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Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/site/2931/
Apr/30/2010, 10:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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I cannot think of anything else right now. As bad as Katrina was. As bad as Gustav was. As bad as the Valdez spill was. I cannot wrap my brain around the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Last night late I remembered an old Peter Gabriel song. I've always intuited what he was after. He was after just such a disaster. I found a cover of the song, played it a couple of a dozen times. Artists and sybils like Cassandra see things other people don't. The fouling of the earth is what his song laments, warns against.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2cdP14Idyw&NR=1

Tere

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http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/weather-will-help-determine-scope-of-gulf-coast-oil-spill-disaster/19461129?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl1|link1|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fnation%2Farticle%2Fweather-will-help-determine-scope-of-gulf-coast-oil-spill-disaster%2F19461129

Tere
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Re: Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


Can't think, can't move, can't do. And I need to do all of the above. I should be down there doing something. Doing anything. But tomorrow I go out of town to see to honey bees.

As noted elsewhere I once worked on a rig. I've been trying to piece together what caused the Deep Water Horizon disaster. Have been refreshing the memory on procedure. It will be months before anyone has a definitive answer. The likeliest scenario is a blow out.

Oil at so many thousands of feet below earth's surface is under intense pressure, thousands of pounds of pressure and at hundreds of degrees F. Think of a balloon squeezed on all sides. To counteract the pressure drillers are constantly pumping down the pipe a mudlike slurry. Now here is where the math comes in and the possibility for miscalculation.

The slurry has two functions. It is used to lubricate the drill bit as it grinds through rock. It is also used, as I say, to push against the crude. Pressure is key. And the responsible engineer has to constantly, damn near hourly, calculate how much counteracting pressure is needed. Is the slurry thick enough, viscous enough. Is the pump pushing hard enough? If there is not enough of either hot oil comes to the surface, meets oxygen and combusts.

I've read that the rig was no longer drilling, having reached the oil pocket. This is the most precarious moment in the process. When I worked off-shore that was the week when cigarette smokers were chewing tobacco instead. There is a machine called a BOP (Blow Out Preventer). I can't remember how many tons it weighs. Maybe 300. It gets placed on the wellhead and effectively caps the well until a platform is brought in and the oil pumped to the surface. Between the moment a well is brought into production and when the BOP is put in place the slurry has to do all the work. I am thinking the engineer miscalculated the amount of pressure he needed to push against, oil came up, met oxygen.

There is something else. Because of greater limits put on oil companies for drilling close to shore they are forced to drill further out. The Deep Water Horizon was either 42 miles out or 52. I've heard both numbers. And, and, and it was drilling in 5,000 feet of water. I think the rig was capable of drilling to a depth of 13,000 feet below the earth's crust. But I don't know how deep it was drilling in this case. My point is this. In order to feed our appetite for oil, technology has crossed a threshold, been pushed to its limit. But, but, but the technology for disaster prevention has not caught up. It lags behind.

I find myself thinking about the whole of the disaster. The average life span of a cell phone is 8 months. It doesn't wear out. It gets traded in for a newer, snazier model. The same is true of other appliances, many of which are made with plastic, a petroleum product. And here again I am met with a function of numbers.

In 1 A.D. estimated human population of the world was 150 million. By 1650 population estimated at 500 million. As late as then the vast majority would have still been living at a subsistence level. By 1850 there were 1.2 billion people, and a middle-class of consumers had come onto the scene. By 1950 the world was supporting 2.5 billion human type animals. Wikipedia tells me today that there are 6 billion plus, almost 7, such animals. And the middle-class is now global. And it is depended upon to drive the economy through consumption, to trade in and buy new as frequently as possible.

There is only one solution to the problematic circumstances that have brought about the present disaster. Use less. Positively, deliberately, consciously create an economic down turn. Atmospheric scientists noticed something interesting in the days following 9/11/01. The ozone layer above North America was the healthiest it had been in years and since. No air traffic.

It is all a function of numbers. From over-population, to over-consumption, to an engineer's probably-very-small miscalculation, to the Gulf stream and wetlands wildlife who are dieing so that we have oil, to the millions of birds in migration right now. And nobody knows where the slick goes, continuously fed. Right now it is wind driven to the east northeast. Tomorrow the southerlies could drop and it could become current drive, which would take it westerly. And the H. season approaches.

The poet, Robinson Jeffers, was not only right. He was damn right. In fact he gets to be more right than any thinker, philosopher, scientist, economist, engineer, housewife, or factory worker I know. He called it Inhumanism: "a shifting of emphasis from man to not-man; the rejection of human solipsism and recognition of the transhuman magnificence."

"Humanity is / the start of the race; I say / Humanity is the mold to break away from, the crust to / break through, the coal to break into fire / The atom to be split." Jeffers said that too.

Terreson

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It seems my guess is not entirely right. I think I understand today a BOP, in fact, was in place, intended to cap the wellhead, and that it failed for some reason. I remember it as a huge standing machine. Maybe 30 feet tall.

Either way. Mathematical miscalculation, operator error, or engineering flaw. And something else. In the marshes there are no hard lines defining the distinction between coast and water. Marshes are porous. It is an ecologically ill-defined zone, messy and complicated, between land and sea. How do you keep in what goes out? How do you keep out what comes in?

As predicted, by late this afternoon the slick was approaching the Florida panhandle.

Sorry to be so uncomfortable. People at work are finding me inconvenient too. I'll keep the vigil.

Tere
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How does fire burn below the surface of the sea?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GECjJLzrjw&playnext_from=TL&videos=gkYc5ZpVIkw&feature=featured

Tere

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The spin. Always the spin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpgdRXYmORQ&playnext_from=TL&videos=jMdKTpdj-6g&feature=featured

Tere
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The moment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLiqvZOP8TY&playnext_from=TL&videos=_y0nxXGnSTo&feature=featured

Tere

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Not uncomfortable or inconvenient, Tere. Just at a loss for words.

Chris
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Of course, Chris. In five years we will have forgotten again, and again it will be drill, baby, drill; not, spill, baby, spill. Just as was the case with the Valdez disaster. Or maybe it will need ten years, reflecting the greater magnitude of the Deep Water Horizon "event." But memory loss will always set in. It is a congenital problem humans suffer.

I have found two more links giving both information and day by day reports of the blob's progress. (Anyone else remember that 50s sci fi movie of the same name starring Steve McQueen? The plot strikes me as the perfect metaphor for this ecological disaster.)

The first link is to NOAA's page following the spill and spill response. I notice that, by Thursday, 6 May, the blob is expected to turn to the west, more governed by currents and less by winds; which was predicted. I notice too it has touched such places as the barrier islands.

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/topic_subtopic_entry.php?RECORD_KEY%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=entry_id,subtopic_id,topic_id&entry_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=809&subtopic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=2&topic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=1

What I now want is a site viewing the problem from a non-human, other animal perspective. So far, and as disappointing as it is, this is the best I can find.

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-30-02.html

Upthread I mentioned Robinson Jeffers, his crit of human solipsism. Present response to a man-made ecological disaster rather proves his point. Down here the major tenor is worry over the blob touching toe to shore, impacting human economy. But the blob has already touched the individual marine lives over thousands of square miles, the size of some European countries. I read the glad-hand news today the spill-spread has shrunk. Good news until you reckon with that the spill has moved downwards instead. There is life in those depths. Was the blob contained this evening it will have already suffocated, contaminated millions of marine individuals who, if lucky enough to escape human nets and lines and that of other predators, had a chance to live out a whole life cycle on their own god damn terms.

Keeping witness. Looking to extend human memory's shelf life.

Tere
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By chance today I learned a young woman I've known for awhile is an active environmentalist. It appears her father, who retired a couple of years ago from the MMS (Dept. of Interior's Mineral Management Service), has been brought out of retirement to help lead the Deepwater Horizon spill response. The service is responsible for regulating off-shore oil and gas drilling. It seems my friend's father is incredulous at the slowness of response.

I found their site and this particular page. Not very interesting except for paragraphs 2, 4, and 5. Check out the scope of drilling operations in the Gulf, especially the number of oil production platforms in place. Then check out the number of exploratory drilling operations getting conducted in deep water, of 5,000 feet or more, and with the deepest drilling conducted at 10,000 feet plus. I heard an environmentalist say last week that, while the technology for deep water drilling is there, the technology for spill response is years behind.

The spill has turned westerly, current driven. It is looking to bite down on Plaquemine Parrish, the delta:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1912_TM-2010-05-05.pdf

Protected marine species in the Gulf at risk:

http://www.offshoreoperators.com/marinedebris/Protected-Species-In-GOM-NOAA.pdf

I remember working off-shore and watching hundreds of birds fall to the deck of TW54 in exhaustion. It was spring. Spring migration:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/researchers-study-bird-migration-over-gulf-of-mexico?ret=/articles/list&category=&page=8237&search%5Bstatus%5D=3&search%5Bsort%5D=date+desc

It occurs to me tonight that America has found its Dunkirk. It occurs to me too that Pogo was right when he identified the enemy. You and me, Baby.
Terreson
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This is all I can find tonight. Both industry and government seem to be clamping down on information. From local news I know the slick has hit shore, deep shore at that, reaching up the rivers. I'll look for more info.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36800673/ns/us_news-environment/

Tere
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Tere,

You might be interested in the headline at huffingtonpost.com. The article explains in some detail, the cause of the explosion. A pocket of methane gas which got ignited by heat produced in the attempt to place a second seal; well it's all a little over my head but I'm sure it will make sense to you.

I'm interested in your response--a believable explanation or a whitewash?...or what?

Chris
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Here's the link to the site Chris mentions. Thanks much Chris.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Chris, it seems plausable to me. Swoosh, boom, run, that I remember. I guess what is key here is what was the ignition point. In safety training I've been taught what is called the triangle of fire: fuel, heat, oxygen. In other words the explosion point was likely on the rig and not in the well where there is no oxygen. Also, I am thinking the BOP failure was a secondary failure. I've read somewhere that the BOP was activated after the explosion and that, for some reason, those massive valves failed to close. And so, again, it seems the initial problem was with the mudlike slurry and possibly with the engineer who reduced the amount of pressure exerted against the oil and gas.

Good find, Chris. Lots of stuff there.

Tere
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Extent of spill as of today, Saturday.

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1939_TMF24-2010-05-07-2100.pdf

Also this. Still all I can find on the effect of the spill on marine and shorelife. It ain't much.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/02/dead-fish-sea-turtle-wash_n_560237.html


Tere

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Thanks again, Chris, for the lead. I am finding good stuff here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/louisiana-oil-spill-2010_n_558287.html#s89008

Also found this, still as close as I can get to the impact on marine and shorelife.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/291525

Something occurs to me suddenly. Kind of leaves me shaking my head. I've said I once worked off-shore. The year was 1976. 34 years ago. What I realize is that I am still able to follow procedure and protocol for both counteracting oil and gas pressure and for blow out prevention. (I think this is right.) This suggests the technology has not changed in 34 years, even as I imagine the equipment and materials employed are better than it all was then. But back then drilling was conducted in far, far shallower waters. Deepwater Horizon was drilling at 5,000 feet, damn near a mile down. I've read of one drilling operation recently conducted at around 10,000 feet. But no new technology. As best as I can tell there is no essentially, radically new technology. The only difference I can see is the employment of ROVs, those robots at the bottom of the sea, without which the Gulf would be royally screwed right now. That seems to be all.

I am keeping a watch here because Delectable Mnts is home. Members feel free to pass on the link. The objective is to piece it all together. No one has to register to read.

Tere

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A bit of perspective. The spill's impact compared to the Valdez spill and the Kuwait oil fires.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36850248/ns/us_news-environment/

Tere
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Why no new technology? I don't want to see pictures or read articles re: impact on marine life and the environment. I will eventually.
Dam n. Dam n. Dam n.

huffingtonpost aint a bad source of news and opinion. Serious left-wingers refer to it as the "fluffington post."

Chris
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quote:

Christine98 wrote:

Why no new technology? I don't want to see pictures or read articles re: impact on marine life and the environment. I will eventually.
Dam n. Dam n. Dam n.

huffingtonpost aint a bad source of news and opinion. Serious left-wingers refer to it as the "fluffington post."

Chris



I don't know the answer to why no new technology. The last blow out resulting in a major oil spill I know of occurred in '68 or '69. Off the coast of CA, Santa Barbara as I recall. It was the event that incited the first Earth Day in '70. While I respect the intelligence of engineers involved in regulating, counteracting, deep drill pressures, a mishap just needs one slight miscalculation, one misstep.

I am sorry these images and reports are as indecent as a skin flick shot at gunpoint. But that is the idea isn't it? The sheer indecency of it all.

Terreson

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Spill's trajectory as of today.

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1945_TMF24-2010-05-08-2100.pdf

I am irritated. Pissed actually. Locally I hear reports of wildlife recovery efforts in place since late last week. Birds are getting washed. I know the spill is in the marshlands and threatening to go upstream in some brackish estuaries and rivers. But still no media coverage so far as I can find. Where is Audobon right now? Or the Sierra club, etc.

Tere

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Finally something. Proof it is in the marshes. What you see is a flyover of the Chandeleur Islands southeast of the Mississippi Delta.

http://blog.nature.org/2010/05/seeing-the-oil-a-first-hand-report/

Tere



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Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1956_TMF24-2010-05-10-1300.pdf

From YouTube

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1956_TMF24-2010-05-10-1300.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvHQpHWW31w&NR=1

Today a friend assured me Audobon is down here working, and has been down here. He is a member of the local chapter so he should know.

Tere

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Board participation has dropped since I started this thread. Maybe my preoccupation with the Deepwater Ocean spill is the cause. I can't know. Nobody here can know my love of the Gulf. She is my mother in a way I can't explain.

It appears my gut was right a week or so ago. Drilling was done. Well cemented, or so they thought. Mudlike slurry was backed off by the engineers. Hell broke loose. A slight miscalculation probably the cause. BOP failed for reasons still not clear.

In such a human moment we now deal with catastrophe. This is important to me and should be important to all of us putting faith in technology.

Tere
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Hi Tere,

FYI, my recent absence from the board had nothing to do with you starting this thread. I am sorry this is breaking your heart and eating your gut out. I am sorry for all the animals who will die and for the ecosystems that are being damaged. I am sorry too for those along the coast who will lose their livelihoods. I wish I had something wise and comforting to say (and think), but I don't.

I know you created this forum because you knew it was just a matter of time before something like this happened. I was recently watching a DVD from Netflix and saw a trailer for a movie I think was called "The Day the World Stood Still." In one scene what I took to be an alien from outer space (in Keneau Reeves' body) says to the female star, "If the earth dies, you die. If you die, the earth will live." Taken out of context, I don't know exactly what the lines meant, but seen in the light of what humanity is doing to the planet, it does. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Last edited by Katlin, May/11/2010, 2:41 pm
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Thanks, Kat. And, yes, there is that isn't there? The species has put nature sorely on the run and with ho place to hide. I can't get the YouTube video I posted yesterday out of my mind. The one taken by an ROV of the oil spewing out of the pipe a mile underneath the surface.

I am trying not to get angry about all of this. Mistakes made, possible short cuts taken for the sake of production, these circumstances are starting to come out. One thing is for sure. BP had no business relying on old technology at such a depth. And I've read that recently a rig has drilled in 10,000 feet of water. It is the threshold.

I heard today the spill has reached as far west as Port Fouchon, considerably west of the spill site, and that it was predicted to accellerate its western movement once it passed the mouth of the Mississippi; which has been the case. I heard sand bags are now getting deployed, hoping to protect the marshes. And I heard there is not a shrimper out there helping with the recovery effort who thinks it will work. But still they are out there. Being little people they know, we all know, what smells of reality. Right now it is that sickening smell of oil.

Tere
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Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1965_TMF24-2010-05-11-1300.pdf

Huffington again:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/bp-oil-spill

Tere

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Tere,

I was listening to the radio last night; the only station that carries "liberal" talk. Anyway it seems your instinct is all too accurate--news of the real extent of the catastrophe has been shut down. A very few independent outlets are reporting it is far, far worse than we know--twice or three times as much oil escaping. The chemicals used to disperse the oil may be dangerous in ways no one can say. I hope it's not true, I fear it is.

Chris
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Two to three times the amount of oil escaping? I can't fathom it. News about the real extent of the catastrophe being shut down? How long do they think they can hide it from us? I never thought about the ill effects of the chemicals being used to combate the spill, but of course that only makes sense. FUBAR. Thanks for the info, Chris. If anyone has links to credible independent sources, please post them.

"Being little people they know, we all know, what smells of reality. Right now it is that sickening smell of oil."

No, Tere, it's the smell of death.


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And speaking of FUBAR:

Majority backs oil drilling despite spill

(Reuters) - Despite the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, 57 percent of likely American voters agree that offshore drilling "is still a safe, reliable and cost-efficient method of producing oil," a Zogby Interactive poll showed.


http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64B4T620100512?type=domesticNews&feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews
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BP refuses to release video of underwater spill footage:

Throughout the clean-up effort, BP has monitored the spill site around the clock using submarine-mounted cameras at the mouth of the spill. An official at Oceaneering International, the company that operates the submarines under a contract with BP, told ABC News he "could walk right down the hall and watch it, but I can't share it without BP's express permission."

Eric Smith, a professor at Tulane University's Energy Institute said that footage could help in making independent assessments of the scope of the spill. But it also could do public relations damage to BP. It has remained closely guarded and cannot be made public under the argument that it is "proprietary," according to Coast Guard officials who have received repeated requests to release the images.


http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/bp-oil-spill-oil-rig-blast-bp-refused/story?id=10624972
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