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Archive for the 'Oil' Category

Offshore drilling reforms good, but big questions remain

Gulf rig fire (US Coast Guard)

I think the Center for Biological Diversity bring up some excellent points. What do you think? /Gary

Offshore Oil Drilling Reforms Are Positive Step, But Big Questions Remain
The Obama administration announced Monday (Aug. 16) that it will no longer exempt certain deepwater offshore oil-drilling projects from environmental review. However, non-deepwater drilling operations may continue to be approved without environmental review. Also, deepwater wells and rigs already approved under the faulty environmental review process will not necessarily have to seek full National Environmental Policy Act or Endangered Species Act compliance.

In response, Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kierán Suckling issued the following statement:
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Posted on Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

‘Most Gulf oil gone, feds say.’ Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.

Gulf Oil Spill. Photo by Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center used under a Creative Commons License
NASA oil1

The first thing I saw when I picked up my morning paper today was an Associated Press story on the front page:

Most Gulf oil gone, feds say
“WASHINGTON — With a startling report that some researchers call more spin than science, the government said Wednesday that the mess made by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is mostly gone already.

“On the same day they trumpeted success in plugging up the leaking well with drilling mud, federal officials announced that nearly 70 percent of the oil spilled dissolved naturally, or was burned, skimmed, dispersed or captured, with almost nothing left to see — at least on top of the water.”

Before you get all excited and jump up and down because they said the  oil is gone, please keep one thing in mind. Just because they say it’s gone doesn’t necessarily make it so. One of the reasons oil companies love to dump chemical dispersants on oil that has spilled in water is that the dispersants do just that … they disperse the oil and make it go away … by breaking the oil up up into smaller drops that sink below the surface of the water. In other words, out of sight, out of mind, as they say.

Before you come to any conclusions on this, read the following news release I just received from Texas Tech University.  /Gary
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Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Under: Chemical dispersants, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

American Bird Conservancy: Gulf oil spill’s impact on birds

Gulf disaster (US Coast Guard photo)

Members of the American Bird Conservancy staff recently returned from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill area and issued a report, “Gulf Oil Spill, Field Survey Report and Recommendations, July 19, 2010,” on their findings.

Here is the report:

The American Bird Conservancy is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. You can find out more about them at

You should definitely read the report. It’s an eye-opener. /Gary

Posted on Monday, July 26th, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Gulf Oil Spill: BP’s ‘Cross Your Fingers’ containment system

Heavily oiled brown pelicans from Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo by Flickr user IBRRC used under a Creative Commons License.

BP is beginning to test a new tighter-fitting cap on its gushing wellhead. They hope it will stop the millions (?) of gallons of oil that have been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico during our worst-ever oil spill.

“Cross your fingers,” I heard someone from BP being quoted as saying on the radio news station as I drove to work this morning.

The “Cross Your Fingers” containment system. Why didn’t they use that in the beginning? Maybe if they’d crossed their fingers back when they first discovered the spill the Gulf of Mexico wouldn’t have turned all gooey black by now.

I think we ALL better cross our fingers, this time. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Under: Big Oil, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Gulf Oil Spill: Will the spill affect our backyard birds?

Baby birds in nest

Just got this (below) from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Like wild birds? You might consider getting involved in Cornell’s NestWatch project. /Gary

Will the Gulf Spill Affect Backyard Birds?
Scientists ask bird watchers to monitor nests.

Ithaca, NY — As oil washes ashore along the Gulf Coast, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( is asking birders to keep an eye on nesting birds — not just near water, but hundreds of miles inland.
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Posted on Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Under: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Oil, Oil Spills | 1 Comment »

Judge lifts Gulf drilling moratorium, gives green light to risky drilling

Oiled bird. AP Photo by Charlie Riedel.
oiled bird AP photo, Charlie Riedel

I thought you might be interested in this story (below) that the Gulf drilling moratorium has been ordered lifted by a federal judge.
Miyoko, The Center for Biological Diversity

Judge Feldman’s ruling is flirting with disaster and should be appealed by the federal government. Many thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for jumping into this. The judge has obviously not thought this out. There should be no more deepwater drilling for oil until they figure out how to deal with any future spills. To do so is stupid. They can’t even deal with the present mess. /Gary
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Posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | 2 Comments »

Center for Biological Diversity to sue EPA over toxic dispersants in Gulf

Sperm whale. Photo by Flickr user strange ones used under a Creative Commons License.
sperm whale, strange ones

From the weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity, June 3, 2010:

To stop the oil-spill response from making the catastrophe even worse for wildlife, this Tuesday (June 1) the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for not protecting endangered species from the nearly one million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants it approved for use in the Gulf.
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Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2010
Under: Chemical dispersants, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Chemical dispersants move oil out of sight & out of mind

Gulf oil spill slick. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard
gulf-oil-spill-slick-2010, US Coast Guard

When chemical dispersants are sprayed onto the oil that’s floating on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, it makes the oil disperse into the water. It makes it sink.

Whether the oil that has been changed into tiny droplets by the dispersants will then be  rendered harmless by natural organisms … or it will coat the ocean floor and cause further damage to underwater creatures … all depends on which group of scientists  you are listening to at the moment.

Whatever dispersants do, good or bad, it’s my guess that BP loves them for yet another reason. Once sprayed by the dispersants, the black, shiny, OBVIOUS oil sinks out of sight … and out of mind. And the news media stops writing about it, and people stop thinking about it.

Let’s see, now, what were we talking about? /Gary

Posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | 1 Comment »

Gulf Leak Meter Widget by PBS NEWSHOUR to include live oil spill video

Oiled brown pelican. Photo by Flickr user IBRRC used under a Creative Commons License.
oiled brown pelican by IBRRC

I just received the following very interesting news release:

(Arlington, VA – May 24) The PBS NEWSHOUR today unveiled an updated version of its popular Gulf Leak Meter widget. The original widget has been modified to include a live video feed of the oil leaking into the waters off the Gulf Coast.

PBS NewsHour’s oil widget ( was originally released on May 9, offering readers the opportunity to choose among several scenarios based on BP’s and other experts’ best guesses of the spill’s size. The NewsHour continues to update the widget to include more perspectives on how much oil might be flowing from the leak and on May 17, factored in ( BP’s report of some success in siphoning 2,000 barrels of oil per day from the leaking well.
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Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Under: Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

Gulf Oil Spill: 7 experts steer oil spill conversation into fresh waters

NASA satellite photo of Gulf oil spill, taken May 17, 2010. Photo by Flickr user NASA Goddard Photo & Video used under a Creative Commons License
NASA oil2

In an effort to broaden the conversation about the horrific Gulf Coast oil spill, seven Fellows of the Post Carbon Institute in Santa Rosa, CA, offer their perspectives on largely under-reported aspects and outcomes of the disaster.

I think you’ll find the following comments to be QUITE interesting. /Gary
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Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2010
Under: Ocean, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »