Thursday, March 8, 2012

BP Oil Still Tars the Gulf | The Progressive

A Brown Pelican is seen on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

For many Americans, the story of the BP disaster began on April 20, 2010, and ended on August 15 of that year, when the Obama Administration declared that “the majority of the oil is gone,” though the opposite was true.

For those on the Gulf Coast, the disaster remains, and life continues to be measured in terms of “before” and “after” the BP oil spill. They are tired of it all: BP, the government, the lies and the lawyers, the hardship and the illness, the oil on the beach and in the water, the dead dolphins and the disfigured fish, the ever-shrinking hauls of oysters, crab, and shrimp, and the rest of the nation’s cold shoulder. They still don’t know the answers to many life-and-death questions. But they keep going, hoping for life to return to the way it was before.

more > BP Oil Still Tars the Gulf | The Progressive

Vessels combat the fire on the Deepwater Horizon while the United States Coast Guard searches for missing crew

By July 9, 2011, roughly 491 miles (790 kilometers) of coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida remained contaminated by BP oil, according to a NOAA spokesperson. In October 2011, a NOAA report stated that dolphins and whales continue to die at twice the normal rate.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the BP oil disaster, or the Macondo blowout)[5][6][7] is an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which flowed unabated for three months in 2010. It is the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.[8][9][10] The spill stemmed from a sea-floor oil gusher that resulted from the April 20, 2010, explosion of Deepwater Horizon, which drilled on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect. The explosion killed 11 men working on the platform and injured 17 others.[11] On July 15, 2010, the leak was stopped by capping the gushing wellhead,[12] after it had released about 4.9 million barrels (780,000 m3) of crude oil.[3] An estimated 53,000 barrels per day (8,400 m3/d) escaped from the well just before it was capped.[10] It is believed that the daily flow rate diminished over time, starting at about 62,000 barrels per day (9,900 m3/d) and decreasing as the reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding the gusher was gradually depleted.[10] On September 19, 2010, the relief well process was successfully completed, and the federal government declared the well "effectively dead".[13] In August 2011, oil and oil sheen covering several square miles of water were reported surfacing not far from BP’s Macondo well.[14] Scientific analysis confirmed the oil is a chemical match for Macondo 252.[15][16] The Coast Guard said the oil was too dispersed to recover.[17]

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill pools against the Louisiana coast along Barataria Bay Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The spill caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and to the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries.[18][19] Skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, sand-filled barricades along shorelines, and dispersants were used in an attempt to protect hundreds of miles of beaches, wetlands, and estuaries from the spreading oil. Scientists also reported immense underwater plumes of dissolved oil not visible at the surface[20] as well as an 80-square-mile (210 km²) "kill zone" surrounding the blown well.[21] In late November 2010, 4,200 square miles (11,000 km²) of the Gulf were re-closed to shrimping after tar balls were found in shrimpers' nets.[22] The amount of Louisiana shoreline affected by oil grew from 287 miles (462 km) in July to 320 miles (510 km) in late November 2010.[23] In January 2011, an oil spill commissioner reported that tar balls continue to wash up, oil sheen trails are seen in the wake of fishing boats, wetlands marsh grass remains fouled and dying, and crude oil lies offshore in deep water and in fine silts and sands onshore.[24] A research team found oil on the bottom of the seafloor in late February 2011 that did not seem to be degrading.[25] On May 26, 2011, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality extended the state of emergency related to the oil spill.[26] By July 9, 2011, roughly 491 miles (790 kilometers) of coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida remained contaminated by BP oil, according to a NOAA spokesperson.[27] In October 2011, a NOAA report stated that dolphins and whales continue to die at twice the normal rate.[28]

The oil slick as seen from space by NASA's Terra satellite on May 24, 2010

In January 2011 the White House oil spill commission released its final report on the causes of the oil spill. They blamed BP and its partners for making a series of cost-cutting decisions and the lack of a system to ensure well safety. They also concluded that the spill was not an isolated incident caused by "rogue industry or government officials", but that "The root causes are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur".[29] After its own internal probe, BP admitted that it made mistakes which led to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.[30] In June 2010 BP set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the oil spill. To July 2011, the fund has paid $4.7 billion to 198,475 claimants. In all, the fund has nearly 1 million claims and continues to receive thousands of claims each week.[31]

In September 2011, the U.S. government published its final investigative report on the accident. In essence, that report states that the main cause was the defective cement job, and Halliburton, BP and Transocean were, in different ways, responsible for the accident.[32]

more > Deepwater Horizon oil spill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NOAA Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill Archive |

The NOAA Deepwater Horizon Archive serves as a centralized location online for much of the information NOAA gathered during the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill response and restoration activities.

As the nation's experts on oceanic and atmospheric science and the lead science agency for oil spills, NOAA was on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill since the earliest moments of the crisis. Our scientists used data from satellites, aircraft, ships, buoys, and gliders to collect and provide mission-critical information to guide the emergency response to the spill and now the long-term restoration of the Gulf Coast.

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