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

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

1. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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No, because I pointed out they try hard to NOT have spills in the first place, so no one considers them acceptable.

What is accepted as the standard response for a blow out followed by a failed BOP is that a relief well has to be drilled and that means that in this worse case scenario the leak will last for months.

So

The drill procedures and hardware and training and inspections are designed such that this should almost never happen, but one can't promise that it won't ever happen.

It's just like modern day commerial flying, we fly 20,000 scheduled aircraft flights a day in the US and we can go a year or more without a fatal crash, but we KNOW that eventually even though our procedures and hardware and training and inspections are designed such that crashes shouldn't ever happen.

One will.

And a hundred or more people will die.

And then the gov agency in charge, the NTSB will investigate and find out why, and if needed, the regulations and procedures and hardware and training will be altered to prevent that from happening again.

Just like we are doing in the case of this Well blowout and rig explosion.

The difference is we don't have a bunch of yahoos on the internet screaming for the CEO of USAir to be brought up under criminal charges.

Arthur

Last edited: Oct 15, 2010

3. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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More than 30,000 water and sediment samples taken in the Gulf of Mexico so far show that the Gulf is recovering from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a top NOAA scientist said Thursday during a teleconference.

Janet Baran, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist who is co-leading the subsurface oil monitoring program, said samples taken in about 10,000 locations in shallow to deep water, as well as the ocean floor, show no visible signs of oil.

Oil content of the samples is now being described as being in parts per billion rather than million, representing a thousand-fold decrease in the amount of oil in the water, she said.

"We've seen a distinct decrease over time ... and it's starting to get back to the ocean's natural hydrocarbon footprint," she said.

http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2010/09/post_35.html

Arthur

5. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Actually the Committee has looked into the details of the Dispersent use and their findings are QUITE different than most of your assertions.

I've selected parts of the report that deal with the issues you raised and then bolded those that are in direct contradiction to your statements:

The use of dispersants in the aftermath of the Macondo deepwater well explosion was controversial for three reasons. First, the total amount of dispersants used was unprecedented: 1.84 million gallons. Second, 771,000 of those gallons were applied at the wellhead, located 5,067 feet below the surface. Little or no prior testing had been done on the effectiveness and potential adverse environmental consequences of subsea dispersant use, let alone at those volumes. Third, the existing federal regulatory system pre-authorized dispersant use in the Gulf of Mexico without any limits or guidelines as to amounts or duration. Faced with an emergency, the government had to make decisions about high-volume and subsea dispersant use within time frames that denied officials the opportunity to gather necessary information. The resulting uncertainty even fueled unfounded suspicions that BP was using dispersants without authorization from the government in an effort to mask the oil and to limit its ultimate liability.

Using dispersants to remove oil from the water surface has several potential benefits. First, less oil will float ashore to adversely affect shorelines and fragile estuarine environments. Second, animals and birds that float on or wade through the water surface may be less exposed to oil. Third, dispersants may accelerate the rate at which oil biodegrades. Smaller droplets have a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio, which in theory should allow microorganisms greater access to the oil, and speed their rate of consumption. The expected acceleration of this biodegradation is often cited as a major reason to use dispersants.

The oil spill response contingency plans applicable to the Gulf (Regions 4 and 6 within the National Response Plan framework) pre-authorized the use of a list of specific dispersants. Neither of the plans limited the overall volume or duration of such pre-authorized use. With the permission of the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, BP applied 14,654 gallons of the dispersant Corexit, which was on the approved list, on the surface during the week of April 20-26, 2010.

BP itself performed three tests, based on protocols established by EPA and the Coast Guard. On May 15, 2010, the testing for effectiveness and toxicity that had been completed prompted EPA and the Coast Guard to announce their joint approval of subsea dispersant use with the condition that BP conduct further monitoring. The EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, made the approval decision on behalf of EPA herself and has since publicly acknowledged the difficulty of making this decision with the limited amount of scientific information then available. Considerations related to response worker health and ease of application—subsea application would minimize the necessary human contact with dispersants, and could occur at night and in foul weather—reportedly played a role in the decision to approve the method.

On June 30, 2010, EPA released results of its own testing of eight dispersants. EPA had conducted acute toxicity tests with two Gulf of Mexico aquatic species, and in vitro cytotoxicity (cell damage) and endocrine screening assays using human cell lines. EPA’s results indicated that none of the eight dispersants displayed significant endocrine disrupting activity. It also suggested that Corexit 9500 was not overall more toxic than alternatives

After the well was capped on July 15, 2010, there was virtually no further use of dispersants.

Conclusions

The government was not adequately prepared for the use of dispersants to address such a large oil spill. Notwithstanding the National Contingency Plan’s express requirements for planning regarding the use of dispersants, including pre-authorization to deal with emergencies, EPA clearly did not anticipate the potential demands of an oil spill of the kind the nation faced after the Macondo well explosion. In particular, EPA did not consider, in its roles on the National Response Team and the relevant Regional Response Teams, the possibility that dispersants might have to be used in the massive volumes required in the Gulf. And EPA did not consider the distinct possibility that massive volumes of dispersants might be needed at the subsea level.

As a result, the National Incident Commander, the EPA Administrator, and the NOAA Administrator were seriously handicapped when the Macondo well explosion occurred and decisions had to be made immediately in the absence of adequate contingency planning. These officials had to make difficult choices with insufficient information about the critical trade-offs identified by the National Academy of Sciences for the use of dispersants: the value of the dispersants in reducing the harm caused by released oil versus the potential risks of harm from the dispersants themselves. The limited toxicity data they possessed was questionable and limited to acute lethal effects on two estuarine species. It did not consider potential environmental persistence resulting from repeated or continuous sublethal effects, such as endocrine disruption.

Given the conditions under which officials like Admiral Allen and EPA Administrator Jackson were acting, there is no clear evidence that their decisions to authorize high volumes of dispersants, including at the subsea, were unreasonable. They instead appear to have acted reasonably in the difficult circumstances in which they were placed. For instance, officials directed the Regional Response Teams to seek input as quickly as possible from fifty expert scientists. On June 4, 2010, the experts reported a consensus that ―use of dispersants and the effects of dispersing oil into the water column has generally been less environmentally harmful than allowing the oil to migrate on the surface into the sensitive wetlands and near shore coastal habitats. In the experts’ view, though gaps in relevant information existed, the environmental trade-off between the deep-ocean ecosystem and the shoreline made dispersants an acceptable choice.

The fact that BP itself (or its oil spill response contractors) directly applied the dispersants authorized by the federal government led to the impression that BP rather than federal officials was in charge of decisions regarding dispersant use. Commission staff has not discovered any evidence that such a usurpation of government authority occurred. Nor could Commission staff conclude, based on interviews with Coast Guard responders, that BP or its contractors ever intentionally violated government directives regarding dispersant use (e.g., regarding the permitted locations for such use). Yet, the impression remained and fueled public distrust of the decision to use dispersants.

Finally, federal officials must from the outset leave no question in the public’s mind regarding who is in charge during an emergency response, especially when, as happened with dispersants, public concern with the wisdom of the government’s decisions is great. Here, a mistaken impression was created in the minds of too many that BP was making the decisions based on its own interests.

http://www.oilspillcommission.gov/s...nts/Working Paper.Dispersants.For Release.pdf

Arthur

7. ### optimismRegistered Member

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2
Truly despicable but I don't understand how it can be judged a "war crime"?

8. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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24,070
Apparently you want to drag this out, in the face of the obvious facts of the event (ineffective response at all levels, major disaster in the Gulf).

OK:
The committee has no relevant findings in this matter, because they have not seen the internal records of BP's decision process, nor have they reviewed the role of BP in the original formulation of the relevant regulations. For example:
Nor did they limit the depth or physical circumstances of such use - the intention was obviously for surface mitigation, but that was not formalized, despite BP's certain knowledge that deepwater drilling presented much different risks.

In other words, the mishap mitigation plan filed by BP did not even address, did not even mention, the volume, duration, nature, or physical circumstances of the actual risks of the actual wells being drilled. Yet the EPA apparently "approved" it.

Those are all serious "oversights". The Committee has not investigated how they came to be - we know this because such investigation would require subpoenaed testimony from several levels of executives at BP, Halliburton, TransOcean, etc, and no such testimony has been given.

That is just one example of one of the issues facing the Committee. The history of BP's relationship with the DOJand the EPA and OSHA et al (through its major contractors as well), the current attempts by BP to control information about the event and its aftermath, and the general strategy of subterfuge in apparent attempts to limit its financial liability as well as its executives' criminal exposure, are a partial list of others.
That's an admission of the serious "oversights" referred to above. That statement triggers serious investigation - with subpoenaed testimony from the corporate executives involved - into how this well received EPA approval without the necessary scientific information on file, or anything else even approaching an adequate mitigation plan for a blowout.
Comedy gold. Given the scene Obama's EPA was thrown into, they did the best they could - - yeah, and so?

Again: we are focused on one small issue - the dispersants. We haven't even considered the rest of the Keystone Kops behavior we saw from everyone officially involved in this clusterfuck. It would be comedy if they hadn't killed so many people and trashed such a significant piece of ocean.

Meanwhile:
And that impression, with the distrust, is going to remain, since it seems to be the obvious interpretation of the facts at hand, until BP's actual decision procedure and records of action are public information. That will require subpoenaed records and testimony - because BP isn't talking without them.
That's good news. Maybe they didn't miss anything. Maybe no plumes of toxic dispersant escaped their notice, also, and the chain of ecological effects they set in motion will not amplify, and the "invisible" signs of oil will not be significant, and so forth and so on for the next ten or twenty years. All of that thoroughly and expensively monitored, of course - the current overlooking of the plume problem will be rectified, the ecological effects in the coastal swamps more carefully considered, etc - at BP's expense.

That should have no effect on the Congressional investigation, of course, right? Arson is arson, even if the burn victims recover more quickly than feared.

9. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Except the Commission did not once claim that this part of their investigation was hampered by lack of Subpoena power.

But the investigation was obviously detailed, reviewed testimony of the key players and documents (see report) and after that it finds EXACTLY the opposite of what you claimed and that's your reponse?

LOL

Let me post the key parts again since you didn't get it the last time:

As in exactly the same as YOUR mistaken impression that you posted here.

Exactly the opposite of your conclusion.

Vs your "!.8 million gallons of a toxin has been point source dumped into the midwater and scattering layers of the Gulf of Mexico"

At least get your basic facts straight.

Actually there are TWO plans, an Area plan, and the Well specific plan, since they overlap. The Well specific plan indeed does discuss all of the above (indeed, the worst case was far greater than the actual spill)

And, again, get your facts straight, the EPA is NOT the approving agency for Spill Response plans, that was the function of the now disbanded Mineral and Mining Service or MMS.

The EPA has input and requirements under a completely separate National Contingency Plan that was created via the Clean Water Act and Oil Polution Act of 1990 (passed after Exxon Valdez spill).

The Clean Water Act expressly contemplates the use of dispersants in response to oil spills.
Section 311(d)(2)(G) of the Act requires that the federal National Contingency Plan for oil spill response contain a schedule identifying:
(i) dispersants . . . , if any, that may be used in carrying out the Plan,
(ii) the waters in which such dispersants . . . may be used, and
(iii) the quantities of such dispersant . . . which can be used safely in such waters . . . .
In addition, subsection (G) requires each schedule to provide for use of other, non-listed dispersants: [T]he President, or his delegate, may, on a case-by-case basis, identify the dispersants, other chemicals, and other spill mitigating devices and substances which may be used, the waters in which they may be used, and the quantities which can be used safely in such waters.

Indeed it was The National Contingency Plan, for which Corexit was an EPA approved dispersant that allowed for the PRE AUTHORIZATION of its use to control the oil spill by the first responders, and later by the various Admirals in charge (Landry then Watson then Zukunft) as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator.

No, this was a specific report on Dispersants I was presenting that refuted many of the specific issues you raised about dispersants and their use. Other issues will be delt with in other posts when the information becomes available, since a completely different investigation is ongoing about the cause of the explosions and deaths, and that's being done by the DoI and the USCG.

Only for morons who aren't capable of understanding the following: "Commission staff has not discovered any evidence that such a usurpation of government authority occurred. Nor could Commission staff conclude, based on interviews with Coast Guard responders, that BP or its contractors ever intentionally violated government directives regarding dispersant use"

Again, all you seem to do is want to make allegations without anything to back it up, then when shown that the alleagations you have made are unfounded, you persist in saying that you are right.

Arthur

Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
10. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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24,070
It did not address any of the specific issues I raised.
So? That might account for the careful wording - "no evidence of" etc - but does not deal with the obvious point.
No, exactly agreeing with my perfectly clear point - you need subpoenas, to get evidence of that kind. Without subpoena power, you get weasel worded non-conclusions like that one (notice how the whole thing was contingent on accepting the situation as given? Notice how that aspect was simply omitted, mentioned briefly in passing - avoided, even?).
There were, as we clearly observed, no actual and adequate plans in place.
I already quoted the EPA head (quoted your quote, actually) admitting that they were flying blind, with no source of info except BP's contracted technicians - making all their decisions "based on the information available". The reasons for the large differences between what the EPA "requires" and what the EPA actually had on hand when the well blew would be an important subject for investigation - with subpoenas, of course. No sense in fooling around, with a multinational oil company to take on.
You want to be reading the political weasel wording with a bit more care, methinks. That quote very carefully says absolutely nothing about the actual course of events, or any of the issues I have listed here.

Anyone can see, from that quote, exactly why any investigation into this disaster requires subpoena power. Could not "conclude", "based on interviews with Coast Guard responders" what BP "intentionally" did? c'mon. That is impotence talking. That is whitewash in words.

Although on second thought one must sympathize with the Committee. How do they report on the fact that they are getting their information about BP's decisions, intentions, and actions from interviews with Coast Guard personnel, perhaps augmented with some local fishermen's anecdotes and maybe a local Boy Scout troop leader? They want to keep a little dignity for themselves, no doubt. Their skill at phrasing their "findings" has other motivation than mere ass-covering, then.

Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
11. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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7,829
Oh, BS, it completely trashed your arguments, you are just not smart enough to realize it.

You said:

Commission: The resulting uncertainty even fueled unfounded suspicions that BP was using dispersants without authorization from the government in an effort to mask the oil and to limit its ultimate liability.

The quantity was listed, and a million gallons less injected than you claimed and
Commission: The fact that BP itself (or its oil spill response contractors) directly applied the dispersants authorized by the federal government led to the impression that BP rather than federal officials was in charge of decisions regarding dispersant use. Commission staff has not discovered any evidence that such a usurpation of government authority occurred.

ie No Clandestine use, no exceeding of its approvals.

As above, the Commission found no evidence of that.

As previously provided the formula is on the EPA site, so they know what is in it.

Commission; On June 30, 2010, EPA released results of its own testing of eight dispersants. EPA had conducted acute toxicity tests with two Gulf of Mexico aquatic species, and in vitro cytotoxicity (cell damage) and endocrine screening assays using human cell lines. EPA’s results indicated that none of the eight dispersants displayed significant endocrine disrupting activity. It also suggested that Corexit 9500 was not overall more toxic than alternatives

Arthur

Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
12. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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24,070
A self-contradiction - suspicions that are so reasonably "fueled" are not, by definition, unfounded.

Nor does the rest of the Report lay them at all to rest - more fuel, instead.
My argument did not depend on the quantity injected. If you want to accept BP's unsupported number of 770k gallons dumped below the surface, no one has - what was the Commission's phrase - "clear evidence" otherwise; my point remains, though.
They found no evidence of much of anything BP did, which is no surprise: Supposing they had the desire, they lacked the means.
A partial list of contents is not a formula.
I have no idea why you think that irrelevant bit of testing has anything to do with this discussion, but you are free to keep posting it if you want to.

13. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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The point is none of your previous assertions have held up to examination by the Commission based on the best available evidence and so that leaves YOUR assertions as the ones that are unfounded.

For instance your CLAIM that BP was using dispersants without authorization, apparently has no basis in fact, or your CLAIM that the amounts BP used were greater than authorized also has no basis in fact.

Arthur

14. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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24,070
Uh, my assertions are mostly about the "best available evidence". They describe the appearance of events as an argument for their investigation, for the discovery of better evidence.

Even of the ones that aren't, none have been examined by the Commission. The Commission lacks subpoena power, for starters, and therefore has no way to examine any of my assertions about BP's possible motives and behavior either during the event or in the years prior. The other assertions similarly.

15. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Nope, the commission did not claim their research was hampered by lack of Subpeona so to claim it was, is without merit. Clearly if the Commission had asked for something and it had been refused they would have mentioned that lack of support. They have not.

What they did do is show that your assertions were unsupported by the available evidence.

Indeed, since I posted their refutations of your claims you haven't posted ONE THING to support them.

Because the reality is you have nothing.

Arthur

Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
16. ### RobVRegistered Member

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9
The oil spill is so sad and massive in scope.
Try to imagine for a second if you were a fish and your planet had been completely ravished so we pay 3 cents less at the pumps. Or 2 cents less on a loaf of bread.
It's horrible.

Legal bullshit aside, BP is evil. Boycott BP.

17. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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No, they are not evil.
And your master plan to boycott BP is pointless.

BP makes almost ALL of its profit from Exploration and Production and only a tiny percent from something you could actually boycott.

Of the ~$25 Billion in profits in 2009, only$743 million came from Refining and Marketing, and only a small amount of that would be affected by a boycott at the pumps.

Arthur

18. ### RobVRegistered Member

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9
Hah, I have no master plan.

Try to use your conscious mind and think of what evil is.
If the destruction of billions and billions of life forms is not evil then what could you possibly consider evil?
For money. They are billionaires who do it for more money.
All companies who destroy our great planet for money are evil.
Money can not buy the feeling you get when you gaze off of a mountain peak, when you stand on the island shores and the warm sun hits your face, when you are at total peace with the world, maybe even in the Louisiana Bayou. I am relatively young, but all that aside in my life time alone strip miners have destroyed my child hood play place. No amount of money can replace life. That my friend is most definitely evil.

19. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Every company produces what ever they produce for Money, there is nothing EVIL about that.

What you seem to miss is none of the companies that make up the Oil industry drill oil for their own use.

People 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 37 BILLION pounds of coal each day, and if we weren't so demanding of this enormous daily use of fossil fuels then we wouldn't be strip mining and we wouldn't have to be drilling in risky locations 1 mile under water and 3 miles under the crust to get us this oil.

So maybe you should try looking in the mirror and figure out who is buying the Oil, and Gas and Coal and not simply blame the companies and men who risk their lives to get it for you.

Arthur

20. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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They lie about the drilling of oil; they dishonestly endanger and damage and ruin and destroy people's lives, the community's government, and the common good, for their own monetary profits.

And when they get caught, when the inevitable blows up in their faces, they scorch earth to avoid the consequences.

Criminal enterprises act like that routinely, of course.

21. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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YAWN
Iceaura once again shows up, posts his little tantrum, his tiny bit of sound and fury, signifiying nothing.
And as usual there is nothing posted to back up his charges.
Arthur

Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
22. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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From NOAA Transcript, Lubchenko's Oct 4th Speech

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20101001_lubchenco_seer.html

Not quite the Keystone Kops Clusterfuck you insinutated.

On any effort of this size, any yahoo can find instances of error or mistakes, but an intelligent person can step back and see that there was a very well coordinated effort of huge proportions, involving many tens of thousands of people, thousands of vessels and many billions of dollars of equipment focused on stopping the leak, containing the oil and mitigating the impact of the spill.

Image of BP response, showing multiple drilling rigs for the two relief wells, and the rig that performed the Top Kill, Bottom Kill, Top Hat, RITT insertion and controlled the ROVs, also multiple free standing risers, subsea manifolds and the large array of support vessels for the capture of gas and oil.

Image of all the equipment deployed above and below the water for Water quality monitoring.

Underwater view of the ROVs and the other simultaneous ops that were conducted during the response.

Arthur

Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
23. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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24,070
By reading the newspaper now and comparing it with the newspaper then, for example, any yahoo can find that during all the fancy science stuff you describe there (describe as if it had been planned and worked as planned, even) the reality of what was happening and the official description varied considerably and significantly.

One question the yahoo might ask, for instance, is: Were the scientists making all those rapid fancy forecasts about where the oil was going to go, etc, working with the same bs figures for the volume and travel of expelled oil everyone else was being handed, were they gathering better data on their own without telling anyone or correcting the official numbers, or did they have access to accurate spill rates and plume formation and so forth from the people at BP who were lying to everyone else, but were somehow compromised in their integrity and unable to release the info?

Of course answering that question would best be done via public investigation, undertaken by an independent body with subpoena power and federal level authority. Any chance the attempt at that will escape from the Republican bottleneck, and take form in the big world?