Even if the well that is spewing crude recklessly into the Gulf of Mexico were capped tomorrow, the damage is already done. Hundreds of thousands of animals are going to die. The fishing industry will be devastated for a generation.
However, this underwater funnel of oil is not going to stop tomorrow. NBC news reports that BP suspects it may go on for months. At the current rate of 200,000 gallons a day, this catastrophe is immeasurable. No one has ever seen anything like it.
Much of what we have come to depend on the Gulf of Mexico for is not likely to recover in our lifetime.
Investigator Warned MMS in 2009 About Deepwater Gas Blowouts in Gulf of Mexico
A sixty-page memorandum addressed to Renee Orr, the chief of the leasing division of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), was sent in September 2009 by an environmental investigator, warning of potential disaster in offshore drilling operations and the particular dangers posed by gas hydrates.
It was written as a public comment to the federal government's proposed rule for oil and gas leasing between 2010 and 2015 on the outer continental shelf, and offers a wide-ranging compilation and analysis, based on meticulously documented scientific, industry and government sources, of many accidents little known to the general public.
This is a long article, but well worth reading. Read the rest on SolveClimate.com.
Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP
In the days after the immensity of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico became clear, some Nature Conservancy supporters took to the organization's Web site to vent their anger.
British Petroleum and its subsidiaries have been the subject of roughly 8,000 reported incidents of spills, emissions and leaks of oil, chemicals and gases into the environment, according to a government database. (download them here).
The National Response Center, which takes reports on oil spills, radiation leaks, chemical emissions and other environmental accidents, shows dozens of reports stemming from the April 20 explosion at British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon. In addition to the crude oil flowing into the gulf , benzene, ethylbenzene, caustic soda solution and six other chemicals have been released into the water and air, according to incident reports submitted to the National Response Center.
In what is being called a game-changer for the embattled oil company, BP announced today that it has developed a new technology to convert lies into energy.
At a press conference at corporate headquarters in London, BP CEO Tony Hayward said that environmentalists would embrace the new technology “because lies are a totally renewable resource.” Illustrating the impact of BP’s new technology, Hayward told reporters, “Over the past month alone, my words could power the city of London for a year.”
But the new technology has its skeptics, including the University of Minnesota’s Davis Logsdon, who warns of the dangers of “lie spills.”
“We have learned from recent BP press conferences that once the lie flow starts, it can be very hard to stop,” he says.
While Tony Hayward, poor criminal soul, was getting "his life back" by attending a yachting race around the Isle of Wight, Americans were mourning the loss of fish, habitat, livelihood and the onset of oil toxic related illnesses caused by the BP spill.
Scientists are confronting growing evidence that BP's ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is creating oxygen-depleted "dead zones" where fish and other marine life cannot survive.
In two separate research voyages, independent scientists have detected what were described as "astonishingly high" levels of methane, or natural gas, bubbling from the well site, setting off a chain of reactions that suck the oxygen out of the water. In some cases, methane concentrations are 100,000 times normal levels.
JM: In the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, were left wondering which detergents and dispersants have been most effective in the cleanup effort. Well, the answer may be none at all. Im Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Terry Hazen is a microbiologist and head of the Ecology Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
TH: So weve seen some dramatic effects from some other major oil spills. In the areas where they didnt do anything it was recovered after 5 years, but the areas where they used detergents, 20 and 30 years later, it still had not recovered because of the toxic effects of the detergents.
JM: But faced with the largest oil spill in history, if chemical dispersants arent the answer, then what might be the better course of action?
TH So, the best thing to do would be to get up all the undiluted material that you can possibly get up, and you can do that by boom containment, by sorbents of different types, and by skimming. So, anything like that, that will get up the oil, soak it up, and then, basically, we can remove it and either treat it somewhere else or use it as fuel. So, get up as much of that undiluted material as you can, and then, give serious consideration to not doing anything further.
JM: Oil-eating bacteria and nutrients naturally present in the ocean may be our best ally in cleaning up oil spills. And because these microorganisms are native to the ocean, Hazen cautions against adding more of them, which throws off the natural balance, and may cause further damage to the environment.
You can hear our complete interview with Terry Hazen at pulseplanet.com.
Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. Im Jim Metzner.
For the last 17 years, five indigenous tribes from the Ecuadorian Amazon have been involved in one of the largest environmental lawsuits in history, against an oil company which dumped more than 15 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Ecuadorean rainforest over three decades. When the Ecuadorians heard about the BP oil surge in the Gulf, they initiated a meeting with the indigenous communities in Louisiana to share what they had learned from their experience fighting an oil company. Reporter David Weinberg travelled with the delegation and brings us this story. (Photo: David Weinberg)
Has British Petroleum made a good faith effort to protect the coastline and marine environments affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? We'll talk with Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at the SMU Cox School of Business, and Al Armendariz, Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Region VI; in Art&Seek, sculptor and landscape artist Brad Goldberg.