Sunday, 30 January 2011

BP Oil Spill Close To Florida: Oil Sheen Spotted Nine Miles From Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach
PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. — An oil sheen was confirmed about nine miles off the Florida coast, and officials are saying it could hit the white sands of Pensacola Beach as soon as Wednesday.
Escambia County officials started putting out boom Tuesday and making other plans for the arrival of the oil. Crude has already been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi, and it has impacted some 125 miles of Louisiana coastline.
Fla. officials say their request for about $150,000 from BP to buy sifting machines and a tractor to help remove oil from the beach's famous white sands has lingered unanswered for more than three weeks.
Santa Rosa Island Authority executive director W.A. "Buck" Lee says he is fed up with delays from the unified command center in Mobile, Ala.
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Current may carry Florida's oil spill fate

Oceanographers tracking the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico fear a powerful loop current will propel the mess across the Keys into South Florida.

Winds expected to shift and ease in the next few days could buy some time for weather-beaten crews battling to bottle up and burn off a massive slick of rust-colored crude before it fouls fragile marshes and sugary beaches across four Gulf Coast states.
But that brief reprieve could soon send a nasty ripple effect toward South Florida -- pushing outlying plumes of polluted surface water and patches of tar balls into the Gulf of Mexico's powerful loop current. That would propel the mess across the mangrove islands, seagrass beds and coral reefs of the Florida Keys, then up toward Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and beyond.
Oceanographers tracking the BP oil slick -- still expanding from an uncapped well belching an estimated 210,000 gallons a day -- said Monday that questions about the loop's impact have increasingly turned from if to when.
Satellite images suggest the loop, which moves seasonally, is creeping north, spinning off small whirls of current that University of Miami oceanographer Nick Shay said may already have drawn in the slick's leading, and lightest, edge.
Robert Weisberg, an oceanographer at the University of South Florida, who updates daily tracking models, pinpoints the loop still about 30 miles south of the slick.
But, he stressed, ``The immediacy of the collision of these two features is real. Will it happen in a day, two days, three days, a week, two weeks? I don't know. I'm not willing to say that yet.''
For now, the focus of Florida's top political, environmental and emergency managers remains firmly on the Gulf Coast.
Gov. Charlie Crist Monday extended his state of emergency order to 13 more counties, bringing the total to 19, as the spreading oil slick threatened Florida's coast.
``It is an enormous mess,'' Crist said. ``It is unbelievable, the magnitude of this thing. Clearly every effort needs to be put on plugging the hole up and stopping the bleeding.''
A state of emergency exists for the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Manatee, Sarasota, Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough.
With the slick and tar balls just 50 miles offshore in Florida, the state's top environmental official warned residents to brace for impacts to beaches and fisheries -- from oyster beds in the Panhandle to, at least potentially, the shallow reefs of the Florida Keys.
Michael Sole, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, echoed concerns raised by scientists and fishing captains that the uncapped gusher could pump pollution up both coasts.
``The magnitude of this spill is daunting,'' he said. ``We still have an ongoing release of some 5,000 barrels of oil occurring just 50 miles off Louisiana. It's not like `We had a spill. We're cleaning it up and it'll be over.' ''
BP already has workers processing claims in Florida, according to Lucia Bustamante, the oil company's external-affairs director.
``There is a claims process that is very clear and it has been posted publicly,'' she said at an emergency meeting in Panama City. ``What I can tell you is to keep proper documentation of everything. You are going to need it.''
Attorneys general from the five Gulf Coast states are asking President Barack Obama to take legal steps necessary to lay blame for the massive Gulf oil leak.
Chris Bence, a spokesman for Alabama Attorney General Troy King, said a letter was prepared asking the president to clear the way for possible court action by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and his peers from Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama.

Florida DEP - Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill

Deepwater Horizon Response logoThe Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the lead state agency for responding to impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill along Florida’s shoreline. This website is the primary location for updates and information on response actions, impacts and recovery efforts in the state of Florida.
On Tuesday, April 20, 2010 an offshore oil drilling platform, Deepwater Horizon, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana. The rig, owned by Transocean Ltd, was under contract to BP. The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activated on April 30 in response to this event. The Deepwater Horizon well was capped on July 15, 2010 and is no longer discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico. On Friday, August 27, 2010 the State Emergency Operations Center transitioned to a Level 3 monitoring status, marking the second longest activation in EOC history at 120 days.
It is likely that beaches in Northwest Florida will continue to receive isolated impacts, mainly scattered tar balls, in the coming months caused by natural tides and weather conditions. It is possible that immediately following any tropical activity, lingering ocean swells and higher tides could push offshore tar ball fields closer to the coast. State emergency management officials continue to coordinate with federal, state and local partners to ensure that any further impacts to Florida’s coastline are removed quickly and efficiently. Visit  for more information on the other response and recovery efforts.

Almost All of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Workers are Dead'

(SALEM, Ore.) - It is the last thing most of us expected to hear: nearly every single worker from the Exxon Valdez oil spill Disaster is now dead, according to a CNN News report. The video accompanies this article. We're talking about a lot of people. I personally became an oil spill volunteer at the time here in Oregon, though I never got my hands very dirty, so to speak. Good thing as it turns out.

Exxon Valdez spill 20-years later

According to an article by theInstitute for Southern Studies, relating to the current spill: "Already, a large number of workers cleaning up the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico report that they are suffering from flu-like symptoms." [1]
CNN is warning volunteers on the current Gulf Spill of this dire information. The fact that the workers from the 1989 Alaska spill have died, surely will give current workers something to think about.
CNN and numerous other groups including, have revealed the fact that this is very unhealthy work. Exposure to contaminants is something humans are supposed to avoid, but in this case it is a draw card for work in a broken national economy.

The average life expectancy for an Exxon Valdez oil spill worker according to the CNN report, is 51 years.
That figure is a far cry from the average American lifespan of 78.2 years, which is a pathetic figure in its own right; as the U.S. is rated #38 for life expectancy in the world, behind nations like Israel, Singapore, Costa Rica, South Korea and Cuba[2].
Exxon Valdez workers will see 27.2 fewer years in this life than the average American.
This is their reward, for cleaning up the mess of this alcohol induced shipwreck; possibly the worst Driving Under the Influence case in world history.
Gloomy Prospects
A quote in a Business Insider article by Michael Snyder, reveals problems currently affecting Florida beach residents, who are not working on the spill, just surviving near it.
"My 2 friends and I have been sick with headaches and vomiting, also it feels like heartburn, just feeling lousy. We have not been to the Gulf but there is an inlet at the end of our street. We live on the West side of Pensacola FL. near the Bayou. At first I thought it was just me. My 2 friends are having the same symptoms, all at the same time. Right now I have a dull headache, and my stomach is queasy. I have been thinking maybe the chemicals from the oil cleanup or the oil itself is causing us to be ill. It has been raining all day off and on. I started feeling ill late last night. I was wondering if anyone else in Pensacola have the same symptoms." [3]
The article surmises that the American Dream isn't about making a high wage for a short time and then checking out before you get to know what your grandchildren look like. I certainly have to agree.

This is the CNN news clip that launched the news

The mess brought about by disrupting Mother Nature this way, leaves behind what is increasingly becoming a "toxic soup" of oil, dangerous methane, deadly benzene, hydrogen sulfide, toxic gases, and approximately two million gallons of highly toxic dispersants that include Corexit 9500.
The methane alone, according to some experts, could turn the current oil spill into a fiery explosion that would literally devastate the entire section of the globe[4].
A methane bubble identified beneath the ocean floor, near the spill point, could lead to a situation that would, according to Richard C Hoagland, celebrity of the science world; author and radio host, resemble an underwater Mount Saint Helens explosion[5].
In essence, the Deepwater Horizon site is on top of an underwater volcano with magma near the surface constantly rising and falling. Hoagland, whose theory is backed by experts like Dr. William Deagle, says if this worst case scenario takes place, it will generate a massive tidal wave that will travel at a speed of 400-600 miles an hour, right over the top of Florida, which has an elevation above sea level of approximately 100 feet[6].
According to the Business Insider"A large number of workers cleaning up the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico report that they are suffering from flu-like symptoms."
A source in Pensacola cited by Snyder in his article, Citizens for Legitimate Government, states that, "400 people have sought medical care for upper or lower respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, and eye irritation after trips to Escambia County beaches." [7]
Oil spill cleanup work may sound like a fast buck, but it seriously, could hardly be worth the health risk.

Gulf Methane levels 40% instead of normal 5%, Scientists Worried -

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address:

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: 21 Years Later

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: 21 Years Later

Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Four minutes after midnight on March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound. Eleven million gallons of oil spewed into one of the most bountiful marine ecosystems in the world. It killed birds, marine mammals and fish and devastated the ecosystem in the oil's path. North Slope crude spoiled lands and waters that had sustained Alaska native people for millennia.
Within a week, currents and winds pushed the slick 90 miles from the site of the tanker, out of Prince William Sound into the Gulf of Alaska. It eventually reached nearly 600 miles away from the wreck contaminating 1,500 miles of shoreline—about the length of California's coast—and was described as the "largest oil spill to date in U.S. waters."
As many as half a million birds died. Over 30,000 carcasses of 90 species of birds were plucked from the beaches, but this was only a fraction of the actual mortality, and harm to birds from chronic effects and decreased reproduction continues today.
Some fish died, but the most serious damage was to their critical spawning and rearing habitats. Salmon spawn in the intertidal zone, herring in the sub-tidal zone on kelp, and Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout feed in shallow water. Over 100 salmon streams were oiled.
Shoreline cleanup began in April of 1989 and continued until September of 1989 for the first year of the response. The response effort continued in 1990 and 1991 with cleanup in the summer months and limited shoreline monitoring in the winter months. Fate and effects monitoring by state and federal agencies are ongoing.
BP in perspective
In an NBC News report on June 11, scientists claimed that the amount of oil being spilled in the Gulf of Mexico was the equivalent of "one Exxon Valdez spill every one to 10 days."
To understand the devastating ramifications of the BP oil spill, it is imperative to review how the Exxon oil spill affected Prince William Sound from April of 1989 to today—21 years later.
An Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council was formed to oversee restoration of the injured ecosystem. The Council consists of three state and three federal trustees (or their designees). The Council is advised by members of the public and by members of the scientific community. Meetings are open to the public.
"Following the oil and its impacts over the past 20 years has changed our understanding of the long-term damage from an oil spill," the council stated.
"We know that risk assessment for future spills must consider what the total damages will be over a longer period of time, rather than only the acute damages in the days and weeks following a spill."
One of the lessons learned is that a spill's impacts can last a long time in a habitat with calm, cold waters like Prince William Sound, the council said.
None of that was expected "at the time of the spill or even 10 years later," it added. "In 1999, beaches in the sound appeared clean on the surface. Some subsurface oil had been reported in a few places, but it was expected to decrease over time and, most importantly, to have lost its toxicity due to weathering. A few species were not recovering at the expected rate in some areas, but continuing exposure to oil was not suspected as the primary cause."
It turns out that oil often got trapped in semi-enclosed bays for weeks, going up and down with the tide and some of it being pulled down into the sediment below the seabed.
"The cleanup efforts and natural processes, particularly in the winter, cleaned the oil out of the top 2-3 inches, where oxygen and water can flow," the council said, "but did little to affect the large patches of oil farther below the surface."
The group cited a faster transition to double-hulled oil tankers as the best protection for wildlife. Single-hulled tankers are still allowed in U.S. waters until 2015.
Status of restoration
According to a technical background paper written for Alaska Wilderness League in 1999, to the naked eye, Prince William Sound may appear normal. Visitors can see spectacular, unspoiled vistas of islands surrounded by blue-green waters and mountain-rimmed fjords. But if you look beneath the surface, oil continues to contaminate beaches, national parks and designated wilderness. In fact, the Office of Technology Assessment estimated beach cleanup and oil skinning recovered only 3-4 percent of the Exxon Valdez oil, and studies by government scientists estimated that only 14 percent of the oil was removed during cleanup operations.
Pockets of oil—an estimated 16,000 gallons, according to federal researchers—remain buried in small portions of the intertidal zone hard hit by the spill. Moreover, surveys "have documented lingering oil also on the Kenai Peninsula and the Katmai coast, over 450 miles away," according to the council.
Twenty years after the oil spill, the ecosystem is still suffering. Substantial contamination of mussel beds persists, and this remarkably unweathered oil is a continuing source of toxic hydrocarbons. Sea otters, river otters, Barrow's goldeneyes and harlequin ducks have showed evidence of continued hydrocarbon exposure.
The depressed population of Pacific herring—a critical source of food for over 40 predators including seabirds, harbor seals and Steller sea lions—is having severe impacts up the food chain. Wildlife population declines continue for harbor seal, killer whales, harlequin ducks, common loon, pigeon guillemot, and pelagic red-faced cormorants and double-crested cormorants.
The Exxon oil spill resulted in profound physiological effects to fish and wildlife. These included reproductive failure, genetic damage, curved spines, lowered growth and body weights, altered feeding habits, reduced egg volume, liver damage, eye tumors and debilitating brain lesions.
In its 20th anniversary Status Report, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council lists only 10 of the 31 injured resources and services they monitor as "recovered" (which includes bald eagles and river otters). Ten more, including killer whales and sea otters are listed as "recovering." Populations of Pacific herring and pigeon guillemots are listed as "not recovering."
The most important species that is still experiencing significant problems is Pacific herring, an ecologically and commercially important species in Prince William Sound. They are central to the marine food web, providing food to marine mammals, birds, invertebrates and other fish. Herring are also commercially fished for food, bait, sac-roe and spawn on kelp.
Due to the decreased population, the Status Report states, the herring fishery in Prince William Sound has been closed for 13 of the 19 years since the spill and remains closed today. "We're not going to consider Prince William Sound recovered until the herring are recovered," said Jeep Rice, a federal scientist who has spent the past 20 years studying the spill's impact.
Human services that depend on natural resources were also injured by the spill. These services are each categorized as "recovering" until the resources they depend on are fully recovered: commercial fishing, passive use, recreation and tourism, and subsistence.
In the weeks and months following the spill, thousands of people tried to clean up the contamination. But two decades later, oil persists and is estimated to total around 20,000 gallons, according to the council.
Scientists continue to study the affected shorelines to understand how an ecosystem like Prince William Sound responds to, and recovers from, an incident like the Exxon oil spill.
Twenty years after the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound, oil persists in the region and, in some places, "is nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill," according to the council overseeing restoration efforts.
"This Exxon Valdez oil is decreasing at a rate of 0-4 percent per year," the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council stated. "At this rate, the remaining oil will take decades and possibly centuries to disappear entirely."
Ms. Teri Schure is the founder of, lectures on issues pertaining to publishing, and is a consultant in the magazine, web development and marketing industries.