oil which has not been treated. Limits to the rate of oil consumption appear to be availability of oxygen and sometimes nutrients.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 11:37 AM on July 1, 2010


presence of dispersant

I should say, to the dispersant that is in use right now, Corexit 9500A. Data on other kinds of dispersants is much, much less than the Corexit products. We don't know if this is true for just about all the other kinds on the NCP.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 11:39 AM on July 1, 2010


Now this is journalism. That we don't constantly see these images, and far, far worse shows how broken "news" organizations are in this country.
posted by odinsdream at 12:19 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


That we don't constantly see these images, and far, far worse shows how broken "news" organizations are in this country.

Maybe if they made a documentary starring Hayden Panetierre?
posted by Kirk Grim at 12:34 PM on July 1, 2010


Another related issue has been worrying me a bit lately, though I haven't seen it get much attention in the media.

What are the likely ecological impacts all the flaring off of natural gas and the large scale burning of surface oil and gas (including the 500-square-mile burn fields BP has been drawing criticism for operating from animal rights groups) that BP is currently doing in the Gulf?

Shell's practice of flaring off natural gas in Nigeria has been linked to acid rain. So maybe it isn't actually raining oil, but can we expect acid rain in the near future to destroy the agricultural base of the Gulf economy as well?

What's the potential for such impacts in the Gulf state region, with all the large-scale burning off of gas and methane in the Gulf, if any? I don't know. I wish the media were at least asking that question though.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:56 PM on July 1, 2010


For one thing, a nuke, according to many experts, could literally backfire and would just leave us with a giant crater leaking oil.

Also, Malor: the relief well does depend on an intact wellhead. It's the one at the top of the relief well. Relief wells are drilled to stop gushing wells that are gushing because their wellhead is not intact. If there was an intact wellhead on the original well, they wouldn't need a relief well. This is pretty much just basic logic.

So, in short, seconding the "please stop spreading this rumor, it is dumb."
posted by rusty at 1:02 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tomorrow, BP Spill Will be the Largest in Gulf History
posted by homunculus at 1:13 PM on July 1, 2010


BP Slick must become a band name. Immediately.
posted by tallthinone at 1:27 PM on July 1, 2010


Nukes: America's hadouken.
posted by stammer at 1:35 PM on July 1, 2010


the pipe diameter is not very big. I think it was 20" at the well head but more like 7" in the main.

It appears that most of the solutions have involved putting something over the broken end, whereas it seems like some kind of expanding plug inside the pipe itself would make more sense. I'm picturing a sort of an upside down umbrella shaped thing that goes in closed and when it's opened, the ends dig into the pipe, using the pressure itself to more firmly lock the plug in place.

Since they haven't done this, I'm sure there is an obvious technical limitation that I'm not seeing. But it bugs me because it feels like something like this would work.

I'm not an engineer though, so for all I know this is exactly the thing you'd do if you wanted to open a portal to Hell, and everyone knows that, which is why you never do it.
posted by quin at 2:39 PM on July 1, 2010


it looks like a circle of hell down there.
fucking humanity
posted by angrycat at 4:00 PM on July 1, 2010


Rumor that sounds credible enough for me to repeat claims that the entire upper well is compromised, that the explosion turned the thing, in essence, into swiss cheese, and that the relief well absolutely will not work, because it's dependent on an intact wellhead.

That source claims that the only way to seal it will be with a nuke, and that this is the real reason they're drilling the relief well so deep; they're aiming for hard rock, hoping that a large explosion will melt it into a dome over the oil.


I think it is fascinating that "urban legends" such as this continue to romp around in the age of the internet. Most urban legends that I am aware of hearken back to the 80's and 90's. This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that those were the decades of my childhood.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 6:04 PM on July 1, 2010


More on the developing "failed federal response scandal" scandal:

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal seals all state records related to oil spill
posted by saulgoodman at 7:36 PM on July 1, 2010


Also new on the ecological impact front (you know, the actually important part):

Oil found in Gulf crabs raises new food chain fears
posted by saulgoodman at 7:41 PM on July 1, 2010


More photos from the flight here (photobucket).

Really, no matter how squeamish, you need to look at this footage. Other than a brief few shots of a whale in distress and several pods of dolphins in distress, it is not focused on images of dying animals, despite the title. What it provides is an uncensored big picture view of the extent, scale, and complex nature of the damage still unfolding. This is not just outrage-filter stuff. It's a clear view of something much worse than we are being shown on TV.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:03 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It doesn't take too much googling to find huge lists of all the horrible things which petroleum and petroleum-derived products have on the human body. I can only assume that there will be some kind of effect on marine animals who have to actually LIVE in this stuff now, rather than, say, simple workplace exposure or accidentally spilling gasoline on one's arm while filling the mower.

This really isn't going to be pretty as time progresses.
posted by hippybear at 8:27 PM on July 1, 2010


John Wathen on Olbermann
posted by homunculus at 8:52 PM on July 1, 2010


the pipe is probably not big enough to get a nuclear bomb down it
any explosive used would be delivered via the relief well(s).

When asked if there was any question about it, they said no, no question at all, it would be stopped.
rockman, from the oil drum, has modulated his 100% it will work stance:The original source of the nuke idea was Russia, I'm led to understand.
russia successfully sealed 5 surface wells (gas, not oil) with nukes. i think they had one failure.

Please stop spreading this bullshit.
there are multiple msm reports of casing failure (kill mud escaping). this la times story describes 2 pipes in the riser, side by side. there's gotta be a chance that one of those is the 7" casing from the bottom. if so, finding the hole via magnetic means is out (there are other options).

currently bp/the coast guard's stance is 'we don't know what's below the seabed'. you can't rule out casing failure, it's just too likely given 1) the explosion 2) the bad design 3) the bad cement job.
posted by kimyo at 2:28 AM on July 2, 2010


admiral thad allen, patriot, wishing america a happy independence day weekend:

Media, boaters could face criminal penalties by entering oil cleanup 'safety zone' (nola)(apologies for double posting this)
posted by kimyo at 2:34 AM on July 2, 2010


I'm curious as to why you think a reporter would ever really need to be within 65 feet of a response vessel or booming operation in order to report on it, kimyo.

It doesn't seem like an unreasonable distance to expect people to keep to me, personally, since any accidents caused by someone, say, crashing their boat into a response vessel, or getting their boat tangled in boom could actually hinder the response effort.

65 feet is not an unreasonable distance to keep from potentially dangerous equipment is it? It's not like you can't see what's happening from 65 feet away, or use a telephoto lens to get a clear picture, in the event you suspect some bad faith activity. There do have to be some reasonable constraints for legitimate safety reasons.

What constraints would you consider reasonable? Or do you not agree that any are necessary?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:42 AM on July 2, 2010


I'm hearing stories in various venues of really disturbing abuses of authority and police power to suppress citizen activists trying to document or assist, including arrests crossing jurisdictional lines, detention by private or unidentified armed security guards, and threats of bullshit charges like "obstruction of property" and "resisting arrest."

Don't know how credible they are. There are a lot of angry, upset people engaged on the scene. But think for a minute about how we have not seen footage like this on any national news show, to my knowledge -- almost no flyover, almost no images of the burning or marine mammals in distress. There is information control going on here, and it's not just out of concern for safety or incompetence and chaos. I simply don't doubt that the government (on various levels -- the oil industry owns a lot of local officials down there, for example, so an aggressive sheriff on the BP payroll should be easy to find) and BP are equally involved in this suppression. But all it does is increase the reasonable suspicion that they're not telling us (or showing us) how bad it really is because they fear the reaction it might engender.

I know some smart people with relevant knowledge of marine biology (because I work in the arctic, where this scenario has long been a source of real worry) who are a little more panicked than upset right now.

This is not a discrete event any longer. Its implications are profound -- Dust Bowl or Chernobyl profound.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:24 AM on July 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


To what you said, fourcheesemac, I'd add that it's a little eerie how abruptly the media's focus seems to have shifted, largely, away from the ongoing crisis and recovery effort. There's not exactly a total-media blackout (the occasional random update story still pops up in my Google reader feed every now and then), but I definitely gets the sense that the media has recently lost its sense of the urgency and enormity of this still very much ongoing calamity.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:02 AM on July 2, 2010


i definitely "get" the sense, i mean. dammit i seem to have thick fingers lately. i'm not popeye for chrissake!
posted by saulgoodman at 10:03 AM on July 2, 2010


Uniformed Cops on BP Payroll? Enter the ACLU

Mac McClelland on Olbermann
posted by homunculus at 10:06 AM on July 2, 2010


Video Suggests BP Literally Covering Up Oil Damage on Louisiana Beaches
posted by homunculus at 10:06 AM on July 2, 2010


In other dolphin news: Dolphin 'superpod' seen by wildlife spotters off Skye
posted by homunculus at 11:47 AM on July 2, 2010


In other dolphin news: Dolphin 'superpod' seen by wildlife spotters off Skye

cool. looks like they're finally getting organized to solve this oil well thing once and for all.
posted by philip-random at 11:51 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


There do have to be some reasonable constraints for legitimate safety reasons.
do you feel this measure has been put in place to protect the public? the clean up workers?

is the punishment appropriate for the crime? (felony/$40,000)

I'm curious as to why you think a reporter would ever really need to be within 65 feet of a response vessel or booming operation in order to report on it, kimyo.

i think a reporter should be able to move about freely on public property. and, absolutely, yes, there would be times when a reporter doing her job would HAVE to approach within 65' of unattended boom. she should be able to do so without fear of arrest.
posted by kimyo at 1:01 PM on July 2, 2010


i think a legitimate case can be made that, if this particular measure is meant to help facilitate any cover up of spill impacts, it's a pretty weak attempt, because 65 feet isn't nearly enough distance to keep anyone from seeing or even photographing something they might want to see or photograph.

and yes, i think there are legitimate concerns about people accidentally interfering with response efforts and/or getting hurt by somebody, for instance, piloting a boat in a crowded waterway.

there are much bigger (oil covered) fish to fry than this, IMO. but you obviously don't agree, and that's fine, too.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:59 PM on July 2, 2010


we, the people, deserve a truthful accounting of the scope of the disaster and the range of possible outcomes from our government.

take the 65 ft limit, add in no-fly zones, a dozen reports of press being intimidated with threats of arrest, restrictions on the data dr joye and others are allowed to publish, sooner or later one has to conclude that someone is hiding something from us.

if bp is concealing the extent of the damage to limit its outlay, that would be one thing. if they are being allowed to cover up human health threats, that's another thing completely.
posted by kimyo at 2:54 PM on July 2, 2010


> This is what they do, they know what they are doing.

>> Where to begin here?

That's a funny.

According to Science magazine, the relief well is being run by Boots and Coots, not BP (other than they pay the bills). B&C has done 40 relief wells. All 40 have succeed.

If you were a betting man, and I hope you are, would you bet Boots & Coots is gonna miss the shoot? I'll take that bet. Shoot, Boots & Coots gots TWO wells going, just in case they miss the first, which they never have. It's why the didn't even bother at first to start a second relief well. Obama forced them to start a second, because they obviously can't afford to fail even when they are batting 100%
posted by stbalbach at 9:32 PM on July 2, 2010


Really excellent panel conversation from Friday's Need To Know (PBS successor to Bill Moyer's Journal) on the oil spill and its implications.
posted by hippybear at 7:31 AM on July 3, 2010


Shoot, Boots & Coots gots TWO wells going, just in case they miss the first, which they never have.

i could not find that science article, please provide a link?

ixtoc's first relief well failed. ixtoc was only in 160' of water. ixtoc took 10 months.

the choice to limit the number of relief/kill wells to 2 benefits only bp's wallet.

hurricane season is here, deepwater drilling delays are common.

Relief well's success depends on intricate combination of things going right (nola.com) BP Gulf Oil Spill Disaster, An Impossible Well to Cap? (market oracle)
(a long read, but very well researched, and by an author who isn't afraid to correct his previous writings)

First Amendment Has been Suspended (cnn video)
posted by kimyo at 1:56 PM on July 4, 2010


Dr. Chris Pincetich, marine biologist and toxicologist, explains how the use of Corexit on the Gulf oil spill has a whole cascade of toxic effects.
posted by homunculus at 2:21 PM on July 5, 2010


Pictures: Hurricane Alex Pushes Oil on "Cleaned" Beaches (national geographic)
(every single one of those photos is in violation of the new coast guard regulation)

Video: Low-oxygen dead zone found on seafloor off Alabama coast (al.com)posted by kimyo at 3:13 PM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Galveston officials confirm coast tar balls are from Gulf oil spill (khou houston tv)the main stream meme is that the oil weathers, and that as time passes it presents less of a threat.

this might not be true. it may be that the plumes of oil close the to bottom of the gulf are being kept 'fresh' by the lower temperatures there. (it may also be true that the oil found was carried in on the hull of a ship)

certainly, the methane plumes only get worse as time passes (in terms of oxygen depletion).

Tar balls linked to the worst oil spill in U.S. history have reached into Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain (cnn)is there a google-translate for coast guard admiral-speak? kinda like 'what he said >> what he meant'?
posted by kimyo at 12:25 AM on July 6, 2010


The BP/Government police state
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on July 6, 2010


"the intersection point is below the deepest well casing, but above the oil reservoir"
(nola.com relief well graphic shows no casing at the bottom of the well)
posted by kimyo at 2:15 PM on July 7, 2010


Did You Know Tar Balls Glow Orange Under UV Light?
posted by homunculus at 8:28 AM on July 8, 2010


EPA: Air in 2 Louisiana towns poses health risk to vulnerable people (al.com) Mississippi coast hit by tar mats 'size of school buses' (mcclatchy)

Tar balls wash up on Cocoa Beach and Cape CanaveralOne beach regular said he collected five pounds in a plastic shopping bag in a short amount of time.the tedxoilspill expediion blog has some excellent photographs.
posted by kimyo at 1:44 AM on July 9, 2010


Images BP Doesn't Want You to See
posted by homunculus at 11:34 AM on July 9, 2010


it may be that the plumes of oil close the to bottom of the gulf are being kept 'fresh' by the lower temperatures there.

kimyo, i think you forgot to add that the oil plumes down deep are not exposed to uv light, and thus do not degrade.

Gulf toxicologist: Shrimpers exposed to Corexit "bleeding from the rectum" (cnn)

Gulf Oil Spill Science Experiment On All (research scientist chris pincetich on why limiting corexit toxicity tests to 96 hours is a farce.)

it's okay, it's double-bagged. (cnn - bp dumping cleanup waste in mississippi)
hurricanes and rainfall are not the only vector for corexit-tainted crude to travel inland.
posted by kimyo at 5:31 PM on July 9, 2010


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