The Secret of the Ooze: Two Years After the Spill
Al Jazeera has a frightening, damning, and infuriating report on the ongoing damage to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s been nearly two years since the Macondo well was ruptured, spilling almost 5 million barrels of oil and requiring almost 2 million barrels of dispersants to clean it up.
Fishermen are reporting shrimp catches full of eyeless shrimp, as well as fish and shellfish with oozing sores and black gills. The damage doesn’t seem limited to oil, either. Manganese-heavy drilling mud and dispersant lefotvers are showing up at even higher rates than petroleum.
Head over to Al Jazeera to read the full article. The Gulf has not recovered, and it will likely take most of a lifetime to do so. It’s important that scientists continue to get financial support to monitor the area and that the government keep pressure on BP to do their part. Not just this year, but until the mistake is fixed.
This is one of the most diverse and fruitful ecosystems in America, and we must repair it.
This is bone chilling.
This is very disturbing.
President Obama has given approval to Shell to drill for oil this summer in the vulnerable Arctic.
Whoa, offshore drilling in Belize is not going to fly.
There are only four barrier reefs in the world and Belize has one of them.
So, the answer is no. No drilling. Ever.
Costa Concordia dilemma: Salvage, cut, or sink?
The ship’s owners have to decide whether to refloat it, chop it into pieces and sell it for scrap, or simply sink it off the coast.
What a mess.
Obama Administration Allows BP Back Into the Bidding for Gulf Oil Drilling Rights: US regulator declines to enforce 'death penalty' on oil company despite environmentalists' fury
The Obama administration has infuriated environmentalists by giving BP the green light to bid for new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.
The move – seen as a major step in the company’s political rehabilitation as an offshore driller following the Deepwater Horizon accident – was revealed by the head of the US safety regulator after a congressional hearing in Washington.
“They don’t have a deeply flawed record offshore,” said Michael Bromwich, head of the newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. “The question is: ‘Do you administer the administrative death penalty based on one incident?’, and we have concluded that’s not appropriate.”
Drilling rights are sold off on a regular basis but many believed BP would be ruled out as unsuitable after the gulf well blowout that killed 11 workers and polluted the beaches of southern states. The next sale comes up in December, when more than 8m hectares (20m acres) of offshore rights will come up for grabs.
BP declined to comment, but Friends of the Earth said it was appalled. “Governments should be administering the death penalty to all deepwater drilling rather than waiting for yet more devastating incidents like the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico or in any other part of the world,” argued Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at the environmental group.
“It is not just BP operations that are deeply flawed,” he added. “There is not a single oil company that can say with a high degree of confidence that it can drill safely and how it will clear up if something goes wrong. It is clear in the context of climate change we need to develop new clean technologies, not hunt for fossil fuels in ever more remote and hard-to-reach areas.”
BP has already introduced changes to its offshore safety regime that it claims now leaves it with tougher standards than the regulator demands, but it has yet to gain approval to drill new wells.
The oil company has for many years been the biggest operator in the gulf, but it was pilloried by politicians after the Deepwater Horizon spill and its former chief executive, Tony Hayward, was said to be the most hated person in the US.
Over the last 18 months, BP has gradually seen some of its reputation rebuilt, not least because several studies have suggested that US contractors on the project, such as Transocean and Halliburton, ought to share some of the blame. BP has also helped itself by paying for a massive clean-up and compensation programme, but it still faces huge lawsuits and even possible criminal charges.
On Thursday BP, Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, and well-cementing specialist Halliburton were formally charged with breaches of offshore regulations on 15 separate occasions. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $35,000 per violation per day but the real threat to BP is if it is found guilty of gross negligence by any court – which would trigger billion-dollar claims under the US’s Clean Water Act.BP, now with its first American chief executive in Bob Dudley, was keen to emphasise the significance of the two contractors being drawn into the legal net, because those firms have argued that BP was at the heart of the Gulf accident. BP is trying to convince them to contribute their share of the compensation it has paid out already. “The issuance today of notices of non-compliance to BP, Transocean and Halliburton makes clear that contractors, like operators, are responsible for properly conducting their deepwater drilling activities and are accountable to the US government and the American public for their conduct,” said BP in a statement.
This is a critical lapse in judgment on behalf of the U.S. government if I’ve ever seen one.
Internal report warns of ecological disaster if new well bursts
BP is making contingency plans to fight the largest oil spill in history, as it prepares to drill more than 4,000 feet down in the Atlantic in wildlife-rich British waters off the Shetland Islands.
Internal company documents seen by The Independent show that the worst-case scenario for a spill from its North Uist exploratory well, to be sunk next year, would involve a leak of 75,000 barrels a day for 140 days – a total of 10.5 million barrels of oil, comfortably the world’s biggest pollution disaster.
This would be more than double the amount of oil spilled from its Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico last year, which had a maximum leak rate of 62,000 barrels a day in an incident lasting 88 days – and triggered a social, economic and environmental catastrophe in the US which brought the giant multinational to the brink of collapse.
The North Uist well, in a seabed block named after the Hebridean island but located 80 miles north-west of Shetland, is part of BP’s ongoing attempts to open up the West of Shetland sea area, sometimes referred to as the “Atlantic Frontier”, as a rich new oil province to replace the dwindling productivity of the North Sea.
The project appeared to have been shelved by the former BP chief executive Tony Hayward last year in the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon and the barrage of criticism directed at the company for its safety record. But it is now going ahead, and the well will be drilled by a drilling ship, the Stena Caron, some time from January onwards, as long as it is given a licence by the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne.
The company already has three West of Shetland wells producing oil, at depths from 140 to 500 metres (460 to 1,640ft). But North Uist, described by BP as “stepping out, in terms of depth”, will be nearly three times as deep, at 1,290m below the surface, in immensely testing conditions similar to those of its ill-fated Gulf well, which was located 1,500 metres down, and began its unprecedented “gusher” leak in April last year.
The difficulty of capping a gushing well at such depths, vividly illustrated by the three months it took for Deepwater Horizon to be staunched, is greatly concerning British environmentalists who point out that the waters which might be affected by a North Uist spill are among the most wildlife-rich in all the UK.
President Obama Approves Arctic Ocean Drilling
The Obama administration said Monday it was moving forward with oil-drilling leases off the coast of Alaska issued by the Bush administration in 2008, a victory for oil companies in the battle over Arctic Ocean drilling.
A particularly devastating decision considering the extremely delicate nature of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem. A single oil spill in this area would have catastrophic consequences— these are mistakes we cannot afford to make.
Even the Bush administration wouldn’t touch tar-sands oil
Even if the Obama administration approves the Keystone XL pipeline, Canadians won’t be able to sell the carbon-intensive tar-sands oil to one very big energy consumer: the Obama administration. Back in 2007, the federal government, under the leadership of George W. Bush, passed a law that forbade it from buying oil that’s dirtier than conventional oil. And tar-sands oil is.
America and Oil: Declining Together?
America and Oil. It’s like bacon and eggs, Batman and Robin. As the old song lyric went, you can’t have one without the other. Once upon a time, it was also a surefire formula for national greatness and global preeminence. Now, it’s a guarantee of a trip to hell in a handbasket. The Chinese know it. Does Washington?
Here is something that a friend of mine wrote on the matter:
If built, the Keystone XL Pipeline would lock America into a future of planet-warming energy dependency. Indeed, Dr. Hansen – NASA’s top climate scientist, and one of the 700+ protestors that have been arrested in Washington DC so far – has said that full exploitation of Canada’s tar sands would be “game over” for efforts to solve climate change.
President Obama alone – without input from Congress – has the power to approve or reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. He will decide as soon as September whether to honor his campaign pledge to create a clean-energy economy, or to lock us in as a nation that cooks and distills filthy tar sands for much of our energy. Building this pipeline will be an economic and moral setback for clean-energy sources of all types.
State Department Backs Canadian Pipeline
The State Department gave a crucial green light on Friday to a proposed 1,711-mile pipeline that would carry heavy oil from oil sands in Canada across the Great Plains to terminals in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
Looks like I’m going to end up writing a long letter to the Obama administration about our energy future. I realize it’s been a rough term for Obama, but new pipelines are not the answer and we cannot afford to ignore the consequences of our energy habits anymore. Climate change is not in our national interest.
300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds.
“If we do nothing, we still get to a post-carbon future, but it will be bleak. However, if we plan the transition, we can have a world that supports robust communities of healthy, creative people and ecosystems with millions of other species. One way or the other, we’re in for the ride of a lifetime. Understand the issues and pitch in. It’s all hands on deck.”