BP Oil Spill: Effects on us, and perhaps the future?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Curiosity Never Hurt, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Well it's still in the Committee, and unless you get Unanimous consent, that's where it will stay.

    But, you go far beyond what the Committee is about. They are to find out why the spill happened, not investigate the EPA and the DOJ, so you really are just piling on.

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    As usual in this thread, your links contradict your assertions.

    Some people in Congress most definitely want subpoena power for the Congressional investigation - an apparent clear majority of the House, and enough of the Senate that the Republicans have had to bottle it up in committee, where Durbin, Schumer, and Specter can anonymously cooperate with the universally coopted and oil-friendly Republican body to prevent its mere consideration on the floor of the Senate.

    As you document.

    Are you opposed to the Congressional investigation into the biggest of several BP disasters having subpoena power? If so, why?
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  5. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    I said
    So WHO in Congress is calling for an investigation into the EPA over the BP spill?

    That's not about SubPeona power, I've mentioned a number of times they don't need that to get info from the EPA.

    As to the SubPeona power, personally I could care less, since the DOJ does have it and so I don't think they will find out anything they wouldn't anyway.

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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They need subpoena power to get information about the EPA's decisions during the crisis from the relevant sources including the EPA itself.

    And the DOJ.

    My issue is subpoena power for the Congressional investigation, which is routine and necessary for information on any number of matters in the wake of a disaster like this - and being blocked by apparently corrupt Congressmen.

    Which is a matter of concern, whether you think the DOJ can be trusted to bury the whole scene in legalisms or not.
  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    No they don't.

    They only have to ask.

    If they get turned down for something or the person refuses to appear, then they need subpoena power.

    So far, and I've read the all the reports on their web site, they do not mention a single thing they have asked for that they haven't received or a person who hasn't shown up to testify.


    Of course, when you look at the committee and the speakers they are hearing from and the level of data they are accumulating, they aren't doing any kind of investigation like you are suggesting that they do.

    So no, they are not investigating the EPA or the DOJ with their 50 staffers and $15 million dollar budget.

    It's really more of a ask people to come and testify about various aspects and from that they are going to spend several months writing a report and have it done and on the presidents desk by January.

    So, too bad, but this isn't the venue for the kind of investigation you seem to think is necessary.

    So the net is all this grumbling has really been about nothing.


    And besides you (and you don't count), I know of no one in congress that is calling for an investigation into the EPA or the DOJ.

  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So they need it, in case someone doesn't want to answer questions or turn over the relevant records.
    So you think failure is built in to the setup?

    I can easily believe that, especially with the denial of subpoena power.

    There's no way in hell we are going to have any idea what went wrong between BP and the EPA and the DOJ and the various regulatory agencies that so badly failed their trust and in such obviously defective realtionship with industry, without compelled testimony. No one is going to freely admit to what is either incompetence or corruption or both.

    And without such info, that fine statement of goals and objectives is a waste of text. They aren't going to examine any "root causes", make any informed recommendations, etc.
  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    No, I think, except for why the BOP failed, and that is currently undergoing Forensic testing by the Dept of Interior and the USCG, we pretty much already know what happened. There are some other issues that still need more clarity, like why the failed cement job wasn't identified by the Negative pressure test, given that they had test results showing it wasn't holding and why the movement of hydrocarbons up the four + miles of drill pipe and riser wasn't detected for over an hour by the Rig operators, while they still had time to halt the movement by pumping mud down the well is still not clear, but will most likely be determined when the current investigation is complete. (the sinking of the rig and loss of 11 people and some log data is an issue)

    The DOJ so far hasn't said a thing, but I'd be surprised if they find any criminal laws were broken. None have seemed obvious to those who have been following this from the beginning, indeed the key factors seems to have been no more surprising than human error. Which last time I looked isn't criminal.

    I gave you the highlights earlier, but I guess you aren't interested enough to read the reports that are available.

  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You don't (for example, you asserted the EPA had tested and approved the dispersant as BP used it; you have no apparent clue about the connections between DOJ responses to past BP mishaps and the policies BP adopted for this drilling; you do not know what the actual discussion among BP execs regarding the employment of dispersant involved as criteria or considerations, etc. ). I don't (I don't know, for example, exactly how the fraudulent mitigation plans, inadequate initial response, etc, were handled by the EPA; why the corporate honchos of BP were never summoned for questioning under oath after the nature and scale of the dispersant employment leaked; etc). Who's we?
  12. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    EPA had tested the dispersant and approved its use and when BP asked for permission to use it at depth, they allowed it with conditions, which they had the legal right to do.

    Like I pointed out before, you apparently aren't happy they did so and want the EPA's decision to be investigated, but so what?
    What support do you have for this investigation into the EPA?
    If Obama, who created the commission you think needs more power, had an issue with the EPA why did he put Lisa Jackson in charge of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force he just created?

    I know of NO DOJ responses to the policies BP adopted for this drilling, WTF are you talking about?

    It's only your contention that the Area Recovery plans were fraudulent. You are getting the cart before the horse. The DoI is doing their investigation and if they found they were fraudulent they would say so. They haven't.

    It's only your contention that the initial response was inadequate. Indeed, I laid out the response and it was rapid and extensive. Ships only move so fast, and so everyone knows it's going to take days for the containment ships from other areas to converge on the spill.

    So just because you list a few things that YOU would like to see investigated, doesn't equate to a Congressional mandate for an investigation.

    "We" is people who have actually followed this at a depth below the headlines and the Evening news. You know, read the reports, read the investigations that have occurred, followed the response on a daily basis etc

    This whole thread seems to be no more than a discussion of what issues you want to be investigated.

  13. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Ah, the Obama Admin?

    The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it was immediately lifting a moratorium on deepwater drilling that was imposed after the BP oil spill, as new rules are put in place that are intended to prevent another disaster.

    “We have made and continue to make significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deepwater drilling,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters on a conference call early Tuesday afternoon. Therefore, he said, “I have decided that it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set.”


  14. Dredd Dredd Registered Senior Member

  15. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    That has to be the stupidist article I've read in a LONG while.

    Are you are that dumb that you actually believed any of it?
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    !.8 million gallons of a toxin has been point source dumped into the midwater and scattering layers of the Gulf of Mexico. In the dumping it has been mixed with millions of gallons of hot, high pressure erupting crude oil.

    The primary effect was to reduce the amount of that oil reaching the surface, where it would have been 1) BP's responsibility to collect, at great expense 2) BP's civil liability, for the damages it did if not collected 3) BP's direct expense, in royalties owed the US government, for each visible and more easily counted barrel.

    The toxin so dumped had never been tested for that use or in any relevant circumstances, and little or no relevant information about its likely effects was available to the government officials who are alleged to have approved this dumping. In addition, the amount approved by these ignorant officials was greatly exceeded by BP, for reasons not so far made public.

    By all appearances, then, a possible disaster involving a calculated crime has been committed, including government officials in collusion with, or otherwise improperly influenced by, a multinational oil company. That is not a farfetched possibility, either from recent history or the available circumstances - it is the likely event.

    In order to clear their respective names, the government agencies involved and all corporations involved should be more than happy to enter into the public record a complete and documented account of their motives, reasoning, decision procedures, and actions surrounding this apparently criminally irresponsible deed.

    They have so far failed to do this. An independent agency investigation - one not tainted by direct prior involvement and other obvious self-interests - is therefore indicated. It needs subpoena power, and federal level authority.

    And that is just one of the major issues facing a responsible, competent, uncorrupted government in the wake of this massive and preventable disaster.
    It is my contention that the plans appear obviously fraudulent, with both evidence and argument supplied (which was overkill, actually: just on the obvious, flagrant face of things no such plans were available - in the event, it was immediately apparent that there were no adequate preparations in existence). It is my contention that the initial response appeared not only inadequate, but visibly irresponsible and visibly corrupt. Again, evidence and argument was supplied.

    You have so far made no response to the evidence and arguments presented. You have instead asserted falsehoods, contradicted by your own links and evidence where they were not just silly, followed by disparagement of my opinions as opinions. Apparently if I have an opinion, that fact alone is somehow reason to discount all the evidence and arguments, and supply none of your own?
  17. Dredd Dredd Registered Senior Member

    I guess you think ad hominem is a math formula? :shrug:

    Here, read this article, it is a little bit better.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  18. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Again, so what that YOU are calling on an investigation into the EPA?

    Too bad no one that matters is.

    Your concerns about the use of Corexit have been noted.

    But the evidence that the EPA has provided indicates that as far as we know, the use of Corexit was a success.

    And, the use of Corexit, including the quantities used and how it was used, was within the legal authority of the EPA.

    As to your contention that BP was dodging its liability by use of Corexit, again, that's just something you are making up.
    Everyone was trying to keep the oil off the shore to keep the environmental damage down, the EPA agreed that use of Corexit could help do that.
    As far as the quantity of oil estimation, again BS, the estimation from surface analysis is actually quite poor, the primary method they ended up using, flow analysis is much more accurate and is the basis for the Govs estimate, and was not impacted by use of Corexit.

    As to the response, I gave you the figures that showed that BP indeed did bring to bear a massive amount of resources to contain the spill and protect the shore.

    Do you deny ANY of the following?

    Within a week of the accident, besides moving two billion dollar drilling rigs to the site and half a dozen key support vessels, they had 2,000 people working on the spill and 75 ships had already deployed half a million feet of boom. At this time there was no oil near shore.

    By the second week, they had 10,000 people trained and working on containing the spill and 270 ships that were skimming or deploying 1 million ft of boom and ROVs working round the clock to provide data about the spill. At this time there was no oil on shore.

    By the third week, the drilling of the relief wells was well undreway, 6 different ROVs were now surveying the site and providing data, 17,000 people were working to contain the spill, 600 ships were deploying over 1.3 million ft of boom or skimming or burning oil at the surface, and multiple different temporary containment operations, based on the damaged BOP and LRMP/Riser debris were being completed. (they built 10, used 1)

    By the end of just 30 days, they had 24,000 people working on the clean up, more peope than worked for BP at the start of this, they had 1,100 ships involved in the clean up/containment and they had deployed over 1.7 million ft of boom.

    By the fifth week, the number of ships would rise to 1,700 and the boom laid to over 2.2 million ft.

    By the second month BP would have a modern armada of almost 7,000 ships and 45,000 people at work on the clean up.

    Now, about 2 months after the well was plugged, there are 18,000 people working on the clean up, including 1,500 boats, but they only have but 20,000 ft of boom left deployed. BP is currently estimating that clean up activities will be completed by next spring. Considering how much oil was spilled the effectiveness of the response was very good as we can see in the numbers of dead animals is a small fraction of those killed by the much smaller event at Prince William Sound.

    http://www.restorethegulf.gov/sites/...e 100710.pdf

    Could it have been better?

    Yes, anything could be better, but considering our level of technology of oil skimming and containment via booms, what they did was what we know how to do.

    So your protestations, that their response plans were obviously fraudulent or irresponsible is simply not supported by the facts.

    Similarly your bias is showing when you post statements like this:

    No. So far as we know it was an ACCIDENT.

    Accidents aren't criminal.

    So far, nothing of a Criminal nature has been alleged by anyone in the government. The DOJ is looking into it, but after nearly 5 months no criminal charges have been filed against anyone, so for you to claim that this was criminal is simply not supported by any facts.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I am expressing disapproval of the Republican blocking of Congressionally requested subpoena power for the Federal investigation into the entire disaster.

    One would assume the EPA, DOJ, etc, would be included, as they are directly and intimately involved with every aspect of the circumstances.
    BP's injection of nearly 2 million gallons of Corexit into the oil eruption a mile below the surface was not an accident.
    Then BP and all contractors and all government agencies involved will be happy to release the complete and documented record of that decision, into the public record.

    That appears to be not happening.
    If that ineffective clusterfuck was the totality of the actual plan, we turn to how they ever got it approved. With subpoena power, as will obviously be necessary.
  20. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Noted, but looking through all of their work effort so far, there is no indication that this lack of subpoena power has caused them any problem.
    Indeed, I can find no evidence where the leads in the commission are complaining about it.

    Again, looking through the hearings they have had and the fact that they are just about to start writing their report, this is clearly not something they were intending on doing.

    Nor was it criminally irresponsible.
    It was approved by the Govt agency that had the authority to do so.

    I disagree, the EPA site seems quite complete on the issue of Corexit and the decision process and testing etc.

    The plan is public already, so on need of Subpoena power on members of the DoI on the approval process, they are gov employees and can't refuse to testify to the committee.
    Nor was the plan ineffective.
    Indeed it appeared to be quite effective considering the size and nature of the spill. (no spill had ever happened at this depth and so in some cases there were some things that weren't anticipated, but that again doesn't mean the plan wasn't properaly prepared)
    They indeed kept the largest spill in US history from doing significant damage to the Gulf. By far, the damage to the gulf appears to be of an Economic nature, and not a Environmental nature. That's not to say there was no environmental damage, indeed, when that Gulf storm came in, a lot of oil was blown over the barriers onto the beaches and marshes, but the damage in relation to the massive amount of oil spilled is the measure that should be used. A decent yardstick is the Exxon Valdez spill and the relative damage. This spill was ~15 times as large, but appears to have caused significantly less environmental damage. Yes, part of that is due to the nature of the oil, a light crude, and the distance from shore 50 miles vs PW Sound, but it was also due to the rapid and extensive response, such that by any assessment of actual damage, the environmental impact appears to be less.

    The accepted spill response plan if you have a blowout and the BOP fails is to drill relief wells, so a spill of this duration and magnitude is within the scope of an expected spill, and yet today only 98 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline are currently experiencing moderate to heavy oil impacts, (88 miles in Louisiana, 9 miles in Mississippi and 1 mile in Florida) so it shows that the containment plan was actually reasonably effective, particularly when you consider that over 200 million gallons of oil were spilled. (Which I believe is something you are ignoring).

    Consider that the amount spilled is roughly 15 times the amount of the Exxon Valdez, yet...


    The plan does NOT offer a method of preventing the spilling of large quantities of oil. Indeed, that is presumed as a worse case, the plan deals with mitigating the impact of that on the shorelines and enviornment.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They have officially sought subpoena power, and are being denied it by Republican maneuvering.
    Your ability to foretell the findings of a thorough investigation is noted, but not trusted. It smells - let's check it out. We have already had people trying to mislead us about "testing" and so forth - along with happy talk about what they were supposedly trying to do. Let's see the records.

    Why not?
    You need some evidence for such an improbable assertion. All I've seen is the EPA documents linked on this thread, which are nowhere near of that description.
    Did they now.
    Apparently we are to understand that this disaster was within the realm of expected mishap and acceptable, well-planned, government approved response.

    OK, I guess I have no response to that. There, folks, is your oil industry's idea of what to expect, and how they plan to respond.
  22. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    That's what it looks like.
    I published links to the number of oiled/dead animals recovered and its a small fraction of the Exxon Valdez numbers.
    The number of miles that remain oiled is quite low, considering the number of miles at risk, and over 90% is open to fishing.
    There is every indication that at the rate they are going and the manpower they have invested, virtually all clean up operations will be completed by around spring of next year.

    Yes, indeed this was less than a worse case scenario for this well.

    Acceptable is not a word I would use. Everyone trys hard to prevent it from happening in the first place, but as we know, accidents do happen, and if you do have an accident and that leads to a blowout on the well, and then the BOP fails, the ONLY permenant solution is to drill a relief well.

    Because the pressure on the oil at 23,000 ft below the ocean is so great, you need an ~5 mile long pipe filled with very heavy drilling mud to be able to have the hydrostatic pressure sufficient to push the oil back into the well.

    Because you have to kill the original well at the same time, you need to drill a precision well (takes longer than just drilling a well) to intercept the original well 18,000 ft down.

    That takes a minimum of 3 months, more typically 4 or more.

    There is no way to shorten that time.

    If the BOP has failed, then oil will be leaking the entire time.

    But, BP shortened this time by designing and then building a Capping Stack which, after cutting off the broken riser, they attached to the failed BOP and used it to secure the well, until the relief well could be completed.

    They started on this design and constrution within a week after the leak began, it was, considering the pressures that joint had to handle, a formidable engineering challenge.

    Finally, it might help to keep in mind that the Oil industry doesn't drill oil for their own use.
    We DEMAND oil and Natural gas because we use 3.5 BILLION gallons of oil each day and 3,200 BILLION cubic ft of Natural Gas each day, and if we weren't so demanding of this then they wouldn't have to be drilling 1 mile under water and 3 miles under the crust to get us this oil.

    The 200 million gallons of oil spilled represents a little over an hours use of oil.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Accepted is a word you did use, along with expected, to describe this event and the response:

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