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Saturday, June 5, 2010

BP Oil Spill, Alternative Energy and Climate Change

This post will be the first in a series of three. If you look to the right hand column, you will notice the live view of the Gulf oil spill, gushing forth and continuing to create one of the worst, if not the worst, ecological disaster in U.S. History. I will leave this widget up for the duration of this series to serve as a reminder of the fallacies and ignorance of humankind.



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

And lastly...

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.

19 comments:

The Wolf said...

I have tried not to read anything about the BP oil spill not becuase I don't care (far from it) but becuase frankly i'm not suprised this happened, just like I won't be suprised when this happens again and it will. These events piss me off becuase those in charge of these cooporations and the government both in the U.S and Canada are run by greedy douche bags who are either too stupid to give a fuck or simply don't care.

I totally agree that humanity needs to get their heads out of their asses and do something to change the course were on, or simply we are going to destroy ourselves. Then their going to be double fucked becuase they didn't pay attention to my blog.

The only way I think this is going to happen sadly is either clean energy has to become more profitable (money wise) then oil, or an event so catstophic has to happen that people are forced to change, and even something like that many won't.

Kelly said...

The Wolf- Yep, it could easily happen again. Kind of surprising it hasn't happened before April 20th. Agree with the greedy douchebag comment, totally. I forgot to add to this post another interesting tidbit... One of the main supervisors, just days before the rig exploded and killed 11 workers (including him), came home to his wife, acting nervous and upset. She asked him what was wrong. He told her that BP was ignoring safety regulations and pushing everyone to drill for more oil. He told her he was afraid, by the way some of the equipment had been operating, that something terrible was going to happen.

She was telling this story on the Today show during an interview. She also said that A few BP reps told her that they would compensate her for her husbands funeral and that she would receive a large sum of money for what happened. Then, just before her husband was put into the ground, BP went back on their words and said she would get nothing.

And yeah, big corporations don't want to invest in free energy or anything close to it because they won't be able to make a profit off of it. They don't care if people die or not. All that matters to them is money.

The Wolf said...

I think the big coorporations would invest heavily into green energy. The problem those fuckers have is that they need to see a profit, and the stake holders have to see profits in order for them to invest in the company. My ex is a broker and I learned a thing or two about the stock market and finances in general.

In short there a bunch of greedy fucks who really care nothing about the average person. To them we are numbers that can be bought or sold. In their eyes we are nothing more then a cog in a machine. That's why there's job cuts. Not becuase the company can't afford to pay employess but becuase most of the time they want to increase profits and cut as many corners as possible in doing it.

This is why green energy companies are still few and far between, not becuase the technology is lacking, far from it actually the tech exists to almost go completly green. There would also be a huge job boom becuase the labour required to build, transport, and maintain this equipment would be huge. The problem these greedy fucks is the initial cost and hesitante stake holders who own shares in these companies. There more concerned about loosing money in the short term, rather then the long term financial gain, plus the gain from decreasing our dependancy on fossil fuels. Not to mention the governments of the world are pretty fucking lazy.

Lana Gramlich said...

I agree that we need to actively pursue alternative energies (it'd also help if we didn't need so darned much.) Unfortunately it's unrealistic to think that those holding the pursestrings (namely the oil industry,) are going to allow any change any time soon. The less oil we have, the higher the price, after all.
Don't know if you're aware, but most of the imported oil in the U.S. actually comes from Canada.
Yes, there should be drastic change. Am I holding my breath? Hell no... :(
You might be interested in my recent post on the subject.

Kelly said...

The Wolf- Yeah, I know what you mean by them not wanting to invest in green energy. They want their money right away. And yeah, I know what you mean by the job cutting practice for their profit margin. They do it around here and the rest of the world all the time. I'm talking about something called "free energy". They would make zero profit from that, likely, unless they somehow gain a profit by selling the machinery that will transfer it. What I'm talking about is something I'm going to cover in Part 2 of this series. Plus, other forms of energy. You'll see.

Now... don't make me give it all away. I want it to be a surprise. Tee hee.

Kelly said...

Lana Gramlich- Yeah, I agree with you there. The oil industry do have major control over us in that way. It's sickening. Our dependence on oil is something we should have been gradually weened off from decades ago. It's deadly. We knew it was polluting the environment. We knew there is only so much of it. alternative energies, like the ones I'll discuss in Part 2 of this series, are the way to go.

Greed is a selfish, killing disease for all of humanity. And yes, I would be most interested in reading your post. Be there in a second to leave a comment :-) And thanks for commenting. Take care.

The Wolf said...

@ Lana Gramlich yeah I was aware that most oil right now is importated from Canada primarly from the tar sands in northern Alberta, I live in that provence for 10 years. Frankly what the Alberta government and the greedy oil companies have done is an embaressment, if you've seen pictures of the tar sands it's disgusting they've litrally destroyed the area for the oil, it makes me shake my head in disbelif that something so obviously wrong is continued at the pace that it has been.

~~Just Me in T~~ said...

Every article gives different stories and amounts, and as this is a wild rushing gusher, spewing phenomenal amounts of chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico, I expect there is no way to accurately measure the amount.

Earlier on Friday, BP's chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the containment cap "should work" by capturing at least 90% of the gushing oil.

Hummm 90% is what amount... is that the down played amount being touted by BP or the much higher estimate of the US government?

Whatever the REAL facts, it remains that this LMRP is only a band aid solution, temporary, until the hoped for two relief wells are complete and functioning.

http://just-me-in-t.blogspot.com/2010/06/not-solution-just-band-aid.html

Kelly said...

Just Me in T- So true. I don't think it's even possible to know the amount of oil that has gushed out so far. Maybe a very rough estimate. I think the widget I have in the right hand column is showing a rough estimate but I put it there to show everyone it's still going strong- unfortunately- and as a reminder, of the dangers of offshore drilling and why it shouldn't be done.

By the way, I went to your website/post about this subject. It's very well written. Take care.

klahanie said...

Hi Kelly,
The rest of the contributors to this article have more than covered my own thinking on this subject.
Disasters like this are sadly inevitable. The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill, way back in March 1989, in Prince William Sound, Alaska, has had an awful impact, to this very day, on the eco-balance.
Oil tankers along the west coast of British Columbia and Alaska have been the subject of much debate. Having lived in Vancouver, the home of Greenpeace, these issues have been argued over for far too long.
It is time for corporate greed to be put aside and start using alternative energy sources. As we all know, our planet and the legacy we leave our children, depends on it.
A very well written article, Kelly.
With respect, Gary.

One of The Guys said...

I couldn't agree more with everything you've said. This was a very informative and interesting post and I look forward to the next segment.

The Wolf said...

Is it just me or does it seem that there is more oil leaking out now then what there was a couple of days ago when this post went up. I was looking at the widget up top showing the oil leakage and it looks like the amount coming out is more, mabye it's just me but still it really pisses me off all to make money and satisfy greed. I wish I could force feed those CEO's and those in the upper management of BP the oily sludge washing up on shore

Kelly said...

klahanie- Oh yeah... I do, indeed, remember the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska. It didn't happen that long ago and the after effects of what it did to the ecosystem can clearly be seen and many studies have been done on it. Having lived in the main base of Greenpeace, I bet you have heard the issues argued over that subject and then some. I agree. It is time for corporate greed to be put aside and start using alternative energies, but, I don't believe they will. You and I and anyone else with a brain knows that if there isn't going to be a quick profit to be made with these different sources of energy, they won't do it- I don't think they would even do it if it came to the inevitable situation where people's lives depend on it. The wealthy, corporate elite have shown they just don't care about any human lives but their own. They don't care about the future of the human race. All they know is the present- and the Almighty Dollar or whatever currency they're using in their particular country. The ones with their heads in the sands (or up their asses) would call me a pessimist or a cynical bastard for my view on people, but really, I think it would be more appropriate to call me a realist- someone who sees the truth- speaks the truth and wishes that people would change for the better. Unfortunately, I believe, this change will come at a high price, with possibly a majority of the population of this world being killed by what we put into the air, food and water- or an all out war for resources.

And maybe, that won't even bring humanity together and change our mindset toward the positive. Hate to be a bummer. Just calling it by how I've seen it, read it and studied it for decades. Human history is rife with needless suffering and chaos that we bestow upon one another with as much thought as when a man steps on an ant. Still, I strive to see the positive bits in life. Sometimes, if I squint really really hard, I can see them. Ha ha.

Thanks for the compliment, Gary. I appreciate it. Take care.

Kelly said...

One of The Guys- Thanks, Guy. I'll be working on the next segment tonight. Hopefully, I'll have it up by tomorrow. All of this research makes my head hurt. :)

Kelly said...

The Wolf- Yeah, I've been looking off and on at that widget for the past couple of days and it does look like the amount that's gushing has gotten bigger. When I saw the webcam on it, on CNN, it looked like a monstrous cloud of oil, too. Kinda mesmerizing when you look at it- not to mention nauseating when you know it could have been prevented.

I know what you mean about forcing the CEO's and others responsible that oily sludge. I've often fantasized about force feeding money down greedy fuckers throats like this because I know how much they love money. If they love it that much, they can fucking choke on the shit.

Greed and apathy go hand in hand.

Crazy Brunette said...

Holy shit...

I'm a fucktard, living under a rock....

But in my defense, I don't watch TV because SHIT like this is all over it!!!!

This is AWFUL!

Mr. Stupid said...

That's a lot of fuel waste all due to ignorance. Its endangering all the water life in that area. I wonder when it will get fixed.
I was looking at that widget too. The numbers are soaring.

Great post, Kelly. Looking forward to the next installment.

Kelly said...

Crazy Brunette- Yeah, news like this is hard to watch sometimes. I turn the TV off, too, sometimes because of the constant negative news that's being spewed out. But, when it's this kind of devastating event, I feel like I should take notice and say something about it.

You're right. This mess is awful. And will only get worse until, if and when, it is resolved. But I'm not holding my breath. Take care.

Kelly said...

Mr. Stupid- Yep, it's all due to ignorance and GREED. I'm not sure when it will get really fixed either. And with all of the oil and toxins already released and with all that will continue to be released- I fear the effects of the oil- on the eco-system will suffer decades from that alone.

Thanks for the great post compliment. If it weren't for my continuous personal family aggravations, the 2nd installment would have been posted already. Anyway, take care, friend. I look forward to your next crazy post. Ha ha.

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