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Gayle in MD
05-17-2010, 11:32 AM
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<span style='font-size: 14pt'>Oil Spill Florida Keys: Scientists Think Oil Has Entered Loop Current And Poses Grave Threat To Reefs </span>JASON DEAREN and MATT SEDENSKY | 05/17/10 12:31 PM
NEW ORLEANS — Delicate coral reefs already have been tainted by plumes of crude oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, including a sensitive area that federal officials had tried to protect from drilling and other dangers.

And marine scientists are worried even more of the deep-sea reefs could be damaged as the thick goo creeps into two powerful Gulf currents. The oil has seeped into areas that are essential to underwater life, and the reefs tend to be an indicator for sea health: when creatures in the reefs thrive, so do other marine life.

The loop current could carry oil from the spill east and spread it about 450 miles to the Florida Keys, while the Louisiana coastal current could move the oil as far west as central Texas.

The depth of the gushing leaks and the use of more than 580,000 gallons of chemicals to disperse the oil, including unprecedented injections deep in the sea, have helped keep the crude beneath the sea surface. Officials report that more than 390,000 gallons of chemicals are stockpiled. Marine scientists say diffusing and sinking the oil helps protect the surface species and the Gulf Coast shoreline but increases the chance of harming deep-sea reefs.

"At first we had a lot of concern about surface animals like turtles, whales and dolphins," said Paul Montagna, a marine biologist at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi who studies Gulf reefs. "Now we're concerned about everything."

On Sunday, researchers said computer models show oil has already entered the loop current that could carry the toxic goo toward the Keys, the third-longest barrier reef in the world.

The oil is now over the western edge of a roughly 61-mile expanse of 300-to-500-foot-deep reef south of Louisiana known as the Pinnacles, about 25 miles north of where the Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 people and starting the spill that grows by the hour.

The Pinnacles is one of nine coral banks and hard-bottom areas stretching from Texas to Florida that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tried in 2008 to get designated a marine sanctuary called Islands in the Stream.

This sanctuary would have restricted fishing and oil drilling around the identified reef "islands." But the plan was put on hold after vehement objections from Republican lawmakers, fishermen and the oil industry.

Scientists have found undersea plumes of oil at the spill as much as 10 miles long, which are an unprecedented danger to the deep sea environment, said Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia.

These plumes are being eaten by microbes thousands of feet deep, which removes oxygen from the water.

"Deepwater coral are abundant on the sea floor in this part of the Gulf, and they need oxygen," said Joye, who was involved in the plume discovery. "Without it, they can't survive."

Experts say the well's depth and Friday's decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow BP to shoot massive amounts of dispersing chemicals deep underwater may help protect vital marshes and wetlands on the Gulf Coast. But the tradeoff may result in significant effects on more sea life.

Oil mixed with the chemical agent can disperse into the water more easily, rather than it staying on the surface, where it could bypass deeper banks like Pinnacles, said Edward Van Vleet, a chemical oceanography professor at the University of South Florida.

The downside is that it causes oil to sink, coating corals and other reef organisms and smothering them, he said.

When the dispersed oil is broken into smaller globules, he said they are more easily eaten by smaller reef organisms and can kill them or cause tumors or something else harmful.

Federal officials who oversee marine sanctuaries and fisheries say it's too early to tell how reefs and other important habitats may be damaged, said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA's undersecretary of commerce for oceans.

NOAA, which manages marine sanctuaries, is also responsible for estimating financial costs of the spill on the sea environment and fisheries. The Pinnacles is a significant habitat for sea life vital to commercial fisheries such as red snapper, crab and shrimp.

The creation of a sanctuary across hundreds of miles of the Gulf would not have blocked oil and gas exploration where the Deepwater Horizon exploded, said Montagna. However, he said it could have resulted in stricter environmental regulation for reefs closest to the spill site, and likely less drilling.

"So you can imagine these animals that make a living on rocks, filtering food out of the water, and the dispersants come along and sink the oil; it's a big concern," Montagna said.

The area also is breeding ground for sperm whales and bluefin tuna, species not doing well, he said.

Studies published in a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report show that oil mixed with dispersants damaged certain corals' reproduction and deformed their larvae. The study concluded the federal government needed to study more before using massive amounts of dispersants.

Reefs are made up of living creatures that excrete a hard calcium carbonate exoskeleton.

Depending on the oil exposure, they can be smothered by the pollutants or become more susceptible to bleaching, which hinders reproduction and growth. While the warm temperatures of Florida could speed the recovery of damaged reefs there, some problems could be seen for a decade or more. In the deeper reefs in colder water closer to the spill, the damage could last even longer.

As the spill increases, the oil oozes toward other reefs that stretch from the blowout site eastward to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The Keys exist in relatively shallow water, so the potential exposure to the oil is higher than for deeper reefs, though BP PLC officials say the oil would be more diffused after having broken down during its travel over hundreds of miles.

This week, researchers from USF and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are heading to the loop current to get a "chemical fingerprint" of any oil they find to confirm it is from the leaking well.

"We don't expect the loop current to carry oil onto beaches," William Hogarth, dean of the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, said. "But we do have a great concern for the Keys."

If oil reaches the Keys, it could threaten one of the country's greatest underwater natural resources as well as its tourism industry.

Locals throughout the ribbon of islands not only relish their ties to the water but rely on it to help bring in 2 million visitors each year.

"They're not going to come if our beaches are tarred and our mangroves have died and it's a polluted dump," said Millard McCleary, program director of the Key West-based Reef Relief. "They'll go to the Bahamas or the Caymans or they'll go to Mexico."

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This is just devastating! No other word for it!

G.

eg8r
05-17-2010, 11:36 AM
Absolutely agree. The local talk radio guy this morning was talking about this and the possibility of the oil actually hitting the east coast instead of the west and all I could think about were the reefs in the Keys.

eg8r

Gayle in MD
05-17-2010, 11:50 AM
Check this out:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Venice, Louisiana -- Local fishermen hired to work on BP's uncontrolled oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are scared and confused. Fishermen here and in other small communities dotting the southern marshes and swamplands of Barataria Bay are getting sick from the working on the cleanup, yet BP is assuring them they don't need respirators or other special protection from the crude oil, strong hydrocarbon vapors, or chemical dispersants being sprayed in massive quantities on the oil slick.

Fishermen have never seen the results from the air-quality monitoring patches some of them wear on their rain gear when they are out booming and skimming the giant oil slick. However, more and more fishermen are suffering from bad headaches, burning eyes, persistent coughs, sore throats, stuffy sinuses, nausea, and dizziness. They are starting to suspect that BP is not telling them the truth.

And based on air monitoring conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a Louisiana coastal community, those workers seem to be correct. The EPA findings show that airborne levels of toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic compounds like benzene, for instance, now far exceed safety standards for human exposure.

For two weeks, I've been in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama sharing stories from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which devastated the community I lived and commercially fished in, with everyone from fishermen and women to local mayors to state governors and the crush of international media.

During the 1989 cleanup in Alaska, thousands of workers had what Exxon medical doctors called, "the Valdez Crud," and dismissed as simple colds and flu. Fourteen years later, I followed the trail of sick workers through the maze of court records, congressional records, obituaries, and media stories, and made hundreds of phone calls. I found a different story. As one former cleanup worker put it, "I thought I had the Valdez Crud in 1989. I didn't think I'd have it for fourteen years."

In 1989 Exxon knew cleanup workers were getting sick: Exxon's clinical data shows 6,722 cases of upper respiratory "infections"--or more likely work-related chemical induced illnesses. Exxon also knew workers were being overexposed to oil vapors and oil particles as verified through its air-quality monitoring program contracted to Med-Tox. The cleanup workers never saw results of this program. Neither did OSHA, the agency supposedly charged to oversee and independently monitor Exxon's worker-safety program.

Alarmed by the "chemical poisoning epidemic," as expert witness Dr. Daniel Teitelbaum would later call it when he testified on behalf of sick workers, Exxon created a partial release form to indemnify itself from future health claims. Exxon paid its workers $600.50 to sign it, as I discovered in court records.

Sick workers were left to fend for themselves. Merle Savage was a foreman on the Bering Trader during the cleanup and supervised 180 workers. She described a persistent headache and "bronchitis" symptoms in 1989 that "wouldn't go away." Her medical doctors didn't connect her symptoms to her hazardous waste cleanup work. She is now completely disabled.

Richard Nagel, a master captain, supervised the workers who sprayed the dispersant Inipol. Exxon called Inipol, a "bioremediation" agent, but the Material Safety Data Sheet listed the solvent and human health hazard, 2-butoxyethanol. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency knows the Product Schedule is rife with abuse and products are used interchangeably - and that "misuses may cause further harm to the environment than the oil alone," but the charade continues. Nagel outlived most of his crew on the Pegasus. He was fifty-three when he died in 2009 of complications from systemic illnesses that his medical doctors never connected to his cleanup work.

Unlike the Exxon Valdez tragedy, in more recent oil spills human-health studies were conducted by independent qualified personnel. After the 2002 Prestige oil spill, medical researchers reported that fishermen and residents of Galacia, Spain, suffered identical symptoms to Exxon Valdez and now BP Gulf responders when cleaning up off their coast - or just from breathing air laced with oil vapors, driven by hurricane force winds. Similarly, after the 2007 Hebei Spirit oil spill off the coast of Taean, South Korea, medical researchers documented respiratory damage, central nervous system damage, and even genetic damage in volunteers and fishermen who worked on the cleanup.

There is no excuse for sick people. BP and the federal agencies charged with worker safety know that the risks of working on a hazardous waste cleanup are extraordinarily high and that it will take a concerted effort to keep workers safe and healthy. Further, it will take an equally extraordinary effort by BP and the federal government to protect public health in coastal communities downwind or downstream from the toxic stew in the Gulf.

Yet I don't see either BP or the federal government taking sufficient--or any--action to prevent human tragedy in the form of acute and likely long-term illnesses from its uncontrolled leak.

Years after the Exxon Valdez human-health tragedy, Eula Bingham, who was assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health in the Carter Administration, said of the federal OSHA inaction, "Quite frankly, they should have been more aggressive, but the government just folded."

I am in Louisiana as a volunteer to help make sure that, this time, the no one just folds. We need independent medical researchers to monitor health impacts. We need the Obama Administration to take aggressive steps to protect public health and worker safety and stop this unfolding tragedy before it gets worse.

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Horrible. And those reefs around the Keys are so essential to the Gulf, Florida, and the entire Atlantic Ocean.

This is going to be the worst in history, and I think all those chemicals they're dumping, are making everything worst, and just helping BP to hide the vast number of barrells of oil they've lost, making it all sink to the bottom.

They have no conscience over any harm they do to the environment, our animals, or to human beings. None!

New studies suggesting the inssecticides are contributing to ADDS, too, our kids are being poisoned by the corporations.

G.

Sid_Vicious
05-17-2010, 01:08 PM
Gayle...I heard a CNN interview with this BP dude in position of "Exploration and Production" in his job title. He was asked several times whether BP prodded the drillers to hurry the job because of time over run. That son of a bitch would NOT admit his job duties included knowing the status of that rig up until the explosion. Lying f*cks. There is no real accountability these days. sid

Gayle in MD
05-17-2010, 10:01 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sid_Vicious</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Gayle...I heard a CNN interview with this BP dude in position of "Exploration and Production" in his job title. He was asked several times whether BP prodded the drillers to hurry the job because of time over run. That son of a bitch would NOT admit his job duties included knowing the status of that rig up until the explosion. Lying f*cks. There is no real accountability these days. sid </div></div>


He was truly disgusting. They all were, and the pity of it is that I remember watching the same kind of lying Fiasco in Senate investigations about the Texas disaster, the CEO's of the Tobacco companies, Pharamaceutical CEO's, wiggling out of paying for killing people from their own hurry up and get more bucks, Free Market version of capitalism, and for that matter, numerous appointees of the Bush administration, who were nothing but f-us and crooks, as well.

At the very least, perhaps this massive disaster will save us from more cringing, embarrassment and repulsion over having to watch Palin and her idiot brigade screaming drill baby drill!

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Qtec
05-18-2010, 04:45 AM
Lets not forget.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The Energy Task Force, officially the National Energy Policy Development Group, was a task force created by then-president George W. Bush during his <span style='font-size: 17pt'><u>second week in office</u></span>. Vice President Dick Cheney was named chairman. This group was intended to “develop a national energy policy <span style='font-size: 17pt'>designed to help the private sector,</span> and, as necessary and appropriate, State and local governments, promote dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound production and distribution of energy for the future."[1][2] </div></div>

Cheney said,

"Do what you want. drill where you want."

Oil guys said,

"What about all these safeguards we have to meet and all these environmental surveys and tests we need to do before we get a permit to drill.? Its costing a fortune!"

Cheney said, " Don't worry about that boys, you leave that to me."

........and so he stuffed the regulator agency with loyal Bushites , who did their masters bidding without question.

Surely not you say.

" GW is a stand up guy and would never play dice with America's future!"

LOL

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Controversy

<span style='font-size: 20pt'>Most of the activities of the Energy Task Force have not been disclosed to the public,</span> even though Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests (since 19 April 2001) have sought to gain access to its materials. The organisations Judicial Watch and Sierra Club launched a law suit (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia: Judicial Watch Inc. v. Department of Energy, et al., Civil Action No. 01-0981) under the FOIA to gain access to the task force's materials. After several years of legal wrangling, in May, 2005 an appeals court permitted the Energy Task Force's records to remain secret.[6][7] </div></div>

Basically the first thing Bush/Cheney did was to make a secret deal with the energy industry... and now its disaster for 1,000s or millions who make their living from the sea or tourism in the South. That oil has got to go somewhere.



Anyone for oil flavoured shrimp?

BSTDS should be hanged.

Q

eg8r
05-18-2010, 10:28 AM
Like I said, this could possibly be absolutely devastating for all the reefs in the keys.

eg8r

eg8r
05-18-2010, 10:35 AM
I am sure it is going to continue to get worse before it gets any better. One other thing that is coming out is the great possibility that BP has been lying about how much oil is actually there. There are lies going everywhere to cover up everything and the end result is going to be the same, the possible wipe-out of the marine environment in south Florida.

eg8r

Gayle in MD
05-19-2010, 09:51 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: eg8r</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I am sure it is going to continue to get worse before it gets any better. One other thing that is coming out is the great possibility that BP has been lying about how much oil is actually there. There are lies going everywhere to cover up everything and the end result is going to be the same, the possible wipe-out of the marine environment in south Florida.

eg8r </div></div>

Yep, BP has been lying for decades. They lied about their ability to handle this very thing when they testified about deep water drilling, said they were all set up, no risk, not to worry. All Lies, obviously. Their record is horrible. They never pay for all the damages they're responsible for, just keep putting everything off, slowoing up the process, wearing all of those who were devastated by BP's profit first attitude.

It's going to hurt the Repubs, IMO, if they continue to protect Big Oil, after this heart breaking fiasco.


BTW, Ed, you can access loads of the Oil CEO's numerrous lying testimonies before the Senate by going into C-Span's website, and just clicking your way along. The videos don't lie, but the oil indusry sure does!

G.


G.