Monday, May 31, 2010

BPs PartiaL Capping Method is WRONGWAY to Go, Will Further Damage Environment But Benefits BP Now & in the Long Run

Comment on BPs FB site, from someone who seems to think like me, that the only reason BP is "proceeding" as it is (trying to "partially" cap instead of to crimp it entirely closed) is because they want to keep the pressure line open so they can continue sucking some of the oil up (BP claims they are sucking up approx 5,000 gal per day,...some one should check them on that) and loading it into their ships. Also the method they are using will leave the flow open some AND LEAKING so BP can come back at a later time and make more money from that well

Here is the posters comment in response to BPs allegation that it is doing the best that it can:

"Fuck all you lying Speed and Coke whores BP plc. You know Exactly what Needs to be done. Ask any Real oilman. You fucked up the BOP, and now its leaking. Thanks to your Top Kill and golf ball Junk Shot, which you Knew would Not work. Oil and Gas is gushing through Top blown-out Pack-off ring in Casinghead, caused by Your recycled Bad Mud which was in backside (annulus). Hell, both Gordon and Blair, the Mud Engineers who died, they Both told you to "Chuck the mud". Did you listen to the Mud Engineers on the well? No, now you want to plug MaCondo well only to save Reservoir drive pressure. You dadgum bean counters. Who in the fuck do you Drug Addicts think you are kidding? Removing the BOP and stabbing into the Surface casing, U.S. only hope and option. Now go party, you MaCondo fucking Drug Addicts, it is Sunday night. Back to your Speed and Coke rails... Toot toot... CaseyJones;!/BPAmerica?v=wall

Oil spill trims U.S. offshore natural gas supply as MMS Closes Two Energy Production Platforms in Gulf

By Kristen HaysPosted 2010/05/01 at 4:10 pm EDT

HOUSTON, May 1, 2010 (Reuters) — The government on Saturday said two offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were shut as a safety precaution -- the first sign that the giant oil slick was affecting the region's energy production.

The Minerals Management Service -- the arm of the Interior Department that oversees offshore oil and gas activity -- said the two platforms were shut down as a safety precaution due to the oilspill.

They account for less than 0.1 percent of daily Gulf of Mexico output. Some 6.2 million cubic feet per day of natural gas production are involved, the service said.

The MMS did not identify the names or companies that own the affected platforms, and said more platform shutdowns may be ordered as the spill spreads eastward.

"Yes, there's always the possibility of that," MMS spokeswoman Eileen Angelico said, when asked if more shutdowns were possible.

Analysts downplayed the impact of the spill on offshore energy production. The spill's trajectory is closer to land and away from more prolific deepwater production platforms, experts said.

"It shouldn't affect production too dramatically," said Dan Pickering, co-president of Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. "It doesn't feel like there's imminent danger around the production itself."


The bigger issue is whether the spill would prompt a moratorium on drilling, Pickering said.

"The implications here are the ongoing impact to the industry overall and how this becomes a significant influence on how people think of offshore activity," he said.

Spokesmen for big offshore producers Apache Corp and Anadarko Petroleum Corp said their operations have were unaffected by the spill.

The Anadarko-operated Independence Hub, the largest natural gas processing facility in the Gulf with capacity to produce 1 billion cubic feet per day of gas, is well southeast of the spill and out of its path, spokesman John Christiansen said.

The rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd, sank on April 22, two days after it exploded and caught fire while finishing a well for BP Plc 42 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The companies and the U.S. government are in the process of trying to seal the leaking oil well.

On Monday, an offshore drilling rig owned by Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc that had been working near a sunken rig was evacuated as a precaution, an MMS official said.

The last event to affect offshore production was hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008, which shut down nearly all the region's output for weeks.

Mother Earths Birthday Present From BP

BPs "Earth-Day" Blow-Out:

Strangely enough, it turns out that BPs Big Blow-Out Occurred on April 20th, just two days before the 40th Anniversary of EarthDay;

Some present for Mother Earth on her BD, hey?

IxToc to Deep Water Horizon

The IxToc Disaster, 1979, a Similar Blow-Out that Took Nearly a Year to Fix;

IxToc 1 to Deep Water Horizon;

Final Report / Environmental Accessment;

BPS Wiki / Interesting Reading Here

Notes some of BPs many illegal and/or unethical practices;

Oil Spill Art

More Appropriately Named: "Tragic Art"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

BP Spill Bigger Than Ixtoc? Will it Also Take a Year to Fix?

The Ixtoc I exploratory well blew out on June 3, 1979 in the Bay of Campeche off Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. By the time the well was brought under control in 1980, an estimated 140 million gallons of oil had spilled into the bay. The Ixtoc I is currently #2 on the all-time list of largest oil spills of all-time, eclipsed only by the deliberate release of oil, from many different sources, during the 1991 Gulf War.

The Worlds Worst Oil Spills

Saturday, May 29, 2010

BP Press Conferece No Good News

Approx. 6:15pm EST

Newsflash: Blow-hole bigger then ever, flowing harder than before. No shit. Looking at live feed now, those four "little streams" we have been watching have now melded into one great big one, and its seems to have alot more velocity than before. BP is holding a press conference now, practically admitting defeat...gotta... go2 minutes ago ·
Christine A. Jubic
BP raises damage rating from "moderate" to "catostrophic"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Live Feed Spill-Cam

11:32 am EST I just watched what looked like a sickly (slow moving) eel swim right into, around and through the plume. Seems disoriented and probaby is about to die like untold numbers of all marine life;

11: 38 am EST They are sawing the pipe

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vote YES for NO MORE Gov't Waste / Porkbarrell - Boondoggle Defense Spending

An Urgent Plea from a Citizen Against Government Waste;

I urgently need your help TODAY to stop a wasteful, special-interest project that is siphoning off billions of dollars from vital national defense priorities.
Next week, the House of Representatives is slated to vote on an amendment that would strike funding for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternate engine program from the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization Act. I urge you, before you do anything else today, to tell your U.S. Representative to vote YES on any amendment that would end this pork-barrel boondoggle!

Let me explain.

In one of the most obscene cases of members of Congress diverting Defense Budget dollars to pet projects that benefit their special-interest benefactors, members of the House and Senate have earmarked more than $1.2 billion for an alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter since 2004, even though the Department of Defense has repeatedly said it does not want or need the alternate engine and both the Bush and Obama Administrations have tried to eliminate it.
The Joint Strike Fighter is a stealth, supersonic aircraft designed to replace the aging fighter and strike aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. In 2001, after a fair and open competition, the Defense Department chose Lockheed Martin to engineer and manufacture the JSF, and Lockheed’s winning bid included an engine to be designed and built by Pratt & Whitney. Bowing to appeals from Pratt & Whitney’s competitor, General Electric (GE), some members of Congress with GE facilities in their states and districts have been forcing the Defense Department to fund the development of an “alternate engine” manufactured by GE. (This is the same GE that recorded $10.3 billion in pretax income last year but didn’t pay a dime in taxes to the U.S. Government!) and its congressional backers claim that the alternate engine will create competition and bring down costs. However, the U.S. Air Force and two independent panels have concluded that an alternate engine is “not necessary and not affordable” and that the alleged savings from creating a “mock competition” will never be achieved.

Just completing testing and getting the alternate engine ready for production is estimated to cost $2.9 billion on top of what has previously been spent -- when the Pratt & Whitney engine has already received Pentagon approval and is being manufactured and tested in JSF aircraft right now.

If the Department of Defense has to maintain two engines with different parts and technicians and requiring different upgrades over time, the overall cost of the JSF program will climb dramatically, and America’s warfighters will get fewer of these vitally needed aircraft.
In fact, Air Force General Mark Shackelford testified before a Senate subcommittee last year that funding an alternate engine would mean cutting two to four aircraft in 2009 and as many as 53 in the next five years.

could not be a more clear-cut case of members of Congress jeopardizing the safety of our troops and this nation so that they can "deliver the bacon" back home!
That’s why I urge you to tell your U.S. Representative today to vote to end funding of the alternate engine.

Last year, the Senate finally bowed to the Pentagon’s wishes and pressure from groups like CCAGW and stopped funding the alternate engine. However, the House kept GE’s gravy train going by earmarking $465 million for the engine, which was included in the final version of the fiscal 2010 Defense Appropriations Act.

Now, members of the House Subcommittees on Air and Land Forces and Sea and Expeditionary Forces have authorized another $485 million for the alternate engine in the 2011 Defense Authorization Act. A vote on an amendment to remove that funding will take place on the House floor NEXT WEEK!

If we can win next week’s vote, we will finally ground the alternate engine for good!
This is not only a catastrophic waste of tax dollars at a time when we can least afford it, it is also an obscene politicization of the Defense Budget by members of Congress on behalf of a wealthy and powerful special interest.

I urge you, in the strongest terms possible, to tell your U.S. Representative today to support any amendment to the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that strikes funding for the alternate engine!

Thomas A. Schatz

P.S. Both parties in the House have pledged to curb earmarks in fiscal year 2011. Eliminating funding for the alternate engine would be a good place to start. Please tell your U.S. Representative today to vote YES on any amendment that would strike funding for this special-interest, pork-barrel boondoggle!

P.P.S. To win the battle against this wasteful and unnecessary program, our elected representatives need to hear from as many Americans as possible. Please help us by forwarding this message to your friends and neighbors.

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), the nation's largest taxpayer watchdog organization with more than one million members and supporters nationwide. CCAGW is a 501(c)(4) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that lobbies for legislation to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Contributions to CCAGW are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. For more information about CCAGW, visit Make a contribution today to help CCAGW wage and win this battle to stop the JSF alternate engine from siphoning off funds from vital defense priorities.

See also;



Finally, They Figured out Our Garbage and/or Cow Shit are GREAT sources of Renewable Energy

...Just wondering what took them so long!

Cow power and other ideas for reducing IT's energy costs
By Caron Carlson

CIOs are facing twin stresses in the data center these days: Usage is growing and so is the pressure to reduce energy consumption and costs. These imperatives, along with increasing environmental consciousness, are spurring some creative ideas for cutting power costs.

Engineers at Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) have landed on a way to simultaneously help dairy farmers get rid of cow manure and help data center operators procure relatively cheap fuel: Use the manure to power servers.

Companies with huge data centers increasingly are building them in rural areas, which happen to have an excess of animal waste. The heat from a data center could be used to improve the process by which the waste turns it into methane, which can be used in place of natural gas or diesel, HP's researchers maintain.
The average dairy cow, according to HP, produces approximately 120 pounds of waste a day. It would take 10,000 cows to produce enough energy for a data center big enough to support a bank.

Meanwhile, eBay has found that a good way to increase data-center efficiency is to make the CIO pay the energy bill, according to Dean Nelson, senior director of global data center services at eBay. At the Internet auction giant, the facility bills are mixed into the IT budget, and as a result eBay has found new ways to lower energy use.

The company's newest data center was financed by savings accrued through reduced power costs over the past two years, reports Joab Jackson of IDG News Service. Previously, eBay's business growth went hand-in-hand with operational expenses. To limit the steady rise in operational costs, the company turned to several different methods for reducing power consumption, including virtualization and frequent hardware upgrades.

eBay leases its equipment, replacing it every two years because the newer the equipment is, the greater energy-efficiency it can provide, according to Nelson. The company uses Intel's Nehalem chips in its servers, which offer as much as five times the performance on a per-watt basis as earlier Intel chips.

Published in:

For more:
- see HP's report: "Design of Farm Waste-Driven Supply Side Infrastructure for Data Centers"
- check out the HP press release
- read Joab Jackson's article at InfoWorld

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Invitation to Join the World Peace Diet

Invitation from Will Tuttle

I have been invited to be a guest presenter for the Foggy Bottom Farm
Creating Sustainable Life Telesummit tomorrow, Wednesday, May 19 at 8pm
Central Time.

I hope you’ll join me on Wednesday as I share with you information
about The World Peace Diet: Eating for Empowerment, Health and Freedom,
and tell your friends!

To register please visit:

This call will be recorded so go ahead and register even if you don’t
think you can attend live. You will receive a copy of the recording
after class.

Be sure to check out the other leading-edge presenters and replays!

Till tomorrow (Wednesday)!See More
Creating a Sustainable Life Telesummit

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Have We Hit the Limits of Human Population?

The last 200 years of economic growth have been based on a monumental Ponzi scheme that has pushed us toward the ultimate tipping point.

April 10, 2009

Without growth, there would be no economy as we know it. But modern culture, by and large, doesn't see that it can exist only in the medium of ceaseless growth and expansion, because a fish doesn't see the water it swims in. Only today, in the recent, breathless moments of the greatest economic crash since the Great Depression, do we begin to perceive the waters around us.

Slowly, we are coming to realize that the last 200 years of economic growth have been based on a monumental Ponzi scheme that has pushed the final reckoning ever forward in time, until the future is now. Slowly, we are coming to realize that Thomas Malthus was right.

It was the warrior cry of the radical environmental movement in the 1980s: "Malthus Was Right!" But Malthus, a mumbling country parson with intellectual ambitions, had been transmogrified by capitalists and communists alike into a fearsome bogeyman possessed of "dangerous" ideas.

Environmentalists who invoked his name were invariably corrected by their progressive friends, who told them that excess consumption by the rich was the problem, not the reproductive profligacy of the poor.

Yet, as we drive deeper into the greenhouse world, with its crazy weather, water shortages and general degradation, more and more of us from across the political spectrum are wondering how on earth we will feed the 3 billion more people projected to arrive by 2050, or even the 6 billion or so we already have.

It is worthwhile, therefore, to examine the Malthusian idea, to discover what truths it holds and to see if they can be of any help.

Malthus' big idea, published in 1798 in "An Essay on the Principle of Population," was that human population would always grow exponentially, and that it would always push up against the limits of food production, thus creating a permanent class of poor whose numbers could only be checked by "misery" and "vice."

His Law of Population is based on this simple observation:

"Through the animal and vegetable kingdoms, nature has scattered the seeds of life abroad with the most profuse and liberal hand. She has been comparatively sparing in the room and the nourishment necessary to rear them."

Later, Charles Darwin would base his theory of natural selection on this observation. He saw that a super abundance of progeny allows natural selection to work so that only the fittest survive.

Malthus wrote his essay in response to William Godwin, an outspoken liberal of the day. Godwin wanted to abolish the aristocracy and redistribute the wealth. He believed in the "perfectibility of man." As a member of the landed elite, Malthus felt a need to address the rabble-rouser Godwin and prove that even in a perfect society where the working man received according to his needs, all benefits would soon be wiped out by population growth.

The poor man's "lack of moral restraint" would ensure that his family would continue to grow until they ate him out of house and home. Starvation and disease would then do the job of reducing the population to a supportable size.

Malthus made a big impression on the British upper classes (who had access to concubines and prostitutes and hence no need for moral restraint to curtail family size). Since the poor were destined to continually breed themselves back into poverty anyway, there was no point in improving their condition.

Politicians seized on Malthus' theory to end subsidies for the poor ("a shilling a week to every laborer for each child he has above three") and pass the Poor Law of 1834 that forced those seeking relief into workhouses designed to be as much like prisons as possible. It's no wonder then that Friedrich Engels declared Malthus' Law of Population to be the "most open declaration of war of the bourgeoisie upon the proletariat."

Karl Marx and Engels put their faith in technology and believed that progress would continually expand agricultural production, mooting the issue of population growth. While they thought Darwin's use of the Law of Population to explain evolution had some validity, they insisted that humans were exempt. Animals were only "collectors" of nature's bounty, but humans were "producers" and masters of their own destiny.

Indeed, Malthus might have earned more respect for his Law of Population if he hadn't proposed it just at the moment when human production first tapped into the coal seams and oil streams that fueled the industrial expansion. It is only today, when those resources have peaked, that we are revealed to be much more like the other animals than we thought -- "collectors" of ancient sunlight, our fossil fuel inheritance, and not the all powerful "producers" we thought we were.

As a progressive, I want to believe that humanity can control our destiny. But as an ecologist, I have to accept the Law of Population. Is there no way out? Yes there is. But it requires us to embrace what Malthus called "vice."

Malthus saw three ways to control population growth: abstinence, misery and vice. Abstinence was too challenging for most. Misery included starvation, disease and death. That left vice: a category that included prostitution, abortion and infanticide, but also "promiscuous intercourse, unnatural passions, violations of the marriage bed and improper arts to conceal the consequence of irregular connexions."

Blinders imposed by the church and centuries of violent repression of women healers and midwives had so deeply branded contraception as an "improper art" that even a revolutionary like Godwin could not advocate it. He could only insist that redistribution of wealth would result in more "moral restraint." Malthus found this laughable:

"I do not know that any writer has supposed that on this earth man will ultimately be able to live without food. But Mr. Godwin has conjectured that the passion between the sexes may in time be extinguished ... the best arguments for the perfectibility of man are drawn from a contemplation of the great progress that he has already made from the savage state and the difficulty of saying where he is to stop. But towards the extinction of the passion between the sexes, no progress whatever has hitherto been made."

When the radical Francis Place publicly advocated birth control in the 1820s, he was condemned for promoting vice by church, state and even his fellow working men in the labor unions he helped to found. Nearly a century later, Margaret Sanger finally opened her first birth-control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y., and contraception was only fully legalized in the United States in 1965. The definition of "vice" evolved very slowly.

Malthus' list of vices included infanticide, which today stands well apart from birth control, abortion, prostitution and homosexuality. And yet, throughout history and prehistory, infanticide was probably the most widely used method of curtailing population growth, mostly because the contraception and abortion methods of the past were either ineffective or dangerous to women.

Before the fossil fuel era, the need to prevent famine often dictated infanticide, especially female infanticide, which relieved population pressure by reducing the number of breeding females. It is good to know this bit of history, because it gives us the proper context for updating the definition of "vice."

Still, there are conservatives who would prefer to see famine and misery rather than condone contraceptives, abortion, women's rights and homosexuality. Among them is Pope Benedict, leader of the world's largest religious organization, who has just condemned untold numbers of Africans to death by opposing condoms for prevention of AIDS, because it might lead to "vice."

There are also still progressives who insist that population growth is not a problem. They should go back and read Engels, who hated Malthus and thought the idea of population outstripping resources was ludicrous, but still said this:

"There is, of course, the abstract possibility that the number of people will become so great that limits will have to be set to their increase. But if at some stage communist society finds itself obliged to regulate the production of human beings, just as it has already come to regulate the production of things, it will be precisely this society, and this society alone, which can carry this out without difficulty ... it is for the people in the communist society themselves to decide whether, when and how this is to be done, and what means they wish to employ to the purpose."

We are those people, and many of us now understand that the real vices are found in war, injustice and repression. Increasingly, we realize that we must work together for humane and liberating solutions to the problem of human overpopulation, as we build a new, non-growth, steady-state economy that provides for all.

Kelpie Wilson is a freelance writer covering energy and environmental issues. She is a contributing editor for Yoga Plus magazine and author of Primal Tears, a novel. An archive of her past articles is on her Web site.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Since BPs Gulf Coast Disaster, ObomBa Admin Issues 27 New Offshore Drilling Permits Exempt from Environmental Review;

WASHINGTON — Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The waivers were granted despite President Barack Obama’s vow that his administration would launch a “relentless response effort” to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf. One of them was dated Friday — the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling

The exemptions, known as “categorical exclusions,” were granted by the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) and included waiving detailed environmental studies for a BP exploration plan to be conducted at a depth of more than 4,000 feet and an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. exploration plan at more 9,000 feet.

“Is there a moratorium on off shore drilling or not?” asked Peter Galvin, conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity, the environmental group that discovered the administration’s continued approval of the exemptions. “Possibly the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history has occurred and nothing appears to have changed.”

MMS officials said the exemptions are continuing to be issued because they do not represent final drilling approval.

To drill, a company has to file a separate application under a process that is now suspended because of Salazar’s order Thursday.

However, officials could not say whether the exemptions would stand once the moratorium is lifted.

MMS’ approvals are expected to spark new criticism of the troubled agency and the administration’s response to the spill.

Salazar announced Thursday that there’d be no new offshore drilling until the Interior Department completes the safety review process requested by Obama. The department is required to deliver the report to the president by May 28.

Given the MMS approvals, however, Galvin said the administration’s pledge appears disingenuous.

“It looks to me like they’re misleading the public,” he said.

MMS spokesman David Smith said his agency conducts a thorough review before it determines whether to grant such exemptions.

“It’s not a rubber stamp,” he said.

BP did not return calls for comment.

MMS set out rules that allow for the exemptions from some environmental requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as long as the sites in question are not relying on new or unusual technology, or within high seismic risk areas, or within the boundaries of marine sanctuaries or in regions with hazardous bottom conditions. MMS also assesses the impact on biological and archeological resources.

In the gulf, Smith said, MMS has a “wealth of environmental data” from studies of the region that it can rely on when reviewing the requests from the energy firms.

That’s why oil and gas companies that were given the exemptions said the approvals were routine and shouldn’t have raised any environmental concerns.

Apache Corp. said it was granted four exemptions for updating production equipment and drilling wells on existing sites and for drilling in the vicinity of an existing site. Appropriate environmental studies were conducted before the purchase of the leases for those sites, said Bill Mintz, a spokesman with Apache.

“We followed the procedures and the government didn’t change the procedures,” said Mintz. “The decisions are made according to rules in a framework that has been established.”

Anadarko also cited a previous environmental assessment of a site where it applied for a waiver.

“Protecting the environment and the safety of our personnel are our highest priorities,” said John Christiansen, a Anadarko spokesman, Walter Oil & Gas also received one for a survey of an existing site off the coast of Louisiana.

Environmentalists, however, say that MMS’ checklist for determining whether to grant such exemptions are far too broad and relies on sweeping environmental impact studies that are undertaken before the purchase of leases.

Holly Doremus, a professor of law at Boalt Hall, University of California at Berkeley, said MMS has had a culture of minimizing environmental reviews of oil and gas development dating back to its inception in 1982.

“That’s related to the fact that oil companies have a great deal of power over MMS and there hasn’t been much oversight,” she said. “My guess is that these things are routinely being signed off on as categorical exclusions even though they deserve a closer look.”

Other companies that received the waivers include: Shell, Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corporation, Royal Exploration Company, Inc., MCX Gulf of Mexico, Tana Exploration Company, Tarpon Operating & Development, Rooster Petroleum, Phoenix Exploration Company, and Hall-Houston Exploration III.

Tracy L. Austin, spokeswoman for Mitsubishi International Corporation, which owns MCX Gulf of Mexico, said she could not comment on MMS’ handling of the exemptions overall.

“While we understand that the MMS has come under criticism for failing to adequately regulate the industry, with respect to our operations, we believe the MMS has acted responsibly,” she said.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have already called for reform of MMS after news that BP was granted on exemption for the Deepwater Horizon site. That waiver was first reported by the Washington Post.

“If the conclusion is we need new regulation to prevent something like this from happening again, we’d welcome that because we believe we operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” said Mintz with Apache. “But right now, the current rules say certain activities can proceed based on the studies that have been done.”

In 2008, a series of government watchdog reports implicated a dozen current and former employees of the MMS in inappropriate or unethical relationships with industry officials.

The reports described "a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity'' in the Royalty in Kind program, in which the government forgoes royalties and takes a share of the oil and gas for resale instead. From 2002 to 2006, nearly a third of the RIK staff socialized with and received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies.

Read more:

More ObombA Lies on Offshore Drilling;

A Vid;

Despite Court's Decision, Groups Vow to Continue to Fight Shell's Arctic Drilling

For Immediate Release, May 13, 2010

Contacts: Caroline Cannon, Native Village of Point Hope, (907) 830-2727
George Edwardson, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, (907) 444-7240
Emilie Surrusco, Alaska Wilderness League, (202) 544-5205
Rebecca Noblin, Center for Biological Diversity, (907) 274-1110
Caitlin Leutwiler, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-3226
Eric Grafe, Earthjustice, (907) 586-2751
Frank Ameduri, Oceana, (907) 586-8314
Andrew Hartsig, Ocean Conservancy, (907) 229-1690
Pam Miller, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, (907) 452-5021
Carole Holley, Pacific Environment, (907) 277-1029
Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club, (415) 977-5619

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— As toxic oil continues to gush uncontrollably from an exploratory well in the Gulf of Mexico, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today dismissed a challenge brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies to stop Shell Oil from drilling exploratory wells in the Arctic this summer. Also today, the Center and allies promised to continue the fight to stop Shell’s dangerous project from moving forward.

The court’s decision ignores a large body of evidence showing that the federal Minerals Management Service in the Department of Interior rubberstamped Shell’s drilling plan without conducting a proper environmental review of the possible consequences of drilling, including the possibility of a large oil spill such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico. Because the lawsuit was brought before the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the court did not consider lessons from the Gulf in making its decision.

Said Center Alaska Director Rebecca Noblin, “The court’s decision does not exempt Interior Secretary Ken Salazar from his duty to reevaluate Shell’s risky drilling plan in light of the disaster in the Gulf.”

Just after the court announced its decision, the coalition of 11 groups that challenged Shell’s drilling plan issued the following statement:

“We are very disappointed in today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the court was evaluating a decision made before the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico happened. We believe that the new issues this incident has brought to light offer even more evidence that Shell must not proceed with plans for exploratory drilling in the Arctic’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas this summer. With 48 days to go before Shell is slated to move forward, we will continue to press our request to the Obama administration to re-evaluate its approval of the Shell drilling plans in light of the Gulf spill and to suspend drilling that we knew was risky even before the massive failure in the Gulf once again exposed that drilling is indeed a dirty and dangerous business. With limited capacity to respond to potential spills and icy, harsh conditions, the Arctic is no place to take our next drilling gamble, especially when there are still so many unknowns — in the Arctic and in the Gulf.”

The 11 groups are the Center for Biological Diversity, the Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, the Native Village of Point Hope, Oceana, the Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Environment, the Sierra Club, and the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Septicemia Virus Threatens NY's Fishing Industry

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Thu 6 May 2010
Source: [edited]

Study suggests fish virus spread by fish, not boats
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus could be in a lake without killing
fish, according to a new study on the deadly virus that threatens New
York's billion dollar sport-fishing industry. Ships may not have
recently introduced a deadly virus that has killed large numbers of
fish in several Great Lakes since 2005 as previously thought, reports
a new Cornell study [see below for the reference & link], but the
virus may have been present for decades.

Its new finding is that "viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV)
could be in a lake without killing fish," said Mark Bain, associate
professor of natural resources and lead author of a paper published
online in the journal Public Library of Science One (Vol. 5: 4).
"Healthy fish can carry this disease at low levels," said Bain. "That
means the eruption of fish kills from VHSV does not signal its arrival."

After large numbers of fish inexplicably died in Lake Ontario in
2005, researchers at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine
identified the culprit as VHSV, which causes anemia and hemorrhaging
in fish but is harmless to humans. It was the 1st time the virus had
been documented in a Great Lake. The researchers had assumed that
ships had recently introduced the virus.

The new study, however, reports that VHSV is prevalent in the waters
and fish everywhere they tested in Lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario,
leading them to think the virus may have been living in fish
undetected in the lakes for decades, casting doubt on the theory that
ships introduced the virus.

Until now, researchers had only tested samples from dead fish. The
new study involved analyzing samples, for the 1st time, from live
fish and water from 30 locations across the 3 Great Lakes, including
10 harbors, 10 boating centers, and 10 wild shorelines. "We found it
everywhere, not just around fishing harbors and boating centers,"
said Bain. "We have no evidence that this pathogen is concentrated
around shipping." The researchers do not know how the virus initially
entered the Great Lakes, but VHSV has existed historically in the
North Atlantic and in Europe.

Since 2005, large VHSV-related fish kills have occurred in Lakes
Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in the St Lawrence and Niagara Rivers, and
VHSV has been identified in Lake Superior and smaller lakes,
including the western-most Finger Lake in New York, Conesus Lake.
Researchers have detected the virus in more than 20 Great Lakes fish
species, posing a potential threat to New York's USD 1.2 billion
sport-fishing industry. Authorities have responded with strict
regulations on boats and ballast water and on moving fish and bait
minnows between lakes.

One theory why VHSV started killing fish in large numbers in 2005 is
that warmer springs led to rapid rises in water temperatures, which
stresses fish during spawning periods and makes them more susceptible
to the virus, said Bain. Another theory: that over the last 10 years,
round goby -- known carriers of the virus -- has been spreading in
the Great Lakes and may be shedding VHSV in the water.

"It's the most infected fish," said Bain. "It may be that higher
populations of round goby brought the disease to more prominence."

[Byline: Krishna Ramanujan]

Communicated by:

[The paper itself is available on PLoS ONE:
Bain MB, Cornwell ER, Hope KM, Eckerlin GE, Casey RN, et al:
Distribution of an Invasive Aquatic Pathogen (Viral Hemorrhagic
Septicemia Virus) in the Great Lakes and Its Relationship to
Shipping. 2010. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10156. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010156

The report above in PhysOrg is more informative than the paper's
abstract. - Mod.MHJ]

[The Great Lakes can be seen on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive
map of the USA at
. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[see also:
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA (02): Lake Superior 20100415.1219
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA: (Lake Superior) 20100130.0325
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA: (MI) 20090903.3103
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA (02): (OH) 20080708.2072
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA: (OH) 20080611.1842
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA (NY) 20070622.2012
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia - USA (Lake Michigan) 20070526.1679
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA (MI,WI) 20070519.1595
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA (Lake Erie) 20070501.1418
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA (MI) 20070127.0353
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, fish - USA (multistate): ban 20061029.3102]

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Oil spill may endanger human health, officials say

APe Environmental Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - With a huge and unpredictable oil slick drifting in the Gulf of Mexico, state and federal authorities are preparing to deal with a variety of hazards to human health if and when the full brunt of the toxic mess washes ashore.

The list of potential threats runs from temporary, minor nuisances such as runny noses and headaches to long-term risks such as cancer if contaminated seafood ends up in the marketplace. While waiting to see how bad things will get, public health agencies are monitoring air quality, drinking water supplies and seafood processing plants and advising people to take precautions.

"We don't know how long this spill will last or how much oil we'll be dealing with, so there's a lot of unknowns," said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana's state health director. "But we're going to make things as safe as humanly possible."

Oil has been spewing into the Gulf at a rate of at least 200,000 gallons a day since an offshore drilling rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 people. Little if any has reached land thus far, but shifts in wind speed and direction could propel the slick toward populated areas.

In a possible hint of things to come, a foul stench drifted over parts of southwestern Louisiana last week. The oil probably was the culprit, said Alan Levine, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, whose office heard about dozens of complaints - even from state legislators in New Orleans, some 130 miles from the leaky undersea well.

"Their eyes were burning, they felt nauseated, they were smelling it," Levine said.

Farther up the coast at Shell Beach, marina operator and commercial fisherman Robert Campo said the smell gave him a headache as he collected oysters 20 miles offshore. "It was rotten," he said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has began round-the-clock air monitoring in Gulf coastal areas and posting online hourly readings for ozone and tiny particles such as soot. Both can cause respiratory problems and are particuarly aggravating for people with chronic conditions such as asthma.

Crude oil emits volatile organic compounds that react with nitrogen oxides to produce ozone. Fires being set by the Coast Guard to burn off oil on the water's surface would produce sooty, acrid smoke.

"We don't know what the impacts are going to be yet," said Dave Bary, an EPA spokesman in Dallas. "We don't know in what direction this oil will go."

The potential for unhealthy air quality depends on a variety of factors, particularly the speed and direction of winds that could disperse fumes and determine where they go, said Jonathan Ward, an environmental toxicology professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

With the leaky Gulf well some 50 miles offshore, Ward said much of the oil vapor likely wouldn't reach land,although the potential for air pollution from the slick will remain as long as the leak continues.

Public health agencies in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi advised people near the coast who experience nausea, headaches or other smell-related ailments to stay inside, turn on air conditioners and avoid exerting themselves outdoors.

In addition to air pollution, officials also were guarding against health problems from tainted drinking water and seafood.

Some communities, including New Orleans, get their supplies from the Mississippi River. Its southerly currents will prevent oil from drifting upstream to city intake pipes, and the Coast Guard is making sure that any ships with oil-coated hulls are scrubbed down before proceeding up the river, Guidry said.

Even so, the state health department has ordered testing of municipal water systems near the Gulf for signs of oil.

"It's next to impossible that a high amount would get in," Guidry said. "Even if some got through, more than likely the treatment system would eliminate it."

The department this week began taking samples at seafood processing plants. Officials have ordered a temporary moratorium on fishing in federal waters from the Mississippi River to the Florida Panhandle, but sampling will provide benchmarks enabling scientists to track any increases in contaminant levels once fishing is allowed to resume.

Louisiana health officials said they believe fish, shrimp and other Gulf delicacies already on the market are safe.

"If we see increases in hydrocarbons or other contaminants, we'd stop the flow of seafood," Levine said.

Even after the immediate crisis passes, risks could linger for years, said Gina Solomon, an associate professor at the University of California-San Francisco medical school and a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"Exposure to some of the chemicals in oil has been linked to cancer," Solomon said. "Those chemicals can get into sediments in the Gulf, build in the food chain and be a long-term problem in fish and shellfish."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with epidemiologists in the Gulf states to develop studies of health repercussions from the oil spill, Guidry said.

Yet another hazard is direct contact with oil-saturated water - particularly for cleanup crews and volunteers involved in animal rescue operations.

When the container ship Cosco Busan hit a bridge and released 53,000 gallons of highly toxic bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay in November 2007, officials managing the cleanup ordered volunteers to wear protective suits, gloves and masks that later were discarded at a hazardous waste dump. Some oil fouled beaches, which were closed to prevent danger to the public.

People working around the Gulf spill should be equipped with respirator devices and wear heavy-duty gloves and protective clothing to guard against painful skin rashes, said Solomon, who has treated patients exposed to oil fumes.

"The workers absolutely need to be protected," Solomon said.

Monday, May 3, 2010