Thursday, April 29, 2010


The spill has now reached the coast at the Mississippi River estuary.
[click map for daily update] 

[click photo - video]

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, operated by British Petroleum, burns prior to sinking causing the release of 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of light crude oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico.
So far attempts to cap the leak have been unsuccessful and the oil slick has grown to over 600 square miles. As of this evening the oil was beginning to show up at the mouth of the Mississippi river.

Satellite view of the oil slick - 4/29/10 - 16:48 UTC.
The heaviest portion of the slick is the pinwheel looking object in the lower right.
[click photo for larger image]

From Truthout - Here’s a selection of animals at risk in the open water, along the coasts and in the wetlands.   [click thumbnails]

1. North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
The Great Bluefin Tuna, prized for sushi and sashimi, is one of the species most in danger of slipping into extinction. Traveling down across the Atlantic seaboard, bluefin tuna spawn in the Gulf of Mexico between mid-April and mid-June.

2. Sea Turtles
Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species live, migrate and breed in the Gulf region. Kemp's Ridley is the world's most endangered species of sea turtle, and one of its two primary migration routes runs south of Mississippi. Loggerhead turtles, also endangered, feed in the warmwaters in the Gulf between May and October.

3. Sharks
Shark species worldwide are in decline. The grassbeds south of the Chandeleur Islands are very close to the oil spill. These grasses are a known nursing area for a number of shark species, which are now beginning their spawning season in the Gulf. Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, feed on plankton at the surface of the water and could also be affected.

4. Marine Mammals — Whales, Porpoises, Dolphins
Oil spills pose an immediate threat to marine mammals, which need to surface and breathe. Not only does the oil pose a threat, but also the nasty toxins that the oil kicks off into the air. A resident pod of sperm whales in the spill area could be at risk along with piggy sperm whales, porpoises and dolphins.

5. Brown Pelican
The state bird of Louisiana, the pelican nests on barrier islands and feeds near shore. Brown pelicans only came off the endangered species list last year, but they’ve had a rough time in past seasons with storms. Their reproductive rates are low. Breeding season just started, and with eggs incubating the oil could pose a significant threat.

6. Oysters
The coastal waters around the very tip of Louisiana’s boot-shaped coast are home to some of the most productive oyster farms in the country. Oils and hydrocarbons are toxic to oysters. Unfortunately, hydrocarbons can persist in coastal sediments for months or even years. Louisiana oyster farmers, many of whom barely scrape by with high fuel costs and global competition, could have trouble weathering the oil spill if their harvests are affected.

7. Shrimp and Blue Crab
Coastal marshes are key to the life cycle and development of Louisiana shrimp and blue crab — both staples of the local seafood industry. Inshore shrimp season will open in mid-May, while brown shrimp are in their post-larval and juvenile development stages.

8. Menhaden and Marsh-dwelling Fish.
The young offspring of species such as mullet, menhaden and marsh-dwelling forage fishes are especially vulnerable at this time of year. Menhaden is a little fish you've probably never heard of, but people all over the world use it everyday. Menhaden fish oil and meat are used in everything from cosmetics to animal feed. Louisiana is one of the world’s biggest suppliers and the oil spill comes smack in the middle of menhaden spawning season.

9. Beach-nesting and Migratory Shorebirds
Overdeveloped beachfronts all along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida have made life difficult for several species of plovers, sandpipers, terns and oystercatchers. Those that build their nests on the ground and feed on invertebrates are susceptible to oil on the beaches. Some migratory shore birds fly nearly the length of the Western Hemisphere and use barrier islands in the Gulf for key resting and refueling spots on their journey.

10. Migratory Songbirds

About 96 species of neotropical songbirds make a 500-mile journey without a pit stop across the Gulf of Mexico. The next two weeks mark the height of their migration as they travel north from Central and South America to breed in North America. The smoke from controlled burns to mitigate the oil spill could affect the migration, but the impacts will be difficult to monitor.

Containment booms deployed off the Louisiana coast in an attempt to contain the spill.

Containment booms at Breton Sound Island as pelicans gather on the beach.

As that last link shows there is little consensus as to the actual amount of oil spilled and the rate at which it is spilling. Rates seem to vary from around 200,000 gallons per day as judged by the Coast Guard to over 800,000 gallons per day as calculated by a satellite data specialist. (See link at "7 million gallons")

Choppy water hampers efforts to stop the spill from passing the railroad trestle at  Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Streams of oil in the open ocean head towards shore.

Attempts to harness the spill in the open ocean seem futile.

Rescue workers clean the wing of a brown pelican.

BP’s Greenwashing Masked Dangerous ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ Reality

BP using toxic chemicals to ‘disperse’ spilled oil:
Right now there is a headlong rush to get this oil out of sight out of mind,” Charter said. “You can throw every resource we have at this spill. You can call out the Marine Corps and the National Guard. This is so big that it is unlikely that any amount of response is going to make much of a dent in the impacts. It’s going to be mostly watching it happen.

Sierra Club Petition

Oil spill trims U.S. offshore natural gas supply

Oil spill: The wait for news

Oil spill threatens Gulf region's ecosystem and fishing, tourism and shipping industries:
The White House is eager to avoid the mistakes made by President George W. Bush, who was seen as too detached from floundering rescue efforts after the much more dire Hurricane Katrina. And that is the problem for Obama right now: Things are not going well in the battle to contain the oil spill.
Problems with big oil that won't go away 

The Secretary of Defense has approved a request for two C-130 aircraft with Modular Aerial Spray Systems (MASS), which are currently en route to the affected area. The Coast Guard has requested assistance from the Department of Defense for these aircraft.

These aircraft dispense the same dispersant chemical being used by BP and the federal responders. Each system is capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight with three flights per aircraft per day.
Setting aside the issue of the toxicity of the chemicals being used, let's examine this.
2 aircraft x 3 flights x 250 acres = 1,500 acres per day.
1 square mile = 640 acres.
Last figure I can find for the size of the spill: 600 square miles.
600 x 640 = 384,000 / 1,500 = 256 days.
The 600 square mile figure was after 1 week of leaking.
256 / 7 = 36.6 x 2 = 73.2 = the number of aircraft required just to keep up with the leak.

It gets worse - Interior Secretary Salazar: US Gulf Oil Spill May Be Worse Than Valdez:
Friday, industry experts said based on satellite images and standard measuring indexes, they estimate the spill rate at 20,000 barrels a day to 25,000 barrels a day. If those rates are accurate, the spill could already rival the 11-million gallon Valdez slick that economically and environmentally devastated part of Alaska.
Salazar said that he believed BP could stop the leak, but he fears that it may take 90 days to do that. BP is placing a new rig over the leak and will soon attempt to use drilling tools to close the leak.

If the 25,000 barrel-a-day estimate is accurate and the leak lasts for 90 days, that's 2.25 million barrels, or 94.5 million gallons.
Shannyn Moore interviews Greg Palast on the oil spill:

BP spends millions lobbying as it drills ever deeper and the environment pays

As Oil Comes, 'Just Trying to Protect Our Coast' - video

Best case: Another week of unabated oil geyser

BP Spill Threatens Gulf of Mexico Oil, Gas Operations (Update1)

Fishing closed in Gulf waters affected by oil spill

Cost of oil spill could exceed $14 billion

Democracy Now reports 5/3/2010

More to follow



  1. Possibly worst than Exxon Valdez.
    Obama must reverse his decision on off shore drilling. Unfortunately what we have is same ol, same oil policy. Domestic and foreign.

  2. It will be far worse than Valdez!

    I'm gathering all I can find right now! I'm fired up over this - my "blogger's-block" is absent on this one. Plus I have more editing options with the new editor. I feel a mega post-coming.

  3. I just re-adjusted my tin foil hat.
    Could an earthquake have caused this.
    has any one checked if the Richter scale registered for this.

  4. Douglas Brinkley just said that BP will be in charge of 10 wild life reserves. OMG

  5. They're about to be the death of 10 wild life reserves!

  6. Want to see what's coming?

  7. OH man i hate you. :-)
    Neil YOUNG is one of my rock and roll gods.
    He is one of the very few that was true to the cause.
    he saw the headline about kent state sat down and wrote ohio in 30 minutes. if there was one guys music that i would want to take with me when i go into the cosmos it would be his.

  8. here is some bear food.
    This could bust Bp wide open, just like they busted that rig wide open.
    profit over safety. no doubt about it.


  10. I go here at least twice a week.

  11. No, no, not CASUAL issues. They said CAUSAL issues. You gotta buy some good drugstore cheaters.


  12. Thanks,

    I'll have to check it out when I get home!