From Green Right Now Reports
Environmentalists marking the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill remain angry that oil companies drilling in deep waters continue to operate with little accountability while enjoying record profits.
“One year after the catastrophic BP Disaster killed eleven men, spewed hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic oil into the Gulf of [...]
Tarballs and an oil sheen were spotted on Lake Pontchartrain and in the Rigolets on Monday, prompting crews to put 600 feet of hard and soft boom at a “choke point”, to stop more oil from getting into the lake, according to government reports. More than 20 vessels responded to the site, collecting more than 1,000 pounds of tar balls and waste, which will be tested to see if it comes from the leaking Deepwater Horizon/BP well. The clean up operation continues today.
A report in the Anchorage Daily News suggests that BP’s problems with blowout preventers predate the issues that led to the device’s failure in the current Gulf oil spill, and that the company may have a history of ignoring or attempting to cover up problems. According to the newspaper, in 2005, two Alaska state agencies received complaints that a BP drilling contractor routinely cheated on tests of blowout preventers, and that BP was aware of the cheating. The publication also acquired records revealing that the agencies in question routinely allowed companies accused of wrongdoing to be part of the investigation.
Officials said more than 100 people have called Gulf region poison centers since the Deepwater Horizon oil platform caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico April 20, either to receive information or to report side effects from the resulting oil spill.
We’ve had to learn a lot while watching the excruciating efforts to cap the gushing BP oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
The latest lesson on the chalk board is about deep sea pressures. The water pressure is so great at a mile below the surface that pumping material back into the ruptured oil pipe is an incredibly difficult feat. It calls for a special potion of drilling “mud” that can “lock up” against the force of the oil gushing out, and yet not freeze before doing its job or collapse at deep sea pressures and temperatures.
An oiled brown pelican is treated at Fort Jackson. (Photo: International Bird Rescue Research Center)
The delicate ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and its coasts are home to a vast, diverse array of wildlife. Sperm whales, endangered sea turtles, bluefin tuna, bottlenose dolphins, delicate birds that live mostly hidden in marshes and barrier islands, migratory birds and even Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican, are among the seemingly countless species that live, breed and nest in the gulf. Now, everyone is watching and waiting as the huge oil spill, caused by the rupture of a BP oil well two weeks ago and growing by at least 210,000 gallons of oil every day, drifts around in the gulf’s 600,000 square miles. The slick is contaminating deep waters and threatening the coasts in yet incalculable ways.