Looks like BP stands for Burning Petroleum; worst spill since ExxonValdez heads for LA coast

I’ll be on MSNBC’s Countdown at 8:35 edt

Offshore Oil Safety Awards Luncheon Postponed

And it gets more ironic:  CBS reports that last year BP won an award for “promoting improved medical care and evacuation capabilities for offshore facilities.”

The photo “provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows fire boat response crews battling the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, April 21, 2010.”

I wish I had more time to write a longer post, but I’m doing a couple of interviews on this tonight, including Countdown.

By the way, Halliburton appears to have been involved in the spill.  They have been named in two lawsuits by Louisiana fishermen and shrimpers, Climate Wire (subs. req’d) reports:

The oil spill is floating miles from Louisiana’s coastline, home to a huge commercial and recreational fishing industry. It comes as a particularly fragile time for fisheries, since Gulf shrimp are in their spawning season.

Louisiana claims a $2.6-billion-a-year commercial fishing industry, which provides a quarter of the U.S. seafood supply, exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii.

The two lawsuits target BP, which holds the lease to the offshore well; Swiss-based Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform that exploded last week; and Halliburton Energy Services Inc., which the lawsuit says was responsible for capping the well.

I know you are shocked that Halliburton is involved.

Now what is really rich is that FoxNews and the GOP are working to spin this as Obama’s Katrina, somehow suggesting that the administration’s response was delayed.

Except, of course, in the case of Katrina, the Bush administration ignored its own administration’s weather forecasts — and ignored the videos of brutal devastation and suffering people — for days.

In the case of the spill, the reverse is true.  BP basically misled everybody about the size of the spill — by a factor of 5 — and hence their ability to control it.  It was NOAA — which is to say the Obama administration — that realized BP was lowballing the leak, that the problem was beyond the company’s resources, and that much broader action was needed.

The leak rate is now estimated at more than 200,000 gallons a day — which means it will exceed the Exxon Valdez disaster within 2 months.  I just heard on ABC news that 400 species are threatened and that Louisiana coastline contains 40% of the US wetlands.

And, of course, the BP and the entire industry has been pushing for weaker safety regulations for a long time — HuffPost piece is here:

Click here for the proposed rule from the Interior Department’s MMS

Click here for the letter from BP objecting to the proposed rule

Finally, the BP well “lacked a remote-control shutoff switch that two other major oil producers, Norway and Brazil, require,” the WSJ reported.

The only thing this has in common with Katrina is that it is going to devastate the exact same area.

64 Responses to Looks like BP stands for Burning Petroleum; worst spill since ExxonValdez heads for LA coast

  1. BillD says:

    Are BP and its associates potentially liable for all of the economic losses and costs that may arise from this disaster? Is negligence assumed in such an accident, or must it be proved?

  2. Michael Tucker says:

    This disaster, that threatens the entire Gulf coast, was the result of drilling for how much oil? Since we require about 20 million barrels a day, how many billions of barrels does this oil field represent? I doubt it represents more than a year or two at best and probably much less than a year. It is not worth ALL the risks involved!

  3. catman306 says:

    Climate scientists: Will the massive oil slick, being black, absorb more solar energy and raise sea surface temperatures in the immediate area of the slick? Could a temperature rise create more powerful storms and energize passing hurricanes?

  4. Anne says:

    My first job out of grad school was with a firm in South Carolina that contracted with NOAA to be first responders to oil spills. Our staff were often the first on the scene with NOAA, and always, the first decision to be made was binary: to apply chemical oil dispersants, or boom it off and contain it. NOAA has a strong track record with oil spills, doing their best to minimize environmental damage often when industry culprits are doing their best to minimize PR damage instead. The GOP public relations firm known as FOX can take a hike. Or maybe a swim, I know just the spot, near the bayou.

  5. ZS says:

    I’m certainly not a climate scientist, but since the albedo of oceans is already really low (~10% according compared to the ~60% of sea ice and ~30% of the Earth’s aggregate albedo), and the area of the oil spill, while catastrophic, is still very small compared to the area of oceans as a whole, I would assume that this won’t significantly affect sea surface temperatures. But someone please correct me, of course, if I’m wrong.

  6. Raleigh Latham says:

    If there’s any reason Graham and the turncoat senator of louisiana need to speak up for a climate bill, it’s because of this.

  7. Bill Waterhouse says:

    #1 BillD – Some claims may be strict liability (Clean Water Act), others may require proof of negligence. Plaintiffs will probably argue that failure to install an acoustic shut off valve constituted per se negligence for such a deep drill site. Claims for punitive damages probably require culpability beyond mere negligence. Claims for loss of commercial fisheries and for overall environmental damages could enormous. Recall, however, that the USSC greatly cut back the Exxon Valdez damages awards by lower courts and given the current court make-up, that could happen again.

  8. Rick Covert says:

    When drill baby drill becomes spill baby spill BP and the Coast Guard turn to burn baby burn…., oh wait, that’s off message and bad PR. How on earth are we going to spin this one.

  9. BillD says:

    #7 Bill Waterhouse–Thanks for your clarification. I sometimes agree with higher courts when they reduce punitive damages. However, given the much greater population in the Gulf than in Alaska, I imagine that real damages will be much greater. After all, in Alaska, the beaches were almost uninhabited and the native Americans and individual fishermen bore the brunt of the losses. I wonder whether the already weakened wetlands that give some protect to New Orleans from hurricanes will suffer further damage. How much are the wildlife refuges and noneconomic wildlife like sea turtles and marine mammals worth?

  10. substanti8 says:

    Halliburton is involved?

    I’m shocked and awed.

  11. Jeff Huggins says:

    Just saw you on Countdown. Great job. You are getting great at this. As the climate and energy issues take more of a center stage (as they should!) on TV, I think that MSNBC and others should probably just give you one of those buzzer things (that restaurants give people waiting for their tables) so that the stations can just “buzz” when they need you every other day. And, as your negotiating leverage increases, don’t forget to require bottled water with a bending straw at the podium or interview chair.



  12. Mark S says:

    Joe, you were the busy bee today. I heard you on the Mario Solis-Marich radio show and then Olbermann. Great job on both. Clear and great information. I would have prognosticated a bit more on if this event will affect the Obama administration. Once the oil starts hitting the shores and the environmental catastrophe this is going to become is evident it will definitely impact how they proceed. It could even be the catalyst needed for clean energy legislation to pass this year.

  13. Robert Brulle says:

    Get used to this. You will need the buzzer. The spill is going to be around for a lot longer. This is just the beginning. No dead birds yet. No closed beaches yet. The political storm is just beginning.

  14. Bill Waterhouse says:

    BillD – if it’s as bad as it looked on PBS News Hour tonight and booms aren’t in place before the oil hits the shore during high winds and high tides this could be really catastrophic. Plaintiffs’ lawyers and scientists learned a lot litigating Exxon Valdez and I would expect them to prepare strong cases over this spill.

  15. BillD says:

    I saw the PBS News Hour as well. No way that booms can protect over a thousand miles of shore line. The scary thing is that it could take a month or more, maybe several months, to shut down the leak.

  16. Bill Waterhouse says:

    Among other issues that obviously need to be revisited are the “worst case” projected accident and adequate oil spill contingency response plans for that accident, including an ability to get containment booms in place in time. That should all be funded by the oil industry.

    I keep hearing BP reps saying this is an unprecedented problem because the water is so deep. That is all the more reason to have required redundant state of the art safety measures including the acoustic shut off valve. It will be interesting to learn the permitting history of this platform and why more safety measures were not required.

  17. “FoxNews and the GOP are working to spin this as Obama’s Katrina, somehow suggesting that the administration’s response was delayed.”

    PBS bought into this bogus meme in at least one interview on the NewsHour tonight.

  18. christopher yaun says:


    Heather and I were in New Orleans a few weeks ago and used a free day to drive to Grande Isle and Port Fourchon (pronounced Foo-shon). Crossing the bridge to leave the island we could see maybe 100 Brown Pelicans feeding in the bay and an occasional large splash. We almost drove on but curiosity got the better of us and we turned our rental around to investigate. Next to the 2 lane bridge is the remains of an old wooden bridge, what is left of it has been converted to a short fishing pier and there we found 3 families enjoying a lazy afternoon. The pelicans were all swimming and “bobbing” for fish. And to our suprise every few moments a Porpoise would stike at something we couldn’t see and were causing the splashes that had caught out attention. After watching for a long while we discovered that if we gazed without focusing, every few minutes we could see a Porpoise jump completely free of the water. The air time was so brief and the bay so large that we could not “see” the action using ordinary focus. I can only estimate from the “boiling” of the waters surface that there must have been hundreds of Porpoise feeding in the bay along with a the Pelicans and 3 human families.

    Port Fourchon is a huge story all by itself and I hope Joe or some qualified journalist would craft an article explaining its history and signifigance. In brief, 85% of the oil rigs located off the coast of Louisiana are serviced from Port Fourchon. I can only imagine that this sleepy port at the end of the road is overwhelmed with activity today.

    The prevailing currents should carry the oil slick east and away from Grand Isle. The Porpoise and Pelicans and small fish there should be safe. But I imagine, farther east, uncounted populations of innocent Porpoise and Pelicans and other creatures will be destroyed by this man made disaster.

  19. christopher yaun says:


    My family spent a week or two on Grand Isle every summer. The road south from Baton Rouge follows the banks of Bayou Lafourche. In the 60s Bayou Lafourche was home to a robust fishing community. It’s banks were lined with family owned shrimping boats. The towns along the Bayou, from Thibodeaux to Golden Meadow were healthy and full of life.

    The proud families and their boats are gone for the most part. Land there was divided into strips 100 feet wide and maybe a mile long giving every family access to the precious bayou. A new highway has been built parallel to the old road and a quarter mile from the bayou, cutting across the thin strips of dry land. A NEW HIGHWAY has been built…and a levee to protect the bayou and what’s left of the communities and the NEW HIGHWAY from rising tides and sinking land. A flood control structure has been built across the Bayou to keep out the storm surge.

    The NEW HIGHWAY was built to bypass the communites that once thrived along the Bayou; to carry the massive trucks and heavy loads to Port Fourchon and the oil rigs working in the Gulf of Mexico. I can only imagine the levee and control structure and highway were all concieved and planned in a more innocent time, before we were fully aware of the impact of our fossil fuel habits would have on the climate.

  20. BioMapper says:

    Nice work, Joe. Can CAP get someone down there for the landfall? Primary sources….

  21. Bill Waterhouse says:

    re 17 – The AP just posted a story that states the oil is now onshore. The story states DOD isn’t acting proactively because BP didn’t ask for help. The Coast Guard’s actions will come under great scrutiny. Somebody may get fired over this.

  22. Roger says:

    It is said that the people lost their lives. I hope they clean up the oil quickly.

  23. Excellent background and discussion at the Oil Drum – a blog devoted to peak oil and the petroleum industry.

  24. Bob O. says:

    Here in New Orleans, we could smell the oil either burning or just giving off fumes today. It is already hitting the coast. I only have one correction: BP doesn’t stand for Burning Petroleum, it stands for BEYOND PHF*CKED

  25. prokaryote says:

    Because Prince William Sound contained many rocky coves where the oil collected, the decision was made to displace it with high-pressure hot water. However, this also displaced and destroyed the microbial populations on the shoreline; many of these organisms (e.g. plankton) are the basis of the coastal marine food chain, and others (e.g. certain bacteria and fungi) are capable of facilitating the biodegradation of oil. At the time, both scientific advice and public pressure was to clean everything, but since then, a much greater understanding of natural and facilitated remediation processes has developed, due somewhat in part to the opportunity presented for study by the Exxon Valdez spill. Despite the extensive cleanup attempts, a study conducted by NOAA determined that as of early 2007 more than 26 thousand U.S. gallons (22,000 imp gal; 98,000 L) of oil remain in the sandy soil of the contaminated shoreline, declining at a rate of less than 4% per year.[10]

    Both the long- and short-term effects of the oil spill have been studied comprehensively.[12] Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 100,000 to as many as 250,000 seabirds, at least 2,800 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 247 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, as well as the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs.[3][11] The effects of the spill continue to be felt today. Overall reductions in population have been seen in various ocean animals, including stunted growth in pink salmon populations.[13] Sea otters and ducks also showed higher death rates in following years, partially because they ingested prey from contaminated soil and from ingestion of oil residues on hair due to grooming.[14]

    Almost 20 years after the spill, a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina found that the effects are lasting far longer than expected.[13] The team estimates some shoreline Arctic habitats may take up to 30 years to recover.[3] Exxon Mobil denies any concerns over this, stating that they anticipated a remaining fraction that they assert will not cause any long-term ecological impacts, according to the conclusions of 350 peer-reviewed studies.[14] However, a study from scientists from the NOAA concluded that this contamination can produce chronic low-level exposure, discourage subsistence where the contamination is heavy, and decrease the “wilderness character” of the area

  26. Chris Dudley says:

    It seems to me that a depth charge, of which we have many, attached to a bundle of liquid oxygen tanks, also in plentiful supply, rigged to go off when it reaches a depth of 4000 feet or so and aimed to intercept the rising oil plume, could eliminate a section of the oil plume through oxidation before it reaches the surface. Repetition might be fairly effective at reducing the amount of spill reaching the surface.

    One might also try mixing in a dish detergent at depth.

  27. Artful Dodger says:

    Bob O., keep us appraised if you can of the QoL down there in NOLA. Wife and I were supposed to head down next week for our first holiday in over a year. Was wondering today about the smell and how it compares to, say, a large forest fire a state away in terms of intensity…

    In related pith, I’ve seen this disaster referred to in the vernacular as “Lake Palin.” For some reason that makes me almost laugh out loud. I can already hear the tormented cries of “Hey, that’s unfair. She had nothing to do with this! Obama. Clinton. Blowjob. etc.” But then the following rhyme gets stuck in my head:

    “‘Drill Baby Drill?’ You eat what you kill.”

    Any moose hunter should be able to understand that much, right?

  28. Chris Dudley says:

    This situation is a lot like nuclear power. Build enough plants and run them long enough and you will get a disaster. We are about due for another Chernobyl and with the way deep water drilling has been pursued, we were going to have this happen as well. Some technologies just can’t be made safe. Senator Nelson is calling for a moratorium on drilling activity. He is correct.

  29. Roger says:

    I’d like to see the our legal system assign full financial responsibility for this mess to BP and other involved companies. This would be one way to assure that at least part of the true environmental cost of producing petroleum products is included in those products. (It still leaves out the huge, coming climate change costs of using oil!)

  30. Andy says:

    The booms and skimmers and such aren’t going to be able to do much to prevent massive environmental damage. They rarely do on such large spills. Whether whoever responded or didn’t respond fast enough – it’s mostly window dressing and finger pointing. They’ll try to boom off the major inlets into the marshes, but given the extremely fragmented nature of the delta these days there are too many openings into the marsh to do much. All the boom in the world won’t be near enough.

    Expect BP to make a grand show of it. I could write their next month’s worth of press releases and script the words for their anxious-looking spokespersons right here and now and not get a word of it wrong. And I bet they do get all the boom in the world. That’ll be tomorrow morning’s scripted sound bite for all the Palinites to recite to one another. “They got all the boom available. They know how to git r done. The enviros are just sitting around scratching their arse.” Yeah, bite me. And yet it won’t be enough to corral what’s already in the water let alone what’s to come.

    I’m sure BP’s $$ spent will be deducted from their fines by some well-meaning judge. Time served and all that. Do I sound bitter? Actually the State and Federal resource agencies have developed some good economic valuation models for environmental damages since the Valdez, so expect them to stick it to BP good. Yeah! For all those idealistic 70’s graduates who turned into efficient bureaucrats!

    There will be no way to prevent a complete loss of ground nesting bird eggs and young. Hundreds of thousands of gull-billed terns, royal terns, caspian terns, least terns, sandwich terns, American oystercatchers, willets, stilts, laughing gulls, and black skimmers are now nesting just above high tide on the numerous islands on the edge of the Gulf. The parents will get oiled, sit on the eggs and kill them. Or some idiot will try to clean their beach and the parents will be scared from the nest and a gull will get the eggs or young in two seconds. Or the eggs will hatch and the young will go down to the water as a defensive reaction to predators (or biologists trying to count them) and will get oiled. Or a well-meaning wildlife rehabilitator will land on the beach to grab an oiled pelican and will scare the young into the water and oil. Bottomline – there’s no way around it – they’re as good as dead.

    The white shrimp are now just offshore, the brown shrimp post-larvae are floating off the beaches as well. This summer’s and next year’s shrimp crop is toast. Same for blue crabs, oysters, redfish, trout and everything all of which pretty much spawns just offshore and whose eggs and larvae will be floating on the high tide into the marshes in an oil soup. Or will float up against one of those booms blocking an inlet and will make a nice oily boulibase.

    Do you see what I’m getting at? Everything that will be done won’t do much of anything. Except stopping the leak and then making sure it hurts so much that companies begin to treat oil spills like nuclear power plant radiation leaks. Unacceptable and not to be viewed as a cost of doing business. And hell yes, I’ll pay the extra 5 cents it’ll cost me per gallon of gas. It’s nothing compared to what I already pay so some speculator can be rich without working.

    This spill will constantly be pushed off and back onto shore with the changing winds; doing a hop scotch until it coats the whole Louisiana coast. Grand Isle will get it. Imagine if we get a hurricane, it’ll be more than mud we’re sweeping out of our houses. Remember the aftermath from the Murphy Oil spill during Katrina? Hell, why bother cleaning up. Just light her up and stand back!!

    By mid-May the winds and currents will be running west and the oil will be spread all the way to Texas. We’ll get tar balls (canon ball-sized really) that will melt in the sun each morning as we drink our coffee. I’ll think I’ll name mine “Big Brit Balls” in honor of ACDC. Imagine someone flinging buckets of roofing tar all over the beach. Same thing. Just in time for turtle nesting season too. This couldn’t have happened in a worse place or at a worse time.

  31. Raleigh Latham says:

    This is A CALL TO ARMS! The safety precaution that could have prevented this disaster cost only 500K, but because of the greed of these corrupt bastards, the cost will be the decimation of an entire American ecosystem. These BP, Halliburton, and Exxon criminals must be publicly destroyed, and their companies held COMPLETELY accountable. This is a RALLYING CRY for clean energy and climate legislation, and let us not anyone forget this tragedy. TELL YOUR CONGRESSMAN, TELL GRAHAM!

  32. PE Neurohr says:

    It is fascinating to see car-driving, plane-using people pointing the finger at the people who put the oil into the car they drive, the planes they use. The olympics of scapegoating are open.

    If tens, hundreds of millions of people still think in 2010 that it is “normal” to use planet-destroying machines such as cars and planes, they have no right whatsoever lamenting about oil spills. How shameful to reach such a level of hypocrisy.

    This oil spill is the logical, unavoidable result of rich people – including the liberal, “environmentally-minded” types – using these machines. While most of the planet inhabitants, actually, don’t use them…

  33. Whatshisname says:

    “Good Ol’ BP” is what many of the old Texas shrimpers and oystermen have bitterly called British Petroleum for a very long time. I will leave what they call some of the other oil and chemical companies up to your imagination. Right now BP is only the most notorious of many villains that officials in Texas and Louisiana have allowed to push The Gulf to the brink of becoming a new Dead Sea. One can almost hear them en masse, sushing this talk of “Obama’s Katrina” because memories are long and the unpunished crimes are shocking. Just wait until someone hands Diane Wilson a microphone.

    The next urgent task at hand is getting health advisories and warnings out to persons ahead of this oil and smoke. A very gusty front is pushing southeast through Texas right now on the way to the Gulf. It’s going to get treacherous in the spill area today.

  34. Whatshisname says:

    P.S. to the national press — contact Diane Wilson at Seadrift, Texas, for a uniquely informative view of this situation and history of an environmental nightmare long time coming.

  35. Chad says:

    Want to move the climate bill forward? Put a new moratorium on drilling the OCS again, and use it as a bargaining chip.

    We *should* be drilling both OCS and ANWR, but only if 100% of the trillion dollars or so of tax revenues are used for the right purposes.

  36. prokaryote says:


    Fuel Vapor Heightens Aggression

  37. There are currently about 3800 platforms in operation in the Gulf but another 2000 were drilled and now inactive. The amount of sea-floor pipeline is about 40,000 miles worth, enough to reach around the world and then some. They are all on the continental shelf in waters less than 400 feet deep. This new one is after the continental shelf drop off into waters three times deeper.

    Note the slick is now reaching the Mississippi’s birdfoot delta which sticks out to within two miles of the dropoff. The slick has much farther to go before reaching the LA, MS, TX, AL, FL shorelines. The loop current in the GOM can, of course, carry the oil around FL into the Atlantic beaches of FL, GA, SC, NC, VA. Hurricane season is coming too.

  38. Erik says:

    Gone are the “Beyond Petroleum” days. Now BP is Bleeding Petroleum.

  39. Fire Mountain says:

    I read Mike Tidwell’s “Bayou Farewell” last year. People should. Mike really gets into Bayou culture, went out fishing on the boats. He also gets at the way the bayous have been eroding, much due to channels cut by the oil industry. Of course, most of us have seen the sea level rise maps that show this area largely gone with a relatively modest rise, of course due to fossil emissions. In every way, erosion, sea level and pollution, the oil industry is destroying one of the world’s great natural wetlands. BP = Big Pigs.

  40. Chris Dudley says:

    Further to my #26,

    Sounds like BP would like to try introducing dispersant at depth: which would spread the oil in the water column and keep it from the surface.

    It strikes me that an oxidizer that is available in large quantities is sodium percarbonate which is used in OxiClean. This will burn together with oil and might be the easiest way to deliver oxygen at depth with little environmental impact. Dropped in plastic bags with a timer fuse and a small explosive to disperse the powder in the rising oil plume, it might be possible to oxidize the oil, eliminating it from the environment.

  41. BillD says:

    Chris Dudley @24. I expect that oxidizing the oil while it’s underwater would require oxygen that is not much available. I suggest that destroying the oil while it is under water will not work. On the other hand, it could, to a degree, be collected and pumped. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to prevent the oil from reaching estuaries and beaches and cleaning is a somewhat futile task. The one consulation is that warm conditions will result in faster bacterial degredation than in the arctic. We can only hope that the massive leak does not continue for weeks and months.

  42. BP & Halliburton? You mean to tell us that the worst oil spill since ExxonValdez wasn’t the work of Environmentalist whackos or Obama’s Fault?

  43. Elmo says:

    The true price of fossil fuels never seems to show up in the marketplace, does it.

  44. Chris Dudley says:

    Bill #41,

    The very reason I proposed liquid oxygen tanks is to provide the oxygen.

    I’m now leaning towards delivering the oxygen as sodium percarbonate (see #40). I just mixed baby oil, dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide and seemed to get a fizz. Perhaps that is the way to break down the oil since sodium percarbonate releases peroxide when dissolved in water.

    Use dispersant at depth, hold the oil in the water column. Add an oxidizer at the same time to break down the detergent/oil mix to carbon dioxide and water. If the reaction takes a few hours to complete, you are still OK since the oil and oxidizer will drift together and the heat production will be less fierce. But, my fizz is no real evidence that I’m breaking anything down. More than likely is is just oxygen release, so there may be need of a catalyst as well.

  45. I think we should stop calling this an oil “spill”, which connotes a release of fixed size from a container like an oil tanker. As bad as that is, this is worse — it’s an underwater oil geyser. The ultimate magnitude of this disaster will only be known after they plug the leak, assuming they can.

  46. Chris Winter says:

    BP = “Bodacious Profits”?

  47. Andy says:

    Check out the photos on MSNBC. The booms being placed along the beaches are going to be worthless for stopping oil due to high waves. Note the boom across the tidal channel, the water is spilling over it. The oil will go right on over too. Booms work for normal sized spills where they can temporarily hold the oil until a skimmer or pumper truck can come by to collect it. This spill has alredy overwhelmed any possible response.

    As far as blame and responsibility. The laws enacted after Valdez clearly put that on the shoulders of the lease holder. BP. State governments along with BP-hired contractors run the clean up show with oversight only by the US Coast Guard, NOAA and MMS. The USCG made sure BP had boomed off the rig while it was still burning. Anyone saying this is the feds fault doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    As soon as the rig sank and the fire went out and thus the oil was no longer being burned off, it was all over as far as containment.

  48. Chris Winter says:

    PE Neurohr wrote: “It is fascinating to see car-driving, plane-using people pointing the finger at the people who put the oil into the car they drive, the planes they use. The Olympics of scapegoating are open.”

    I like to look at pictures of distant galaxies. By your logic, I would have had no right to complain about the mis-ground mirror on the Hubble Space Telescope. Yet the fault in the mirror was due to procedural error, and was not detected because a second test was skipped to save cost.

    I don’t know what caused the leak in the well Deepwater Horizon drilled. Maybe it was unavoidable, maybe it wasn’t. This Houston Chronicle article compares it to a blowout in a well in the Timor Sea, known to be due to carelessness.

    Until we know more, passing judgement seems unwise.

    As for the Olympics of scapegoating, I think Limbaugh just won the gold.

  49. The Exxon Valdiz spill was something like a bathtub ring to clean up. The current one in Louisiana, if the oil gets into the marshes, is more akin to soaking a sponge in oil and then trying to clean it all out of every pore in the sponge (both inside and out) without damaging the sponge…

  50. prokaryote says:

    People should be cautious not to make the same mistakes. as i posted from the wiki on exxon valdez, in #25: “.. many rocky coves where the oil collected, the decision was made to displace it with high-pressure hot water. However, this also displaced and destroyed the microbial populations on the shoreline; many of these organisms (e.g. plankton) are the basis of the coastal marine food chain, and others (e.g. certain bacteria and fungi) are capable of facilitating the biodegradation of oil.”

  51. prokaryote says:

    Second drilling rig overturns in Louisiana

  52. prokaryote says:

    Will concrete harden under water?

    Portland cement is a hydraulic cement which means that it sets and hardens due to a chemical reaction with water. Consequently, it will harden under water.

  53. prokaryote says:

    This is so sickening now to see this catastrophe getting worse by the minute. I can just hope that this major event helps now to switch to CLEAN ENERGY.

    Lead the way USA.

  54. prokaryote says:

    n. Distress or melancholy caused by a significant change to one’s local environment.

    Whereas nostalgia is homesickness for a place, solastalgia is a yearning for the way a loved place used to be.
    —Des Houghton, “Pain has a brand new label,” The Courier Mail, February 27, 2010

    Ecological degradation is not only affecting our external landscape; it’s also influencing our psychic one. Neologisms paint the picture: solastalgia is the depression caused when your local surroundings are damaged significantly; eco anxiety is a generalized worry about the environment.
    —Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, “Eco anxiety,” The New York Times, April 20, 2008

  55. prokaryote says:

    THIS IS COMMENT 21 from above link

    Does everyone realize just how catastrophic this really is?? We are not talking about a ships hull emptying oil into the ocean. This is an almost never ending supply of oil that is gushing into the ocean with no end in sight. They are saying this could take MONTHS to cap.. Our oceans , shorelines, and all the animal inhabitants of both will be gone. This is not a local disaster…it is not a national is a WORLD disaster.

    It will be nothing in compare to leaking methane a 23 times more potent greenhouse gas than Co2. And that’s the next big thing companys like ExxonMobile or BP aiming for (Natural Gas).

    Ice on fire: The next fossil fuel

    DEEP in the Arctic Circle, in the Messoyakha gas field of western Siberia, lies a mystery. Back in 1970, Russian engineers began pumping natural gas from beneath the permafrost and piping it east across the tundra to the Norilsk metal smelter, the biggest industrial enterprise in the Arctic.

    By the late 70s, they were on the brink of winding down the operation. According to their surveys, they had sapped nearly all the methane from the deposit. But despite their estimates, the gas just kept on coming. The field continues to power Norilsk today.

  56. anonymous says:

    now you only need a couple of hurricanes to get free gasoline from the sky… hope it doesn’t make it to the gulf stream.

  57. Mike #22 says:

    “If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels — or more than 6 million gallons per day — based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well.”

    “A new leak in that piping was discovered Wednesday, suggesting the erosion is worsening. BP Plc executive Doug Suttles said Thursday.”

    “Sand is an integral part of the formations that hold oil under the Gulf. That sand, carried in the oil as it shoots through the piping, is blamed for the ongoing erosion described by BP.”

    “”The pipe could disintegrate. You’ve got sand getting into the pipe, its eroding the pipe all the time, like a sandblaster,” said Ron Gouget, a former oil spill response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

  58. peter whitehead says:

    as a UK citizen, I’d like to point out that BP is a private company. I know most hollywood villains are British, but please don’t blame us all. however you might like to look up the British oil industries involvement in Iraq in the 1920s when the Royal Air Force used chemical weapons on Iraqi people. Not a happy part of our history, and forgotten by the media

  59. lgcarey says:

    Gee, I wonder if the two preceding posts from different authors actually come from the same IP address? It also looks like they were both composed on a keyboard with a sticky CAPS LOCK KEY, and judging by the terminology, written by a Republican pretending to be a Democrat (or perhaps I should say a “Dem”).

    [JR: I took them down because, as you say, the claim of being from two different authors false.]

  60. Certainly have the same URL assigned to their nickname.

    I would also look at the claim and arithmetic in “fact 1” above and use that as a basid to evaluate the rest of Twin Posts’ comments. (Excuse me, but who was president in ’06? What is the composition of the SCOTUS again?)

  61. Everett Rowdy says:

    Mike: I appreciate your concern for the marshes, but I have to point out that your analogy for the Exxon Valdiez spill is inaccurate. Prince William Sound is still suffering from the Exxon Valdez spill. See:

    There are some beaches where you can dig down a little ways and find a layer of crude oil still. Unfortunately I fear that this means your marshes may be in for decades of suffering as well.

  62. NoName says:

    When Can We Stop Worrying About The Oil Going Farther Than Just The Gulf Of Mexico? I Really Want To Know