Oil Spill Update: May 24, 2010

Another few days and another few million gallons.

  1. Oil seeps 12 miles into Louisiana marshes and pelicans are coated in crude.
  2. The U.S. officially declares a fisheries disaster in Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 20% of fisheries in the area because of the spill impacting the $2.4 billion industry in the Gulf states
  3. The BP “plan” for reacting to a major oilspill is joke.  Walruses are among the Gulf’s “Sensitive Biological Resources.”   A Japanese home shopping site if given as the link to one of the “primary equipment providers for BP in the Gulf of Mexico Region [for]rapid deployment of spill response resources on a 24 hour, 7 days a week basis.” More importantly the plan doesn’t contain information about tracking sub-surface oil plumes.
  4. Fed up with BP’s failed response, Louisiana shrimpers take charge in the oil spill cleanup. Under their own charge the “crew finds oil — it doesn’t take long — and then lowers absorbent booms. All the leaked oil gets scooped up and absorbed into the white boom. In as little as half an hour, the dirty booms have to be replaced.”
  5. Others are beginning to realize that a “substantial piece of the total impact is likely occurring under the sea.”
  6. Scientists to study impact of gulf oil spill on marine food webs. The team will focus on three species of mollusk (oysters, tellinid clams, and periwinkles) to see if toxins are being incorporated into their shells.
  7. Although not in reference to the oil spill but extremely pertinent, Ed Yong writes about how protecting biodiversity alleviates poverty and the surprise benefits of protected areas
  8. The White House is getting pissed off with BP.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pledged to “keep our boot on their neck until the job gets done.” Interior Secretary Salazar earlier slamed BP for missing deadlines on sealing oil well. MSNBC reports that “Confidence in BP? Not really, says Obama aide.”
  9. BP delays their latest attempt to stop the oil leak. In a maneuver called a “top kill,” BP is planning to pump heavy drilling fluids twice the density of water through two narrow lines into the blowout preventer to create a plug.
  10. BP commits $500 million to research oil spill impact. To bad they didn’t spend this on how research to prevent this happening in the first place or mitigating its impact once it did happen.
  11. A nice write up with the most dramatic title yet.  Oil spill brings “death in the ocean from top to bottom”. Combine this with the photo by A.J. Sisco at The Times-Picayune and you probably need a shot and a valium to get to sleep tonight.
  12. Julie Packard, Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium op-ed for the Huffington Post rightly calls us all out.  “While it’s easy to blame industry and the government for the spill, the underlying culprit is our collective reliance on fossil fuels.”
  13. New York Times reports “at least 7 new drilling permits and 5 waivers have been granted” since the oil spill.
  14. A direct Tweet from with a link to this video has me wondering about the potential for hay and straw as a cleanup solution.  One of the few things that would make me actually want to bail hay.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

10 Replies to “Oil Spill Update: May 24, 2010”

  1. Its a dirty shame that BP was allowed to drill a well with out being forced to have a way of closeing it down in case of emergency. What is really sad is the goverment is unable or unwilling to send down a sub with a scientest or two on bord to measure exactly how much oil is flowing where it is heading and how much damage is being done along the way. BP lies about everything. IF everything that can be done is being done I guess America has no Navy to speak of and the Corps of engineering no longer exists. After over a month the best they can come up with is between 2000 and 100,000 barrels a day. I have scads of questions and no answers. It seems to me like eveyone is just making brash statements but no one is even remotely sure about what is going on…. WHY IS IT NOT FIXED??? WHEN WILL IT BE FIXED? IS IT POSSIBLE TO REVERSE THE DAMAGE? IT IS TIME FOR ANSWERS. THE GULF IS DYING! J

  2. Even the ‘clean up’ seems to be fraudulent – see ‘BP fails booming school 101’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx8kMXufu3w). WTF? Who are the beneficiaries of this ecocide? Transocean have ostensibly already made USD 270 million profit from insurance payments, yet Congress has capped penalties at 75 million.

    By the way, there have been over 250 similar cases off Africa’s coast but the media doesn’t seem to know about these.

    This is ecocide and we are ALL responsible.

  3. Since the E. Valdez calamity in Alaska, my wife and I stopped buying gas at B.P Stations. Since then we have not purchased one nickel of gas from them.

    Everyone is playing the blame game, I’m sick of it. We sent a man to the moon, do you mean to tell me somewhere on this earth there isn’t someone that can come up with an idea to stop the “leak?” Everybody knows we cannot depend on the government to get anything done. We now know that the President, because he doesn’t want to accept political responsibility, isn’t going to do anything.

    It’s too late, that whole ecosystem is now ruined. Thank you BP, you did it again. America, keep patronizing B.P. so this kind of thing may happen again. In the meantime, go back to your pizza, beer and sitcoms and wait for someone else to start caring. Pathetic, to say the least!

  4. I think it’s ridiculous to single out a name for whom is responsible. We all know or should know by now that these giant corporations are all owned, in one way or another, by the same groups of people… Even the U.S. government has interests in these companies, so we are ALL to “blame”… We all play our part by sitting on our lazy butts and living like mindless drones. Trading our true individual freedom for a free will based life.

    But all is in time with the change that humanity is surely experiencing now.. We can only sit and watch as the Great Awakening occurs…..So let us point a finger to no one but ourselves. For it is us, as individuals, who need to change… Political, religious and monetary systems are useless and forever un-needed….Ready yourselves within and this will change the world around you. Rely on something as stupid as a “vote”, and your world will continue to degrade.. Awaken Everyone!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I’m particularly interested on how the oil spill is affecting the sea turtle population. Does anyone have any info on that?

    On a related note if anyone is interested in volunteering with sea turtle conservation activities, Friends of the Osa runs a sea turtle conservation program on the beaches of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. We need as many volunteers as possible for the upcoming nesting season! See here for details http://www.osaconservation.org/Volunteer.html. Thanks!

  6. If you go to ABC News or http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org you will find an article on how Kevin Costner is testing something to vacuum up the oil. If the trial works, six more vessels will be used. Let us hope and pray for the best. Meanwhile it is 50 miles from Pensacola and hurricane season is approaching and could make a bigger catastrophe!

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