Tag Archives | Oil Spill

Heads-up Canada, B.C. Government Has Given Industry Access to Our Parks: A Drift Card I Found on the Beach

BC_card_thumbvia chycho

On 26 March 2014, to my disappointment and dismay, I found out that the Government of British Columbia had passed a bill that would drastically alter the management of B.C. parks (2, 3, 4).

Bill 4, the ‘Park Amendment Act’ of 2014 was introduced into the B.C. legislature on February 13 and became law on March 24:

“Bill 4 allows for industry (and others) to carry out ‘research’ in provincial parks related to pipelines, transmission lines, roads and other industrial activities that might require park land. It also reduces legal protection for smaller parks and enables film production in BC parks….

“Bill 4 seems to be premised on the idea park protection unreasonably constrains government and industry. That’s not consistent with the BC government’s claim that parks are a public trust, to be managed for the protection of BC’s natural environment, and the inspiration, use and enjoyment of [the public].

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Louisiana Oil: From The Kingfish To Deepwater Horizon

The collapse of Deepwater HorizonThis is not just another article about Deepwater Horizon, but rather a short history lesson.  For instance, have  you, or do you…

…ever wonder where the New Deal came from and why?

…know who drew up the borders of Iran, and why?

…ever wonder why Huey P. Long is universally portrayed as a mere laughable Southern caricature, though he was a hero to the common people of Louisiana until his death?

…know which oil company is responsible for more oil spills than any other?

…ever met a real live Cajun?  (aahyee!)

…know very much at all about Louisiana?

Well, make some popcorn and sit back, here is a full length documentary.  Unlike the History lessons in school, you will not be asked to memorize any names, dates or places, nor will you be bored and watching the clock for the end of the period.

Note: The first five minutes told enough history – of which most Americans today are completely unaware – that I knew where this was going to end up.  It should be added though, that when Churchill drew a circle around the huge sea of oil that British engineers had discovered, and named it Iran, he made sure to include all the neighboring warring factions he could.  Many have been critical of him for this, saying it was a stupid thing to do, but in doing so he ensured instability in the region for the next 100 years to come.  He also referred to Iran as the British Empire’s refueling station for the next war.  This was shortly after World War I.… Read the rest

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OM NOM NOM! Oil-Loving Bacteria Help With Deepwater Horizon Clean-Up

Picture: Artist's Conception, Oil-Eating bacteria (PD)

Via LiveScience:

Scientists studying the after-effects of 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill report that naturally-occurring bacteria have devoured 200,000 tons of the oil and natural gas that settled into the ocean floor in the days after the disaster. Before you get too excited, though, remember that this is less than ten percent of the total amount that was spilled into the gulf. Still, every little bit helps, even if it seems the oil-loving microbes seem to have lost their appetite:

Researcher John Kessler, of the University of Rochester, said the hydrocarbon-eating bacteria removed the majority of the oil and gas trapped in underwater layers more than a half-mile below the surface. But the bacteria’s appetite seemed to die down five months after the April 2010 explosion that set off the environmental disaster, Kessler and his team found.

Read more at LiveScience.

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New Oil Spill Dispersant Made from Ingredients in Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Ice Cream

Picture: Evan-Amos (PD)

Not to say they’re natural ingredients.  Via ScienceDaily:

With concerns about the possible health and environmental effects of oil dispersants in the Deepwater Horizon disaster still fresh in mind, scientists now described a new dispersant made from edible ingredients that both breaks up oil slicks and keeps oil from sticking to the feathers of birds.

“Each of the ingredients in our dispersant is used in common food products like peanut butter, chocolate and whipped cream,” said Lisa K. Kemp, Ph.D. She reported on the dispersant at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, being held in Philadelphia the week of August 19.

“Other scientists are working on new oil dispersants and absorbents, but nothing that’s quite like ours. It not only breaks up oil but prevents the deposition of oil on birds and other objects, like the ingredients in laundry detergent keep grease from redepositing on clothing in the rinse cycle.

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Shell Nigerian Oil Spill Far Worse Than Reported

Photo: Vin Mullen (CC)

Photo: Vin Mullen (CC)

Emily Gertz reports for Talking Points Memo:

A Shell deepwater drilling site off the Nigerian coast that the company reported leaking on Wednesday may have spilled up to 2.4 million gallons, according to nonprofit environmental satellite monitoring group SkyTruth.

If so, that’s far worse than indicated in statements made so far by Royal Dutch Shell, which has put the amount of oil leaked at the Bonga offshore site at “less than 40,000 barrels,” (1.7 million gallons).

“That could mean anything from 1 gallon to 1.7 million gallons,” John Amos, founder and president of satellite-imaging nonprofit SkyTruth told TPM.

Oil must be at least 1 micron (1/1000th of a millimeter) thick to be seen from a satellite, according to Amos. The visible rainbow sheen, he says, means that the oil could be anywhere from .3 to 10 microns thick, depending on two different sets of guidelines.

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A Gallon Of Gas Should Cost $15

We know the approximate price of gas for consumers, but what is the price for society? The external costs borne may be as high as $1.7 trillion per year for the United States alone -- that's from health problems caused by pollution and toxic fumes, damage to crops and plant life, et cetera. The Center for Investigative Reporting calculates $15 per gallon as a reasonable pump price reflecting the true cost of gasoline. My only complaint: it should be significantly higher still, as they forgot to factor in the huge sums of tax dollars spent on foreign aid and military operations for the benefit of the oil industry:
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Building Sandcastles Illegal On Florida Beaches

Put your plastic spade and bucket away if you're heading to the beach in Florida. No digging means no sandcastle building. The Raw Story reports:
Ever go to the beach and not think of slapping together a sand castle? And who doesn't enjoy the feeling of wet, warm sand between her toes? According to federal authorities who recently intercepted an oil-hunting reporter on a Florida beach, those activities have been deemed "illegal." The officers' legal revelation (which is not actually true) came as something of a surprise to Dan Thomas, reporter for WEAR ABC 3 in Pensacola, Florida, who was visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore for a special report.
Continues at The Raw Story ...
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Tiny Workers Helping To Clean Up Oil Spill

Photo from Heimholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI)

Photo from Heimholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI)

Not only are human workers trying to clean up BP’s oil spill, but bacteria workers are looking at the task as a feast. Alcanivorax bacterium can be found munching on bits of oil, a convenient taste palette to increase the clean up efforts. However, how will the increase of bacteria effect the remaining wildlife?  NY Times has the report:

Among the hidden stars of the gulf cleanup is an oil-hungry bacterium that Dr. Seuss could have named — Alcanivorax. It and fellow microbes are breaking down a significant amount of the oil that gushed into the environment from BP’s runaway well, scientists say. The microbial feasting is known as biodegradation.

On Wednesday, a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said early observations showed that the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill “is biodegrading quickly,” adding that scientists were working to measure how quickly and how much of the escaped oil the microbial hordes could consume.

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BP May Drill In Same Undersea Oil Pocket Again

Really?! What about learning from our mistakes? What about waiting to see if the plug actually holds? How about cleaning up the mess before making a new one? RawStory reports:

BP PLC said Friday it might someday drill again into the same lucrative undersea pocket of oil that spilled millions of gallons of crude, wrecked livelihoods and fouled beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

“There’s lots of oil and gas here,” Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said at a news briefing. “We’re going to have to think about what to do with that at some point.”

The vast oil reservoir beneath the blown well is still believed to hold nearly $4 billion worth of crude. With the company and its partners facing tens of billions of dollars in liabilities, the incentive to exploit the wells and the reservoir could grow.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the spill, said he had no information on BP’s future plans.

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