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BP’s Deep Water Horizon Leaves Behind a 22mile Long Oil Plume

August 21, 2010 in Environmental News

Deep Water Horizon Oil spill has been officially not leaking since July 15th 2010. Now after a month scientists confirm the presence of a 22 mile long oil plume in the bottom of the ocean and the oil had been confirmed to have come from the Deep Water Horizon well.

The Associated Press reported “A 22-mile-long invisible mist of oil is meandering far below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, where it will probably loiter for months or more, scientists reported Thursday in the first conclusive evidence of an underwater plume from the BP spill.”

The Christian Science Monitor says the plume is 700 feet thick and 22 miles long. This was found by US and Australian scientists who were on a cruise to study the impact of Deep Water Horizon. Their findings represent the most detailed picture yet of undersea plumes of oil and methane from the Gulf oil spill. The researchers were surprised by the plume’s relative stability as well as by an apparent lack of activity on the part of microbes to break down the oil.

Experts believe the plume will take longer than 4 months to dissipate, government agencies have all but given BP a clean chit.

The oil is at depths of 3,000 to 4,000 feet, far below the environment of the most popular Gulf fish like red snapper, tuna and mackerel. But it is not harmless. These depths are where small fish and crustaceans live. And one of the biggest migrations on Earth involves small fish that go from deep water to more shallow areas, taking nutrients from the ocean depths up to the large fish and mammals.

“This is a highly sensitive ecosystem,” agreed Steve Murawski, chief fisheries scientist for the federal agency NOAA. “The animals down at 3,300 to 3,400 feet grow slowly.” The oil not only has toxic components but could cause genetic problems even at low concentrations, he said.

Read the entire AP article HERE

Latest Video from the NOAA and FWS:

What will be the effect of the oil spill and the resulting clean up?

Another thing that still worries me is the aftermath of using Corexit – the Toxic Dispersant. Earth Justice says more than 1.8million gallons of dispersants were used in the Gulf of Mexico! Dispersants were used in the Gulf in unprecedented ways and amounts, turning the Gulf into a massive experiment largely keeping the public in the dark as to the risks these dispersants pose.

After Exxon Valdez disaster Congress enacted a new law calling for advance study and approval of dispersants as part of oil spill response planning. No measures if any were taken while using Corexit and for quite sometime the ingredients  in Corexit was not even available. The secret ingredients were identified only after congressional demands, media outcry and a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Earthjustice.

The only studies submitted to EPA for Corexit were acute toxicity studies (which tell you what concentration of the chemical kills 50 percent of the test subjects) for one species of shrimp and one species of fish. EPA requires no other toxicity, environmental or health studies before it makes a dispersant eligible for use.

Corexit is banned in UK, Japan, Australia, Canada and China , but it is okie to use it in the US? Does it make any sense?

Read the Write up in its entirety on Earth Justice

Watch the video on Corexit use in the Gulf of Mexico :

It will quite sometime before we understand the real impact of the oil spill on the environment. Is there a long term hazard out there which we can’t envision? Only time will tell.  There is not much we can do in the Gulf other than keeping fingers crossed and hoping for the best. But we can make sure this does not repeat itself by reducing our dependence on Fossil fuels. Live Green!

Sources and more information can be found in the below links:

Christian Science Monitor

Oil Plumes writeup in CSM

NYTimes

Associated Press

On Bloomberg

BP Corexit Connection


Saving Sea Turtles

July 17, 2010 in Environmental News

An effort to save thousands of sea turtle hatchlings from dying in the oily Gulf of Mexico has begun in a desperate attempt to keep an entire generation of threatened species from vanishing.

Turtle experts are undergoing the painstaking process of excavating up to 800 nests; each egg must be carefully lifted from its nest without rolling or repositioning it, to avoid disrupting the growing embryo inside. Then the eggs will be transported to a climate-controlled hanger at Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast where they’ll stay until hatching.

Over the past week, the plan has gone into action, and baby turtles are now swimming free in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first group hatches

Image Courtesy @Discover Magazine

The first batch of turtles gave the project managers cause for optimism, according to Jane A. Provancha, a contractor working in the warehouse:On Saturday and Monday evenings, she released 56 baby turtles into the dark waters of the Atlantic and watched them swim away. Turtles from about 83% of the eggs in the first nest have emerged and swum out to sea, she said. “They looked really great. They were a little slow at first, but then they started moving around,” she said.

Towards The Water Edge

Image Courtesy @Discover Magazine

For more news and images Click Here


DeepWater Horizon Spill Threatens 8 National Parks

July 3, 2010 in Environmental News

Today will be Day 75 of DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill. Even though the cap which is placed on top to capture oil is working day and night, the spill is still spewing oil into the Ocean. This week there was also the added pressure of Hurricane Alex stirring up things in the Gulf of Mexico. According to Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft “more oil than what would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool slipped by the cap on BP’s ruptured undersea well due to bad weather on Friday (1st of July)”. Bad weather has also resulted in the skimmers returning to the shores to sit out the wind in the high seas.

Newly retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen announced Friday that since June, the skimming capability in the Gulf has increased more than fivefold — from approximately 100 large skimmers to 550 skimming vessels of various sizes working to collect oil in all parts of the region now. To date, 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix has been skimmed from the Gulf’s surface.

Gulf of Mexico with its vast shore line and ocean wealth is also home to many national parks and 8 of them are in places which can be affected by the oil spill adversely. The reefs and marine ecology are in the impact zone and the effect of the Oil spill and the dispersant used will not be known for a long time.

These are the eight national parks that the U.S. National Park Service is monitoring for signs of damage from the Gulf oil spill:

1. Dry Tortugas National Park

Almost 70 miles west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters, they make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past.

Coral reefs ring Fort Jefferson, a military fortress abandoned in 1907, now part of Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Seven islands make up the Dry Tortugas, known for rich bird and marine life.
Dry Tortugas National Park has suffered no impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill thus far. The park remains open for visitation and all activities continue as scheduled. Nonetheless, the National Park Service continues to spend considerable time and effort in preparation for possible effects.

2. Big Cypress National Reserve

The freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades, support the rich marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast. Protecting over 720,000 acres of this vast swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther. In addition to panthers and alligators, the park’s swampy environment is also home to bobcats, black bears, herons, and egrets.

Though Big Cypress National Preserve is mostly inland, there are some coastal resources within the Preserve along the southern boundary. This estuary zone is protected by the Ten Thousand Islands of Everglades National Park.

At this time no closures have occurred in the Preserve in response to the oil spill. However, management personnel at the preserve are monitoring the situation in the Gulf closely.

3. The Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, significant to all people of the world.

The south Florida national parks continue to carefully monitor response efforts to the oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Though not an immediate threat, the ongoing movement and spread of oil in the region has the potential to impact the south Florida coast.

4. Gulf Islands National Seashore

One of the Parks affected by the oil Spill already – Birds fly over Park Service facility on Santa Rosa Island, parts of which fall within Florida’s Gulf Islands National Seashore (file photo). Oil from the Gulf spill has reached the national seashore, including parts of Santa Rosa Island. The refuge remains open, but visitors can see offshore oil booms intended to keep the oil at bay.

Most of the oil that ends up on beaches arrives in coagulated clumps known as tarballs and moose patties, Park Service officials say. If these objects are spotted on the beach, a cleanup crew is dispatched to shovel them up.
PARKWIDE: Because oil can appear on park beaches at any given time, there is a National Park Service Public Health Advisory in effect until further notice parkwide.

Use caution, good judgment and stay informed:

• If you see or smell oil in the water or on the beach, avoid contact with water and report it to the nearest lifeguard or park ranger.
• Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil-contaminated water, and tar balls.
• If you get oil or tar balls on your skin, wash with soap and water.
• If you get oil on clothing, launder as usual.
• Prevent pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.
• Do not fish in oil affected waters.
• Do not handle dead or dying fish, or wildlife.
• Leave the area if you experience difficulty breathing or any other symptoms. If needed, contact your doctor.

5. Padre island Seashore

Located along the south Texas coast, Padre Island National Seashore protects the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. Here, you can enjoy 70 miles of sandy beaches.

As of now no oil has reached its shores and none is projected to reach its shores unless some major change occurs in status quo. It remains open starting yesterday after a short close down for Hurricane Alex. Check the website for any new info.

6. De Soto National Memorial

Gulf Coast waters are visible from this lookout point in Florida’s De Soto National Memorial, named for Hernando De Soto, the Spanish conquistador who explored much of the state in the early 1500s.The park, a popular fishing and kayaking spot, remains open and still appears to be unaffected by the Gulf oil spill.

Roughly 80 percent of the park is mangrove swamps, with the rest consisting of pine flatlands and mixed hardwood forests. Serving as nurseries for much of the fish in the Gulf, mangroves are crucial to the region’s ecological future—and to the fishing industry.

De Soto National Memorial has special living history presentations at specific times of the year. The Spanish encampment features daily presentations (weather permitting) from mid-December to the last weekend in April. The Last day of the living history encampment also includes a special reenactment of De Soto’s landing in 1539.

7. Jean LaFitte Historical national Park and Preserve
The six sites of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve represent a treasure trove of south Louisiana’s historical and cultural riches. People from nearly every country, ethnic group, language, and religion have come to the lower Mississippi River delta and left traces of their passing.

None of Jean Lafitte’s six sites are directly in the path of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The park’s Barataria Preserve is the most vulnerable site since it is linked to the Gulf of Mexico via waterways.

No oil from the spill has been observed in the preserve. Oil has fouled the shoreline of the Barataria Waterway about 12 miles south of the preserve boundary and has penetrated marshes on the north edge of Barataria Bay, about 15 miles south of the preserve. Booms are in place and cleanup is underway. Park staff continues to monitor the situation and work with experts to prepare defensive actions.
The park is home to songbirds, as well as swamp rabbits, mink, coyotes, and deer. So far, no animals that live in U.S. national parks have been affected by the Gulf oil spill, the Park Service’s Amzelmo said—but that could change.

8. Biscayne National Park
Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife…or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay.
Biscayne National Park has suffered no impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill thus far. The park remains open for visitation and all activities continue as scheduled. Nonetheless, the National Park Service continues to spend considerable time and effort in preparation for possible effects.

National parks in the Gulf area are home to many amazing animals, habitats, and cultural resources. Here are just a few that could be affected by the oil spill:

  • Sea-grass beds are important nursery habitat for sea turtles, young fish, crabs, shrimp, and many other crustaceans. They also provide an important food source for manatees. Oil will kill sea-grasses on contact and this community is slow to recover.
  • Salt marshes, which occur in back bays, provide a buffer that protects the mainland during storm events. They also offer foraging sites for all kinds of birds. If oil kills these plants in the marsh, the soil will destabilize and erode.
  • Mangroves are similar to salt marshes in that they provide a buffer between the sea and the mainland, as well as providing wildlife habitat.
  • Shipwrecks, archeological sites, Civil War defenses, historic structures, and other cultural resources tell the stories of past inhabitants and key moments in our nations past. Damage from oil and cleanup operations is a concern for these treasures.

The ecosystems and wildlife represented in the parks could provide the biological and genetic diversity needed when the spill is over – they will be the well-springs of resurgence in wildlife populations.

In reality from experience what is known is that the real effects of an oil spill cannot be fathomed by looking at statistics of oil being spilled and wild life showing up oil covered on the shores etc…

Exxon-Valdez results are the ones we have at hand as reference and you can read it HERE makes for really interesting reading…

Note – Clicking on the name of the parks will take you to the respective parks pages on the web and will provide you with the latest update as to the effects of the oil spill if any.

Read this article in Newsweek to see the projected effect on underwater organisms and habitat.

Source for this article Data and Pictures:

National Geographic

National Parks Service


Continued Human Dependence On Fossil Fuels A Folly

June 12, 2010 in Alternative Energy

Picture courtesy US Coastguard

The Line most people say when there is a talk about fossil fuels “America is addicted to Oil”, does that mean the rest of the world does not use it? No it basically means we use more than our share of oil. Approximately the number of registered vehicles in the US could be between 254 to 265 million and a vehicle on average uses 600 gallons of fuel annually which would total to 152.4Billion gallons of fuel! US population of 309.5 million is around 5% of the world population and we use around 26% of the world’s fuel. US has around .8 cars per person!

Experts estimate the earth has around 1.05 trillion barrels of crude oil remaining. We are using around 24billion barrels of oil annually. If that rate remains a constant we will run out of oil approximately by the year 2053. If the usage increases as it is increasing right now that date will be much closer than further.

Fossil Fuels in the coming years

Data courtesy Society of Sedimentary Geology

We all hear about Climate Change / Global warming; many of us accept what the scientists say and many question it. What is constant or common between the believers and the doubters is the acceptance that there definitely is some difference in weather patterns and related natural phenomenon across the globe. The Inter governmental panel for Climate change our planet is at the warmest in 420,000 years!

Some thoughts about fossil fuels:

  • As the Oil Spill in the gulf shows us, drilling and siphoning oil from 5000feet under the ocean is not an easy solution or an environmentally friendly one to say the least.
  • All the technology in the world cannot take on nature and prevent manmade disasters.
  • It might sound utopian but a field of sunflowers powering our vehicles sound so much less stressful than burning oil from the Middle East.
  • A single car using 600barrels of oil will produce around 12,000 pounds of CO2 which will take 240 trees to absorb! Just imagine the number of trees we will need for 260million vehicles!
  • The remaining tropical forests remove a massive 4.8 billion tons of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year i.e. they are carbon sinks (anything which absorbs more carbon than it releases).
  • Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), referring to the goal of limiting global warming to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius as compared to temperatures in pre-industrial times.
  • If flights were fuller it would mean lesser number of flights and there for lesser carbon emissions.
  • European Union too followed the US and decided to give up on the Kyoto Protocol! An international agreement adopted in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. The protocol sets binding greenhouse gas emissions targets for developed countries that would reduce their emissions on average 5.2% below 1990 levels.
  • Flying injects exhaust emissions directly into the upper part of the atmosphere, where they cause the most damage. The effects of the resulting mix of chemical reactions are complex and hard to calculate, occurring over timescales between three days and 100 years. Even so, scientists believe that between 1992 and 2050, the overall impact of these emissions will prove somewhere between 1.2 and four times that of CO2 at ground level.
  • There still is no solid data as to how much Oil is flowing into the gulf. It varies from 12,000 barrels to 50,000 barrels!
  • We won’t know of the environmental and economic impact of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill until the leak is plugged and the cleaning is all but done.
  • For the future of the earth there is no way but alternative energy. For each one of us that is also the way to a better lifestyle.

Well these are just some of the information out there wonder how much more information is out there… which if I knew would make a difference in how I live my fossil fuel dependant life.

Small changes I have made; I have started planning more about the number of times I go grocery shopping so that I don’t rush to the store burning more fuel to pick up something I forgot.

I believe until the day we are truly rid of fossil fuel addiction we need to keep trying to wean our selves off… Not an easy fight I know… If not, the catastrophe that is on the front page these days will repeat, with what kind of impact only time will tell.

This link will give you an idea about how large the area of the spill is in distances which make sense to us… check it out, I found it useful.

Sources:

Bureau of Trasportation Statistics

EDF

Earth Trends

Science Daily

BBC

Time for change


New Solutions For Blowouts In Oil Wells & Clean Up

June 4, 2010 in Technical News

It is said “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” right now It is “The Oil Spill”. Since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill hit front pages the World Wide Web has been brimming with “Inventions” which would work better than the ones BP is out working on via trial and error. Good meaning people and the ones out to make a quick buck have been flooding youtube with ways to clean up the oil spill. On the web I have seen a guy using hay as the simplest solution and another saying dog hair etc etc… all of these experiments look like they work, but the sheer volume of oil needing clean up and the amount of hay, hair et al which would be needed to clean up all this oil!!At the same time there are some products which seem legit which I don’t know whether they are being used for e.g. A Peat Moss based product which was also covered by cnbc the other day, check this link

Today I read an article on the Nasa tech Briefs Magazine about The Create the Future Design Contest which was launched in 2002 to find the latest product design ideas from engineers, entrepreneurs and students world wide. The 2010 contest has a lot of very interesting products and because of the interest in what can be done to cap the oil spill under 5000 feet of water I zeroed in on these products;

1. George Karpati an Engineer from Horsham Pennsylvania  came up with a product called The Solution for blowouts in Oil wells!

The Solution for Blowouts in Oil Wells as the name suggests is supposed to do just that, it plugs the leaking pipe. George says all one needs to do is think outside the box. He says one solution to most underwater oil blowouts is to integrate two existing technologies such as the remotely piloted underwater vehicle and a retention clamp. With the integration of both technologies, the clamp embedded on the remote controlled vehicle can maneuver to the broken pipe and clamp over the leakage controlling the oil spill. He has taken into account different sizes of the pipes, strength of flow etc… Sounds very promising.
The picture below is a diagram of the product source http://www.contest.techbriefs.com
Read the details about the product and check it out at the Link to the Source for the pictures and details.

2. Open Water Containment Barricade – Created by John Nagle an Engineer from Cedar Park Texas is similar to the boom being used, but with provisions to keep the oil in check by weighing it down with a ballast attached to a hanging curtain like structure with excess material to keep the spill contained for siphoning.

Check out details about this product here

Until we reach a stage where we either run out of oil or decide enough is enough these kind of catastrophe’s will be literally around the corner… Hope for a better tomorrow and work for a Green future for the coming generations…
……………………………………………………………………………………………BP Updates on June 3rd 2010…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

BP was able to cute the pipe and now they are close to attaching a cap to the cut pipe. They are not sure it will stop the spill, but say it will collect oil (how much it will collect we will be able to know only once it is fitted). Keeping track below


Environmental Impact of DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill

June 3, 2010 in Environmental News

It has been reported by news media that the oil slick spreading from the Deepwater Horizon disaster threatens fisheries, tourism and the habitat of hundreds of bird species who come ashore every year to breed. We thought it would be interesting to see what kind of impact species other than humans are having due to the oil spill.

CHECK OUT THIS LINK FOR PICTURES OF BIRDS AFFECTED BY THE OIL SPILL

  1. Coral Reefs – Coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine species, they are called the tropical rain forests of the sea. However, the tiny colonial animals that build these intricate limestone masses are dying at alarming rates. Scientists in the early 2000 declared that if this trend continued, in 20 years the living corals on many of the world’s reefs will be dead and the ecosystems that depend on them severely damaged. I was wondering whether we had coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and as per the US Geological survey there are at least 2 substantial reefs in the gulf Flower garden banks and the Florida reef tract (check the image below).

    Studies have shown that the dispersants and dispersed oil droplets are significantly more toxic to the coral than the crude oil itself, the scientists report. The dispersants caused “significant harm,” including rapid, widespread death and delay in growth rates, to the coral colonies. Read more about it in detail here

  2. Microbes in the water can break down oil. The number of microbes that grow in response to the more concentrated BP spill could tip that system out of balance, says LSU oceanographer Mark Benfield. Too many microbes in the sea could suck oxygen from the water, creating an uninhabitable hypoxic area, or “dead zone.”
  3. Birds and animals that live on the shore. Check out the link for the list of endangered species which calls the Gulf of Mexico and its shores their home. The plants on the shores will all be dead if oil reaches the shore and seeps into the soil. The nesting grounds of thousands of birds and amphibians. Louisiana’s state bird the Brown Pelican is threatened too as it’s nesting areas and food has been contaminated after having made a comeback in the last couple of years after the hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc on their environment. Brown Pelican
  4. Ocean dwellers – The birds and the turtles we see, we also see the shores and the plants being affected, but 5000 feet deep under the ocean lies a world away from our eyes inhabited by sperm whales and planktons. From the planktons to fishes and mammals the variety of life in the ocean is very diverse. If one of them is affected by the oil it can affect the whole food chain. Schools of Minnows are already seen swimming just below the oil in many places, scientists are pretty sure they are doomed. Birds which prey on those fish too are susceptible to the toxins from the fishes. An e.g.: for a fish would be the Small-tooth saw fish used to have a wide habitat but are now concentrated off Florida’s southwest coast.  “Every fish and invertebrate contacting the oil is probably dying. I have no doubt about that,” said Prosanta Chakrabarty, a Louisiana State University fish biologist.

    Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

    One main story which could become the poster boy sort of for The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Environmental impact is the Giant Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna which has been over-fished for years and the spill added to its woes. The Gulf of Mexico is where the Blue Fin comes to spawn; nurseries of the beautiful fish call the gulf its home. It is in dire need of help, Imagine a fish with a reproductive strategy where it has to grow from a tiny egg to a 225 lb fish, and than once mature, it goes to spawn in the Gulf of Mexico for 4-6 weeks. If that’s your evolutionary strategy for reproduction, you’d better hope that your spawning ground is just like you left it the year before- warm and clean. The rest of the year the giant Blue fin swims the entire North Atlantic ranging from frigid seas off the Maritimes of Canada to Iceland, from the Azores to the shores of North Carolina. Read more here .The spawning grounds of many of these marine organisms are now being drenched in oil, the effects of which won’t be known for some time.

    The organizations which are working to help the Atlantic Blue Fin tuna

    Save the Blue Fin

    Recent discoveries of endangered sea turtles soaked in oil and 22 dolphins found dead in the spill zone only hint at the scope of a potential calamity that could last years and unravel the Gulf’s food web.

    To know the impact and extent of damage we will need to wait for the oil spill to be contained and the maximum amount of oil cleaned… Hoping for some good news soon from Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill…

    Below  is a list of the endangered species which call the Gulf their home.  Courtesy of the NOAA

    US exempted BP’s Gulf of Mexico Drilling from an Environmental study! Read the full article here

    Latest on the Oil Spill from NY Times

    An interesting read from the Financial Times


Deep Horizon Oil Spill the Largest to Hit the US

May 30, 2010 in Environmental News

Live Video Link from Deep Horizon Oil Spill courtesy BP

Top Kill has Failed, we are short of boom and the Atlantic Hurricane season is around the corner! Oil is still in the Ocean some hitting the shore the rest waiting its turn… President Obama has promised more people on the ground on the water front to help with the humongous clean-up. BP supposedly trucked in extra hands to show the visiting President and his officials that they were doing everything right!

Deep Horizon Oil Spill is now officially the largest Oil spill in US history. It is much larger than Exxon-Valdez Spill and the real magnitude won’t be known until the leak is plugged. Right now the Geological survey has put the leak somewhere between 12,000 to 20,000 barrels a day! More than 3 times what they thought earlier.

Scientists have discovered a 22mile long plume of oil on the Ocean floor which is nearing an underwater canyon whose currents fuel the food chain in Gulf waters off Florida and could potentially wash the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals there by affecting the entire food chain in the gulf. The plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet and there is a chance it will spread all the way to the Florida Keys if it does not rise up. Some scientists think if it rises up it might get broken down by sunlight.

BP has moved to plan B?? oh no must be plan W or X or something…BP now is planning to put in a lid in place to hope and stop the leak which has not stopped inspite of 3 continuous days of pumping 30,000barrels of heavy mud into it. The idea now is to cut off the pipes at the top of the blow-out prevented and allowing a container to be connected up to it that will catch the oil and allow it to rise up a pipe to the surface. Like all of these efforts, this has not yet been done before in 5,000 feet of water. Don’t know whether cutting the pipe will let more oil pour out…

Well let’s wait as we have for the past 7 weeks and hope may be tomorrow will come bearing better news 5000 feet under the sea from Deep Horizon… meanwhile if you are anywhere near the South east head down and help with what ever you can…

In the midst of all this One thing that struck me is nature is (As always) so amazing! The way it has kept oil is so much away from anything it can destroy and pollute… packaged under such high pressures so deep underneath…

Some interesting headlines I saw today :

From the NYTimes : Despite Moratorium Drilling projects Move ahead!
From the CS Monitor : Why the Gulf Oil Spill Demands New Regulations?

More tomorrow…


Deep Horizon a Quick Update

May 27, 2010 in Environmental News

President Obama came out today and admitted some mistakes where made and the best thing I heard in his press conference was the extension of moratorium on new offshore drilling for another 6 months! Just want it to be made permanent. He also mentioned that there were still issues with the MMS (Minerals Management Service) which needed to be rectified. He also said there probably were not enough booms (wondering what that is? it is something that will help keep oil contained, those orange/yellow colored long connected tubes floating in the water near the beaches of Louisiana in the oil spill pictures are booms. Read more about it here) the President also mentioned (surprise! Surprise! That BP was not forthcoming about the extent of the debacle!)

Well I hope after all this time they will work out a way to stem the flow and clean up the environment before the next talks about Drill Baby Drill ring out…

Found this interesting video on CBS check it out… it is amazing what BP did know and what it did not do (not after the rig sank but before that…)


Courtesy CBS News

On BP’s part they have stated there are no updates positive or negative at this hour. You can still see the plume looking pretty strong (basically no idea whether the top kill is working or not!) Check out the video here 

More updates tomorrow… hopefully they will be positive.


Deep Horizon Oil Spill Getting Messier By The Day

May 26, 2010 in Environmental News

 Picture source BP/AP/Columbus Dispatch

I was listening to Billy Joel singing Down Easter Alexa and it hit me the fishermen who live by the Ocean in the Gulf states pretty much have the lines written for them “Can’t make a living as a bayman anymore… There ain’t much future for a man who works the sea…” this is effecting a whole spectru… from environment to wildlife to people… there seems to be hardly anyone untouched by the oil spill in the gulf.

 It has been 5 weeks since the Rig submerged spewing out oil onto the Ocean floor and into the currents headed for the shore. BP is still to this minute trying to plug the leak! The tube which was “supposedly attached” did not work. Now they are trying to cover it off with Concrete and mud slush Top Kill (which has a 60% chance of succeeding!) On 26th May that is today Morning they did just that, they pumped the tube full of mud and concrete.  After a month of trying to cover it up by saying it was “just” 5000 barrels of oil being pumped into the Ocean (when conservative estimates suggests it is between 20,000 to 80,000 barrels a day!) and they would be able to control it and seemingly being inept to manage a catastrophe of this magnitude BP is still not sure when they can have it under control  and when.

The video on their website shows a plume of dark murky substance gushing into the Ocean, Bp officials say it will take 24 hours to know whether the cement, mud et al filling worked in plugging the flow (mainly because this is the first time it is being tried at a depth above 5000feet! Keep in mind in the midst of this Shell is planning to head out this summer to the Arctic Ocean to scout for oil with its 514 foot drilling ship Frontier Discoverer! Could one even imagine how bad a situation like this can be in the Arctic where the temperature and water is much more hostile and the environment equally fragile…

Under water Camera of Oil spill in The gulf

While all this is going on being far away from the Ocean front states, I wondered what was happening on the shore. Today mornings News Paper had a small 1″x1″ pic of Elmer’s Island beach with a “Beach Closed” sign. I wondered how the cleaning was going and searched for articles about the cleaning effort. I landed on MoJo (motherjones.com the site for fearless un-biased journalism). One of their Mac McClelland took a trip down to Louisiana to see for herself what was happening on the shores. She writes  :

Mon May. 24, 2010 12:14 AM PDT

Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge, even after all the warnings, looks worse than I imagined. Pools of oil black and deep stretch down the beach; when cleanup workers drag their rakes along an already-cleaned patch of sand, more auburn crude oozes up. Beneath the surface lie slimy washed-up globules that, one worker says, are “so big you could park a car on them.”

It sends a chill up ones spine, the thought of having oil permeate sand and water… how long will it really take? what will be the after effects? She also writes about the hoops BP made her jump through to get into the reserve. Everything  around there is closely monitored by BP and controlled by them supposedly “for safety precaution”. You can read her interesting report here

It was also today that a Government report came out which said MMS -Minerals Management Service – supposed to enforce safety and environmental rules on offshore rigs are winding and dining with the Oil Executives!

Wonder what tomorrow holds in store… This is a debacle which has its tentacles spread far and wide… June 1st is the official start of the Hurricane season in the Gulf too… May be Nature will be kind to us and our misdeeds and delay it a bit to help in cleaning up the mess we created. If not I shudder at the thought of heavy winds, water and oil… who knows how far and how wide it will spread…

Hurricane Season and the Oil Spill Video

For now lets all hope that the drilling mix being pumped into the tube holds and stops the oil flow… Keeping fingers crossed (toes too!)

By the Way if interested you can follow the rise and fall of “the plume” (see what is happening to the leak basically!)live here

Source :The Columbus Dispatch

Why BP/ Shell should be stopped form drilling in the Arctic Ocean


A Positive Update At The Deep Horizon Oil Rig

May 17, 2010 in Environmental News

A temporary yet significant positive development in the Deep Horizon Oil spill. BP has managed to set in a temporary solution to reduce oil gushing out into the Ocean around the sunken rig.

It has been only 24 hours since I was reading and posting about the 1000’s of gallons of crude oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico with no real solution in sight. There are millions of barrels of oil already in the water and scientists think some of it has made it into the currents headed to Florida keys. Marine biologists and others are keeping watch on that development.

Like mentioned in yesterday’s post BP had been working to try and control the spillage. Today they succeeded in reducing the amount of oil being dumped into the Ocean by successfully attaching a pipe to the burst pipeline and pumping some of the oil into a tanker. Let us hope it works well and the amount of oil flowing out into the water reduces considerably. It won’t be known until some days as to how much oil the contraption is able to suck. Keeping fingers crossed…

The picture below demonstrates how the oil is being sucked out.

Source for Picture and news bit www.dispatch.com

Yesterday’s post is here