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Oil Disaster in the Gulf and What we Can Do


Oil Disaster in the Gulf and What we Can Do

Something we can do. we can swamp the mail and email inboxes of all of our government leaders with our concerns. There is a lot more of us "WE THE PEOPLE," then there are greedy corporations and other big money hungry leather hearted big business

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Oil Disaster in the Gulf and What we Can Do

There is something we can do. we can swamp the mail boxes and email inboxes of all of our government leaders with our concerns. There is a lot more of us "WE THE PEOPLE," then there are greedy corporations and other big money hungry leather hearted big business,

Here is the phone number fot the US Senate 202-224-3121
Or email your senator .
All contact information can also be found at;

Sample letter below;

Dear Senator:

Americans stick together in crisis, including the caused by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. I am asking that you be among those to stand with the President as he our government and the people of the entire U.S. not just the Gulf region, to make BP accountable for their mess and to fix it, restore the ocean, beaches, marshland, wildlife, and people affected, to the way they were before their activities caused the greatest manmade catastrophe ever.

This damage will be with us for generations. The wetlands have already begun to become marshes of oil and are losing their protective grass. The beaches are covered by tides of tar after the BP cleanup crews leave, and it’s not easy to get them back keep cleaning all of BP’s oil every day.

The lives of those who live in and on the water, like fishermen, shrimpers, oystermen, and the marine creatures who are their living are dying quickly. Marina owners, tour boat operators, grocers, engine repair mechanics, restaurant owners, and local five and dimes are seeing no business. Who wants to visit an oil-fouled beach?

I ask you, Senator, to make sure that the full force of the law stays upon BP to stop the flow of oil from that well, restore the land to its former pristine condition, provide full dollar-for-dollar compensation to every person whose livelihood and family have been injured by this catastrophe wrought by BP’s activities.

Think about this: BP’s oil will be a “legacy disaster.” Your best efforts at accountability will not prevent oil globs on the beach that you or maybe your grandchildren will step around. A swim might be followed by a decontamination shower, and that odd taste in your seafood could well be from Louisianna crude from one of those plumes that BP said wasn’t there. All of this, 40 years from now.

To those outside the US you may ADJUST THIS LETTER ACCORDING TO YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT or whom ever you desire to write to. Or compose your own.

We must not forget after all efforts in the physical sense have been implemented we should not forget to return to prayer and meditation. Given our knowledge of the power of prayer, meditation and intent with regards to united healing efforts we are able now to use this knowledge to further our efforts with regards to heal the tear in the surface of our planet that is causing grief in the golf. Pray, meditate and visualize this wound in mother earth being healed.

Discussion Forum

Rense & Dr. Soto - Gulf Region Residents Ill And Dying

Started by Cindy Nov 26, 2010. 0 Replies

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Crude Oil Found In Oysters At North Carolina Restaurant (Video)

Started by Cindy Nov 22, 2010. 0 Replies

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BP faces new fines over second Alaska spill

Started by Cindy Nov 20, 2010. 0 Replies

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Digging Up Oil In Fort Pickens Pensacola Beach November 17 2010

Started by Cindy Nov 18, 2010. 0 Replies

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Previously unknown microbe thriving by eating spilled oil in Gulf

Started by Cindy. Last reply by Luminakisharblaze Oct 26, 2010. 1 Reply

Previously unknown microbe thriving by eating spilled oil in GulfIt appears that Mother nature intercedes to heal herself once againTHE NEW YORK TIMES Published…Continue

After The Spill

Started by Cindy Oct 25, 2010. 0 Replies

THE OPINION PAGESEditorialAfter the SpillPublished: October 24, 2010 The six-month anniversary of the BP oil spill passed quietly last week. The well has been…Continue

The Gulf Blue Plague

Started by Cindy Oct 25, 2010. 0 Replies

THE GULF BLUE PLAGUEIT'S NOT WISE TO FOOL MOTHER NATUREWhat is revealed in this broadcast regarding BP and their ‘beyond petroleum’ activities will create a picture for the listener one pixel dot at…Continue

Trying New Ways to Deep Clean Beaches

Started by Cindy Oct 22, 2010. 0 Replies News by Debbie WilliamsPublished: Tue, October 19, 2010 BP calls it "Operation Deep Clean", and it's the most serious…Continue

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Comment by Cindy on August 10, 2010 at 7:14pm
BP oil spill: Endangered species still at risk

Deepwater Horizon spill in US leads to rise in dolphins and endangered brown pelicans injured or killed this week

Deepwater Horizon: US officials say the BP oil spill has resulted in a rise in the number of brown pelicans killed or injured in the past week. Photograph: Bevil Knapp/EPA

US officials recorded a big jump in the numbers of dolphins and endangered brown pelican and sea turtle injured or killed by the BP spill over the past week, even as officials were proclaiming that the oil was rapidly disappearing from the Gulf.

Some 1,020 sea turtles were caught up in the spill, according to figures (pdf) today – an ominous number for an endangered species. Wildlife officials collected 177 sea turtles last week – more than in the first two months of the spill and a sizeable share of the 1,020 captured since the spill began more than three months ago. Some 517 of that total number were dead and 440 were covered in oil, according to figures maintained the Deepwater Horizon response team.

"It is a high number for any endangered species," said Elizabeth Wilson, a scientist for the Oceana conservation group. The number of dolphins, whales and other marine mammals captured or found dead also rose last week, from 69 to 76. An analysis by the National Wildlife Federation said the numbers of oiled birds collected had nearly doubled since the well was capped, from 37 to 71 a day.

It was not immediately clear why the numbers of injured and dead wildlife have jumped. Kevin Godsea, a fish and wildlife official overseeing the rescue of threatened brown pelican, said many of the more recent victims were hatchlings who took their first flights right into the oil. "We had a lot of young birds hanging right around the boomed areas of rookeries, and lot of those young birds are testing out their wings and they are getting right into the oil," he said.

Older pelicans exposed to oil are also able to survive much longer because of relatively warm temperatures in the Gulf, and are only succumbing now, he said.

In addition, he said officials had purposely stayed away from island bird sanctuaries to avoid exposing hatchlings to disease.

But that concern to avoid disturbing habitat may have put pelican eggs and hatchlings at greater risk once able-bodied pelican fled the oil.

"There has been a lot of criticism of fish and wildlife for the fact that they never actually went on the islands, and because they did not, abandoned nests were left so that any chicks that were already hatched died, and any eggs that were left were also left to die," said Cynthia Sarthou executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network.
Comment by Cindy on August 10, 2010 at 9:59am
Oil sands toxins growing rapidly

Volume of arsenic, lead increased 26 per cent in last four years, Environment Canada says

Nathan VanderKlippe
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Aug. 09, 2010 6:50PM EDT Last updated on Monday, Aug. 09, 2010 8:54PM EDT

Canada’s oil sands mining operations produce vast and fast-growing quantities of deadly substances, including mercury, heavy metals and arsenic, new data released by Environment Canada shows.

The information on pollutants sheds new light on the environmental toll exacted by Canada’s bid to extract oil from bitumen, showing in stark relief how many nasty substances are being laid on the northern Alberta landscape in the process – and how quickly those are growing.

In the past four years, the volume of arsenic and lead produced and deposited in tailings ponds by the country’s bitumen mines – run by Syncrude Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., (SU-T34.270.160.47%) Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ-T36.850.411.13%) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.B-N56.180.350.63%) – has increased by 26 per cent. Quantities of some other substances have increased at even faster rates.

The companies also released huge amounts of pollutants into the air last year, including 70,658 tonnes of volatile organic compounds, which can damage the function of human organs and nervous systems, and 111,661 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, a key contributor to acid rain.

The numbers are contained in Environment Canada’s national pollutant release inventory, which details the dangerous compounds generated by industrial Canada. New numbers published this weekend track 85 mining facilities that generate tailings and waste rock. Of those, the oil sands produce just under 50,000 tonnes of reportable substances in tailings, or 10 per cent of the total.

Metal ore mines are by far the worst, with 54 per cent, followed by iron ore mines at 25 per cent. Other mines – which include diamond, asbestos and phosphate – generate 5 per cent.

Oil sands operations, however, produced the overwhelming bulk of several dangerous substances: for example, bitumen mines generated nearly all of the Canadian total of acenaphthene, one of a bevy of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons released around Fort McMurray. Such substances can cause tumours of the lung, skin and bladder, and some are carcinogens. And their volumes are growing in north-eastern Alberta: companies generated 42 per cent more acenaphthene in 2009 than they did in 2006.

Last year, oil sands mines also produced 322 tonnes of arsenic, 651 tonnes of lead and measurable volumes of mercury, chromium, vanadium, hydrogen sulphide and cadmium.

The numbers “are just ridiculously huge,” said Justin Duncan, a staff lawyer with Ecojustice who helped prosecute the 2007 court case that forced Environment Canada to release the data.

“You’re talking hundreds of thousands of kilograms of heavy metals going into some of these tailings ponds. If one of these things bursts, it’s a catastrophic risk to the Athabasca River system.”

The Environment Canada data do not include naphthenic acids, which researchers consider the most toxic component of the effluent brew.

Yet scientists say simply knowing how much pollution is generated by the oil sands does little to show how toxic the mines’ tailings are. What’s needed is the concentration of the substances – a figure Environment Canada does not provide.

John Giesy, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan and the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology, points to a potato as an example: a grocery store spud contains 600 to 700 chemicals, some of them carcinogens, but they’re in such small quantities that they’re not harmful.

“Everything is toxic. It’s the concentration that makes the poison,” he said.

The actual toxicity of oil sands effluent remains a nascent field of scientific inquiry. But some research that has been carried out by the University of Saskatchewan has found some surprising results. Some older tailings ponds, for instance, are capable of sustaining fish life. And virtually all tailings ponds can sustain invertebrate life; Julie Anderson, a PhD student, has discovered that mosquito-like midges will survive, but not grow, in tailings water.

To allow midges to grow, oil sands wastewater needs to be diluted roughly as much as the effluent from some sewage treatment plants.

And industry says it is working to improve. Travis Davies, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said companies will spend $1-billion in the next year to reduce tailings, “so you have less of these in the environment for any extended period of time.”

Environmentalists, however, said the Environment Canada data show the full slate of dangerous compounds emitted by the oil sands and will serve as an important industry barometer.

“More information coming to light is essential, I think, to eventually have a meaningful discussion about the unacceptable risk of these tailings ponds,” said Simon Dyer, oil sands program director for the Pembina Institute.
Comment by Cindy on August 6, 2010 at 10:34am
BP Done Pumping Cement Into Well

Workers scrubbed boom in Grand Isle on Thursday as the end of the static kill operation on the well passed with little fanfare.

Published: August 5, 2010

HOUSTON — For more than three months, an oil-weary nation has waited for the moment when engineers would begin pumping cement into BP’s runaway well, in hopes of plugging its flow for good.

That moment arrived quietly on Thursday, with cement following the tons of mud already poured into the well in the operation called a static kill. Because no significant amount of oil has leaked since the well was tightly capped on July 15, the start of the cementing was almost anticlimactic. BP did not even hold its regular daily briefing, saying that Kent Wells, the senior vice president who usually explains the technical details to reporters, was traveling. When the cement operation was completed in the afternoon, the company put out a brief announcement.

Television newscasts, for months fixated on the spectacle of oil gushing from the broken riser pipe on live underwater video, barely covered the transition.

Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who heads the federal spill response effort, told reporters at the government’s midday briefing that once the cement job was completed, “We can all breathe a little easier.” He added, “This is not the end, but it will virtually assure us there will be no chance of oil leaking into the environment.”

By applying cement to the well from a surface vessel, technicians can plug most, if not all, of the drill pipe and oil reservoir below.

Although the static kill is likely to seal the volatile well permanently, final victory will not be declared until a relief well is completed and it intercepts the well in the middle to later part of August, according to both Admiral Allen and senior BP executives.

The first of two relief wells is still 100 feet from intersecting the Macondo well. It will take five to seven days to complete once the cement applied during the static kill dries by the weekend’s end. A second relief well is being drilled in case the first misses the mark.

Since blowing out on April 20, killing 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon platform, the well has spewed nearly five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The tight-fitting capping device that stopped the leak three weeks ago was considered a temporary solution.

Because the static kill is not guaranteed to pour cement through the annulus, the portion of the drill pipe between the inner piping and the outer casing, leakage may still remain after the kill, according to officials. But the 18,000-foot relief well can penetrate the entire pipe, after which technicians can test to see how much more cement is needed to kill the well completely.

Technicians working on the static kill said that they could not guarantee that the well was now fully plugged. They said they had not been able to determine whether any oil and gas remained trapped in the casing, drill pipe or annular areas that might have been bypassed by the injection of mud and cement.

“It’s almost like a mystery you are trying to unravel,” Admiral Allen said. “The question is: what is the path of the cement to the bottom?”

Admiral Allen said the mystery would be solved conclusively only by the relief well, and by a final pumping of mud and cement into any areas not reached by the static kill.

But Greg McCormack, program director of the Petroleum Extension Service at the University of Texas Austin, said, that the fact that the cementing was finished so quickly “means they had a good cement job, which means that they probably cemented all the way down to the bottom in the production casing and reached the reservoir.”

He added, “If there aren’t any leaks anywhere else, that means this well is done.”
Comment by Myriel RAouine on August 5, 2010 at 8:13pm
Comment by Cindy on August 5, 2010 at 2:33am
BP oil spill: Obama administration's scientists admit alarm over chemicals

Environmental Protection Agency experts expressed concerns to superiors about use of dispersants, says whistleblower group

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent, Tuesday 3 August 2010

A plane releases chemical dispersant over the Gulf oil spill. Photograph: Reuters

The Obama administration is facing internal dissent from its scientists for approving the use of huge quantities of chemical dispersants to tackle the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Guardian has learned.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has come under attack in Congress and from independent scientists for allowing BP to spray almost 2m gallons of the dispersant Corexit on to the slick and, even more controversially, into the leak site 5,000ft below the sea. Now it emerges that EPA's own experts have been raising similar concerns within the agency.

Jeff Ruch, the exective director of the whistleblower support group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said he had heard from five scientists and two other officials who had expressed concerns to their superiors about the use of dispersants.

"There was one toxicologist who was very concerned about the underwater application particularly," he said. "The concern was the agency appeared to be flying blind and not consulting its own specialists and even the literature that was available."

Veterans of the Exxon Valdez spill questioned the wisdom of trying to break up the oil in the deep water at the same time as trying to skim it on the surface. Other EPA experts raised alarm about the effect of dispersants on seafood.

Ruch said EPA experts were being excluded from decision-making on the spill. "Other than a few people in the united command, there is no involvement from the rest of the agency," he said. EPA scientists would not go public for fear of retaliation, he added.

Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who introduced a ban on dispersants pending further testing in an oil spill bill passed by the House of Representatives last week, said the EPA had failed in its duty to protect the environment.

"We are undertaking a huge uncontrolled experiment with the entire Gulf," he said. "They have fallen down on the job very substantially because they allowed BP to use dispersants. Even when they told BP not to use dispersants they allowed BP to ignore their advice."

Independent scientists also criticised the EPA for claiming that the combination of oil and dispersants posed no greater danger to marine life on its own.

On Wednesday, a toxicologist from Texas Tech University is scheduled to tell a Senate hearing that the unprecedented use of dispersants "created an eco-toxicological experiment".

"The bottom line is that a lot of oil is still at sea dispersed in the water column," said Ron Kendall. "It's a big ecological question as to how this will ultimately unfold." Previous studies, including a 400-page study by the National Academy of Sciences, have warned that the combination of oil and dispersants is more toxic than oil on its own, because the chemicals break down cell walls, making organisms more susceptible to oil.

The EPA issued a report on Monday, based on a study of how much of the mixture was needed to kill a species of shrimp and small fish, just two of the 15,000 types of marine life in the Gulf. The EPA test did not address medium- or long-term effects, or reports last week that dispersants were discovered in the larvae of blue crab, entering the food chain.

"It was only one test and it was very crude. We knew going into this and the EPA knew that this mixture is highly toxic to many, many species. There is a whole weight of literature," said Susan Shaw, the director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute, who has been organising on the issue. "It is not the whole science. It's the convenient science."

Hugh Kaufman, a senior EPA policy analyst, dismissed the tests as little more than a PR stunt. "They are trying to spin this limited piece of information to make it look like dispersants are safe and that the Corexit dispersant is safe."

EPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It is under fire from Congress for allowing BP and the coast guard to ignore its order last May to cut the use of dispersants by 75%. Documents released by the Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey this week show the EPA allowed spraying of dispersants 74 times over a period of 48 days. At times, the EPA gave advance approval for the use of dispersants for up to a week. The documents also showed the EPA allowed BP to spray 36,000 gallons of Corexit in a single day. The controversy surrounding EPA's role in the oil spill marks a turning point for the Obama administration, which came to power vowing to repair the frayed relationship between scientists and government under George Bush and promising a new era of transparency.

Nine leading scientists have written a public letter calling on BP and the Obama administration to release all scientific data related to the spill, including wildlife death. "Just as the unprecedented use of dispersants has served to sweep millions of gallons of oil under the rug, we're concerned the public may not get to see critical scientific data until BP has long since declared its responsibility over," said Bruce Stein of the National Wildlife Federation.
Comment by Cindy on August 4, 2010 at 8:49pm
BP Begins ‘Static Kill,’ to Seal Well Permanently

Published: August 3, 2010

HOUSTON — Engineers began pumping heavy drilling mud into BP’s stricken well in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday with the hope of sealing the well permanently or at least revealing critical clues on how to kill it before the end of the month.

The effort, known as static kill, comes just over 100 days after the Macondo well blew out, sinking the Deepwater Horizon platform, killing 11 drill workers, and spewing nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, according to government estimates. Engineers made repeated efforts to contain or muzzle the well with little success until a tight cap was fitted over it nearly three weeks ago.

Through the afternoon, engineers pumped mud weighing about 13.2 pounds per gallon at slow speeds from a surface vessel through a choke line into the blowout preventer on top of the well. If all goes well, cement may be applied to fill the well over the next few days.

Officials were guarded about declaring that the operation would bring a final resolution to a spill that has caused significant economic and environmental damage to the Gulf region and seriously damaged the reputation of the London-based oil giant. They say they can only be confident the well will finally be plugged when one of two relief wells intercept the runaway well, allowing for a complete sealing of the well with cement.

Engineers are cautious because they are not certain pumping mud from the top will plug the entire well pipe. If it only fills the center well pipe, and not the area called the annulus between the inner piping and the outer casing, then a final cementing of the well may have to wait another few weeks. At the very least, though, engineers say the static kill will help pinpoint leaks that need to be filled once they complete drilling one of two relief wells.

“The static kill will increase the probability that the relief well will work,” retired Coast Guard Adm.Thad Allen, the leader of the federal spill response effort told reporters on Tuesday. “But the whole thing will not be done until the relief well is completed.”

It is possible that the static kill will succeed in plugging the entire well with cement, but engineers will only be able to confirm that success with certainty once the relief well is complete.

Before BP began the static kill operation, they completed several hours of testing by shooting refined oil through the well to check well pressures and determine that they could inject liquids into the reservoir. After consulting with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and senior government scientists over the results, they decided to move forward with the mud pumping operation.

The efforts were delayed by a day when technicians found leaks from two valves on the new capping stack, but officials said there was no sign of serious damage to the well.

The static kill operation could last nearly three days. After it is completed, work can resume on the final 100 feet of the first relief well, which should be completed by Aug. 15, unless a tropical storm reaches the Gulf and interrupts work. A final killing of the well should be completed by the end of the month.

A second relief well is being drilled in case the first one misses its target, but officials say that it is unlikely that will be necessary.

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Comment by Cindy on August 3, 2010 at 9:00pm
Oil spill dumped 4.9 million barrels into Gulf of Mexico, latest measure shows

By Joel Achenbach and David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico gushed 12 times faster than the government and BP estimated in the early weeks of the crisis and has spilled a whopping 4.9 million barrels, or 205.8 million gallons, according to a more detailed analysis announced late Monday.
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BP's Macondo well spewed 62,000 barrels of oil a day initially, and as the reservoir gradually depleted itself, the flow eased to 53,000 barrels a day until the well was finally capped and sealed July 15, according to scientists in the Flow Rate Technical Group, supervised by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The new numbers once again have nudged upward the statistical scale of the disaster. If correct -- the government allows for a margin of error of 10 percent -- the flow rate would make this spill significantly larger than the Ixtoc I blowout of 1979, which polluted the southern Gulf of Mexico with 138 million gallons over the course of 10 months. That had been the largest unintentional oil spill in history, surpassed only by the intentional spills in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War.

The new flow rate figures came as engineers made final preparations for a "static kill" operation that might plug the well permanently even before a relief well intercepts Macondo at its base. BP announced late Monday that the procedure would be delayed, probably until Tuesday, because of a leak in the hydraulic control system on the well's new cap.

(Photos: Oil spills through history)

Macondo's flow rate has been a major source of controversy since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. Early in the crisis, the Coast Guard and BP pegged the flow at 5,000 barrels a day, sticking with that figure even as outside scientists declared that it low-balled the actual rate. The flow rate team, assembled in May, tried to come up with a more solid figure. Scientists examining the surface slick as well as video taken by submersibles soon upped the estimate; by early June, the government declared the flow to be 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day.

Even the high end of that estimate did not quite do justice to Macondo when it was at full throttle in the early weeks of the crisis. The new figures reflect more data, including high-definition video, sonar measurements of the oil-gas ratio, and pressure readings in the new capping stack before, and then after, the sealing of the well July 15.

"We may never know the exact answer. But as we get more data, you're able to shrink the uncertainty," said Bill Lehr, senior scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a leader of one of the teams.

The new figures indicate that the roughly 800,000 barrels of oil that BP managed to capture with its various containment strategies -- a riser insertion tool, a "top hat," and flaring from a surface rig -- represented only about one-sixth of the crude that surged into the gulf over the course of nearly three months. In all, about 1.2 million barrels of oil have been accounted for, either burned, captured or skimmed off the ocean's surface. That's about a quarter of the new estimate for the total spill.

Where the other three-quarters has gone is unclear. Some has evaporated; some has been consumed by microbes; but scientists remain troubled by the possibility that large amounts of oil remain underwater in cloudlike plumes.

"This further confirms that a lot of the oil is still at sea. And we just don't know the implications of it," said Ron Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University. Kendall will testify before Congress on Wednesday about his fears that dispersant chemicals have helped much of this oil sink into deep-sea habitats.

For government lawyers preparing a case against BP, this number could help calculate the maximum civil penalty BP might face for the spill. If BP is not found to have acted with negligence, the penalty would be $1,100 per barrel. About 4.1 million barrels escaped into the gulf, according to the new estimate, so that fine would come to $4.5 billion. If BP is found to have acted with "gross negligence" in the lead-up to the spill, the maximum penalty would be $4,300 a barrel, which would work out to $17.6 billion.

"You've got to go in with a number," said David Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan and the former chief of the Justic Department's Environmental Crimes Section. "And I think these numbers strengthen the government's hand," compared with previous estimates that produced only a range.

In all, the 4.1 million barrels estimated to have polluted the gulf would be enough to fill the Pentagon to a depth of 18 feet or to fill 260 Olympic swimming pools. The entire Gulf of Mexico, by comparison, would fill 880 million Pentagons, or 973 billion Olympic pools.

John Amos at SkyTruth, an organization that uses satellite imagery to study environmental problems, said that this new figure showed how far off BP and the Coast Guard were in the crucial days at the beginning of the spill.

"When the next spill happens, being in the right order of magnitude with the spill estimate is going to be important," he said.

The well remains pressurized and dangerous, but BP and government officials hope that will change with the static kill attempt. The goal is to inject mud into the well and drive the oil back to the source rock.

First comes what BP calls an injectivity test. Mud will be pumped into the well from a surface ship at a gentle rate of one barrel a minute, then two barrels a minute, then three, as engineers monitor pressures and look for signs that the rogue oil is being forced back into the source rock 2 1/2 miles below the seafloor.

"We want to confirm that we can inject the oil that's in the well bore back into the reservoir," BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells told reporters Monday.
Comment by Cindy on August 3, 2010 at 10:49am
BP leak dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into Gulf: 53,000 gallons per day before well was capped

BY Meena Hartenstein

Originally Published:Monday, August 2nd 2010,

A dolphin swims through oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill on the Louisiana coast.

The numbers are in: BP's well dumped roughly 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

That's about 205 million gallons -- making it the largest accidental oil spill of all time.

New government estimates released Monday revealed that the spill numbers are at the high end of what officials had guessed, though lower than worst-case scenarios scientists had posited.

Immediately after BP's Deepwater Horizons rig exploded in April, oil gushed out of the well at a rate of 62,000 barrels a day, according to Monday's statement from the Deepwater Horizon Response command which includes representatives from BP and the U.S. government.

Over the next 87 days as oil spilled into the Gulf, the flow rate declined.

Scientists say that right before the well was capped, it was leaking 53,000 barrels per day.

"Not all of this oil and gas flowed into the ocean," the statement reads. "Containment activities by BP under U.S. direction captured approximately 800,000 barrels of oil prior to the capping of the well."

The new estimates were calculated by scientific teams working under spill chief National Incident Commander Thad Allen, who has overseen the spill response since the beginning.

Scientists based the new calculations on high-resolution underwater videos taken by remote-operated vehicles, acoustic technologies, measurements of the collected oil and data on the pressure inside the containment cap.

"Overall, the scientific teams estimate that approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil have been released from the well," the statement read.

Prior to the BP leak, the largest accidental spill was in 1979.

That disaster was also in the Gulf of Mexico, AFP reports, when 3.3 million barrels of oil were dumped into water after a Mexican state oil company's rig exploded.

"The revised estimates are part of this administration's ongoing commitment to ensuring that we have the most accurate information possible," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, part of the government's spill response team.

But don't expect this set of numbers to be the last.

"Government scientists will continue to analyze data and may in time be able to further refine this estimate," read the statement.

BP officials are currently preparing to try a "static kill" procedure to permanently plug the well.

Read more:
Comment by Cindy on August 1, 2010 at 11:04am
Enbridge warned of corrosion in Michigan pipeline weeks before spill

Dina O’Meara, Postmedia News · Thursday, Jul. 29, 2010

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. faces a growing public relations nightmare around an oil spill in a Michigan river amid reports the pipeline company knew of corrosion on the ruptured line weeks before the incident.

The Calgary-based company, under fire for a 3.3 million litre crude oil spill into the lush Kalamazoo River, admitted Thursday the aging Line 6B had been subject to more than 100 repairs during the past year.

But the ruptured pipe near the town of Marshall had not been tagged as a hot spot in Enbridge’s maintenance plan.

“This was not an area identified for replacement,” said Steve Wuori, executive vice-president, liquids pipelines.

Speaking from the “unified command centre” in Battle River, Mich., Wuori said a complete in-line inspection had been made on line that runs between Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ont., in 2009 resulting in 139 “digs” on the system to date this year.

According to a letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Enbridge Energy Partners — the Houston-based subsidiary operating the 190,000 barrel per day line — informed the department earlier in July the 41-year-old pipe likely was corroded and need replacing.

Weeks later, on July 26, a section of the underground pipeline burst spewing at least 19,500 barrels of crude into a creek that flows into the Kalamazoo River, which in turn empties into Lake Michigan.

By Thursday more than 50 families had been evacuated from homes close to the contaminated river because of elevated benzine levels in the air, Michigan health officials said.

“I will tell you that at the beginning of this we were more focused on the short-term numbers,” said Jim Rutherford, health official with Calhoun County. “The numbers we are now looking at are long-term exposure numbers, so we have identified as a result an area that we need to evacuate.”

Another 200 homes along the tainted river have been told to avoid drinking well water in favour of bottled water — supplied by Enbridge — as a precautionary measure.

In a new development, Enbridge revealed the underground pipeline, part of its Lakehead system, had been shut down for routine maintenance for 10 hours on Sunday, then restarted Monday morning when the leak was discovered. The pipeline company had previously been told by federal agents to reduce in-line pressure along other portions of its network.

Enbridge is no stranger to spills along its vast network of pipelines which flow the bulk of Canadian oil exports to terminals and refineries in the United States.

According to the transportation department, Enbridge has spilled about 1.5 million litres of oil since 2002, roughly half the amount released in a matter of hours before the Michigan leak was contained.

Beleaguered chief executive Pat Daniel apologized again to the public Thursday for “the mess that we have made.”

“We take full responsibilities for the cleanup and will be here until you are happy in this community and this county that we have completed our responsibilities,” he said, from Battle Creek, where he has been overseeing operations. “We still have a huge job in front of us, there’s no doubt about that.”

Approximately 1,000 barrels of oil have been recovered from the site. Daniel was vague about when the line would come back into service, but kept to sooner rather than later, despite evidence repair and recovery operations would drag out longer than the “days rather than weeks” originally mentioned

Swampy ground and high water levels have delayed operations to dig up the ruptured length of pipe, required for failure analysis, for days although Enbridge estimated it would be accessing the pipe Thursday.

“It’s too early to say exactly how long it will take (to clean up), but it will be more than just a few days,” said Ralph Dollhopf, on-scene U.S. Environmental Protection Agency co-ordinator.

On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Transportation directed the company to complete a comprehensive safety assessment on the line before reopening it to service.

Enbridge will submit the ruptured pipe to a national board for testing. Based on the failure analysis, the company then will develop and implement a work plan covering factors noted in the report.

The line will then be allowed to restart, subject to a 20 per cent pressure reduction in operating pressure as a safety precaution.

The order by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will mean Enbridge will not be shipping oil on the line “anytime soon,” according to March Schauer, Michigan State democratic congressman.

Schauer has pushed for stiffer penalties around oil spills.

Officials from local, state and federal agencies have joined forces in Marshall, Mich., to centralize cleanup operations which include crews in charge of booms, sweeps, water vacuums and wildlife rescue operations.

All were careful to mention Enbridge would be shouldering the full costs of the efforts, from paying for additional crews to reimbursing $2 million US in emergency funding. As well, the company likely will face numerous environmental fines on local, municipal and federal levels.

Enbridge would not comment on how much the incident would cost other than to say it would “spend what ever is needed.”

Reports that the 40-kilometre oil slick had breached booms around Morrow Lake, considered a last line of defence before emptying into Lake Michigan, were dispelled by both Enbridge and the EPA.

“We have flown over it, we’ve had boats on it, we have had scientific instruments in those boats and we could not detect the presence of oil in the lake,” Dollhopf said.

Read more:
Comment by Cindy on August 1, 2010 at 10:46am
Despite directive, BP used oil dispersant often, panel finds

EPA directed firm to stop using chemicals except in 'rare cases'

by Matthew L. Wald
updated 7/31/2010

This still image from a live BP video feed shows oil dispersant operations on July 15, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. British energy giant BP is hoping to start a key test to study the condition of a ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil wellhead deep below the sea floor later Thursday, a top official said. "I'm expecting that we'll start up here later this morning, sometime today," said BP senior vice president Kent Wells. He was referring to what the company calls integrity tests aimed at determining whether there is any damage to the wellbore, which stretches 2.5 miles (four kilometers) below the seabed. AFP PHOTO / BP == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / NO SALES ==AFP PHOTO / BP / HANDOUT (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

The Coast Guard approved dozens of requests by BP to spread hundreds of thousands of gallons of surface oil dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s directive on May 26 that they should be used only rarely, according to documents and correspondence analyzed by a Congressional subcommittee.

In some cases, the Coast Guard approved BP’s requests even though the company did not set an upper limit on the amount of dispersant it planned to use.

The dispersants contributed to “a toxic stew of chemicals, oil and gas, with impacts that are not well understood,” Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the Democratic chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, wrote in a letter sent late Friday to Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is leading the federal response to the oil spill.

In a conference call on Saturday morning, Admiral Allen and Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, said they had worked together closely and had come very near to achieving the agency’s goal of reducing dispersant amounts by 75 percent.

On May 26, the E.P.A. directed BP to stop using dispersants on the ocean surface, except in “rare cases when there may have to be an exemption,” and to limit use of the chemicals underwater.

But Mr. Markey’s letter pointed to more than 74 exemption requests in 48 days, of which all but 10 were fully approved by the Coast Guard. In some cases, BP asked for permission after it had already applied the chemicals, the letter said. And in one case, the Coast Guard approved the use of a larger volume of dispersants than the company had applied for.

As an example of the conflicting numbers, Mr. Markey said that in a request filed on June 16, BP told the Coast Guard that in the previous several days it had used a maximum of 3,365 gallons of dispersant in a single day. But in e-mails to members of Congress giving updates on the spill response, the company said it had used 14,305 gallons of dispersant on June 12 and 36,000 gallons on June 13.

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