Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor Unstable, Fractured, Spilling Hydrocarbons

Oil and gas are still seeping unabated, says expert. Toxic leakage poses significant public health risks.

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
October 10, 2011

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has not gone away. In fact, it has grown exponentially since the main stream media stopped talking about it. According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, an organization composed of scientists, medical professionals and seafood industry professionals, among others, the problem cannot be simplified to the damage already caused by the oil spill. It is worse, much worse.

Pools of crude oil float on the surface of Gulf of Mexico waters at the site of the sunken BP/Transocean oil drill the Deepwater Horizon on April 27, 2010. Getty Images

The Real Agenda received exclusive information regarding the current state of the ongoing emergency in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest assessment performed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance reveals not only that the oil spill is still happening, but also that the Gulf of Mexico’s sea floor grew more unstable since the explosion in 2010. Additionally, analysis provided by experts like BK Lim, shows that the geohazards developed that derive from the rolling leakage of toxic matter, combined with the on-going use of the highly toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit will most likely result in the permanent decline of marine life, while posing out-of-control public health risks, just as it did after the Exxon Valdez spill where the same chemical dispersants were used resulting in a rapid decline of the marine life until, for example, the Herring industry completely collapsed and has never recovered since then.

In a letter dated 14 January, 2011 that was sent to Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Congressman John Shimkus Chairman Subcommittee on Environment and Economy,  BK Lim warned the congressmen and their committees about the current state of the sub-seabed in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). In the document, an in-depth assessment of the emergency was provided. It explains why action must be taken immediately. The evaluation of the emergency in the Gulf conducted by Mr. Lim appears credible and is based on his 30 years of experience analyzing the geologic structure of both dry land and underwater drilling sites for major oil industry companies and leading geohazards contractors such as Fugro Geodetic (M) Sdn Bhd, TL Geohydrographics Sdn Bhd, and RPS Energy Pty Ltd.

The vaporization of enormous amounts of methane hydrates on a scale not seen before, the release of stresses between the lower and upper crust resulting in the abnormal occurrences of low magnitude, shallow earthquakes adjacent to the New Madrid Fault, the sub-seabed underground erosion in the vicinity of the shelf edge undermining the slope stability with possible tsunami-generating, giant, submarine landslides,” said Mr. Lim.

As we now know, the BP explosion that cost the lives of 11 workers was not an accident, but negligence at best and a conspiracy at worst. The latest assessment from the Gulf Rescue Alliance seems to reinforce the fact that BP drilled into the Macondo well with questionable regard for the damage it would cause to the well itself, the sea floor and the marine environment down below.

“There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead, observed from the ROV videos, have been the direct result of indiscriminate drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recovery activities,” details the document sent to congressman Upton on January 14 of this year. The direct result of the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion was the massive destruction of life through miles of coastline. The less than adequate cleanup, which helped worsen the disaster, condemned the area to living with tons of toxic chemical dispersants that simply destroyed the eco systems and negatively affected the health of thousands of people who live nearby and millions of others who directly and indirectly depend on the fishing, tourism and natural beauty of the marine life, wildlife and environment.

A review of the documents and news articles during the days and weeks after the underwater explosion, clearly shows that BP was attempting to buy time with various delay tactics and was unwilling to reveal the truth and magnitude of the disaster. While BP was officially battling to kill well A their contractors and other vessels went about with other covert underwater operations, many of which did not seem to be in sync with the urgency of killing “a third undisclosed well which was gushing even more oil”. For example there was this video showing a ROV brushing of the name of another oil company from a new BOP brought into the vicinity of the Macondo wells. BP Clean off Co Logo on BOP – why?on 9 June 2010.Other videos showed oil gushing from craters on the seafloor and ROV activities (blasting (demolition?), cutting and removal of well casings on the seafloor and from a hole (another well?), dismantling BOP, grouting of seafloor tens to over hundreds of meters away from well A. How could a BOP be dangling for two weeks from 3 to 16 July while BP was showing to the world’s audience the killing and capping of supposedly the only spewing well A from June till 15 July?

In fact, in early media reports animated graphics suggested 3 different leaks locations. BP admitted initially 3 leaks but conveniently reduced to only 1 later; ignoring to explain the “why, when and how”. BP had maintained from the start they had drilled only 1 well. From my analysis in early Aug 2010 I concluded BP could not have drilled only 1 well. They must have drilled 3 wells to account for all the conflicting information. See media reports here.

Videos also confirmed that even as early as May to June, oil and gas were already spewing from the seafloor as far as 7 to over 20 miles from Well A. A satellite photo on 25 May suggests a good correlation between the seabed oil spewing and with the faults and Salt Domes.

Evidently, numerous Youtube video postings not only confirm that BP and multiple federal agencies who were on the scene were not revealing all to the public, but that unknown quantities of hydrocarbons were still leaking out from the reservoir at high pressure and seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed. “It is not possible to “cap” this oil,” reads Mr. Lim’s analysis. “Until a solution is found to seal these fissures, the hydrocarbons, including Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), will continue to leak uncontrollably”.

WHAT IS NOW HAPPENING BELOW THE GULF’S WATERS?

The document sent to congressman Fred Upton is accompanied by photos, videos and other documentation that support the concerns expressed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance. Just as a doctor with years of experience in viewing and analyzing x-rays can immediately see a fractured bone or other ailment when a laymen would not see it or understand it’s importance, Lim has years of experience in viewing underwater videos of oil and gas seepage and can quickly see and analyze what is occurring where a laymen would not pick up on it. In his letter, Lim describes what is occurring in a series of underwater videos taken by ROV’s around and near the wellhead.

In one of the videos, Well A, as it is known, appears to be releasing clouds of methane saturated seawater, gas bubbles of methane and re-crystallized methane crystals floating close to the seabed in the vicinity of the Macondo wellhead. On top of this, says the letter, it is also possible to see new fissures and a bulging seabed developing together with an already blown crater.

A second video shows how the very rope that guides the surveying ROV disappears into a dense, darkish cloud of oily fluid. Lim’s document explains how grout materials and old drilling mud that were previously taken to higher altitudes by columns of gas in the water can be seen in the video falling back onto the sea floor. These columns of gas are coming from newly activated venting fissures formed due to sea floor instability and fragility. Viewers can also see re-crystallized methane which appears as transparent and light multicolor materials floating in the water.

The third video shows the “periodic expulsion of the gas through one of the fissures on the seabed. Like geysers, the escaping gas needs to accumulate beneath the top sediment cover until the built-up pressure exceeds the combined water-column and overburden pressure just before each periodic expulsion,” explains the report compiled by the Alliance. According to images obtained from a ROV video, there are pools of tar/oil sediment all over the seafloor which are the direct result of the oil spill.

Although it is very difficult, under the current circumstances, to obtain clear footage of what is going on at that depth, my extensive training and experience in analyzing these types of situations, combined with these footages and others which I have access to, provides proof that oil and gas are still seeping unabated from the uncontrolled leaking reservoir,” warns BK Lim on his letter sent to congressmen Upton and Shimkus on 14 January, 2011.

Independently collected video footage from places like Saint Louis Bay Beach, Pensacola Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and other places around the Gulf shows large amounts of fresh Corexit foam on the beach. As Corexit can only be used to sink fresh oil within the first couple of days of it coming up out of the ground, it is yet another indicator that there is an on-going attempt to sink fresh oil below the surface. Surficial bitumen layers (oil tarballs) that made it to the water surface as recently as September 6, due to storm surge are also coming up in massive amounts. According to sources close to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, on August 18, 2011, members of EcoRigs, went out and collected surface water samples that contained crude oil which they believed belonged to the ongoing BP oil spill. They also recorded video evidence of a heavy oil slick on Long Beach Mississippi. The water / oil samples were examined by independent laboratories and the first of those samples to return from the lab on the 28th of September confirmed their concerns: the oil was BP’s and from the Macondo reservoir.

Water sample analysis conducted independently by EcoRigs shows a positive correlation to BP’s oil spill samples. “The presence of fresh BP MC 252 crude oil in surface waters 2 to 14 months after the well was reported to have been capped suggests that crude oil from the BP DWH MC 252 field may have found new pathways to the seafloor.” The evaluations conducted also reveal that the toxic chemical Corexit is now being applied to the subsurface leak located 1500 meters beneath the ocean’s surface at the wellhead. This is done with the intention of further decomposing the oil so that the smaller particles do not make it to the surface and the continuing oil spill can be easily kept from the public eye.

ANOTHER MISHANDLED DISASTER

Just as with Katrina, more than a year into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Federal government has shown its ineptitude to adequately solving the consequences of a major disaster. In separate documents gathered by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, more revealing details are provided about how BP and the government handled the oil spill disaster. “The blown crater at the undisclosed 3rd well was spewing more than 100,000 barrels per day. (100,000 barrels estimate was based on the quantity of oil seen on the surface). Even worse the highly corrosive mix of brine, gas and oil ingresses into every crevices and permeable sections of the formation, creating new pathways to the seafloor,” says Mr. Lim. The Alliance subscribed to the standard industrial practice of conducting a detailed seafloor survey as immediately possible, to establish the extent of the seafloor damage following the well blowout. Just as an X-ray would help the surgeon in pin-pointing and planning the most appropriate surgical procedure, such a detailed seafloor and sub-seabed scan would most certainly provide the most strategic approach to stopping the release of hydrocarbons from the beleaguered well or wells. After ignoring repeated calls for such a seafloor survey since the blowout, BP and NOAA suddenly announced such a research survey using the NOAA Okeanos Explorer 15 months later. The only logical conclusion to this late survey is:

“A seafloor survey then (within the first few months) would reveal the ugly truths about the broken seafloor and precarious salt formation they were trying so hard to hide,” continued Mr. Lim. After more than a year of grouting, patching up and destroying all critical evidence in the seabed around the Macondo wells they (BP) were confident enough, the “modified seafloor” would not be incriminating to them. According to Mr. Lim, British Petroleum was very careful not to mention the fact they had drilled 3 wells. If this fact had come out, it would have caused a bomb and they could have been indicted for drilling without permission. “That is what they fear most,” says Lim. BP was also careful to isolate drilling crews away from each other, which according to Lim,  is against safety rules because drilling need to be briefed on hazardous and technical problems encountered at earlier drilling stages. Although BP may not have expected the three wells to blow up, this was an almost sure outcome due to the interconnected shallow gas formation (which was one of the main causes of their numerous problems). Further, after urgent requests for recommendations, a formal request was made to the Coast Guard on behalf of Constituent David Fakouri with the Louisiana Economic Foundation demanding seafloor survey and damage assessment be done with a 3rd party observer, but the request was denied.

The recent seafloor survey went on to have totally different emphasis and priorities. This led geohazards expert BK Lim to conclude as follows:

The vessel’s track history seemed to suggest higher emphasis in the south-western edges of the Biloxi Dome, the southern edged of Whiting Dome and generally south of the Macondo prospects. While there may yet be geologically valid reasons for the emphasis south of the Macondo wells, the shelf edges 6 to 8 km north-west of Macondo Wells and the badly eroded north-western edges of Whiting Dome should at least be surveyed with some grid-lines (see areas P1 and P2).

BP’s vessels had been observed working for quite some time in both areas. The 22 mile long underwater plume (first denied by BP and later confirmed by many independent research cruises), was suspected to have originated from the cracks in the seafloor at these locations. By avoiding these critical areas, can the present survey investigation be truly objective and independent in investigating the truth of the Macondo Blowout?

Almost all the oil sightings are north of the Macondo wells, not south. Why did the survey deliberately (?) avoid the shelf edges north of Macondo. In March 2011, new oil spills were suspected to have come from “leaks in the seabed” north of the Matherhorn field. The shelf edges bordering the Mississippi-Alabama Shelf, appear pretty fractured with large crevices and in potential danger of sliding into gigantic submarine landslides. Submarine landslides are more effective in generating tsunami than quakes without significant landslides. Both the 2011 Japan and 2004 Sumatra Quakes had giant tsunamis due to the accompanying large submarine mass displacement.”

During the first few weeks of the disaster, there was a struggle within BP between thosewho wanted to come clean about the reality of the situation and another group that wanted to cover it up. Apparently the latter group managed to win the struggle and they decided to use the well with the least of the problems (the first and shallowest, Well A, which was drilled to about 5,000 feet below mudline) to be the one staged for the world media as the “show capping” of an oil spill. The third and bigger leak at Well 3, which the late Matt Simmons kept asserting was “the deepest well that reached the Macondo oil resevoir”, was kept out of the public limelight.

A confidential source informed The Real Agenda that credible scientific evidence has been gathered giving high probability to allegations that oil is, in fact, still leaking and that inadequate oil spill response protocols were employed by the EPA, Coast Guard and other officials at Federal and State levels throughout the disaster. According to the source, the compilation of the scientific evidence is not just an edict of worrisome errors but criminal negligence resulting in a worsened tragedy throughout the Gulf States and Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem resulting in serious human health consequences—with EPA being at the head of that mismanagement.

The source further reports that between May 2010 and March 2011 long after the reported capping of the BP well in July of 2010 the average toxicity levels in the Gulf Region waters from Texas to Florida were persisting at unsafe levels and that, in some cases, they were thousands of times higher than EPA established safety threshold levels. It was during this same period of time that federal government agencies put out propaganda saying everything on the Gulf of Mexico was safe, including seafood, air and sea water.

It has been alleged that NOAA’s testing methods were flawed resulting in the “all is safe now in the Gulf” proclamation by responsible agencies. A separate concern is the fact that BP has a $500 million fund paying for continuing studies on the after effects of the spill and use of Corexit leading to concerns by independent scientists over the transparency and availability of this information to the public. Scientists under BP or government contracts conducting studies are not permitted to publicize or discuss any of their data until delivered to their employers. With some of these studies estimated to take several years, the public won’t know the truth until years later.

On September 13, 2011 new oil was seen close to where the original BP oil explosion occurred. Due to the fact the EPA insists on using Corexit as the only possible solution to the problem, the most important issue up to this point -the dire consequences of using Corexit- are not being addressed. Corexit not only contaminates the Gulf of Mexico and the human populations established throughout, but also is ineffective remediating the core problem: cleaning the Gulf waters as fast as possible. The only thing Corexit has proven is its effectiveness to pollute the waters and the Gulf as a whole. Why then does the EPA and the federal government insist on using it? It is interesting to note that none of the official statements by either the EPA or the oil companies state that Corexit cleans up the waters. They do, however, repeatedly state that Corexit is “effective”, which misleads the public into thinking that Corexit is cleaning up the waters. What Corexit is effective at is sinking it below the surface where it is difficult to see and quantify just how much is there, and breaking it up into small particles and spreading the contamination far and wide making the potential problems of toxic exposure to both humans and all the flora and fauna exponentially worse.

EPA ENFORCES ANTIQUATED OIL SPILL CLEAN UP PROTOCOLS

On its website, the EPA mildly agrees that using Corexit as a tool to clean the Gulf has “trade offs”. The question is, where are the positives? The oil is not being cleaned, but the waters and the complete ecosystem are being contaminated. Given the Federal Government’s line of action, it seems the task at hand is to make things worse, instead of better. Even after BP requested to test on the DWH oil already-proven, effective, non-toxic alternative oil spill cleanup technologies the EPA refused to allow those alternative technologies to be utilized.

One of the most highly regarded products suggested by scientists and environmental and conservation groups is Oil Spill Eater II, which is not only approved by the EPA, but also listed as part of an official list of products for oil spill cleanup, called the National Contingency Plan (or NCP List) that have been tested and approved as workable for emergencies like the one now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, BP’s requests to use Oil Spill Eater II were denied by the EPA and regional federally controlled response team officials. The Real Agenda additionally received documents showing formal requests were made by the Governor of Louisiana Mississippi and Alabama to use or conduct trials on OSE II in their states. In June 2010, the EPA sent a letter to Louisiana Governor Jindal denying the use of bioremediation methods for the DWH oil. Per documents obtained by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, the letter had a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements in it, and showed a surprising lack of understanding of the natural process that mother nature follows to clean up an oil spill. This effectively took off the table all but one of the non-toxic products on the NCP list for use in the Gulf of Mexico blowout. The only non-toxic product which did not fit under the detailed description of why the EPA stated that bioremediation would have only limited value, unwittingly made the case for the immediate use of OSE II. When this was pointed out to the EPA in a subsequent letter by OSEI, the company that manufactures and distributes OSE II, the EPA ignored the letter. BP America’s Chief Counsel stated in a conference call with the OSEI Corporation, in September of 2011 that BP was not able to use OSE II to treat the oil disaster because “BP is bound by the government’s decision” —bound by the EPA mandate [to keep using Corexit]. Consequently, it is estimated by sources outside of BP that BP could “have saved an estimated $36 billion in clean up costs if they had deployed the EPA approved alternative to Corexit. Gulf Rescue Alliance members state that it is in possession of voluminous documentation that indicates the EPA arbitrarily blocks any attempt to use environmentally friendly methods to clean the Gulf and instead prefers to use Corexit with no regard for the marine life and public’s health from the now proven to be fatally toxic chemical dispersant.

The use of friendlier technologies could not have only saved the Gulf’s ecosystem in the earlier stages of the disaster, but it would have also reduced the costs of the clean-up process for both the federal government and BP itself and prevented untold damage. Instead, the disaster in the Gulf continues to endanger everything and everyone as the toxic contamination spreads, and the costs of the clean-up process -which are now estimated in the tens of billions of dollars- continue to skyrocket.

Given the EPA’s decision not to help resolve the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, community organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed lawsuitsthat ask the EPA to conduct long-term studies that evaluate the impacts of Corexit on the environment and endangered species. It is expected that these lawsuits will act as a wake-up call to the EPA, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard, which appear to have made a conscious effort to block all alternatives directed towards the use of OSE II or any other environmentally friendly and truly effective technologies or techniques to clean the Gulf swiftly and effectively.

Luis R. Miranda is a Journalist with 15 years of experience. He is the founder and editor of The Real Agenda. Learn  more about Luis here.


United Nations Agenda 21 to Rule the Oceans

By Dennis Amble
April 20, 2011

Whilst everyone has been occupied with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s defense before Congress of the EPA’s attempts to regulate CO2 emissions, the Administration has continued to move towards International Ocean Governance with the establishment of a Governance Coordinating Committee for the National Ocean Council, (NOC). The NOC has been long in the making and earlier history of Ocean legislation can be found here, going back to the 1969 Stratton Commission and beyond. However the current impetus dates to the Pew Oceans Commission in 2003 and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy – An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century in 2004, mandated by the Oceans Act 2000.

The recommendations of the Pew Oceans Commission and the US Commission on Ocean Policy were very similar, even down to the coastal maps used to preface the reports. The pretence was abandoned in 2005 with the formation of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, co-chaired by the chairs of the Pew Commission and the US Commission on Ocean Policy.
In 2007 came Oceans-21, the short name given to HR-21, The Oceans Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act. It was designed to implement the policies favoured by the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, but it never became law.

On June 12th 2009 the White House published a Presidential Memorandum to Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies relating to a “National Policy for The Ocean, Our Coasts and The Great Lakes”. It established an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (Task Force), to be led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality “in order to better meet our Nation’s stewardship responsibilities for the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes”

The influence of the climate agenda was clear:

“Challenges include water pollution and degraded coastal water quality caused by industrial and commercial activities both onshore and offshore, habitat loss, fishing impacts, invasive species, disease, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. Oceans both influence and are affected by climate change. They not only affect climate processes but they are also under stress from the impacts of climate change.”

The Pew and US Commission policies surfaced again in the report of the Task Force, the Final Recommendations Of The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, (OPTF), July 19, 2010.

Freedom Advocates claimed that “thirty states would be encroached upon by Obama’s Executive Order establishing the National Ocean Council for control over America’s oceans, coastlines and the Great Lakes.”

THE TASK FORCE

The members of the Task Force included, amongst other government agency representation:

Nancy Sutley, Task Force Chair. She is also chair of The Council on Environmental Quality and is principal environmental policy adviser to the President. Ms. Sutley was a special assistant to Carol Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton. Sutley is co-chair of the National Ocean Council with John Holdren.

Jane Lubchenco Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA Administrator, she was a member of the Pew Oceans Commission in 2003 and is still, as a government employee, listed as a current member of that organisation and a member of the Joint Ocean Commission. She is also a member of the National Ocean Council as NOAA Administrator.

Peter Silva, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water. Silva resigned from post on January 14 2011, a day after he decided to revoke the permit of a mountain top mining proposal in Appalachia. Nancy Stoner, deputy assistant administrator, is now Acting Assistant Administrator. She was with the Natural Resources Defense Council before joining the EPA.

Lubchenco served, until her NOAA appointment, on the boards of the World Resources Institute, Environmental Defense, and on advisory committees for the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme.

She was a contributor to the 1991 report of the National Research Council, Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming, along with Stephen Schneider, Maurice Strong, Tom Karl, William Nordhaus and others. She is shown as an Advisory Board Member of Diversitas, a UN linked, international government funded diversity institute, along with Paul Ehrlich, and Harold Mooney, of Stanford.

Ms. Lubchenco is a member of the National Research Council panel, America’s Climate Choices, along with long time associate John Holdren, Director of President Obama’s Office of Science and Technology. They are both on the National Oceans Council. In an interview in July 2009, with Yale Environment 360, she referred to ocean acidification as global warming’s “equally evil twin.” The interview title was hubristically titled, “Restoring Science to US Climate Policy”
Her policies on fishing have been heavily attacked by the industry and in July last year, Gloucester Times reported that Massachusetts congressmen Barney Frank and John Tierney had “called for her to resign or be fired over what they described as her “hostility” and lack of accountability toward the American fishing industry.”

In its introduction, the presidential task force report invoked the Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as one justification for full federal control of the oceans around the US coasts. It also stated that, “it is the Policy of the United States to use the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes, and enhance humanity’s capacity to understand, respond, and adapt to a changing global environment.” Yet their “best available science” appears to be the contested science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, as shown in these familiar claims.

Climate change is impacting the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Increasing water temperatures are altering habitats, migratory patterns, and ecosystem structure and function.

Coastal communities are facing sea-level rise, inundation, increased threats from storms, erosion, and significant loss of coastal wetlands.

The ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere buffers the impacts of climate change, but also causes the ocean to become more acidic, threatening not only the survival of individual species of marine life, but also entire marine ecosystems.

The ocean buffers increased global temperatures by absorbing heat, but increasing temperatures are causing sea levels to rise by expanding seawater volume and melting land-based ice. Increased temperatures may eventually reduce the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

Their “best available science” includes Jane Lubchenco’s debasement of science in this propaganda video on the NOAA website, purporting to show ocean acidification. Of course the objective is to provide another scary reason for taxing energy. On sea level, NOAA’s own tide gauge data show an average sea level rise of less than 2 inches per century, in line with this assessment by S. J. Holgate, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Liverpool, UK.

Read Full Report…

BP Disaster Oil still washing on shore

WSJ

The oil that has washed onto nearby beaches in recent days is Louisiana sweet crude, which rules out refineries or tankers carrying foreign oil as culprits but leaves the spill’s precise origins very much a mystery, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

“This is definitely crude from the Gulf of Mexico,” said Capt. Jonathan Burton, who is based here and heads the U.S. Coast Guard’s response to the spill.

The crude began washing up on stretches of Louisiana’s shoreline late Saturday and continued to foul beaches through Monday, including on Elmer’s Island, a state wildlife refuge. The Coast Guard said that crude has accumulated on stretches amounting to about a half-mile. The locations of those landings dot about 30 miles of coastline in an area that was among the hardest hit during the spill unleashed by the explosion last year of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which was drilling a deep-water oil and gas well for BP PLC.

Mr. Burton told a press conference the oil appears to have hit the water fairly recently and there is “nothing to suggest” the oil came from BP’s spill last year.

Capt. Edwin Stanton, the head of the Coast Guard’s operations in New Orleans, said in a telephone interview that if the oil had come from the Deepwater Horizon, “we would expect it to be much more weathered.”

In an effort to pinpoint the source—and thus figure out who to send the clean-up bill—the Coast Guard has sent samples of the oil for analysis, and it should have results later this week.

Scientists will compare the chemical properties of the crude with samples collected from known spills, including an hours-long leak at a hurricane-damaged platform reported Saturday by closely-held Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners LLC, Mr. Burton said.

“This is not a large incident in terms of product, but it is spread over a large area,” Mr. Burton said.

Mr. Burton said that there have been no reported landfalls on Tuesday, though the vast amount of freshwater that courses out of the Mississippi River and its tributaries at this time of year may be pushing some oil away from the shore and the hard-to-clean and ecologically sensitive coastal marshes.

A patchy sheen covers the Gulf’s surface along some 30 miles of shoreline, reaching about five miles offshore, Mr. Burton said. The thin film will likely evaporate before it can accumulate at surf’s edge or be cleaned up, he said.

Mr. Burton could offer no estimates of the volume of oil that clean-up crews are facing, as they remove the oil by hand from local beaches. But the Coast Guard and various Louisiana agencies have launched a wide-ranging spill response.

“We’re extremely engaged and taking this as seriously as any other oil spill,” said Karolien Debusschere, with the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said during a Tuesday morning speech here to federal offshore regulators that the amount of what she indicated was oil was “nowhere near the volume of Deepwater Horizon but still significant enough.”

The incident comes at a time when the oil and gas industry is trying to convince regulators, politicians and the public that it can avoid a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which was the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, and should be allowed to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico’s deep waters.

Only four deep-water drilling permits and one exploration plan have been issued by U.S. regulators since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, and each of those have come in recent weeks after oil companies were able to comply with more stringent safety guidelines and show that they could contain and clean up any spill.

BP committing Ecocide on Islands of the Gulf

Wayne Madsen

From environmentalists and wildlife specialists to fisherman and businessmen along the Gulf Coast the message is the same: BP is not only strangling the news of what is actually occurring in the Gulf of Mexico with the oil disaster but has co-opted key federal regulatory and oversight agencies to advance its agenda and that of its oil partners, including Halliburton, Anadarko, and Transocean.

Elmer's Island, in the Gulf Coast is becoming one of many BP's toxic dumps.

The logistics of the oil clean-up is being criticized because of the over-dependence on deepwater oil skimmer boats. No procedures are in place for using skimmers that can operate in shallower waters of 1 1/2 to 2 feet. There are a number of boats that could be used for shallow water skimming being tied up in port and not being used by BP.

Fishermen who have experience in rescuing sea turtles enmeshed in fishing nets are not being used in turtle rescue operations. In fact, they face arrest if they even touch an endangered turtle. Some 3,000 fisherman have remained idled by the oil disaster and most have not been hired by BP. Idled fishermen were told by BP that they would be called when their help was needed. However, later BP told them that many would probably never be called.

BP has hired an army of contractors and sub-contractors who are spending plenty of “flash money” to assuage some local businesses. However, WMR noticed while driving to Louisiana a large number of seafood distributors and restaurants that were shuttered.

Those hired by BP to clean up beaches and waters are not permitted to wear respirators and many are becoming sick, even coughing up blood. This editor, while driving to Venice, began to experience burning and watering eyes, a condition that lasted hours after returning to the west bank of New Orleans.

The disinformation being promulgated by BP is being accentuated by a number of local TV reporters being “embedded” with Coast Guard units in the waters off the coast and in the marshland and estuaries. Furthermore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), accused by many local environmentalists and fishermen of being complicit in the cover-up of bad news, has issued a report claiming that tests of 600 fish caught in waters “near the edge of the oil” have proven negative for chemical toxins. Fishermen interviewed by WMR said the claim is ludicrous since there are no fish in the waters in the oil zone or near it.

Gone from the waters of the Gulf off Louisiana are grouper, snapper, amberjack, tuna, and even the small colorful blenny, which normally feeds at oil rig pylons in the Gulf and is found only in the Amazon basin, in addition to the Louisiana Gulf waters. The Gulf waters are slowly being turned into a hydrocarbon soup of dispersed oil bubbles that is translucent black in color.

Fishing boat owners whose boats have been used for clean-up efforts are suffering fiberglass hull damage from hydrocarbon penetration and BP has informed the owners that their boats will have to be destroyed afterwards and their hulls ground up. However, even boats not being used for clean-up will be destroyed with no assurance that BP will compensate the owners.

NOAA is also reportedly sitting on bathymetric maps of the Gulf sea floor that shows a massive fissure on the sea floor that is located 7 miles from the Deepwater Horizon site. The fissure is leaking 120,000 gallons of crude a day, along with methane gas. The Corexit-dispersed oil has seeped under booms set up to protect Lake Ponchartrain, which lies north of New Orleans. Dead fish and tar balls have now turned up in the lake.

Further out in the Gulf and along sensitive refuges like Elmer’s Island, massive fish kills are being reported by local residents. The Coast Guard and BP have established a no-fly zone over Elmer’s Island, a major bird sanctuary.

In addition, local fishermen said that nurseries in the Gulf, responsible for producing 40 percent of America’s seafood, are being destroyed by the oil and the chemical soup created by the mixing of oil dispersant Corexit 9500. Corexit is breaking down the crude oil into small oil bubbles and a watery oil mixture that is seeping under the booms set up to protect sensitive fish nurseries, oyster beds, and other pristine areas. Many Atlantic fish species also spawn in the Gulf and they are also threatened by the oil disaster. Even barnacles, one of the most resistant sea creatures to extreme situations, are dying in vast numbers, along with sponges and coral.

Near Venice, Louisiana in Plaquemines Parish, is the old Civil War fort of Fort Jackson. A national historical site and park, Fort Jackson has been turned into a major base for joint BP-Coast Guard dumping of Corexit on oil in the Gulf. WMR witnessed five helicopters carrying suspended white bags of Corexit out over Gulf waters.

Hastily-erected signs at the entrances to Fort Jackson warn that the site is closed to visitors because of “construction.” Fort Jackson actually serves as a major base of operations for BP and Coast Guard activities. The Obama administration, which has stated its commitment to “open government,” is engaged in what amounts to semi-covert BP-Coast Guard operations in the Gulf.

WMR has also been informed by a reputable source that BP has been engaged in night time spraying of a bleaching agent on Louisiana beaches to make it appear that the beaches are being cleaned up. The planes, which fly at night, disregard flight regulations by flying with their lights out. The operations have been approved by the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Also coming in for criticism is the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has remained silent as federal incident commanders have ordered home wildlife rescue workers from Texas and other states. One group that was told to pack its bags was the non-profit Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. from Texas, which has 20 years of experience in handling animal rescues from oil spills. BP hired the O’Brien Group, a subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as its wildlife rescue coordinator. Local environmentalists view O’Brien as a shill for BP.

The EPA is also remaining mute on air quality reports from Venice that show that on May 7 hydrogen sulfide in the air was measured at 1192 parts per billion. Five parts per billion is considered hazardous to human health. In addition, the May 7 reports show that benzene levels in the air were measured at 5000 parts per billion, again in the health danger zone. Propylene glycol, a major component in Corexit 9500, is being measured in Gulf waters at 150 times its lethal concentration.

BP has hired the same firm that performed air quality monitoring in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina’s Murphy oil spill in Chalmette to perform monitoring for the current oil disaster. The firm has been called a “proven liar” in both incidents by environmentalists and emergency planners.

BP clean-up workers have also been found dumping tar balls from the water and beaches in land-fills in Mississippi and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The oil from the sludge is seeping into the local water tables.

The corporate news media, particularly the local New Orleans television stations, are embedding their reporters with Coast Guard and BP teams in the Gulf. The corporate media reports essentially serve as public relations outreeach for BP. A number of New Orleans and Louisiana groups are trying to get the actual news about the disaster out but face limited resources.

To call the Gulf oil disaster the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States is an understatement. And with the connivance of the Obama White House, the Gulf of Mexico is being turned into the Gulf of Death.

OPERATION GULF GREASE: Problem, Reaction, Solution to implement Agenda 21?

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In the days prior to the Gulf drilling operation and ensuing environmental catastrophe, I remember thinking just how odd and out of

What is the United Nations' Law of the Sea Treaty? Click image and read the details.

character it was that Barack Obama had announced his approval for more offshore drilling. On April 1st, The Washington Post quoted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as saying the administration had broached “a new direction” in energy policy. [1]

Had Obama lost his mind? Had he had some sort of religious experience? This was a president who campaigned against traditional energy sources in favor of so-called “sustainable” alternatives such as wind, solar, etc. This was a president who banned offshore drilling as one of his first acts in executive office.[2] This was a president who admitted in a meeting with the San Francisco Chronicle in January of 2008 that it was his plan to use a Cap and Trade system to cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket” in order to force people to transition to “green” technologies. “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” Obama stated as documented in a YouTube video. [3]

Hence, the shock at the sudden “turnabout” in energy policy. True, the vast majority of Americans do support drilling for oil as a counterweight against increasing dependence upon the perpetually troubled Middle East and its OPEC cartel. But since when has any president in recent history paid attention to the opines of their electorate?

Now, as the days turn into weeks, and weeks into months — and the oil continues to gush in the Gulf with no sign of ever letting up — Obama has used the crisis as an excuse to not only ban offshore drilling,[4] but also to clamor for passage of his “cap and trade” energy bill.[5] Politico has cited opinion polls that suggest public support for drilling may be eroding.[6]

Was this the Hegelian plan all along? To foment a crisis in the Gulf to condition the masses that the world must adopt Agenda 21 “sustainable development” as its model for energy or pay the environmental consequences? Before you dismiss this notion as insanity, there are many troubling questions that demand answers. Questions that imply foreknowledge and planning. Questions of “coincidence.”

For example, is it “coincidental” the numerous incredible financial and business transactions that took place in the days, weeks, and months prior to the rig explosion?

We know the ties between British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs run deep. Peter Sutherland, the chairman of Goldman Sachs International also served as chairman of BP right up until last year, according to a 2009 bio on the site of the Trilateral Commission. It says,

“Peter Sutherland is chairman of BP plc (1997 – current). He is also chairman of Goldman Sachs International (1995 – current). He was appointed chairman of the London School of Economics in 2008. He is currently UN special representative for migration and development. Before these appointments, he was the founding director-general of the World Trade Organization. He had previously served as director general of GATT since July 1993 and was instrumental in concluding the Uruguay GATT Round Negotiations.”[7]

On April 30th, The Huffington Post published a satire piece about Goldman Sachs, who was embroiled in a Congressional probe over the present and pending financial meltdown just days before the Gulf disaster stole the headlines. The spoof article titled, Goldman Sachs Reveals It Shorted Gulf of Mexico, was actually mistaken by some as a legitimate news story. Written by a comedian, the satirical article said,

“In what is looming as another public relations predicament for Goldman Sachs, the banking giant admitted today that it made ‘a substantial financial bet against the Gulf of Mexico’ one day before the sinking of an oil rig in that body of water.”[8]

After this gag piece was published, various independent researchers began checking into the financial transactions of Goldman. What they found turned out to be a case of art imitating life.

Sterling Allan reported in The Examiner on May 5th,

“It turns out that Goldman Sachs really did place shorts on TransOcean stock days before the explosions rocked the rig in the Gulf of Mexico sending stocks plunging while GS profits soared — benefitting [sic] once again from a huge disaster, having done the same with airline stocks prior to 911 then again with the housing bubble.”[9]

It’s important to note the cozy relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration. According to McClatchy, while Goldman Sachs was under fire from the Securities and Exchange Commission, and their lawyers were in negotiations with the regulatory agency, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein was a repeated visitor to the White House. He attended events with Obama and met with Larry Summers, Obama’s top economic advisor. Obama’s 2008 campaign benefited from $994,795 worth of campaign donations from Goldman employees and their relatives.[10] The Gulf disaster, coming on the heels of the Congressional hearing and SEC “investigation,” served to distract attention from the ongoing financial fraud and economic meltdown caused by Goldman and others.

We now know from John Byrne at Raw Story that prior to the Gulf oil mess, not only did Goldman Sachs short shares of TransOcean, the owner of the failed Deepwater Horizon rig, they also ditched 4,680,822 shares of BP stock, worth $250 million and representing 44% of their holdings. “Goldman’s sales were the largest of any firm during that time,” writes Byrne. “Goldman would have pocketed slightly more than $266 million if their holdings were sold at the average price of BP’s stock during the quarter.”[11]

Byrne also noted other financial institutions that also dumped BP holdings.

“Other asset management firms also sold huge blocks of BP stock in the first quarter — but their sales were a fraction of Goldman’s. Wachovia, which is owned by Wells Fargo, sold 2,667,419 shares; UBS, the Swiss bank, sold 2,125,566 shares.”[12]

If that weren’t enough of a “coincidence,” we also had The Telegraph out of London reporting that the chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward, also sold 223,288 shares, worth £1.4 million of stock in his own company (over $2 million) on March 17th — only weeks before the BP Gulf mess. The paper noted that by doing so he “avoided losing more than £423,000 ($614,449) when BP’s share price plunged after the oil spill began six weeks ago.”[13] He took the money and paid off the mortgage on his family mansion in Kent.

At this point, a question should be coming to mind: What did these people know that the rest of us didn’t? How is it that stock in BP and Transocean suddenly seemed so unattractive to those closest to the disaster? Ah, the coincidences! But it gets even better.

On April 10th, The Houston Chronicle reported that Halliburton — the company of which former Vice-President Dick Cheney was CEO — was in the process of acquiring Boots & Coots. Reuters reported that the deal was announced on Friday, April 9th — just eleven days prior to the explosion.[14] The Chronicle noted that “Boots & Coots has become well known for putting out some of the world’s largest oil and gas fires.”[15] The company’s website lists services they provide, including “deepwater application and well inspections, as well as blowout prevention and control counsel or assistance…”[16] According to the Orlando Sentinel, their expertise is already being put to use in the Gulf, as they are “one of two primary companies designing relief-well strategies for the BP blowout.”[17]

So when the acquisition deal is formerly approved by the government, Halliburton — the company famous for profiting from no-bid government contracts in war zones — will have collected for themselves yet another “slick” profit.

This is especially intriguing in light of the fact that, according to NPR, Halliburton’s cementing work — completed only hours prior to the explosion — has become a “central focus” of the Congressional investigation.[18] The Wall Street Journal quotes unnamed “experts” as saying the timing of the cementing in relation to the blast “points to it as a possible culprit.”[19]

But Halliburton isn’t the only company that stands to make a killing off the crisis. The Times Online out of the UK reported that TransOcean itself took out a $560 million insurance policy on the Deepwater Horizon rig. The dollar amount was well above the rig’s value. According to the paper, insurance payouts amounted to a $270 million profit from the disaster.

“The windfall, revealed in a conference call with analysts, will more than cover the $200m that Transocean expects to pay to survivors and their families and for higher insurance costs.”[20]

A number of people have questioned why Corexit — a chemical banned in the UK[21] and is much more toxic than the oil itself — was used as a dispersant in the Gulf. Assuming for the moment that chemical dispersants had to be used, the New York Times reported on May 13th:

“Of 18 dispersants whose use EPA has approved, 12 were found to be more effective on southern Louisiana crude than Corexit, EPA data show. Two of the 12 were found to be 100 percent effective on Gulf of Mexico crude, while the two Corexit products rated 56 percent and 63 percent effective, respectively. The toxicity of the 12 was shown to be either comparable to the Corexit line or, in some cases, 10 or 20 times less, according to EPA.”[22]

Yet, despite the EPA data ranking it “far above dispersants made by competitors” for toxicity, BP chose to dump more than 400,000 gallons of Corexit into the Gulf, order 805,000 more gallons with plans of hundreds of thousands of additional gallons should the spewing continue. Why?

The answer may lie in the fact that not only has Corexit production benefited BP and Exxon Chemical Company, it also has ties to the very same banking company that somehow knew to sell nearly half its holdings in BP stock just prior to the disaster — Goldman Sachs. Cassandra Anderson of Morph City connects the dots to the economic ties between the oil industry and the bankers.

“Corexit is produced by NALCO, originally named the National Aluminate Corporation, which formed a limited partnership with Exxon Chemical Company in 1994. Ondeo Nalco was purchased by Goldman Sachs, Apollo and Blackstone in 2003 and is currently a publicly traded company. Given NALCO’s business ties, it seems that safe and natural cleanup methods were avoided in the Gulf to pursue an economic agenda. The use of Corexit in Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez disaster, resulted in toxicity to humans that included respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders.”[23]

They say that history repeats itself. We know from wire reports that all 125 fishing boats had to be recalled from Gulf cleanup efforts after workers aboard began “experiencing nausea, dizziness, headaches and chest pains.”[24]

What’s going on here? Is the Gulf being poisoned on purpose to enhance corporate profits? Or has this crisis been orchestrated by the illuminists in order to force the United States to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) which would cede control of the oceans — over 70 percent of the planet’s surface — to the United Nations?

One must always keep in mind that Agenda 21 is the game plan for all that happens in the world today. The Hegelian dialectic is the means by which that game plan is implemented — creation of a crisis to condition the minds of the people that an undesired change is necessary, creation of their own controlled opposition to the crisis, finally the introduction of their pre-determined solution.

Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 deals with “Protection of the Oceans, all Kinds of Seas, Including Enclosed & Semi-enclosed Seas, & Coastal Areas & the Protection, Rational Use & Development of their Living Resources.” Who will determine what constitutes “rational use” of the oceans and their resources? If the LOST is ratified, it will be the United Nations.

In July 2009, State Department official Margaret Hayes told the New York Times that the Obama administration was in the process of working to “craft a plan to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

“President Obama is strongly in favor of the United States becoming a party to the Law of the Sea Convention,” Hayes was quoted as saying. “There is discussion going on as to the exact timing of when they might have a hearing and when they might proceed to have the full Senate consider accession.”[25]

The Times goes on to report that the administration is continuing a multi-year mapping of the sea floor in the Arctic in preparation to stake a claim under the LOST.[26]

Furthermore, the World Ocean Council, an alliance of multi-national businesses that are dedicated to ocean “sustainability,” is having its “Corporate Ocean Responsibility” meeting this month — conveniently on the heels of a major maritime disaster. The Sustainable Ocean Summit is described as “the first international, cross-sectoral ocean sustainability conference for the private sector – [that] will catalyze the growing interest among ocean businesses for more effective leadership and collaboration in addressing ocean environmental challenges.”[27] It just so happens that two of the founding members of the World Ocean Council are ExxonMobil and TransOcean.[28]

That the crisis in the Gulf may have been planned and executed with the intention of profiting from it while pushing an environmental control agenda, might explain the pathetic federal response after the disaster. [NWV POLL: Was the Gulf oil spill deliberately created?]

Three days after learning of the Gulf gusher, the Interior Department Chief of Staff Tom Strickland left for the Grand Canyon with his wife and went white water rafting.[29] The Department of the Interior is charged with the task of coordinating federal response to a major oil spill. Yet, Strickland’s priorities were elsewhere.

The “In-Situ Burn” plan was developed by the federal government in 1994 to deal with oil spill disasters in the Gulf, and calls for the immediate use of fire booms. Had the plan been followed, it might have prevented oil from reaching the shoreline. A single fire boom can burn up to 1,800 barrels or 75,000 gallons an hour. Yet, despite the plan, not one fire boom was available anywhere in the Gulf at the time of the incident.[30] [31]

On May 11th, ABC News reported that the U.S. Coast Guard conducted operations in the Gulf, simulating a major oil spill and practicing federal response to it a mere three weeks prior to the real disaster.[32] What was the purpose of the simulation? Obviously, it wasn’t to improve federal response.

In 2002, there was a similar practice operation which ABC describes as “eerily similar” to the current disaster. Lack of experience, poor communications, conflicting roles, and a need for new technology were cited. None of the recommendations were ever put into place.[33]

Wire reports from the Associated Press have said that workers aboard the rig were forced to sign statements that they hadn’t witnessed the explosion. They were told they couldn’t go home, nor could they make phone calls and talk to their friends and family until they signed the statements indicating they had no “first hand or personal knowledge” of the incident.[34]

We now have private military contractors deployed from Wackenhut — the military contractor infamous for its employees’ drunken brawls and vodka shots taken out of each other’s backside — guarding the perimeter of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command.

Respected attorney Ellen Brown has written about empty Wackenhut buses with prison bars on the windows being driven around for no apparent reason in Arizona. Your writer has personally talked to other people who have seen these buses. Ellen wrote last year:

“The new Wackenhut operation is shrouded in mystery. It has been running its fleet of empty prison buses night and day, apparently logging miles on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract. Multiple buses can be seen driving all over town and even on remote desert back roads. Oddly, except for the driver and one escort guard seated in front, these buses appear to be empty.”[35]

Network news media have been complaining of being harassed and threatened by the security contractors for shooting video of the coast,[36] [37] which we’re told may soon become uninhabitable. Will Wackenhut buses be utilized to relocate mass numbers of people out of the coastal states?

It’s shaping up to be an interesting summer.