Looking out at the turquoise water surrounding Anna Maria Island, one would be hard pressed to believe that a disaster of elephantine proportions lurks just beyond the sinking sun on the horizon.
The infamous blowout started spewing thousands of barrels of raw crude into the Gulf a few days after I returned from a book buying trip in Florida. At first, the story did not receive much attention by the money-hungry press ready to capitalize on any disaster in a desperate attempt to increase their market share, hence the lack of concern that led me to naively believe that BP would cap the well and we would be dealing with a spill smaller than the Exxon-Valdez. After all, BP is a billion dollar oil company with dozens of deep-well rigs around the world. Surely they have prepared for this, haven’t they? Is this not a critical risk factor that highly paid executives are on the look for? I was expecting to read about the friendly oil-eating bacteria advertised by some petrochemical company several years ago and how this miracle of science would clean up the leaking crude. By Day Five, I feared the worst, that BP would not be able to plug this leak and it could not stop the environmental damage.
Each morning I turned on my laptop, hoping to discover that something worked, only to be left sad, disappointed, angry and outraged. I said a prayer each night, naively hoping for resolution, but knowing it will be a prayer unanswered. After I read a story about oil droplets in the rainwater (fallout from the burning of the crude, or so I am told) in the Tampa area, I knew that I had to return to my second home of fourteen years, Anna Maria Island. My mom and sister live there, as does a little bit of my heart and a drawer full of clothes in “my” room. I needed a few more memories of soft white sandy beaches and crystal clear water before it is lost forever. I was on a plane to the States a few days later.
The artist in me loves flying over the Caribbean on my flights from Managua to Miami. Shortly before nearing Cuba, the water changes and little atolls dot the turquoise waters. This time I was fortunate that my seatmate was a no-show, giving me access to the window seat. I wanted to photograph the azul colors of the sea below, a final memento before the sea turns to black, red, and brown. (I have captured enough photos to warrant an album, which I have labeled "Scenes from the Sky".)
I didn't expect to see any part of the oil spill from my vantage point in the sky. Near the Florida Keys, I noticed long black streaks, coral carved out by the channel current, no doubt, but strikingly similar in appearance to oil plumes. It was surreal. A few miles later I noticed was a light sheen on the water. I tried to photograph it, but the sheen made it difficult to use the autofocus on my camera.
A few days ago the Coast Guard finally admitted that there was a sheen along the Florida Keys. I took these photos on May 26th. I cannot say for sure this is the oil sheen, but if you click on the high-resolution photos, you can see a wake of clear water for a large distance behind the boats. This was the only portion of the trip where the water looked affected by something. I would not put it past the Coast Guard to lie on behalf of their masters.
As I disembarked, I asked the captain if what I had seen was the oil sheen or just channels giving it the appearance of oil. He hesitated for a moment, then said that it was “probably just channels”. I asked him if he had flown over the oil disaster yet and he said no. A flight attendant chipped in that her colleague had recently passed over it and said it was a disaster of epic proportions. A flight attendant on the return flight said that she won’t look out the window at the Gulf and have asked passengers to close the window screens.
I wandered around the now familiar airport (20 trips to the US in five years), looking for evidence that people were aware of what was happening in the Gulf. The magazine covers were devoid of anything significant, instead heralding the fake recovery. As I ate the now traditional Pizza Hut cheese pizza (because the Miami airport food choices suck) accompanied by a Sam Adam wheat beer, I listened to the 30-minute CNN loop. The only thing I recall was a ten second mention of a delay in the top kill and something about hearings to determine how to stop this in the future. I looked around at my fellow customers. No one looked up at the mention of the oil disaster.
The top kill was supposed to be in the works at that point. I was waiting on pins and needles to see if it was successful, though I had my doubts from the beginning, hence the reason I was sitting in an airport bar at that very moment. Of course you know the obvious now, a delay and another failed attempt.
Later on, I tried to engage some of my fellow passengers to Tampa in a conversation about the month long surge of crude emanating from the ocean floor.
“It’s criminal,” one man said.
“Plug the hole with BP executives,” said another.
Both agreed that the loop current would keep the crude off of Florida beaches, unless there is a hurricane they conceded.
The conversation didn’t seem to generate much interest to many people traveling to a beautiful city is a few hundred miles from the heart of the spill. Most people seemed bored or anxious about the ten minute boarding delay than the dispersant-contaminated water.
The drive from Tampa to the island was bittersweet. The afternoon sun cast a golden glow on the green water. I felt like I was in high school again (I went to high school in Florida), soaring over the Sunshine Skyway bridge while listening to the ’80’s station on the XM stereo in my rental car. LIfe is beautiful. Life is good. I marveled at roads without potholes, gas powered motors, and speed on highways. I tried to take it all in, knowing that there is a real possibility that on the next trip, oil will likely have made it to shore and the crystal clear water will be a murky reddish brown. I don’t know if I could come back if that happened.
I made it to the island in time for sunset. I walked to the Sandbar and drank a mango margarita on the beach (technically illegal - isn’t it amazing that a government can fine and imprison a human being for drinking alcohol in public?), enjoying the salmon colored rays of light on the water. For a few moments I did not have a care in the world, despite the ever encroaching sludge many miles away. I returned to the house in a tranquil state, planning to return to the beach later that evening to meditate.
My brother-in-law was at the house when I returned. I asked if there was any news about the top kill attempt to plug the hole and he replied (and i paraphrase), “They’re never going to cap that well. They can’t. If they do, they lose the lease.”
“The reason for the slant drilling is so that they have two more access points before they ‘try’ to cap the blowout. Without new access points, they lose the lease, no more oil.”
“Where did you hear this?” I asked.
“There was an oil insider on the Bubba the Love Sponge show talking about this.”
I would not blame anyone reading this for rolling their eyes now. “Bubba the Love Sponge” doesn’t exactly conjure up feelings credibility if you live outside the Tampa Bay area. I often find him newsworthy and entertaining and usually listen to his show if it happens to be on when I am driving.
I am not willing to spend the $10 to become a member and hours researching the transcripts of the show for the quotes, but if someone is so inclined, they can go to www.BTLS.com and get to work.
However, the idea that BP won’t cap the well until they have relief wells in order to maintain the lease explains perfectly why there has been no real attempt to cap the blowout despite tens of thousands of valid ideas offered to BP, many of which do not involve dropping a nuclear bomb in the well.
I spoke to many people on the trip (Florida being a very friendly place and all) and was surprised just how many people knew about the capping/oil lease situation, and my guess is the majority are not regular listeners of the Bubba the Love Sponge show. I have tried to find this story on various search engines, but nowhere can I find any mention of the lease agreement. Seems that when it comes to MMS, reporters are are more interested in the crystal meth and hookers than the terms of the BP oil and gas lease in the Gulf.
Since it’s all about money, I wonder if BP has to pay MMS a royalty on the oil released into the Gulf? If so, this could add to the list of reasons they continue to lowball the blowout estimates.
If the US government demands a cap, then the US would be assuming the financial burden of the leaking well should a cap fail and worsen the situation. (And should the US try to take over BP for its assets as many suggest, the US would then be responsible for the cleanup.) And the bankrupt US will lose out on the royalties from the largest oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. We know the US government is beyond broke and virtually busted, so in their opinion it is best to allow up to four million gallons of raw crude and and who knows how many millions of gallons of dispersants to flow into the Gulf unabated because of corporate greed. Not that the government would do any better managing the situation. The highest elected and appointed officials (many with large war chests) and some of the highest grossing executives in the world have no plans for a disaster like this. Nothing.
Well, except for Halliburton, who must have thought a little more about their shoddy workmanship because on the 9th of April, they announced their purchase of Boots & Coots, an oil emergency rescue response company, for a mere $232 million. “The deal is expected to boost Halliburton’s bottom line during the first year after closing. “ How convenient for Halliburton.
Speaking of Halliburton, on the comment section of Florida Oil Spill, Jerry writes:
The BP oilwell blow out (not a spill) could have been prevented by BP had they installed a drillable bridge plug which is very common in oil well plugging operations around the world including the Gulf of Mexico. This tool is designed specifically for plugging an oil well and can be drilled out of the casing when the oil company wants to produce the oil well or re-enter the oil well. This tool is set inside the oilwell casing and is run on drill pipe but can also be run on wireline.
This product (Halliburton EZ Drill Bridge Plug) cost is low and is manufactured by Halliburton but other companies also offer similar products. I have installed this tool many times in oil wells around the world when I worked for Halliburton in several countries.
Why BP would not have incorporated this tool in their plugging process is a very BIG question.
No wonder Halliburton believes their $232 million investment in the oil cleanup and recovery company will pay out the first year.
How many ecosystems have been permanently fucked up by corporate greed and political and social control of the masses. Surely DARPA has the answers, but you cannot control the population if they have access to free energy and cheap and ready access to fresh water, so the government-funded projects that could benefit humanity sit on a shelf, with the developer holding a bag of cash if he is not making an appearance in the obituary column.
via The Independent UK (because they are doing a better job of reporting on the spill than their colleagues in the United States):
The well-entrenched bureaucracy deliberately ensures that any efforts are hindered. What have Obama and Congress and all the people feeding off the gumint’ titty done to streamline the bureaucracy?
A hundred miles across, most of Plaquemines is marshland, but marshland of enormous economic and ecological importance, as it is the nursery for the fish, shrimp and oysters that sustain the state's whopping seafood industry, and is also the winter refuge for hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese that arrive from all over America. Furthermore, it is an essential protective zone for New Orleans, just to the north, when tropical storms and hurricanes blow in. It is known as "the speedbump for New Orleans".
In the past few days the oil, which seven weeks ago began pouring from BP's crippled seabed well 40 miles out, has finally started to come ashore in quantity, and Plaquemines is where it has made landfall. It has begun to collect on the beaches of the barrier islands just off the marshes on either side of the Mississippi, leading to the pictures of desperately oiled birds that have gone round the world, and it is beginning to seep into the marshes themselves.
PJ Hahn has feared for weeks that this would happen, as he has held a key concern from early on: the protective booms were not working. The long floating barricades that are meant to hold back oil on the water were insufficient in this case, because there are enormous quantities of oil under the water, which are getting through. But PJ has had a plan: to constrict big sand berms (man-made ridges) just outside the barrier islands where the oil can be allowed to wash ashore and then easily removed. The scheme, for 20 miles of berms, is beginning this weekend; it will cost $240m (£170m), which BP will pay; it will take a month to complete.
Yet it has taken a month to obtain permission for it, from all the agencies that have had to be consulted, and the very thought of this delay sets PJ's cold blue eyes on fire. "It shouldn't take a month to get a permit! We need this stuff to start happening now, we don't have time to wait. This is waiting, right here," – and he jabs his finger down on a photo of a dead brown pelican he took on Sunday, a bird so obscenely dolloped in crude oil that it looked like it was part of a stew.
In the comment section of the article above, a reader writes:
It was suggested weeks ago that a fleet of say a dozen oil tankers could suck up the oil + sea water - and separate it onboard (imperfectly) and discharge the separated sea water back into the sea.
When full each oil tanker returns to port to discharge its contents to eventually be refined after further separation.
This seems like an exceedingly sensible idea to clean up as much of the mess as quickly as possible - though obviously not perfect.
However, what I have read is the the US Environmental Protection Agency has rejected the plan, because it would entail breaking pollution laws - the pollution laws being that an oil tanker cannot discharge contaminated sea water - even though the sea water would be going back much cleaner from the very place it came from.
The National Iranian Drilling Company has has repeatedly offered its services to the US to help battle the oil, in spite of the US insisting on sanctions against a country that has absolutely no nuclear weapons program (while it’s neighbor, Israel, has an untold number of nuclear warheads and refuses to even acknowledge their existence, let alone allow inspection).
Mehran Alinejad, the head of special drilling operations at NIDC, pointed to the experience gained by Iranian experts in containing huge oil leaks during the eight-year Iraqi-imposed war in the 1980s, and said, "Iranian technical teams have had major achievements in oil well capping and the Gulf of Mexico oil rig is not a great feat in comparison."
"There is, at any rate, an ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and its negative consequences will affect everyone. That is why if we receive a suitable response from relevant [American] officials we can examine the issue and contribute to its resolution," Alinejad was quoted by IRNA as saying.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL): Andrea we’re looking into something new right now, that there’s reports of oil that’s seeping up from the seabed… which would indicate, if that’s true, that the well casing itself is actually pierced… underneath the seabed. So, you know, the problems could be just enormous with what we’re facing.
Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC: Now let me understand better what you’re saying. If that is true that it is coming up from that seabed, even the relief well won’t be the final solution to cap this thing. That means that we’ve got oil gushing up at disparate places along the ocean floor.
Sen. Nelson: That is possible, unless you get the plug down low enough, below where the pipe would be breached.
Low enough is more than a thousand feet below the sea floor (which is a mile underwater).
If you want to freak out a little more, check out this excerpt from the comment section of the Alexander Higgins blog.
The Orlando seismic station has been going off the chart since March. So much so that the Orlando station released a PR indicating fissures have had formed along the gulf cost bend.
In the Yucatan the TIEG seismic station has also gone off the charts. The Gulf of Mexico without seismic tremors releases 2 Exxon Valdez spills a year naturally.
When all is said and done, we will probably learn that the volcano in Iceland that connects through the mid Atlantic ridge Haiti (earthquake) then doglegs west through the Central American isthmus where it splits north to the Baja Plate and south to Peru (recent quakes) and Chile (recent quakes).
Other oil platforms have been reporting seabed "ruptures". Most recently Diamond. The source of the oil can be chemically traced. The Coast Guard has said that not all the oil is coming from Horizon.
And lets not forget that the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest dead zone on the planet. That is due to the farm and industrial runoff that flows down the Mississippi. People don't swim in, drink or eat from the waters of the Mississippi.
And the birds and animals. What about them? AP writer Rich Matthews dove into the Gulf with his scuba gear to get a closer look.
I make my way to the back of the boat unaware of just how covered I am. To be honest, I look a little like one of those poor pelicans we've all been seeing for days now. The oil is so thick and sticky, almost like a cake batter. It does not wipe off. You have to scrape it off, in layers until you finally get close to the skin. Then you pour on some Dawn dishwashing soap and scrub. I think to myself: No fish, no bird, no turtle would ever be able to clean this off of themselves. If any animal, any were to end up in this same puddle there is almost no way they could escape.
Read his full account here.
What happens in the worst case scenario? Some people believe we have hit the worst case scenario, with four million gallons of crude leaking from several leaking wells spewing sludge into the Gulf waters each day and night with no end in sight.
The ultimate worst-case scenario is that the well is never successfully plugged, said Fred Aminzadeh, a research professor at the University of Southern California’s Center for Integrated Smart Oil Fields who previously worked for Unocal Corp. That would leave the well to flow for probably more than a decade, he said in a telephone interview.
The US government is doing nothing. Obama is too busy bent over with his pants down to his knees while his BP and Israeli masters continue to screw the country in plain sight of the Prozac-popping public. So many people do not understand the gravity of this situation. Many refuse to look at the photos because, “They’re too depressing.”
There no guarantee and little chance that the relief wells will be able to stop the cruse from gushing below the surface. We have all sorts of other incidents going on as well, like another BP leak in Alaska, a Chevron leak in the Gulf,
George Ure, Clif and webbots at HalfPastHuman talk about a giant coastal event and the displacement of 220 million people. Is this it? Is it combined with the leaking Three Gorges Dam in China that just forced teh displacement of 300,000 people?
Obviously the governments want to maintain their power and control over the population and thus we cannot expect Obama and Congress and FEMA and the EPA to do a damn thing. Hell, the EPA told BP to stop using toxic Corexit 9500 and BP said, “No!” and continues to pour something far more lethal than raw crude into the Gulf to hide the enormity of the disaster.
We are talking about is the poisoning of the Gulf and the Atlantic coast. We are talking about the destruction of the already bankrupt Gulf economies. Florida cannot survive this. The beaches will be littered with oil and dead zones all around. The water will not be inhabitable for swimming and there’s nothing to catch in terms of fish. The Gulf fishing industry is dead in the water, which will be felt in food prices shortly. There will be a migration away from the Gulf area and the underwater housing market might as well sink into the well. This will result in more bank failures and the FDIC ran out of money a long time ago.
The danger of hurricane season is that the storms will pick up the crude and the dispersants and dump them several states away, poisoning a land that is already poisoned by humans. Between the Gulf States exodus, seismic activity and the absolute certainty of a bankrupt Florida (and likely BP - no more money for clean ups) and the likely loss of Florida agriculture from a dispersant-tossing hurricane that crosses the state from the Gulf) and the already bankrupt US economy (so bad that a school district New Jersey is resorting to asking kids donate their allowance to teachers to make up for budget shortfalls) and the government debt and obligations...my dog, what a clusterfuck.
Will this disaster bring about the end of government as we know it? Is this the disaster that the ruling elite want to create their world order? At what point do the sheep stop funding a bunch of overpaid, ignorant bureaucrats who sit on their fat asses all day and impede efforts to clean up the Gulf? Bureaucracies kill empires. At some point, the people stop working like slaves to feed a machine that is no longer of value to them. This is happening now, accelerated by this disaster and a few more to come this year.
If the shit really hits the fan, just rememberer how little the government an big corporations have done in the past. Remember Katrina. Remember the Gulf. Remember PJ Hahn.
It’s time to start a revolution.