Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows disastrous legacy of Halliburton and the real cost of the oil era
BP under fire: Claims of cover-up, told to use less toxic dispersants; spill larger than believed
International Headlines Examiner
May 20, 2010
BP and the federal government came under fire Thursday for having stuck to the 5,000 barrels a day estimate for the BP spill; BP told to use less toxic dispersants. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. believes there’s a cover-up.
According to Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a task force of scientists is now reviewing video and reassessing the earlier 5,000 barrels per day estimate. According to Boxer estimates by scientists could be as high as 70,000 barrels per day or more.
"The truth needs to be told ... At some point we need to stop all this cover-up," Boxer said.
Most independent estimates of the spill flow were considerably higher than BP’s.
In order to estimate the flow more accurately better video and/or more robotic submarines around the blown-out well would have been necessary. However, this comes at a time when efforts have been on trying to stop the leak.
BP must make information public
BP came under fire from the Obama administration and was asked to create a website within 24 hours and post detailed environmental and analytical data within 48 hours.
Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency agreed all data and information must be updated daily, and that information related to the spill be readily available to the U.S. Government and the American people. They said those efforts, to date, have fallen short both in their scope and effectiveness.
BP must use less toxic dispersants.
BP was instructed by the EPA to use less toxic chemicals to disperse oil from the spill. According to BP they are testing four possible alternatives.
MSNBC reported that BP hopes to go with one but constraints include getting enough quantity quickly, he said.
According to the Washington Post the EPA informed BP late Wednesday it has 24 hours to choose a less toxic chemical and has 72 hours to apply a new form of dispersants after submitting the list of alternatives.
So far BP has applied 600,000 gallons of dispersants on the surface and 55,000 gallons below the sea.
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said the government — not BP — should be directing the response to the oil spill, including attempts to cap the gushing well.
"The Gulf of Mexico is a crime scene and BP cannot be left in charge of assessing the damage or controlling the data from their spill. The public deserves sound science, not sound bites from BP's CEO," Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the national Wildlife Federation said.*******
The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster
By Wayne Madsen
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19068
Global Research, May 9, 2010
WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton--, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP's liability for damage caused by what can be called a "mega-disaster."
Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, are working with BP's chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. However, WMR's federal and Gulf state sources are reporting the disaster has the real potential cost of at least $1 trillion. Critics of the deal being worked out between Obama and Hayward point out that $10 billion is a mere drop in the bucket for a trillion dollar disaster but also note that BP, if its assets were nationalized, could fetch almost a trillion dollars for compensation purposes. There is talk in some government circles, including FEMA, of the need to nationalize BP in order to compensate those who will ultimately be affected by the worst oil disaster in the history of the world.
Plans by BP to sink a 4-story containment dome over the oil gushing from a gaping chasm one kilometer below the surface of the Gulf, where the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 workers on April 20, and reports that one of the leaks has been contained is pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration, according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources. Sources within these agencies say the White House has been resisting releasing any "damaging information" about the oil disaster. They add that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf.
Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to declare the oil disaster a "national security issue." Although the Coast Guard and FEMA are part of her department, Napolitano's actual reasoning for invoking national security was to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.
From the Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and Gulf state environmental protection agencies, the message is the same: "we've never dealt with anything like this before."
The Obama administration also conspired with BP to fudge the extent of the oil leak, according to our federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day was gushing from the seabed chasm. Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day.
There is other satellite imagery being withheld by the Obama administration that shows what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be around the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to our sources.
The Corps and Engineers and FEMA are quietly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only recently, has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. WMR has also learned that inspections of off-shore rigs' shut-off valves by the Minerals Management Service during the Bush administration were merely rubber-stamp operations, resulting from criminal collusion between Halliburton and the Interior Department's service, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves.
The impact of the disaster became known to the Corps of Engineers and FEMA even before the White House began to take the magnitude of the impending catastrophe seriously. The first casualty of the disaster is the seafood industy, with not just fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers losing their jobs, but all those involved in the restaurant industry, from truckers to waitresses, facing lay-offs.
The invasion of crude oil into estuaries like the oyster-rich Apalachicola Bay in Florida spell disaster for the seafood industry. However, the biggest threat is to Florida's Everglades, which federal and state experts fear will be turned into a "dead zone" if the oil continues to gush forth from the Gulf chasm. There are also expectations that the oil slick will be caught up in the Gulf stream off the eastern seaboard of the United States, fouling beaches and estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately target the rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.
WMR has also learned that 36 urban areas on the Gulf of Mexico are expecting to be confronted with a major disaster from the oil volcano in the next few days. Although protective water surface boons are being laid to protect such sensitive areas as Alabama's Dauphin Island, the mouth of the Mississippi River, and Florida's Apalachicola Bay, Florida, there is only 16 miles of boons available for the protection of 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline in the state of Florida.
Emergency preparations in dealing with the expanding oil menace are now being made for cities and towns from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Houston, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Pensacola, Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Sarasota-Bradenton, Naples, and Key West. Some 36 FEMA-funded contracts between cities, towns, and counties and emergency workers are due to be invoked within days, if not hours, according to WMR's FEMA sources.
There are plans to evacuate people with respiratory problems, especially those among the retired senior population along the west coast of Florida, before officials begin burning surface oil as it begins to near the coastline.
There is another major threat looming for inland towns and cities. With hurricane season in effect, there is a potential for ocean oil to be picked up by hurricane-driven rains and dropped into fresh water lakes and rivers, far from the ocean, thus adding to the pollution of water supplies and eco-systems.*******
by Mike Adams
Saturday, May 01, 2010
(NaturalNews) Oil is a dirty business. It's not just the politics of oil, which are dirty enough by themselves -- it's also the environmental toll of the substance. Even when used correctly, its chemical byproducts cause air pollution and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But the real mess comes when things go terribly wrong -- much like what happened recently when the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank to the ocean floor off the coast of Louisiana. This set in motion a chain of disastrous events that are only now beginning to unfold.Nearly 50% of the seafood consumed by Americans comes from the Gulf of Mexico, by the way. That explains why seafood contains such an alarmingly high concentration of mercury as well as industrial chemicals -- because the Gulf of Mexico is America's toilet where every toxic chemical, heavy metal and pharmaceutical that's flushed down the drain ends up getting dumped. No wonder the Gulf of Mexico is home to one of the planet's largest ocean "dead zones" -- over 6,000 square miles of dead water where fish can't even survive (http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelif...).
And that was before the oil spill. Now, thanks to a creeping oil slick that's approaching shorelines throughout the gulf, the breeding grounds for a huge number of marine species is now threatened. Species from pelicans to shrimp are likely to be devastated by this oil slick.
Oil continues to spill out of the sunken rig wreck at the rate of 5,000 barrels a day. So far, there's little hope of stopping it. Observers are already characterizing this spill as "worse than the Exxon Valdez spill" in 1989.
Everything you've read here so far is being widely reported in the mainstream media. The story that follows, however, is much more difficult to find.
The Halliburton link and Washington hypocrisy
It was only a few weeks ago that Obama proudly announced he would expand offshore drilling, breaking one of his many now-worthless campaign promises. The lack of outcry from Democrats over this announcement was nothing short of bizarre: If Bush had announced an expansion of offshore drilling, he would have been widely (and rightly) condemned for it by the left. But when Obama announces the same thing, it's apparently okay with Democrats.
Back on the Republican side of things, the company Halliburton -- yes, the same one that rakes in billions of dollars in profits rebuilding things in the Middle East after the U.S. military blows them up -- is the company that completed the "rig cementing" just 20 hours before the rig exploded. A federal study, meanwhile, shows that most rig blowouts are caused by problems with rig cementing. So now it appears that Halliburton may be implicated in this environmental disaster. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/artic ...)
The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that a lawsuit filed by a rig technician who was injured in the explosion claims Halliburton made crucial mistakes in cementing the well, "increasing the pressure at the well and contributing to the fire, explosion and resulting oil spill." (http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_...)
A blog at the L.A. Times explored the full extent of the Halliburton connection to the oil spill: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gre ...
Get ready for some theater
Halliburton, which was once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, now finds itself in the spotlight as Congressional investigators are beginning to ask questions. But don't expect this to go very far: It's all just theater to appease the public until memory of this event fades and the old corrupt Washington / Big Business machine can get rolling again.Since when has concern for the environment ever got in the way of powerful corporate interests that have political pull in Washington? Rest assured that no matter what the immediate fallout from this disastrous oil-era accident, the Halliburtons of the world continue to rake in billions of dollars in annual profits even as their mistakes extract an incalculable loss of life across our natural world.
Halliburton has shareholders to please, after all... no matter how many pelicans, sea turtles or dolphins have to die in the process.
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Growing
By Long Island Press on Apr 27th, 2010
Just weeks after President Obama announced a new offshore oil drilling policy for the East Coast, a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to widen after an oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast last week.
Eleven people have been missing and presumed dead since the rig exploded and sank last week about 50 miles off the state’s coast. Experts described the resulting oil spill as one of the biggest in recent memory.
As of Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard said oil that leaked from the rig site was spread over an area about 48 miles long and 80 miles wide at its widest. The borders of the spill were uneven, making it difficult to calculate how many square miles are covered, Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson said.
In this aerial photo taken over the Gulf of Mexico, boat crews work to contain oil which leaked from a pipeline at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, Monday, April 26, 2010. Officials say there will be no shoreline impact from an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico for at least another three days. Crews were ramping up Monday to protect the coastline after the oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast nearly a week ago. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)*******
“Right now, the weather’s in our favor,” Swanson said, explaining that the wind was blowing the oil away from shore Tuesday.
But Swanson said the winds could shift later in the week and there was concern about oil reaching the shore.
So far, skimming vessels had collected more than 48,000 gallons of oily water, Swanson said.
“Our goal is to fight this thing as far offshore as possible,” he said.
The rig was owned by Transocean Ltd. and operated by BP PLC.
Crews used robot submarines to activate valves in hopes of stopping the leaks, but they may not know until Tuesday if that strategy will work. BP also mobilized two rigs to drill a relief well if needed. Such a well could help redirect the oil, though it could also take weeks to complete, especially at that depth.
BP plans to collect leaking oil on the ocean bottom by lowering a large dome to capture the oil and then pumping it through pipes and hoses into a vessel on the surface, said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP Exploration and Production.
It could take up to a month to get the equipment in place.
“That system has been deployed in shallower water, but it has never been deployed at 5,000 feet of water, so we have to be careful,” he said.
The spill, moving slowly north and spreading east and west, was about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the Chandeleur Islands off the Louisiana coast. The Coast Guard said kinks in the pipe were helping stem the flow of oil.
From the air Monday afternoon, the oil spill reached as far as the eye could see. There was little evidence of a major cleanup, with only a handful of vessels near the site of the leak.
The oil sheen was a shiny light blue color, translucent and blending with the water, but a distinct edge between the oil slick and the sea could be seen for miles.
George Crozier, oceanographer and executive director at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, said he was studying wind and ocean currents driving the oil.
He said Pensacola, Florida, is probably the eastern edge of the threatened area, though no one really knows what the effects will be.
“We’ve never seen anything like this magnitude,” he said. “The problems are going to be on the beaches themselves. That’s where it will be really visible.”*******