Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak

The news circulating communities in the area is that the Deepwater Horizon well is leaking again. Oil has been seen bubbling up in the area of the site of the Gulf Coast nightmare of 2010 again. The oil found near the site is confirmed to be MC252, BP oil disaster oil. Now a couple things could be happening here.

(1) The well-head capped on July 15, 2010 is not actually capped
(2) The relief wells are not capped
(3) The huge amount of Deepwater Horizon wreckage from the two explosions that are now sitting at the bottom of the Gulf is leaking oil and gas from all the equipment that was stored on that platform
(4) Natural seepage from that canyon (MC252) is leaking as happens all along the bottom of the Gulf
(5) The capping of the well through the top kill has caused breaks along the bottom of the Gulf and the pressure from the oil and gas within canyon  MC252 is now breaking those smaller cracks open

It is highly unlikely that it is natural seepage. Ian MacDonald at Florida State University has mapped all the natural seepages in the Gulf of Mexico. The circular oil slicks being reported are within a mile of the Maconodo well, no where near the closest natural seepage.

Almost two weeks after first reports started coming in to the Natural Resource Center reports (the daily catalog of oil spill reports) BP is still denying that the oil is theirs. A reporter from the Alabama Press Register took samples and tested the oil at Louisiana State University, one of the only institutions that legally has a fingerprint of the MC252 oil. Did you know that that fingerprint is not available to just anyone?

Most likely two things are happening. (1) The wreckage is leaking and will continue to leak for decades. There are still oil spill reports from Pearl Harbor because of the wreckage sitting at the bottom of the harbor because of the attack in 1941. (2) The Top Kill method created small breaks on the Gulf floor. The pressure of the canyon is forcing gas and oil out of these breaks, creating larger cracks.

The fear that the well isn't capped has been spreading over the past week. It's not fun. It's creating anxiety to a group of people getting ready to memorial the 6th year after Hurricane Katrina tomorrow, the first Monday since that deathly Monday in 2005. Clean up crews are being hired again to go out with booms. Most of this is not being reported by the press. The national press has disappeared from this ongoing oil disaster. The well could still be leaking and I haven't seen any national press cover this. If you have, please let me know.

If this well, with so much attention on it, is still leaking, or if any of those things (except the natural seepage theory) are happening and nothing is being done to change our regulations and enforcement of offshore drilling and BP is still denying they are responsible, then every community should be preparing for their own extraction disaster because no one in the industry or government is working to prevent it. Then BP has officially won and brushed the millions of lives impacted by this disaster under the rug and the Obama Administration is sitting back knowing this spill is still happening and doing nothing. In fact thinking about allowing an even larger disaster that will impact millions more communities to happen.

The Tar Sands pipeline project Keystone XL that will travel from Canada to Texas will be another national extraction disaster. The State department just gave their approval to proceed with this project. If a spill or accident happens, which it will because the industry continues to prove it can't prevent disasters from happening, our food source and water sources will be contaminated with both oil and toxic dispersants. Hundreds of people have been arrested over the years protesting this project and this week in DC already 200 people have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience. Everyday since last Saturday 40-60 people have sat down (or stood up) in front of the white house, including Gulf Coast residents, parents and children, Native people, college hippies, gay and lesbian civil rights leaders and retired hippies. I even saw a black guy out there in handcuffs. Not unusual for Washington DC but unusual for environmental protests.

The oil and gas industry is proving everyday that it has no control over its own extraction process. Oil spills happen everyday in the Gulf of Mexico. I read those stupid NRC data reports each day. The reports mostly say unknown substance of unknown volume spilled into the Gulf. No follow up. No Clean Water Act fines given. In fact Bloomberg News found that only 1 in 100 oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico result in any fine, effectively financially incentivizing oil pollution. Remember you are eating the seafood from that body of water. Except for CH of course. Damn gluten free vegan San Francisco hippie.

On Friday Waterkeepers from Louisiana went out to the Macondo site to take oil samples. There was also another Flyover by environmental activists and volunteer pilots to get more photos of the leak. We should hear soon what they found.

Don't forget to light a candle or add an extra mediation to your practice tomorrow for all of those lost on August 29, 2005 and in the aftermath of the government's failed response to Hurricane Katrina. I will be attending a memorial second line that goes from the levees in the lower ninth to St. Bernard St in the seventh ward. The memory of Katrina isn't gone from this city, but tomorrow is a particular day of mourning for everyone impacted by the storm. The people of the Gulf Coast could use your thoughts and prayers (if you do that sort of thing). 

Happy Sunday! 

ps. And now for something that doesn't make you want to hire a face punching service.

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