Friday, June 11, 2010

Obama's Failure's In The Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup


The first and foremost lie by BP coddled, encouraged and used by the Obama administration is the phrase, OIL SPILL.

The Gulf Coast catastrophe is NOT AN OIL SPILL. Stop using the phrase. The phrase might roll off the tongue better but it is not a spill. Let's say Old Faithful is hot water spill.

In an LA Times investigation, a dozen experts with knowledge of offshore drilling, including one who has seen BP investigation documents, agreed that, deep in the well, cement, or pipes encased by cement, had to have failed first.

    Several have specifically fingered BP's design for that cement job, which used relatively little cement and relied on an unusual configuration that made it harder to test for imperfections, they said.

    Cementing is supposed to form an impenetrable seal to keep the hot, gassy oil from surging up the well. But a single flaw in that seal, perhaps a crack the size of a human hair, can be enough to unleash a volcano of petroleum.

The Gulf Coast disaster is an unmitigated man made deep water volcanic vent of crude oil and gas.

A spill is what you call your kid's accidental tipping of a glass of milk. Maybe it's you accidentally dropping the synthetic oil can as you're changing your car's oil. Those are oil spills. Oil spill is a public relations term that now has successfully permeated the public's collective psyche.

The Gulf Coast disaster is a dangerous uncontrolled vent from an underwater volcano of crude oil and gas. It's time to call it what it is.



PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 10 FAILURES ON BP'S MAN MADE VOLCANIC VENT OF CRUDE OIL

1) Insisting this is BP's problem is not a solution. It is an abject failure to pass the the command and control to BP. These are US waters, US land and US wildlife and American livelihoods at stake. The surrender of command and control to BP is a failure of leadership.

Mr. President, you're in-charge. It's not British Petroleum. BP is a UK company. BP is responsible to its share holders. They are not responsible to the American people or the United States government. If this becomes too much for them to bear, they will declare bankruptcy and walk away and the US taxpayer will end up paying. They could care less about you.

James Carville said:

    "I think they actually believe that BP has some kind of a good motivation here," he said. "They're naive! BP is trying to save money, save everything they can... They won't tell us anything, and oddly enough, the government seems to be going along with it! Somebody has got to, like shake them and say, 'These people don't wish you well! They're going to take you down!'"

2) The US has failed to build any deep sea exploration exploration subs or robotic systems. We build nuclear bombs, space ships and super computers and atom smashers yet we have failed miserably in deep sea research. How is possible that we have failed in our collective imaginations? We know we have hundreds, perhaps thousands of shallow and deep water rigs yet the nation has no capability to respond.

Our coast guard and navy is left emasculated helplessly watching a disaster unfold with no equipment, training or response capability. What good is a trident missile for this tragedy? What value does an aircraft carrier have in this emergency? None, nada, zero, zilch --- If that is not a total failure of imagination, it is abject dereliction.

3) NOAA has failed miserably. The NOAA flagship research vessel was in Africa and was not summoned to the gulf till a week ago. This is an abject dereliction of duty on the part of the NOAA administrator. Shame on her. As a marine biologist and oceanographer herself, she should have known better.

Of the 19 research vessels owned by NOAA, 5 are in the Gulf of Mexico and available for work on the spill, NOAA admnistrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco said, counting a newly commissioned boat. The flagship of the NOAA fleet, the research vessel Ronald H. Brown, was off the coast of Africa when the spill occurred on April 20, and according to NOAA tracking logs, it was not redirected until about May 11, three weeks after the disaster began. It is sailing toward the gulf.

Why did it take till May 11 to call back the Ronald Brown from the coast of Africa?

In a New York Times article, Rick Steiner, a marine biologist and a veteran of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, said NOAA had been derelict in analyzing conditions beneath the sea.

    Mr. Steiner said the likelihood of extensive undersea plumes of oil droplets should have been anticipated from the moment the spill began, given that such an effect from deepwater blowouts had been predicted in the scientific literature for more than a decade, and confirmed in a test off the coast of Norway. An extensive sampling program to map and characterize those plumes should have been put in place from the first days of the spill, he said.

    "A vast ecosystem is being exposed to contaminants right now, and nobody's watching it," Mr. Steiner said. "That seems to me like a catastrophic failure on the part of NOAA."

Sylvia Earle, a famed oceanographer, said Wednesday on Capitol Hill that the government has failed to make public a single test result on water from the deep ocean nor has NOAA done anything to investigate the underwater oil plumes in the gulf. Scientists say the administration has been reluctant to demand an accurate analysis of how many gallons of oil are flowing into the sea from the gushing oil well.

4) Failure to ask the Japanese, French, Chinese and Russians for assistance. Only these four nations have deep sea submarine and robotic systems that can work in depth of one mile or greater.

5) Failure to demand full and public information from BP from day one. To this day, information about the spill has been obfuscated. With all the super computing power in the hands of BP, knowledge of the pipe's circumference, knowing flow rate, BP still lies beyond anyone's imagination refusing to budge from the 5,000 barrel a day pronouncements.
Watch live streaming video from wkrg_oil_spill at livestream.com

Included in this failure is the most basic of information --- How much oil is spewing from this underwater deep sea crude oil volcano?

    In a McClatchy News article by Marisa Taylor, Renee Schoof and Erika Bolstad, they explain the nuance of this utter failure.

    BP, and the Obama administration, have said they don't want to take the measurements for fear of interfering with efforts to stop the leaks. That decision, however, runs counter to BP's own regional plan for dealing with offshore leaks. "In the event of a significant release of oil," the 583-page plan says on Page 2, "an accurate estimation of the spill's total volume . . . is essential in providing preliminary data to plan and initiate cleanup operations."

    Legal experts said that not having a credible official estimate of the leak's size provides another benefit for BP: The amount of oil spilled is certain to be key evidence in the court battles that are likely to result from the disaster. The size of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, for example, was a significant factor that the jury considered when it assessed damages against Exxon.

    "If they put off measuring, then it's going to be a battle of dueling experts after the fact trying to extrapolate how much spilled after it has all sunk or has been carried away," said Lloyd Benton Miller, one of the lead plaintiffs' lawyers in the Exxon Valdez spill litigation. "The ability to measure how much oil was released will be impossible."

    "It's always a bottom-line issue," said Marilyn Heiman, a former Clinton administration Interior Department official who now heads the Arctic Program for the Pew Environment Group. "Any company wouldn't have an interest in having this kind of measurement if they can help it."

6) Failure to have any response capability of any sort. It is evident that BP. the US Government or the entire world wide oil industry is clueless on how to respond to this catastrophe.

First it was the failure of the blowout preventor at all levels.

Second, it was the failure of the robotic systems to even turn a screw.

Third, it was the 4-story containment dome that was buoyed up by frozen methane.

Fourth, it was the top hat.

Fifth was the "straw" pipe inserted into the larger volcanic pipe. Sure it worked somehow then BP sends out a press release that they were suctioning 5,000 barrels. Well duh! BP said earlier that the crude oil volcano was only 1,000 barrels then 5,000 barrels then they suck in 5,000 barrels... opsss... caught in a lie! Another press release. We only capture 2,000 barrels!

Sixth, the junk shot... could we be more ludicrous?

So we go on... the top kill, loss circulation material, two relief wells and on and on...

Clearly there was no plan. There was never a plan and I assert that it is criminal negligence not to have a plan.

Now Mr. President, what do we do if the surface oil slicks and underwater oil plumes hit the gulf loop current and contaminate Florida's 130 desalination plants? Many of these plants are deep well brackish water plants that mostly draw seawater. What is the plan to stop the destruction of a major source of drinking water for Florida? Desalination plants like Florida's Acciona probably cannot process Corexit mixed with light Louisiana crude.

Florida has some gas fired power plants that use a special type of wet cooling systems that use sea water. These power plants will probably shut down if the oil and dispersants reach the power plants' cooling systems. What's the plan for that Mr. President?

7) Failure to clean house at the corrupt Minerals Management Service where cocaine, lurid sex and cash favors were a way of life.

Despite the discoveries of the most egregious behavior, there was no top-to-bottom change in the MMS which continued to issue permits even after the BP volcanic vent disaster.

8) Allowing BP to control all access to the location and data including the use of U.S. coast guard to restrict media access. On BP's orders, the US Coast Guard is refusing to allow press boats to come close to the spill site to document the disaster.

This is another lie. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was even more emphatic in supporting this PR line. "There's nothing that we think can and should be done that isn't being done. Nothing."

How about allowing reporters and independent scientists access to the spill site and scientific information instead of a cloak and dagger secret war room which only BP controls?

After four weeks of misinformation and lack of cooperation, the Obama Administration has finally demanded daily reports of all efforts to deal with the disaster, as well as all information related to the disaster, from British Petroleum.

9) Allowing BP to ignore US EPA orders and still using hundreds of thousands of gallons of their old stock of highly toxic dispersant, known to be deadly to marine life, when they had a far less toxic brand available. What's the point of an EPA that oil companies can ignore?

Allowing the use of toxic dispersants that make the ocean look a little better on the surface -- where most people are -- but make circumstances a lot worse under the surface, where most of the life in the ocean actually is.

If you read the instructions for Corexit, the dispersant approved by the EPA to make the ocean look better warn that it is an eye and skin irritant, is harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed, and may cause injury to red blood cells, kidney or the liver. People are warned not to take Corexit internally, but the fish, turtles, sea birds, copepods and jellies have no choice. They are awash in a lethal brew of oil and butoxyethanol."

BP has used a little more than 670,000 gallons of Corexit, an unprecedented application and for a duration and at depths also without precedent.

BP PLC said Saturday it wants to keep using a contentious chemical dispersant to fight the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, despite orders from federal regulators to use something less toxic.

The chemical dispersant at issue, Corexit 9500, is "the best option for subsea application," BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency. Tests showed Corexit was among the most effective agents at dispersing the oil, Suttles said.

The EPA raised concerns about the agent Thursday, saying the long-term effects remain unknown. The letter ordered BP to identify an alternative and start using it within three days of its approval by regulators.

"Because of its use in unprecedented volumes and because much is unknown about the underwater use of dispersants, EPA wants to ensure BP is using the least toxic product authorized for use," the agency has said.

ADD GRAVE INSULT TO INJURY

BP is now threatening to sue to block the EPA from publishing its written response to the order to stop using Corexit, citing commercial confidentiality. The US EPA is therefore "evaluating all legal options" to force them to reconsider, "so Americans can get a full picture".

10) Finally, refusing to force and lead congress to increase the liability limits for oil companies from $75 million to an unlimited amount. Instead President Obama and Senate majority leader Reid allowed Senators Murkowski and Shelby to filibuster raising the liability limits for oil companies.

Can't you ask the Democratic party to bring in the cots and let the Republicans filibuster and defend BP? It is nothing but legislative cowardice and capitulation.

President Obama, these are your administration's failures. This is not George W. Bush's Katrina. It is uniquely your administration's failure. The buck stops at your desk.

Come on... take charge!

Share this article with a friend with my nifty shortener: http://foo.am/d3Z

HOW TO HELP?

If you live anywhere in the gulf and have a digital photographic or video camera, take a picture of the damage. Note the time and place.

Documentation of the damages is going to be critical to the people of the gulf coast.

For most still and video cameras, you can turn on the time and date stamp function. Afterwards, upload the pictures or videos to our site:

http://gulfcoastspill.com

We are archiving all the pictures and video for full public use. We will soon have full search capabilities on all relevant pictures and video care of our friends at EdgeCase.

UPDATE: ANDROID AND IPHONE OIL SPILL PHOTO & VIDEO CAPTURE APPS READY FOR DOWNLOAD

We have also built capabilities for most smart phone cameras. Our Android version is now ready for download. The iPhone version is also ready. Thanks to our friends at Intridea for helping rush out the Android and iPhone app.

The RIM Blackberry (built by Haemish Graham developer of RIM app PhotoNote) will be ready by early next week. Please come back to download them if you have an iPhone or Blackberry and live anywhere along the gulf coast.

We are rushing out a special Twitter client by tweeb.us to help organize all the tweets and other social network information on the spill. This should be out before the end of this week.

Volunteer and Cleanup Actions:

One of the most unusual and novel volunteer opportunities is donating human hair, dog fur and pantyhose. Though I was cynical at first, a second look revealed that there might be some promise with this method of capturing oil slicks. A Matter of Trust, a small grassroots community-based organization is leading this effort.
People band together to try everything in their power to develop solutions

People band together to try everything and anything in their power to develop solutions including stuffing hair and pet fur into BP-approved oil boom netting.

Hair is stuffed into BP-approved oil boom netting and then deployed to defend against oil slicks. The hope is oil binds on to the hair and fur cuticles and the booms are later retrieved and safely disposed of. People and communities will try whatever works.

Contact Lisa Craig Gautier at Lisa@matteroftrust.org or call her at 415-235-2403 to arrange sending hair, fur and discarded pantyhose to Matter Of Trust volunteers in the gulf coast.

Oxfam America is working to help affected communities with financial assistance, as well as protect local wetlands and marshes. Make a tax-deductible donation to Oxfam America.

You can register through OilSpillVolunteers.com to volunteer or join a cleanup organization.

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network is providing volunteer information, though help from private citizens is not being requested at this time.

Global Green plans to spend the coming months working to protect injured wildlife and to lobby Congress to enforce tougher regulations on the oil and coal industries. Volunteer with Global Green or donate to support these efforts.

The National Audubon Society is asking concerned citizens to donate or volunteer. Sign up to get trained and volunteer to help local birds.

The National Wildlife Federation has a message you can send to President Obama to urge restoration of Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands. They're also asking for residents to upload photos to flickr and tag them SPILL_NW10.

Mobile Baykeeper, and affiliate of Waterkeeper Alliance, is dedicating resources to educate potential volunteers on how to help and address the long term environmental change needed in the Gulf region. Make a donation to these efforts.

The International Bird Rescue Research Center is coordinating a professional rescue team to help birds covered in oil. You can help by reporting wildlife affected by the oil spill to the organization by calling 866-557-1401. You can also make a donation to support their work.

The Sierra Club is gathering volunteers to help with the cleanup efforts on the Gulf Coast. Sign up online to volunteer and the Sierra Club will help you find the right opportunities for you.

The Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana is also helping to coordinate volunteers. You can register online to volunteer or make a donation.

Posted By: Yobie Benjamin (Email) | May 23 2010 at 04:30 PM

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ybenjamin/detail?blogid=150&entry_id=64175

3 comments: