Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cousteau Jr.: "This is a Nightmare...a Nightmare."

My God help us!

BP Slick and Life on Bayou Barataria

Mike Roberts and Tracy Kuhns of Louisiana BAYOUKEEPER© tell of life on Bayou Barataria in the shadow of Terrible Tony and the BP Slick!

"Mr. Obama, quit acting like you work for BP"
Mike Roberts

Terrible Tony says, BEND OVER AMERICA!

Terrible Tony!
His mouth is moving... he is lying!

Swimming Through the Spill ...

Swimming Through the Spill ...

Blue Hill, Me.
FOR the last few days, attention has understandably been directed at the shores of the Gulf Coast as oil has started to wash up on beaches and in marshes. But last week I had the chance to see the effects of the spill from another perspective — when I dived into the oil slick a few miles off the Pass a Loutre wetlands in southern Louisiana. What I witnessed was a surreal, sickening scene beyond anything I could have imagined.
As the boat entered the slick, I had to cover my nose to block the fumes. There were patches of oil on the gulf’s surface. In some places, the oil has mixed with an orange-brown pudding-like material, some of the 700,000 gallons of a chemical dispersant called Corexit 9500 that BP has sprayed on the spreading oil. Near Rig No. 313, technically a restricted zone, the boat stopped and I (wearing a wetsuit, with Vaseline covering exposed skin) jumped in.
Only a few meters down, the nutrient-rich water became murky, but it was possible to make out tiny wisps of phytoplankton, zooplankton and shrimp enveloped in dark oily droplets. These are essential food sources for fish like the herring I could see feeding with gaping mouths on the oil and dispersant. Dispersants break up the oil into smaller pieces that then sink in the water, forming poisonous droplets — which fish can easily mistake for food.
Though all dispersants are potentially dangerous when applied in such volumes, Corexit is particularly toxic. It contains petroleum solvents and a chemical that, when ingested, ruptures red blood cells and causes internal bleeding. It is also bioaccumulative, meaning its concentration intensifies as it moves up the food chain.
The timing for exposure to these chemicals could not be worse. Herring and other small fish hatch in the spring, and the larvae are especially vulnerable. As they die, disaster looms for the larger predator fish, as well as dolphins and whales.
As I swam back to the surface, some big fish came up to the boat — cobia, amberjacks weighing up to 60 pounds — looking for a handout. These are the fish that have made the Gulf a famously productive fishing area. But they rely on the forage fish that are now being devastated by the combined effects of oil and chemical dispersants. In a short time, the predator fish will either starve or sicken and die from eating highly contaminated forage fish.
Yes, the dispersants have made for cleaner beaches. But they’re not worth the destruction they cause at sea, far out of sight. It would be better to halt their use and just siphon and skim as much of the oil off the surface as we can. The Deepwater Horizon spill has done enough damage, without our adding to it.
Susan D. Shaw is a marine toxicologist and the director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute, a nonprofit scientific research and educational organization.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

BP's oil gusher in the Gulf: Spin terminology explained (satire)

BP's oil gusher in the Gulf: Spin terminology explained (satire)

Saturday, May 29, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of

(NaturalNews Satire) What exactly is a "junk shot?" How about "top kill" or an "undersea plume?" The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is introducing the world to all sorts of fascinating words and phrases from the world of Big Oil. Some of them can be a bit confusing, so as a public service to NaturalNews readers, I've published a short dictionary that provides the real meaning behind many of these new terms.

"Top Kill" - A technique used to kill everything on the TOP of the ocean using chemical dispersants that cause the dead animal bodies to sink to the BOTTOM of the ocean so they can't be caught on camera.

"Top Hat" - What BP executives will all be wearing at the huge banquet they will soon be holding to celebrate how they pulled off the environmental crime of the century without even a slap on the wrist (thanks to Big Government complicity).

"Blowout Preventer" - BP's public relations person who lies to the press to prevent a P.R. blowout from occurring. A blowout preventer preventer is any member of the press who asks tough questions.

"Junk Shot" - An effort to thrust shredded tires, golf balls and other trash into the hole to stop the oil flow. This is the oil industry's attempt to try to make the Gulf of Mexico look like the streets of Mexico City by filling it with trash.

"Chemical Dispersant" - A highly toxic chemical substance being pumped into the Gulf of Mexico by the hundreds of thousands of gallons in an effort to kill so much marine life that the toxicity of the oil itself seems small by comparison.

"Undersea Plume" - Rhymes with "doom." A term used to confuse mainstream news viewers who would be disturbed by the more accurate term, "Undersea VOLCANO of oil."

"Live Feed" - What BP calls a video loop which repeats a few choice frames over and over again and morphs them to create the illusion that it's actually a live video. The effect is further enhanced by adding a clock that counts off the seconds in real time in the lower right-hand corner. The public is now utterly hypnotized by these video loops, much like house cats watching ceiling fans.

"Mud" - A code word for crude oil. This is being repeated on the TV news when newscasters explain that the live video feed showing crude oil bursting out of the ocean floor is mostly just "mud." They actually mean oil. Mud, after all, does not explode from the ocean floor in a volcanic burst.

"According to plan" - A British Petroleum euphemism for "all f**ked up." As in, "The top kill procedure is going according to plan." The cleanup is going according to plan, too, it seems. As long as BP is in charge, everything is going according to plan. How dare you suggest they have no clue what they're doing...

"Barrel of oil" - An imaginary unit of oil volume that can be morphed into whatever size BP wishes it to be. At investors' meetings, the number of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico magically becomes very large, but during oil spills, the number magically shrinks to appear much smaller.

"Cleanup workers" - Temporary workers hired by BP to comb the beaches in front of news cameras to make it appear like something useful is happening. BP has now promised to triple the number of active cleanup workers to nine.

"You will not be left behind" - A phrase uttered by President Obama, who, immediately after saying it, left everybody behind and took all of BPs beach cleaning crews with him, too. Obama has now returned to his golf game, where he claims to be working on the oil spill problem by aiming his golf balls in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico and hoping they will land in the gaping hole at the bottom of the ocean, thereby making them "junk shot."

Let's get serious

Okay, everything above is just satire, but in reality this Gulf spill is serious business. Although we try to poke fun at the mistakes that were made in causing this to happen, the truth is that this situation is no laughing matter.

In the days ahead, I'm going to be posting stories about the seriousness of this environmental catastrophe and what it might mean for the future of our world. Make no mistake: This event has changed the course of our energy future, and it may actually change it in a very positive way in the long term (even though the short term cost of this catastrophe may be outrageously large).

Watch for more coverage of this unfolding event right here at And in the mean time, try not to be hoodwinked by BP spin. The truth is, if they had any freaking idea what they were doing, the disaster wouldn't have happened in the first place (or they would have capped it long before now).

Island’s Trout Rodeo Is Victim of Spill, and That’s Not the Least of It

New York Times National Feed
Published: Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.
GRAND ISLE, La. — The directors of the Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo had sold 500 tickets to the Memorial Day weekend event when the oil washed up on the beach here last week. They had paid for the band and the food, the visors and the door prizes.

Click to enlarge
Deborah Sevin watching the motorcade in Grand Isle, La., as President Obama arrived nearby in a helicopter.
Buy photo
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

So it may be understandable that a visit from the president of the United States, when they would ordinarily have been out on the water fishing for the Big One, seemed like small consolation for the closing of the beaches, the sudden decline in their real estate values — and the cancellation of their 14th annual rodeo.
“Do you think the fish are out there or what?” Jim Tatum, 52, a civil engineer from Baton Rouge, asked Friday, starting wistfully out at the gulf from the deck of the Bridge Side Marina at 8 a.m.
“The moon is full, the tide is running and I’m sick,” replied Bob Sevin, 72, who serves as the president of the rodeo, which raises money for scholarships and civic improvements on this seven-mile stretch of barrier island.
All was not necessarily lost. So far, no one had taken Mr. Sevin up on the offer to refund the price of their tickets. And to recoup expenses, he had decided to go ahead with the party planned for Saturday night, without the fish. If they were lucky, they would sell a few more tickets. President Obama, perhaps?
A retired chemical engineer who was born and raised here, Mr. Sevin has walked the beach every morning since the crude oil from BP’s leaking offshore well first appeared. A crew of about 30 hired by BP worked diligently to clean it up, he said, but more oil washed up each morning faster than they could whisk it away.

As it happened, the day before Mr. Obama was set to visit, a crew of perhaps 300 reinforcements arrived to speed the effort. For that, at least, Mr. Sevin was happy to see the motorcade whiz by the summer home he shares with his wife, Joyce, at midmorning.
His worst fear, he said, is that BP is not moving fast enough to clean up its mess in the marshes where the young fish hide from predators, leading to the loss of a whole generation.
Mr. Sevin’s daughter-in-law, Deborah Sevin, has a different fear.
“My worst fear is that this won’t be cleaned up in his lifetime,” said Ms. Sevin, who had planned a trip from Texas with her husband and children so that they could participate in the rodeo. “If there’s no fish, there’s no Grand Isle, and if this is a ghost town, then what is the rest of his life?”
To pass the time, Ms. Sevin’s husband, Brian Sevin, shot baskets with his son and son-in-law. With no one lining up for bait, Rene Vegas, the owner of the marina, had time to explain the finer details of a trout rodeo to the members of the news media pursuing the president.
“You don’t ride the fish,” he admonished. “You just go out there and catch the biggest.”
All but three of the 65 slips in the marina were empty, and two of those were Mr. Vegas’s. Despite the 90-degree weather, it felt like winter on the island, instead of the start of summer, when the population of 900 swells to nearly 5,000.
Still, by 1 p.m., when the rodeo contestants — last year there were more than 1,000 — would have been heading back to shore, Mr. Vegas at the marina called Mr. Sevin with good news: He needed more rodeo visors.
Tickets to the fishless fish rodeo party were selling.

An hour later in their kitchen, the Sevins watched the president on CNN when he spoke from the Coast Guard station at the end of the island. Anyone, he pledged, could pick up the phone and reach him if they felt there was a bottleneck in the cleanup, or if they needed to deliver a suggestion.
Mr. Sevin picked up his telephone.
“O.K.,” he said to the television. “What’s your number? We need help.”
The Grand Isle rule, he often reminded visitors, is that you must leave your troubles at the foot of the milelong bridge that connects the island to the mainland.
But there is another rule. You have to pick them back up when you leave. Soon after, Mr. Obama’s motorcade passed again, this time heading back over that bridge.


Louisiana BayouKEEPER finds Sludge on Beach

Gulf Coast Industries Reel From Ongoing Oil Crisis

Great job Mike!

BP Engineers Making Little Headway on Leaking Well

Published: Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.

HOUSTON — BP engineers struggled Friday to plug a gushing oil well a mile under the sea, but as of late in the day they had made little headway in stemming the flow.

President Barack Obama toured a beach in Port Fourchon, La., on Friday. He was joined by Admiral Thad W. Allen, far left, and the Lafourche parish president Charlotte Randolph.

Amid mixed messages about problems and progress, the effort — called a “top kill” — continued for a third day, with engineers describing a painstaking process of trying to plug the hole, using different weights of mud and sizes of debris like golf balls and tires, and then watching and waiting. They cannot use brute force because they risk making the leak worse if they damage the pipes leading down to the well.

Despite an apparent lack of progress, officials said they would continue with the process for another 48 hours, into Sunday, before giving up and considering other options, including another containment dome to try to capture the oil.

President Obama, who visited the Gulf Coast on Friday, spoke broadly about the government’s response to the environmental disaster, saying that “not every judgment we make will be right the first time out.”

He also added, seemingly capturing the mood of engineers working to plug the well: “There are going to be a lot of judgment calls here. There are not going to be silver bullets or perfect answers.”

Nor were there perfect answers Friday about the status of the top kill effort. For the second day, public statements early in the day from BP and government officials seemed to suggest progress. Later in the day, they acknowledged that the effort was no closer to succeeding than when they started.

“We’re going to stay with this as long as we need to,” Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, said late Friday afternoon. “We’re not going to rush.”

BP suspended pumping operations at 2:30 a.m. Friday after two “junk shot” attempts to plug the leak with rubber and other materials, said a technician working on the operation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

The technician said that engineers had come up with a variety of theories about why efforts have failed so far, and they were trying different sizes of objects. He said the process required trial and error — and sifting through various theories among engineers in the operation’s control room — about the best way to clog the “internal geometry” of the damaged equipment.

BP said pumping operations resumed around 3:45 p.m. Friday.

The technician said that despite all the injections, at various pressure levels, engineers had been able to keep less than 10 percent of the injection fluids inside the stack of pipes above the well. He said that was barely an improvement on the results Wednesday, when the operation began and was suspended after about 10 hours.

“I won’t say progress was zero, but I don’t know if we can round up enough mud to make it work,” said another technician on the project. “Everyone is disappointed at this time.”

The technician also said that there were disagreements among engineers about why efforts had been unsuccessful so far, but that those disagreements were based on a lack of a clear understanding of what was happening inside the pipes on the sea floor.

Some public statements Friday suggested more certainty.

Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, the leader of the government effort, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “They’ve been able to push the hydrocarbons and the oil down with the mud.”

Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, told CNN on Friday morning: “We have some indications of partial bridging, which is good news.”

In the afternoon, Mr. Suttles gave a more cautious view. “We’re doing things that are very difficult to do,” he said. “Many of the things we have done have never been done before.”

But he said the effort would continue for “as long as necessary until we are successful or convinced it will not succeed.”

Meanwhile, anticipating that the top kill may not succeed, BP began preparations to try to place a second containment vessel over the leak. Mr. Suttles said BP was also preparing to replace the damaged blowout preventer.

In Grand Isle, La., President Obama promised to triple the federal personnel along the most threatened stretches of the coast.

“We’re in this together,” he said, gesturing to the three governors, two Louisiana senators, a congressman and other officials he had just met with for more than two hours.

They included several who, on national television in recent days, have been sharply critical of his administration’s response, including the Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, and Billy Nungesser, the president of Plaquemines Parish, one of the Louisiana areas most affected.

Afterward, in an interview, Mr. Nungesser said he “felt real bad” about his complaints and added: “The president is doing a good job. It was a good meeting.”

After the meeting at a Coast Guard station here overlooking calm and seemingly clean waters, with dolphins and shrimp boats on the horizon, Mr. Obama said the secretary of energy, Steven Chu, and a team of “the world’s top scientists” had been working with BP on additional options if the top kill effort fails.

Even if the leak is stopped, “we face a long-term recovery and restoration effort,” Mr. Obama added. “America has never experienced an event like this before,” he said.

Such sentiment plainly was aimed at answering “the anger and frustration” that Mr. Obama acknowledged many residents and political leaders here are feeling, and at blunting charges that his administration had abandoned them as the Bush administration was accused of doing after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis. I’m the president, and the buck stops with me,” Mr. Obama said.

For the president, who has been on the defensive about his and his administration’s role in trying to stop the spill and prevent oil from reaching the coasts, Friday’s trip was his second since the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20.

Before the meeting, he inspected a beach in adjoining Lafourche Parish that was lined with coin-size tar balls attributed to oil from the BP leak.

Friday was to have been the first full day of a Memorial Day vacation for Mr. Obama with his family at their home in Chicago, their first there in more than a year. But he left Chicago in the morning and flew to New Orleans, where he was met by Admiral Allen, his national incident commander for the spill response.

They boarded the Marine One helicopter for Port Fourchon, a community of oil workers, and nearby Fourchon Beach, where tar balls were washed up against absorbent booms.

At one point during the day, as Mr. Obama’s motorcade entered and exited a Coast Guard station, a man held up a homemade sign reading in black ink, “Clean Up the Gulf,” with the words drawn as if dripping black oil.

Obma visits Gulf Coast as BP continues ‘top kill

Obama visits Gulf as BP continues ‘top kill’
Americans track BP’s progress in stopping leak on live oil spill cam
The Associated Press
President Barack Obama, left, picks up a “tar ball” as LaFourche Parish president Charlotte Randolph, center, and U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, national incident commander for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, look on Friday in Port Fourchon, La.
By Ben Nuckols and Greg Bluestein The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:17 p.m.

ROBERT, La. | The hypnotic video of mud, gas and oil billowing from the seafloor has become an Internet sensation as Americans watch to see whether BP’s effort to plug the gusher in the Gulf of Mexico succeeds.

BP warned Friday that it could be Sunday or later before the outcome of the cliffhanger becomes clear. And scientists cautioned that few conclusions can be drawn with any certainty from watching the spillcam coverage of the “top kill.” But they said the video seemed to suggest BP was gaining ground.

In an operation that began Wednesday, BP has been pumping heavy drilling mud into the blown-out well in hopes of choking it off and putting an end to what is already the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, at anywhere from 18 million gallons to 40 million by the government’s estimate.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the denser-than-water mud was able to push down the oil and gas coming up at great force from underground, but it had not overwhelmed the gusher. The trick is to pump the mud with such force that it stops the upward flow of oil, and it’s impossible to know how much mud that will take.

BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said Friday the top kill was going basically as planned, though the pumping has stopped several times.

“The fact that it’s stopped and started is not unusual,” Suttles said. “We’re going to stay at this as long as we need to.”

He said the company has also shot in assorted junk, including metal pieces and rubber balls, which seemed to be helping to counter pressure from the well.

A top kill has never been attempted 5,000 feet underwater, and public fascination is high.

BP, under pressure from Congress, made available a live video feed of what is going on underwater, and about 3,000 websites were showing a version of it that the PBS “Newshour” offered for free. On Thursday alone, show spokeswoman Anne Bell said, more than a million people watched it. Many found it hypnotic.

“It made me wonder how I use energy and if this situation could teach us how much energy we use ourselves,” said Jeb Banner, 38, a web design and marketing company owner in Indianapolis who has been looking at the feed every hour or so since before the top kill started. “It felt like a historic moment.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama visited the coast to see the damage as he tried to emphasize that his administration was in control of the crisis, which began April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform blew up. Eleven workers were killed.

“I’m here to tell you that you are not alone, you will not be abandoned, you will not be left behind,” he told people in Grand Isle, where the beach has been closed by gobs of oil. “The media may get tired of the story, but we will not. We will be on your side and we will see this through.”

Watching the video could offer clues to who is winning in the battle — BP or the oil — said Tony Wood, director of the National Spill Control School at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. If the stuff coming out of the pipe is jet black, it is mostly oil and BP is losing. If it is whitish, it is mostly gas and BP is also losing.

If it is muddy brown, as it was Friday, that may be a sign that BP is starting to achieve success, he said. That “may in fact mean that there’s mud coming up and mud coming down as well,” which is better than oil coming out, Wood said.

Philip W. Johnson, an engineering professor at the University of Alabama, said the camera appeared to show mostly drilling mud leaking from the well Friday morning, and two of the leaks appeared a little smaller than in the past, suggesting the top kill “may have had a slight but not dramatic effect.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

BP Blues by Michael Hymel


Drill bit used to punch the "relief well" broke off!

The drill bit used to punch the "relief well" broke off 3 weeks ago. American public still unaware. Why were we not told?
Junk shot under way now. First top-shot failed due to the swiss cheese like condition of the blow-out preventer.

Yesterday Obama stated "I am in charge and all is going as according to plan. He nor the US Coast Guard were informed that the proceedure had stopped at midnight the night before!
Top kill resumed last night combined with "Junk Shot"

I say roll Terible Tony from BP up in a ball and shoot him in the hole!

More as it comes in.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BP's Photo Blockade of the Gulf Oil Spill

BP's Photo Blockade of the Gulf Oil Spill

Photographers say BP and government officials are preventing them from documenting the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Gerald Herbert / AP
Jean-Michel Cousteau (center) was turned away from a wildlife sanctuary by the U.S. Coast Guard after they discovered that an AP photographer was on board.
As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials—working with BP—who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible. More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging from reporters, photographers, and TV crews in which BP and Coast Guard officials explicitly target members of the media, restricting and denying them access to oil-covered beaches, staging areas for clean-up efforts, and even flyovers.
Last week, a CBS TV crew was threatened with arrest when attempting to film an oil-covered beach. On Monday, Mother Jones published this firsthand account of one reporter’s repeated attempts to gain access to clean-up operations on oil-soaked beaches, and the telling response of local law enforcement. The latest instance of denied press access comes from Belle Chasse, La.-based Southern Seaplane Inc., which was scheduled to take a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer for a flyover on Tuesday afternoon, and says it was denied permission once BP officials learned that a member of the press would be on board.
“We are not at liberty to fly media, journalists, photographers, or scientists,” the company said in a letter it sent on Tuesday to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). “We strongly feel that the reason for this massive [temporary flight restriction] is that BP wants to control their exposure to the press.”
The ability to document a disaster, particularly through images, is key to focusing the nation’s attention on it, and the resulting clean-up efforts. Within days of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, pictures of dead otters, fish, and birds, as well as oil-covered shorelines, ignited nationwide outrage and led to a backlash against Exxon. Consumers returned some 10,000 of Exxon’s 7 million credit cards. Forty days after the spill, protestors organized a national boycott of Exxon. So far, no national boycott of BP is in the works, despite growing frustration over the company’s inability to cap the leaking well. Obviously, pictures are emerging from this spill, but much of the images are coming from BP and government sources.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Click to View a Timeline of the Gulf Oil Spill
A Timeline of the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
The U.S. Coast Guard insists that they and BP have gone to great lengths to accommodate journalists and “roughly 400 members of the media have been given tours of the spill on either BP-contracted aircraft or Coast Guard helicopters,” says U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosley, who is based at the BP command center in Houma, La. (BP referred all questions to the command center). “I understand there may be some frustration [among the press], but there is a constant ongoing effort to fulfill media requests.” Mosley defended flight restrictions as a necessary safety precaution. Since the flight restrictions were expanded on May 11, private aircraft must get permission from BP’s command center to fly over a huge portion of the Gulf of Mexico encompassing not just the growing slick in the Gulf, but the entire Louisiana coastline, where oil is washing ashore. If a request is denied, aircraft must stay 3,000 feet above the restricted area, where visibility is minimal.
Photographers who have traveled to the Gulf commonly say they believe that BP has exerted more control over coverage of the spill with the cooperation of the federal government and local law enforcement. “It’s a running joke among the journalists covering the story that the words ‘Coast Guard’ affixed to any vehicle, vessel, or plane should be prefixed with ‘BP,’ ” says Charlie Varley, a Louisiana-based photographer. “It would be funny if it were not so serious.”
The problem, as many members of the press see it, is that even when access is granted, it’s done so under the strict oversight of BP and Coast Guard personnel. Reporters and photographers are escorted by BP officials on BP-contracted boats and aircraft. So the company is able to determine what reporters see and when they see it. AP photographer Gerald Herbert has been covering the disaster since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20. He says that access has been hit or miss, and that there have been instances when it’s obvious members of the press are being targeted. “There are times when the Coast Guard has been great, and others where it seems like they’re interfering with our ability to have access,” says Herbert. One of those instances occurred early last week, when Herbert accompanied local officials from Plaquemines Parish in a police boat on a trip to Breton Island, a national wildlife refuge off the barrier islands of Louisiana. With them was Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques, who wanted to study the impact of the oil below the surface of the water. Upon approaching the island, a Coast Guard boat stopped them. “The first question was, ‘Is there any press with you?’ ” says Herbert. They answered yes, and the Coast Guard said they couldn’t be there. “I had to bite my tongue. That should have no bearing.”
Local fishermen and charter boat captains are also being pressured by BP not to work with the press. Left without a source of income, most have decided to work with BP to help spread booms and ferry officials around. Their passengers used to include members of the press, but not anymore. “You could tell BP was starting to close their grip, telling the fishermen not to talk to us,” says Jared Moossy, a Dallas-based photographer who was covering the spill along the Gulf Coast earlier this month. “They would say that BP had told them not to talk to us or cooperate with us or that they’d get fired.”
Some Gulf Coast watermen find BP’s desire to limit press access obvious. “If there was a major fire in a warehouse, would you let reporters go inside and start taking pictures?” asks Peace Marvel, a charter-boat captain in Venice, La. Job one, he says, is to clean up the spill, and running members of the press around only gets in the way and makes things worse. “Nobody wants this marsh saved as much as we do.” Since the spill, Marvel has turned his 15 years of experience into helping coordinate the logistics of ferrying BP officials around the Gulf Coast to deal with the spreading disaster. His current contract with BP lasts for 30 more days, and he says he’s making more money working for BP than he did as a charter-boat captain. “I’m hustling for business,” he says.
So are the reporters and photographers trying to cover the worst environmental disaster in the history of the U.S. waters. They’ll have to do it without the help of people like Peace Marvel, and against the will of BP.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Would BP's 'Top Kill' Method Work?

Oil Slick Clean-up Vessel "Sea Clean"

This should been deployed at once. Why do we let big oil determine what is necessary and what is not?

BP = Brown Pelicans!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer of Tears

Summer of Tears PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Roberts - Louisiana Bayoukeeper Inc.

Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts
The boat ride, out, from Lafitte, Louisiana, Sunday, May 23, 2010, to our fishing grounds was not unlike any other I have taken in my life, as a commercial fisherman from this area. I have made the trip thousands of times in my 35 plus years shrimping and crabbing. A warm breeze in my face, it is a typical Louisiana summer day. 3 people were with me, my wife Tracy, Ian Wren, and our grandson, Scottie. I was soon to find out, how untypical this day would become for me, not unlike a death in the family. This was going to be a very bad day for me.

As we neared Barataria Bay, the smell of crude oil in the air was getting thicker and thicker. An event that always brought joy to me all of my life, the approach of the fishing grounds, was slowly turning into a nightmare. As we entered Grand Lake, the name we fishermen call Barataria Bay, I started to see a weird, glassy look to the water and soon it became evident to me, there was oil sheen as far as I could see. Soon, we were running past patches of red oil floating on top of the water. As we headed farther south, we saw at least a dozen boats, in the distance, which appeared to be shrimping. We soon realized that shrimping was not what they were doing at all, but instead they were towing oil booms in a desperate attempt to corral oil that was pouring into our fishing grounds. We stopped to talk to one of the fishermen, towing a boom, a young fisherman from Lafitte. What he told me floored me. He said, "What we are seeing in the lake, the oil, was but a drop in the bucket of what was to come." He had just come out of the Gulf of Mexico and he said, "It was unbelievable, the oil runs for miles and miles and was headed for shore and into our fishing grounds". I thought, what I had already seen in the lake was enough for a lifetime. We talked a little while longer, gave the fisherman some protective respirators and were soon on our way. As we left the small fleet of boats, working feverishly, trying to corral the oil, I became overwhelmed with what I just saw. I am not real emotional and consider myself a pretty tough guy.You have to be to survive as a fisherman. As I left that scene, tears flowed down my face and I cried. Something I have not done in a long time, but would do several more times that day. I tried not to let my grandson, Scottie, see me crying. I didn't think he would understand, I was crying for his stolen future. None of this will be the same, for decades to come. The damage is going to be immense and I do not think our lives here in South Louisiana will ever be the same. He is too young to understand. He has an intense love for our way of life here. He wants to be a fisherman and a fishing guide when he gets older. It is what he is, it is in his soul, and it is his culture. How can I tell him that this may never come to pass now, now that everything he loves in the outdoors may soon be destroyed by this massive oil spill? How do we tell this to a generation of young people, in south Louisiana who live and breathe this bayou life that they love so much, could soon be gone? How do we tell them? All this raced through my mind and I wept.

We continued farther south towards Grand Terre Island. We approached Bird Island. The real name is Queen Bess Island, but we call it Bird Island, because it is always full of birds. It is a rookery, a nesting island for thousands of birds, pelicans, terns, gulls etc. As we got closer, we saw that protective boom had been placed around about two thirds of the island. It was obvious to me, that oil had gone under the boom and was fouling the shore and had undoubtedly oil some birds. My God. We would see this scene again at Cat Island and other unnamed islands that day. We continued on to the east past Coup Abel Pass and more shrimp boats trying to contain some of the oil on the surface. We arrived at 4 Bayou Pass to see more boats working on the same thing. We beached the boat and decided to look at the beach between the passes.

The scene was one of horror to me. There was thick red oil on the entire stretch of beach, with oil continuing to wash ashore. The water looked to be infused with red oil, with billions of, what appeared to be, red pebbles of oil washing up on the beach with every wave. The red oil pebbles, at the high tide mark on the beach were melting into pools of red goo in the hot Louisiana sun. The damage was overwhelming. There was nobody there to clean it up. It would take an army to do it. Like so much of coastal Louisiana, it was accessible only by boat. Will it ever be cleaned up? I don't know. Tears again. We soon left that beach and started to head home.

We took a little different route home, staying a little farther to the east side of Barataria Bay. As we approached the northern end of the bay, we ran into another raft of oil that appeared to be covering many square miles. It was only a mile from the interior bayous on the north side of Barataria Bay. My God. No boats were towing boom in this area. I do not think anyone even knew it was there. A little bet farther north, we saw some shrimp boats with boom, on anchor, waiting to try and protect Bayou St. Dennis from the oil. I alerted them of the approaching oil. I hope they were able to control it before it reached the bayou. We left them and started to head in.

My heart never felt so heavy, as on that ride in. I thought to myself, this is the most I've cried since I was a baby. In fact I am sure it was. This will be a summer of tears for a lot of us in south Louisiana.

Michael Roberts
Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Inc

Monday, May 24, 2010

Black clouds over the Gulf:

Black clouds over the Gulf: Is burning the BP oil slick really a good idea? (video)

black_cloud_gulf.pngHurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen of Alabama flew over the Gulf of Mexico this week with pilot Tom Hutchings of SouthWings to continue documenting the unfolding ecological catastrophe from the BP oil spill.


Leaving the coast of Alabama and looking toward Florida, they saw clear seas. But they soon ran across the first tideline of red oil. About 14 miles out they saw a thin, glossy sheen, and at 38 miles deep streaks of red.

"The color seems to have changed somewhat," Wathen reports. "It's not the bright red it was before; it's more brown. It's as if the dispersant they're putting on it is merely hiding it from sight."

Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency -- which initially approved the use of the dispersant Corexit -- directed BP to use a less toxic chemical. The move came after EPA released BP testing data that showed areas of significant toxicity in the water where the dispersant had been used.

The closer they got to source, the more oil there was on water -- and the more cloud cover there was above. Wathen says it was as if the spill were creating its own weather pattern.

"Nothing could have prepared me though for what I saw next," Wathen continues. "Looking out across the tops of the clouds, there was one that stood out all by itself -- a long, black, ugly-looking thing. It seemed to come straight up out of nowhere. This is the burn at the source of the BP slick."
The massive black cloud (pictured above in a photo by Wathen) stretching across the horizon is coming from relatively small fires, he points out. It would take thousands of fires like that to burn all the oil on the surface.

"Is the tradeoff for what we're putting in the atmosphere worth what we're burning off the surface of the Gulf of Mexico?" he asks. "Can we really afford to do that?"

Air tests from the Louisiana coast have already shown a serious threat to human health from the airborne chemicals released by the underwater oil gusher. While BP is now collecting some of that oil, most of it continues to be released to the environment.

As Wathen and Hutchings headed back to land, they witnessed the massive slick -- now estimated to cover about 16,000 square miles -- making landfall along the Louisiana coast. They also saw the booms that had been placed in hopes of stopping the oil being tied up in knots and destroyed by the seas.
"It's plain to see this is a futile gesture to protect the shorelines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, but what can we do? We have to do something," Wathen says.

"We need every scientific mind in the country working on this -- and not just those at BP who are trying to protect the resource," Wathen concludes.

Watch the video here:


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Sunday, May 23, 2010

BP Limited Distribution map exposed!

Click on any photo for enlargement

Map explanation as best I can interpret reads like this.
Each photo is a break out from the original.

Getting oil out of wetlands may be impossible

Getting oil out of wetlands may be impossible

By Matthew Brown The Associated Press

Published: Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 12:12 a.m.
All photos by John L. Wathen
Flight provided by SouthWings

NEW ORLEANS | The gooey oil washing into the maze of marshes along the Gulf Coast could prove impossible to remove, leaving a toxic stew lethal to fish and wildlife, government officials and independent scientists said.

Officials are considering some drastic and risky solutions: They could set the wetlands on fire or flood areas in hopes of floating out the oil.
But they warn an aggressive cleanup could ruin the marshes and do more harm than good. The only viable option for many impacted areas is to do nothing and let nature break down the spill.
More than 50 miles of Louisiana’s delicate shoreline already have been soiled by the massive slick unleashed after BP’s Deepwater Horizon burned and sank last month. Officials fear oil eventually could invade wetlands and beaches from Texas to Florida. Louisiana is expected to be hit hardest.
Plaquemines Parish officials on Louisiana’s coast discovered a major pelican rookery awash in oil on Saturday. Hundreds of birds nest on the island, and an Associated Press photographer saw that at least some birds and their eggs were stained with the ooze. Nests were perched in mangroves directly above patches of crude.
“Oil in the marshes is the worst-case scenario,” said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the head of the federal effort to contain and clean up the spill.

Also on Saturday, BP told federal regulators it plans to stick with the main chemical dispersant it’s been spraying in the open Gulf to break up oil before it reaches the surface. The Environmental Protection Agency had directed the company to look for less toxic alternatives. But BP said in a letter to the EPA that Corexit 9500, one of the chief agents used, “remains the best option for subsea application.”
Oil that has rolled into shoreline wetlands coats the stalks and leaves of plants such as roseau cane — the fabric that holds together an ecosystem that is essential to the region’s fishing industry and a much-needed buffer against Gulf hurricanes. Soon, oil will smother those plants and choke off their supply of air and nutrients.
In some eddies and protected inlets, the ochre-colored crude has pooled beneath the water’s surface, forming clumps several inches deep.

With the seafloor leak still gushing hundreds of thousands of gallons a day, the damage is only getting worse. Millions of gallons already have leaked so far.
Coast Guard officials said Saturday the spill’s impact stretches across a 150-mile swath, from Dauphin Island, Ala. to Grand Isle, La.
Over time, experts say weather and natural microbes will break down most of the oil. However, the crude will poison plants and wildlife in the months — even years — it will take for the syrupy muck to dissipate.
Back in 1989, crews fighting the Exxon Valdez tanker spill — which unleashed almost 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound — used pressure hoses and rakes to clean the shores. The Gulf Coast is too fragile for that: those tactics could blast apart the peat-like soils that hold the marshes together.
Hundreds of miles of bayous and man-made canals crisscross the coast’s exterior, offering numerous entry points for the crude. Access is difficult and time-intensive, even in the best of circumstances.

“Just the compaction of humanity bringing equipment in, walking on them, will kill them,” said David White, a wetlands ecologist from Loyola University in New Orleans.
Marshes offer a vital line of defense against Gulf storms, blunting their fury before they hit populated areas. Louisiana and the federal government have spent hundreds of millions rebuilding barriers that were wiped out by hurricanes, notably Katrina in 2005.
They also act as nursery grounds for shrimp, crabs, oysters — the backbone of the region’s fishing industry. Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds nest in the wetlands’ inner reaches, a complex network of bayous, bays and man-made canals.
To keep oil from pushing deep into Louisiana’s marshes, Gov. Bobby Jindal and officials from several coastal parishes want permission to erect a $350 million network of sand berms linking the state’s barrier islands and headlands.
That plan is awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If large volumes of oil make it through passes, the cleanup will become far more difficult as oil spreads into the bayous and canals.
Smaller spills have been occurring in the marshes for decades. In the past, cleanup crews would sometimes slice out oiled vegetation and take it to a landfill, said Andy Nyman with Louisiana State University.
But with the plants gone, water from the gulf would roll in and wash away the roots, turning wetlands to open water.
Adm. Allen said that where conditions are right, an “in-situ burn” could be used to set oil-coated plants ablaze.
Nyman and other experts, though, warn it’s trickier than simply lighting a fire. If the marsh is too wet, the oil won’t burn. Too dry, the roots burn and the marsh can be ruined.

Representatives from BP PLC — which leased the sunken rig and is responsible for the cleanup — said Saturday that cleanup crews have started more direct cleanup methods along Pass a Loutre in Plaquemines Parish. Shallow water skimmers were attempting to remove the oil from the top of the marsh.
Streams of water could later be used in a bid to wash oil from between cane stalks.
In other cases, the company will rely on “bioremediation” — letting oil-eating microbes do the work.
“Nature has a way of helping the situation,” said BP spokesman John Curry.
But White, the Loyola scientist, predicted at least short-term ruin for some of the wetlands he’s been studying for three decades. Under a worst-case scenario, he said the damage could exceed the 217 square miles of wetlands lost during the 2005 hurricane season.
“When I say that, my stomach turns,” he said.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Gulf appears to be bleeding


The Daily Kos

 The Gulf appears to be bleeding - Worse Than BP Admits

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Tue May 11, 2010 at 11:10:40 PM PDT

Video from May 7th (4 days ago) flyover of Gulf of Mexico and location of sunken Deepwater Horizon courtesy, Current TV.
Amateur Video Of Gulf Oil Slick - Worse Than BP Admits
Flyover video by John Wathen and volunteer pilot Tom Hutchings, Facing South and the Institute for Southern Studies
Transcript follows :
On May 7 2010, John Wathen and Pilot Tom Hutchings flew out over the Gulf of Mexico.
Along the way we saw small boats dragging buoys out to the islands to protect them from the oil sheen that was certainly coming our way.
At nine miles out we began to smell the oil.
Warning this is a highly confronting video

At 11 miles out we saw a visible sheen on top of the water, heavy streaking was evident at about mile 15.
Mile 26 we began to see solid oil on top of the water.
With a heavy sheen and numerous streaks at mile 34.
Mile 87, Ground zero. My first view of the sight was one of tremendous impact. I'll never forget the scene.
These are not small boats, while standing at a dock looking at them they look like large ships. They're dwarfed in comparison to what I see on the horizon : Nothing but a red mass of floating goo. That could have been prevented and should have been prevented.
I was horrified when I looked and saw how many boats there were on the horizon that didn't seem to be doing anything at all that was effective.
Going around in circles, small boats, with Booms on the back of 'em, sent out to gather up oil in what looked like teacups compared to the horizon.
We counted 30 boats in the pictures. All floating around while this stuff was headed for shore. No-body seemed to be able to do anything about it.
For the first time in my Environmental career I found myself using the word hopeless.
We can't stop this.
There's no way to prevent this from hitting our shorelines.
The best I think we can do is minimize the impact. Learn from our mistakes.
We have to have fuel, we have to have gasoline. The price we're paying now is far too expensive.
Safety measures that could have prevented this were not in place.
It's time for our government to step up to the plate.
And take responsibility for what's happening on the shores of our country.
Several Waterkeeper programs along the coast have already been impacted and many more are expecting landfall.
Along with other environmental groups up and down the coast it should be mentioned that this is not only an environmental disaster, but a social disaster as well.
Fisherman out of work, Oyster shuckers, no work. People working the docks. All up and down the coast people are cancelling reservations. Fishing boats are not going out.
The economic impact to this event will be incredible and be felt for decades to come.
No one knows if the fishing will ever recover.
No one knows if the Gulf will ever heal from this.
One thing for certain. We must learn from the mistakes that have been made here.
This cannot happen again.
The Gulf appears to be bleeding.
will we ever be able to stem the tide?
Will we ever be able to put a stop to this?
Will the Gulf ever heal?
As far as you can see on the horizon now, there's these mats of this reddish pink sheen.
It was easy to find our way back to shore.
All we had to do was follow the red. There was a perfect line of it leading from the rig towards the shore line.
Here right off Ship Island and Horn Island, we found sheen behind the islands and in the sound.
Preparation had been made, but will it be enough?
Dolphin Island in Alabama, we saw sheen coming ashore at the far end of the island. That was on May the 7th. On May the 8th, they found Tar Balls.
10 days ago I wrote a diary on this spill, calling on BP to release any video or photos of the leak at the bottom of the ocean of the leaking pipe and well.
Gulf Gusher - Where are the photos?
My reasoning behind this was that the initial estimates which BP had released, 1,000 barrels per day were off by a factor of 5 and they had not revised them upwards. In fact they had argued against this.
But they would know how much oil is coming from the gusher, they have plenty of robots scouting around down there and experts who calculate flow rates. It's a difficult job, but people are paid good money to do it.
Since that original estimate the media has not received an official update from BP. It has stayed at 210,000 gallons per day, 5,000 barrels. And piping which has uncontrolled fluid, sand and rock flowing through it erodes away.
And they have video :
CNN reports about lack of video
The other two excuses from BP the report mentions is that the video hasn't been released because it's a matter of priorities, and that the people fixing the leak are busy and they don't want to bother them with releasing a video.
Plus there are sites such as SkyTruth who have estimated the flows are five times worse than this at 26,500 barrels.
We estimate this well is leaking at a rate of 1.1 million gallons (26,500 barrels) per day.
We have also found out that
the rig workers who were told they couldn't call their families until they'd signed forms stating I was not injured as a result of the incident or evacuation, to the fishermen whose contracts for the "Vessels of Opportunity" jobs included a waiver of their right to sue, all touched by the spill meet the lawyers first.
BP tries to get Louisiana fishermen to sign indemnification waivers
Fishermen in Louisiana, whose livelihoods are on the line after the catastrophic BP oil spill, are desperate for cash. According to this report, hundreds appear to have been tricked into signing documents swearing that they will "hold harmless and indemnify ... release, waive and forever discharge the BP Exploration and Production, Inc., its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, regular employees, and independent contractors ... from all claims and damages" arising from helping to clean up the mess BP made.
Transocean: Received $401 Million Insurance Recoveries So Far
And that the booming being deployed is good for a photo op, but probably not much else :
Fishgrease: DKos Booming School
An important diary which shows that the booming operation appears to be just for show.
There is a control and containment operation going on here, but appears it has little to do with protecting the people, the fishing grounds, the marine life, the tourist industry, the oyster shuckers and truck drivers, the respiratory systems of Gulf Coast kids as the oil evaporates. The containment and control operation is mostly a legal, media, political and financial liability one.
The reason I asked for those photos, is not because I wanted BP to feel uncomfortable but so that everyone could see for themselves what they were up against.... and prepare.
For from the outset my fear was not that this would be something akin to the response during Katrina, but something different than that.
My fear was that the response required here was one which needed to match that seen on 9/11.
Through these CYA (cover your ass) activities, the false impressions created including the spraying of the exiting oil with dispersants to sink it just below the surface :
Dispersants suspend oil in the top 3 feet of the water column. That's where 80% of marine life lives as babies.
But you can't see it there from a satellite or a helicopter.
That what we are seeing on the surface of the slick is like what we'd see of an iceberg. With most of the slick, maybe 80% + below the surface and the dispersants used to sink the rest.
Except this time it is an oilberg.
Had these organizations told the truth from the outset, been completely honest in their dealings with the public, my bet is Americans would have seen through the ordinary media spin and recognized this for the dire threat which has been created. That at the very least they would have had the opportunity to respond accordingly.
The very worst thing they have done by containing and controlling the media fall out by not being completely transparent, will be that they took away that choice from Americans. These companies made the decision on how Americans would react for them, by controlling the perception of how bad this actually was.
And for that, I would think they probably will not forgive.
SkyTruth have a site where people can upload information and keep track of the impact this gusher is having on the American shore line.
Please tell people you know in the area about this site as from where I stand, trusting what you are seeing coming from the normal spin machine, the MSM, has to be taken with a grain of salt.