Gulf Oil Spill Timeline
I'm inserting this into the post just in case anyone reading this post has been living under a rock or has been living far from civilization for the past 47 days. The following is a rough, general timeline of events that started April 20th:
* Eleven workers on BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig were killed when an explosion occurred on the rig, April 20th.
* The Deepwater Horizon rig burned for more than a day after the massive explosion and sank into the Gulf of Mexico on April 22, which is somewhat ironic, since that was Earth Day- a day reserved for thoughts and actions on how to better protect the Earth.
* Since the Deepwater Horizon rig sank into the Gulf, April 22, more than 200,000 gallons of oil a day have been pouring into the sea from the well it was drilling. Response teams have been working every day, with some individuals getting sick from the clean up work, to contain and clean up the floating oil, while "experts" have attempted, unsuccessfully, to shut off the flow of oil from the wellhead, The leaked oil has washed up on the fragile Louisiana shoreline and will eventually reach the coasts of other Gulf states , as well.
* Underwater robots are deployed, April 27, to stop the flow of oil but are unsuccessful.
* On April 28th, BP officials have announced they had underestimated the flow amount from the well by fivefold. Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association believe at least 5,000 (210,000 gallons) of oil are being released from the well each day.
* On April 29, Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal declares a state of emergency.
* On April 30, experts state in the Wall Street Journal that BP's oil well could be leaking up to 1,050,000 gallons per day into the Gulf of Mexico.
* Fisheries, the region's ecosystems and coastline town's tourist trade and jobs have already seen extensive damage from the spill.
* On May 2, President Obama announces, after visiting the Louisiana coast, that BP will bear the entire costs of the oil spill disaster.
* Now why do I get the feeling that really isn't going to happen?
* Are they really going to completely compensate the economic damage they've caused to the East Coast livelihoods of those people dependent on the fisheries and beaches along there?
Stayed tuned and be sure to keep your expectations extremely low when it comes to this promise.
* On May 6, a specially constructed containment vessel was lowered into the Gulf of Mexico but ice crystals plugged the top, keeping it from capping the leak. Since then, several attempts have been made to contain or stop the leak. All have been unsuccessful so far.
* During a Senate hearing on May 11, Lamar McKay, president and chairman of BP America, testifies about his company's role in the oil spill disaster. During the hearing McKay and BP officials from service providers, Transocean and Haliburton (ex-Vice President Dick Cheney's company) all tried to deflect blame for the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
* BP CEO Tony Hayward tours a beach, closed due to contamination from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Port Fourchon, La on May 24. BP officials acknowledge public frustration that the company has been unable to halt the spill.
* Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, examines oil and absorbent material that washed up in Grand Isle, La on May 21. BP reports the amount of oil it was collecting from a tube inserted into the cracked openwell fell from 5,000 to 2,000 barrels a day, saying the amount collected is 'not always the same.'
* With all of these estimates and miscalculations of how much oil is being spewed out, how can anyone believe anything any of these experts are saying for certain? It sounds like BP is trying to cover their asses by telling the people and government of the U.S. what they want to hear.
* On May 4, Senior BP officials testify in Congress that the oil well could be leaking as much as 60,000 barrels (2,500,00 gallons) per day into the Gulf of Mexico.
* According to BP, a tube they inserted into a broken pipe of the well, on May 17, was gathering more than one-fifth of the oil gushing from the spill. Scientist report that the spill found it's way into the Gulf's powerful loop current and that oil could be headed for Florida and the East Coast of the U.S.
* On May 25, at a Capital Hill hearing, members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vowed to hold British Petroleum "fully accountable" for the disaster.
* Oil from Deepwater Horizon washes ashore onto New Harbor Island, La., making it's first confirmed landfall.
* Floating barriers called booms are strategically placed in efforts to contain the spill and protect areas of coastline. A total of about 790,000 feet of boom have been deployed.
* Recently, a cap placed on an uneven cut on the top of the well has been placed by robotic equipment. Still, officials estimate about a half-million to a million gallons a day are still gushing out from around this cap. The well has leaked about 23 million to more than 46 million gallons since the crisis began, according to government estimates. In other words, the problem has not been solved.
According to Greenpeace.org:
"The oil plume from BP’s oil spill is expected to cause long term damage to the coastlines of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida and irreversibly alter the Gulf Coast ecosystem. The Gulf Coast is home to pristine ecosystems and some of the nation’s most prized wildlife refuges and conservation areas. The Gulf of Mexico provides habitat for hundreds of species, and each year, approximately five million migratory birds make their way through the region. According to The Times-Picayune, the threatened area is a vital wintering or resting spot for more than 70 percent of the nation's waterfowl including the brown pelican, Louisiana’s state bird. In addition, many endangered species rely on Gulf waters, and fragile populations of North Atlantic bluefin tuna, four species of sea turtles, six whale species, sharks, and dolphins are in the spill’s impact zone."
My point in showing this timeline and other statistics is to demonstrate and explain that these are predictable outcomes of our reliance on fossil fuels. Absolutely no good can come from drilling oil in our oceans or on land. It's painfully obvious that we have been creating more pollution into the air we breathe for a century now and poisoning the water that we depend upon for sustainability- not to mention the marine life that lives there for food and life, itself.
Preventative action must be taken by putting stricter regulations in place for the coal and oil industries to make them safer. And placing bans on new offshore drilling is certainly an obvious, good idea.
Greedy corporations and the wealthy individuals responsible for this disaster certainly need to be held accountable. But, with that said...
We can all point fingers in the blame game in this disaster but the solutions to this ongoing problem and needless dependence on fossil fuels are much more important. Changing course and using alternative energy sources is real answer. We should have shifted our focus from finding new places to drill for oil and buying oil from the Middle East in the last thirty to forty decades to inventing a means to produce clean, renewable energy.
In truth, it causes me to become angry and disappointed in humanity, when I think about the fact that we haven't striven earlier on, in the past 30 to 40 years, to find a way out of this mess we've put ourselves in. It doesn't make sense. No one can see the signs? Is it corporate greed? A matter of profit? Is it ignorance? Are we so apathetic towards the very real possibility of our demise as a species by our own hands that we don't care to do the research?
Good questions. I demand answers.
Also: To learn more about the secretive corruption of BP, our own government and other parties involved in this mess, I encourage you to read Lana Gramlich's excellent, informative post. Click this link- An American Tragedy Part 2
I've been researching various sources of energy that are either completely free or being cheaper, comparatively, than using coal and oil- both in preserving our life on Earth and economically. I will discuss this in Part 2 of this ongoing series. I hope this will interest you. I would think it would, since our lives and our children's lives, in the present and future, depend on finding exceptionally better sources of energy.