Monday, May 3, 2010

Environmental Catastrophe: The Gulf Spill

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

I pulled this off the Fishing Wire this morning, and I thought I might share it with you all. This might turn into the worse environmental catastrophe in our nation's history.

And for what? A few more gallons of oil for a nation addicted to it? I'm not against Hummers and big block V8s, what I am against is the constant whining and complaining that comes from the average citizen about the price of fuel.

Well guess what, that's the price you have to pay for a scarce commodity. And if I had my druthers as they say, it would be scarcer still. We don't need to drill in the Gulf, or anywhere else for additional oil. We just have to be disciplined in our use of the energy resources we have.

The next peckerhead I hear whining about gas prices is going to get it on full and in spades.
Image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA
Oil Slick is Visible from Space

Now for the dickheads at BP:
"I don't think anybody foresaw the circumstance that we're faced with now," he said. "The blowout preventer was the main line of defense against this type of incident, and it failed."

Really Steve Rinehart (spokesdick for BP), you are in one of the most biologically important areas of the world and you didn't have a backup? WTF?

And of course the legal vultures are circling the thermals looking for carcasses to dismember: Gulf spill draws flock of lawyers. I hope they manage to do the right thing instead of lining their pockets like they've done with the fiasco on Wall Street.

Let's see, we let Massey Energy rip the tops off mountains for exceptionally low sulpher coal that we then ship to China so they can use it for steel production that they then sell back to us. In the meantime, Mountain Top Removal destroys miles and miles of pristine rivers and streams, destroys hundreds of square miles of hardwood forests, and poisons the environment.

We drill in the Gulf to try and extend the inevitable end to oil consumption, inviting exactly what has happened. An environmental catastrophe of immense proportions.

Click on image to enlarge.

And for what?

There's a moratorium on any drilling now. And the people of the Gulf States that rely on the Gulf for their livelihoods are unlikely to permit any drilling ever again. This spill has effectively ended the absurd idea of drilling off Florida's west coast once and for all.

Turn off those lights.
Ride a bicycle more often.
Get off your butt and walk.

Do something.


From the Fishing Wire: Gulf Situation

As the gravity of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico becomes more apparent, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has closed commercial and recreational fishing from Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to the waters off Florida's Pensacola bay. The closure, announced yesterday afternoon, was immediate and will last for at least the next ten days.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko says that NOAA scientists are taking samples from waters near the Deepwater Horizon spill site to stay current on the threat.

Meanwhile, officials are busily engaged in "blamestorming" - the finger-pointing that is inevitable when any problem seems to have escalated at a pace faster than the ability to respond. But the Obama administration is doing everything possible in an attempt to deflate the appearance of a lack of responsiveness. Several members of the Obama administration have been to the site of the disaster, with the president himself making an appearance over the weekend.

Each of them has promised an "all hands on deck" response to the environmental disaster created when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf, killing eleven crew members and currently gushing hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil each day.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has blogged on the situation, posting "The Response to the Oil Spill" ( a day-by-day response summary for the administration, using words like "immediately" "quickly" and "early-on" in many places.

The closure of a significant portion of the vast fishery that is the Gulf of Mexico emphasizes the fact this is a disaster with the potential to have a far-reaching impact on not only the fishing industry, but the nation in general.

Already, The Outdoor Wire is receiving reports of cancellations of reservations by vacationers to the Gulf coast, and charter captains tell us this has the potential to be a "knockout punch" to an area still reeling from the devastation of the hurricane season of 2005. Commercially, the Gulf is one of our main sources of shrimp, oysters and other seafood. The NOAA closure yesterday effectively puts that industry in drydock as well.

The Gulf of Mexico is one of the most popular fishing areas for recreational fishing in the United States. Each year, an estimated six million anglers take over 45 million fishing trips for red drum, spotted sea trout, sheepshead, red flounder and other species.

More than 2,300 tackle shops in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle serve those recreational anglers and a significant fishing industry.

"Recreational fishing contributes $41 billion dollars in economic output in the Gulf Coast region annually and supports over 300,000 jobs," says American Sportfishing Association (ASA) President and CEO Mike Nussman. "While the impact on recreational fisheries and wildlife is impossible to gauge at this time, everything must be done to clean up this massive spill and measures must be put in place to ensure that something like this does not happen again."

And then there's the fact the Gulf is one of the areas that houses key habitat for hundreds of species of migratory birds. If the Deepwater Horizon accident lives up to even a part of its devastating potential, bird populations will be impacted from Alaska and Canada to South America.

"The spill tells us we cannot take our coastline for granted," says American Bird Conservancy president George Fenwick, "This spill spells disaster for birds in the region and beyond."

Fenwick and the ABC have called for a "reassessment of our approach to offshore drilling" because of the accident. Others, while not yet directly expressing a desire to stop exploration, have expressed similar concerns. "There are costs to wildlife and their habitats for every form of energy generation," says Fenwick, "the costs must be re-assessed, not by economists, industry or energy experts, but by biologists, ecologists and environmental experts."

Those are high-minded words, but in a world where the economy is hugely dependent on energy derived from fossil fuels, they seem more well-intentioned than well-informed. With fuel prices already having crept up across the country since the accident, the already financially-stressed American consumer may be angered at the accident, but unwilling to see energy costs continue to rise when huge oil deposits are sitting at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico or anywhere else in the United States.

"The spill and the spreading is getting so much faster and expanding much quicker than they estimated," says University of Miami Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Report Sensing executive director Hans Graber, "It will be on the East Coast of Florida in almost no time. I don't think we can prevent that."

"It is," he says, "a question of when, not if."

Unfortunately, it's impossible at this point to accurately measure the damage. Rough seas and high winds hampered weekend work, and there's another scenario that no one wants to consider: should the entire pipe inserted into the well collapse, there would be no warning, but would release a gusher that could be devastating, if not fatal for the Gulf of Mexico.

In the meantime, every means of containing or removing the oil is being considered, and any practical solution, from booming and burning to vacuuming is being employed. But there is really little anyone can do except work toward limiting the damage and hoping for the best outcome possible.

Unlike an approaching natural disaster, there simply is no way to know what will happen next.

But we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd

Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Wild Ed said...

It will not stop Cuba from Drilling.

steveo_uk said...

Very informative post however one slight problem with the post is that this was not owned or operated by BP but was operated and owned by Transocean a contractor. BP appears to be taking the full responsibility for cleaning up the disaster. So whilst BP should be responsible for its contractor and should have monitored there procedures the ultimate responsibility should fall with Transocean who also had under insured there rig.

Bion said...

I can't believe these dickheads are still trying to tap it. Why in hell aren't they simply trying to shut it down.....greed never dies....