Category Archives: Gulf Oil Spill

First gulf oil plumes, now oil eating microbes: Conspiracy or Mother Nature?

This microscopic image shows how oil is degraded by microbes that break it up into even smaller globulets.

It’s either very interesting or very “convenient” timing this story just pops up soon after the story about NOAA covering up thinks like oil plumes and oil in the gulf food chain.

A newly discovered type of oil-eating microbe suddenly is flourishing in the Gulf of Mexico and  gobbling up the BP spill at a much faster rate than expected, scientists reported Tuesday.

Conspiracy theory would dictate that perhaps somebody is being paid-off on one way or another to suddenly find oil eating microbes, or perhaps it’s just proof that Mother Nature likes to maintain a balance and that she’s come up with her own solution to oil spills.

I’ll take Mother Nature for $1,000 Alex.  I would have my doubts that anyone at NOAA would come up with something this strange or convenient, this fast. Besides, the science behind it in the article pretty much goes along with the this is real theory.

Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, California, reports the following….

“Our findings show that the influx of oil profoundly altered the microbial community by significantly stimulating deep-sea” cold temperature bacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degrading microbes, Hazen reported.

Their findings are based on more than 200 samples collected from 17 deep-water sites between May 25 and June 2. They found that the dominant microbe in the oil plume is a new species, closely related to members of Oceanospirillales.

Sounds very good on the face of it doesn’t it.  However,  at the end of the article you get this little aside, which leads me back to the conspiracy theory.

The research was supported by an existing grant with the Energy Biosciences Institute, a partnership led by the U.C. Berkeley and the University of Illinois that is funded by a $500 million, 10-year grant from BP. Other support came from the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Oklahoma Research Foundation.

Makes one wonder if this was good old Mother Nature? Or, is this perhaps a case of BP or the DOE, or both dangling the carrot of hundreds of millions of dollars more research money in front of someone and having them bite?

You can read the whole article below at the “source” link and judge for yourself.  I can’t say one way or the other, but I sure can ask questions about it.

Please make your own judgement.

Source:  MSNBC

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Filed under Co2 Insanity, Government, Gulf Oil Spill


Suggested new NOAA logo

We now appear to have twin-sisters to Satellitegate (of which you can read about here, here, herehere, and here), that I’m dubbing Plumegate and Seafoodgate.

It appears NOAA wasn’t just content with covering up problems with their satellites such as kaput sensors, sensors relaying faulty data and new satellites being sent into space with missing sensors. We now have what appear to be more cover-ups courtesy of NOAA, and who knows who else might be involved? Perhaps BP? Perhaps Obama? I can’t say but it would not surprise me if either of them were in on this.

Per this article at Mother Jones we have reports of NOAA trying to suppress scientists (ala BP read here) by trying to cover up the oil plumes they claim are still floating around the gulf……

Speaking of the BP cover-up, there are two very important pieces of news today about the extent to which the real impacts of the disaster have been hidden. In the St. Petersburg Times, Craig Pittman has this scathing report on how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration attempted to silence scientists who discovered the vast undersea plumes of dispersed oil in the Gulf:

The reaction that USF announcement received from the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agencies that sponsored their research: Shut up.

So, NOAA first tries to get USF to retract their report about the oil plumes and when that nefarious plan fails, they then proceed to try to talk them into keeping it a secret by not revealing it to the public. Per the article…..

Lubchenco confirmed Monday that her agency told USF and other academic institutions involved in the study of undersea plumes that they should hold off talking so openly about it. “What we asked for, was for people to stop speculating before they had a chance to analyze what they were finding,” Lubchenco said. “We think that’s in everybody’s interest. … We just wanted to try to make sure that we knew something before we speculated about it.”

Sounds like a lot of back-pedaling to me to cover up them trying to keep this out of the public eye so we’ll all thing everything is just wonderful in the Gulf of Mexico,  not to mention at NOAA, when it appears that is not the case. This isn’t the only nefarious thing that appears to be going on in the gulf either.  It appears we also have what I’ll call Seafoodgate.

There’s another extremely important piece out today, wherein the Associated Press documents how oil is already finding its way into the food web. Scientists are finding traces of oil in crab larvae:

The government said last week that three-quarters of the spilled oil has been removed or naturally dissipated from the water. But the crab larvae discovery was an ominous sign that crude had already infiltrated the Gulf’s vast food web — and could affect it for years to come.

Appears that we have yet another incident of government dishonesty. What I have been hearing on the news as of late is about how the seafood is just fine, the oil is gone, and y’all come on down to N’awlins and have some Shrimp Etouffee. This just doesn’t sound like it is an honest assessment of the situation to me.

I post this to again show how NOAA seems to have possibly caught a contagious disease called “Pinocchio Syndrome,” which causes what appear to be lies, cover-ups, ignoring facts, altering data, and other similar problems with the truth.

It seems like Ronald Reagan may have been thinking of the gulf oil spill when he said “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” Terrifying indeed, because it appears this is coming true.

Source: Mother Earth


Filed under Co2 Insanity, Gulf Oil Spill, NOAA, Plumegate, pollution, Sattelitegate, Seafoodgate

Climate bill DOA

Help! My climate bill has fallen at it won't get up!

Yet another Democrat/Harry Reid/Obama fail, but this time it’s a good one. The climate bill has died, at least for now, as Harry Reid has pushed it off the Senate schedule until September. He obviously couldn’t even get enough support from his own party to ram this through ala Obamacare. I guess sneaky midnight Sunday votes wouldn’t have helped get this one through.

This bill wasn’t very well thought out, was rushed in a kind of a knee-jerk reaction to the BP Gulf oil spill and appeared to be a desperate attempt to pass some kind of climate related bill to pacify their “green” voters since cap & trade kicked the bucket..

Harry’s blaming this on big oil, but you know what? Many “green” groups were unhappy with it, too. It seems they felt it was basically too little too late for them to support it.

Probably best it goes away because it’s really an abortion to both sides of the fence. This is what happens when things get rushed through and they’re not well thought out.

Suggestion – get together next year and come up with a bi-partisan bill that works, or better yet, don’t come up with one at all and watch the carbon traders butts pucker up.

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Co2 Insanity, Global Warming, Government, Gulf Oil Spill, Legal, Obama, Politics

Dead birds: oil bad, wind good?

During my Sunday morning internet review to see what’s happening I was prompted by my reading to ask myself why does the general public get very over-excited about dying birds slathered in oil but for the most part (other than some groups who are aware of it) why do we not have similar mass excitement about the massive amount of our feathered friends who are killed by wind turbines?

According to this article from Time Magazine published on July 29, 2010, the official tally of dead birds from the Gulf oil spill is about 3,000.

So far, the teams have collected nearly 3,000 dead birds, but fewer than half of them were visibly oiled; some may have died from eating oil-contaminated food, but others may have simply died naturally at a time when the Gulf happened to be crawling with carcass seekers.

Yes, 3,000 is about it, more wouldn’t surprise me, but I doubt we’re talking 100’s of thousands. Is this a  significant number? Yes. But what about the big man-made cause of bird deaths, wind turbines?

Obviously, I’m not the only one raising this question. According to a Politifact article found here, even the low-end counts are significantly higher. Here’s their math.

“With the increased capacity over the last seven years, we now estimate that 100,000 – 300,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year,” said Conservancy spokesman Robert Johns.

By our math, that comes to 274 to 822 birds a day killed by wind farms across the country.

Per their math the best case is that it will only take about 11 days to equal the amount of birds killed in the Gulf oil spill to a worst case of 3.64 days. To put it another way, annually, that is about 33 times the amount of birds killed on the low-end, to about 100 times more on the high-end.

Yet, I see little to no excitement about the astounding number of birds killed by wind turbines each year. But there’s a whole lot of hollering, yelling, bitching and moaning about the significantly smaller amount of  birds killed by the Gulf oil spill.

It’s an amazing premise, but one that seems to hold true. People just don’t get all worked up about birds killed by wind farms, or at least most don’t. You certainly do not hear the outcry that’s been heard about the birds in the Gulf spill.

This gets me wondering about the reason we don’t seem to care.  Is it because we love the “green” wind farms so much that we’re willing to accept the bird kill for them, but we hate oil so much that we’re going to make a mountain out of a molehill when we get a large oil spill? Does common sense not prevail anymore? Is it that rare a commodity in today’s society?

Or, is it because the mainstream news media hasn’t flogged this issue to death and it’s the old out of sight out of mind thing? We’ve had a little over 100 days of CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC and all the thousands of local TV and radio stations with their own news broadcasts flogging this spill like the proverbial dead horse. Day after day and hour after hour we’ve been bombarded with news about this spill.  We’ve been bombarded over and over with video of birds covered in oil that were dying or dead. It’s like the 24 x 7 news media equivalent of carpet bombing

Seeing the dying birds is no doubt an ugly sight. I hate looking at it, and regardless the number of dead birds, it doesn’t change my mind that it’s something we need to try to prevent from happening again. I’m certain millions of people will agree with that. But, why does no one seem to give a “hoot” about the wind farms except a few organizations and the birds themselves? Is this accepted “collateral damage?”

My personal take on this that it’s apathy and selfishness.  In general people don’t get worked up about what they can’t see and/or about things if it doesn’t affect them personally. It’s like people are saying, “Dead birds? Not my problem because as long as I get my ‘green’ power I’m all for it.” Or, “dead birds? Who cares? I only worry about myself, screw everybody and everything else.”

It’s like no news media ballyhooed about this, so no one will get worked up about it. Does the general public need cheerleaders in the form of the 24 x 7 mainstream news media to get worked up about something? Seems the mantra is something like “if it’s not on CNN I’m clueless.”

Or, is it propaganda? It seems that generally, when I hear anything about wind farms it’s a news item about how “green” it is and how it’s going save us from Al Gore’s profitable version of hell known as global warming. Are millions of Americans being led down the primrose path while forgetting there’s a collateral cost to wind power?

Want more examples of the silliness? Below are links to articles in British news and other sites that are moaning and groaning about bird deaths from last winter’s non-global warming caused cold, and links to other articles about how they want to increase wind power in the UK. Very oxymoron like.

Those are the same “green” people who love that good old “green” wind power that may be around for decades, killing birds. Yet, they will rail about a 100 day or so oil spill that by comparison, kills very few birds and is basically about over and won’t be killing more birds for long.

This is proof that, for whatever the reason or reasons, people are clueless and they obviously don’t live in reality. They’ll go out of their way to save birds covered in oil, freezing birds and starving birds, yet they could care less about the massive amount of wind turbine kills we currently have and will increase as more wind farms are added.

Amazing evidence that there is indeed  CO2 Insanity. Have a desire for more information?

At the bottom of my post is a video produced by KQED about the bird kills at the wind farm at Altamont Pass, California. As you can see they seem to be having a problem reconciling their “green” need to protect birds with their “green” desire for wind power. Another “Catch 22.”

While there are partial solutions like eliminating certain turbines, changing the type and height, shutting down 50% of the turbines during the winter when there are more birds and even a proposed total shutdown during the winter , the bottom line is it’s still going to kill a lot of birds.

The other bottom line is that if they shut the whole thing down during the winter, then where’s the power going to come from? Coal? Nuclear? Solar? Natural gas? Something is either going to have to take the slack up or we’re going to suffer power shortages, which is conveniently ignored in the video.

The other problem is costs.  There’s no mention of what all this mitigation for birds is costing the taxpayers or the people purchasing electricity for homes, businesses and the new wave of plug-in electric vehicles.

Wind power is also heavily subsidized (aka: your tax dollars are paying for it). Think not? Here is an article about how Los Angeles is rasing their rates to subsidize wind and solar power generation.

Want to know how much it really costs? From here we get the following.

Renewable energy apologists often assert that renewable energy subsidies are necessary to “level the playing field” regarding subsidies given to coal. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, however, solar power already receives more than $24 in subsidies per megawatt hour of electricity produced. Wind power receives more than $23 dollars per megawatt hour. Coal power, by comparison, receives less than 50 cents per megawatt hour.

Note that it doesn’t matter where the money comes from. regardless if it is subsidized by state or federal government, or via a rate hike  it’s ultimately your money coming out of your wallet.

So, next time you fire up that electric car, watch TV, turn on the lights, cook dinner or whatever you do that uses electricity think about all the 100’s of thousands of birds that are dying if you get any of your electricity from wind turbines.

Funny we here a constant din about “evil” big oil, but nada about this. No common sense there, financially or otherwise.

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Filed under Co2 Insanity, Global Warming, Government, Gulf Oil Spill, Renewable Energy, Truth Stranger than Fiction

Is the “CLEAR” bill really transparent?

I picked up these little tidbits snooping around this afternoon about the CLEAR bill and it appears to me that it’s another case of the government not being as “transparent” as advertised by Obama. I’m sure you will remember President Obama’s promise that “”Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” Obama said.” Well, that was good for a laugh anyway.

I can’t say I remember seeing much “transparency” so far, and here we have yet another instance of something going on that is not very “transparent” or very “CLEAR.” “Rule of law?” Just look at how well our immigration laws are “enforced” and you should get an ides of what I am referring to.

Below are some snippets from the CBO regarding this bill.  You can read the whole letter here (PDF).

CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would increase direct spending by $20.5 billion over the 2011-2020 period and would increase revenues by $22.2 billion over the same period. CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would increase direct spending by $20.5 billion over the 2011-2020 period and would increase revenues by $22.2 billion over the same period.

In total, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3534 would reduce future deficits by $5.3 billion over the 2011-2015 period and $1.7 billion over the 2011-2020 period (see enclosed table).

OK, it would appear based upon this report that this will actually reduce the deficit, i.e., it’s not going to cost the tax-payers one cent and will in fact have the net effect of reducing the deficit by a combined $7 billion through 2020. Well, that’s nice, but someone’s got to pay for all this, if the tax-payers aren’t then who is? You got that right, the tax-payers, they’ll just get screwed by an indirect method.

For starters it appears it will possibly wipe-out the uranium mining business in the United States. From Mine Web we get this.

Speaking on behalf of the National Mining Association, Uranium One Americas Executive Vice President warned the House Natural Resources Committee Thursday the proposed energy and aquatic legislation will mean the end of domestic uranium mining and exploration, and illegally seize current uranium mining claims.

Well that’s not going to be very good for business.  It’s going to kill jobs and illegally seize claims. It will shift the profits to other uranium producing countries like Canada, Australia, South Africa and a host of others. Considering the importance of this mineral to the military, one would have to question why anyone would want to make the US dependent upon foreign sources.

There seems to be other motivation.  As noted in the quote this will “illegally seize current uranium mining claims.” So what is the reasoning behind that? Cathy Carlson of NGO Earthworks is quoted as saying.

“We hope that by moving uranium to a leasing system, only public lands that are truly suitable for uranium mining will be leased, while Native American communities and sacred sites and National Forests around the Grand Canyon National Park will be protected from further uranium development,” she added.

See what we have here is more telling.  We have NGO Earthworks approval of this bill because it’s going to lock up a lot of federal land from mining operations, which it appears they don’t like very much. From what I see of the Obama Administration there may never be any “public lands that are truly suitable for uranium mining.” I have to question if protecting Native American communities is fancy talk for another way for the administration to transfer wealth.  I could envision them charging a uranium mine up the wazoo for permission to mine on a reservation.

If they do manage to find any land that is “truly suitable” they will now be able to charge royalties to the uranium mines ala the gas and oil industry. That sounds good on the face of it, too, doesn’t it? But, think about it.  We compete against other uranium mining countries with less environmental regulations and lower labor costs than we have.  If the government charges royalties, then the uranium that gets mined in the US is probably going to be overpriced. If no one buys it then it’s rather obvious that the uranium mines will falter and disappear taking jobs with them.

That is what I feel is the real onus of this section of this bill. The ecotards want to effectively ban uranium mining on public lands, just like they want to lock up public lands with more wilderness areas, more national monuments and more national parks. They could care less about putting people out of work and causing more trade deficits. How much more is that going to cost the tax-payers when we get to foot the bill for all the unemployment checks and welfare checks for unemployed miners?  If they close up mines, this will also trickle down to local business who sell mining equipment, food, trucks, cars, houses, etc.  No miners = no money = no business = more people collecting unemployment checks.

So what else will this bill that’s supposed to be regulating off-shore oil drilling accomplish? Per the Republican Natural Resources Committee here is some more this bill will “accomplish.”

The CLEAR Act is being sold as a response to the Gulf oil spill crisis, yet the bill itself stretches far beyond addressing this tragedy to include page after page of provisions that are unrelated to the oil spill, will kill American jobs, and are premature by acting before Congress has the full facts from the numerous ongoing investigations into the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill.

So, we have a bill about one thing that’s mysteriously morphed into a bill to control all kinds of things not related and moreover the Democrats appear to be in another rush to push this through before anyone wakes up. Some transparency. So what else do the Republicans note about it?

With this bill, Democrats are exploiting the Gulf oil spill tragedy as a political opportunity to push through provisions that are unrelated to the spill response or reforms to offshore drilling. The latest version of the CLEAR Act:

Imposes job-killing changes and higher taxes for onshore natural gas and oil production. It fundamentally changes leasing onshore by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which affects not just leasing for natural gas and oil, but also for renewable energy including wind and solar. Forest Service and BLM leasing are shoved into the three new agencies that are replacing the former Minerals Management Service (MMS).

–     Creates over $30 billion in new mandatory spending for two programs that have nothing to do with the oil spill (the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Historic Preservation Fund). In the version of the bill headed to the House floor, Democrats added brand new language that expressly allows this $30 billion to be earmarked by the Appropriations Committee.

–     Raises taxes by over $22 billion in ten years – with the taxes eventually climbing to nearly $3 billion per year. This is a direct tax on natural gas and oil that will raise energy prices for American families and businesses, hurt domestic jobs, and increase our dependence on foreign oil. This tax only applies to U.S. oil and gas production on federal leases – giving an advantage to foreign oil and hurting American energy jobs.

–     Requires the federal takeover of state authority to permit in state waters, which reverses sixty years of precedent. The mismanagement, corruption and oversight failures of the federal government are being used as justification to expand federal control by seizing management from the states.

–     Allows 10% of all offshore revenues – an amount possibly as high as $500 million per year – to be spent on a new fund controlled by the Interior Secretary to issue ocean research grants (ORCA fund). There is no requirement that the fund is used for the Gulf region or anything related to oil spills or offshore drilling. These funds can be earmarked.

–     Establishes “marine spatial planning” regulatory authority – which allows for ocean zoning that could lead to restrictions on fishing, energy production and even onshore activities such as farming. This vague new regulatory authority could cost fishing jobs, energy jobs, manufacturing jobs, farming jobs, and many more jobs that may impact waterways that drain into the ocean.

The bill includes unlimited spill liability for offshore operators, which could effectively eliminate independent producers from operating offshore if they cannot obtain insurance policies to cover their operations. According to an independent study from IHS Global Insight, “by 2020 an exclusion of the independents from the Gulf of Mexico would eliminate 300,000 jobs and result in a loss of $147 billion in federal, state, and local taxes from the Gulf region over 10 years.”

Democrat leaders also deleted a provision adopted without objection in the House Natural Resources Committee just two weeks ago to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the oil spill – a provision that has also passed a Senate Committee in a bipartisan vote.

See what we get? Transparency? No. We get more taxes, fewer jobs, fewer tax-payers, we’re creating more government bureaucracies that in turn will cost even more money, we’re giving more authority to non-elected officials to take their little fiefdoms and do as they please with little or no recourse for the voters, we’re skewing the oil business in favor of non-US companies, probably reducing the amount of oil that US owned companies can produce, which at the same time creates more dependency on foreign oil, the federal government will be taking more authority away from states.  Talk about a mess, this is it.

The last one I find particularly interesting because what it will do is skew the Gulf oil spill investigation. You won’t have an investigation by a committee with anyone on it who’s in the oil industry and who may actually have a clue about what happened. You will have a committee with the investigative “deck” stacked with “jokers” from the environmental movement, who no doubt will do everything in their power to skew things to try to justify a complete ban on off-shore oil drilling. They also can CYA the President and the people at the EPA.  Per Rep. Doc Hastings (R) Washington…..

“By deleting the bipartisan, independent oil spill commission that’s received bipartisan support in both House and Senate committees, Democrats have shown they are more interested in protecting the President than getting independent answers to what caused this tragic Gulf spill.  Some of the biggest failures that contributed to the Gulf disaster are the direct responsibility of the federal government and by deleting this bipartisan, independent commission, Democrats ensure that only the President’s hand-picked commission will be digging into any failures of his own Interior Department appointees.  There is widespread agreement that no member of the President’s commission possesses technical expertise in oil drilling, and several are on the record in opposition to offshore drilling and support a moratorium that will cost thousands of jobs,” Hastings said.

You can bet that they probably possess the “technical expertise” to cover things up, skew facts, ignore reality, CYA Obama, be obtuse,  and shift blame towards any direction as long as it’s not pointing at the White House. So who do we have to thank for eliminating this provision?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stripped out authorization for an independent investigation into the Gulf disaster.

Yes, good old Nancy Pelosi, that’s who has single-handily covered Obama’s ass on this. That’s what I call real “transparency.”

Just to add to it, on another note, there is more “transparency” coming out of the Obama Administration.  The SEC doesn’t have to respond to Freedom of Information Act Request anymore.  Still more “transparency” from the Obama Administration.

Think cap & trade and carbon taxes are kaput? Think again. What do you think the tax on energy is in this bill? Why it’s a concealed carbon tax, that’s what. How “transparent” can they get in Congress?

This is more CO2 Insanity at it’s best, right in the nation’s capitol. Better hang on to your gas cap.

Sources: CBO, Mine Web, Republican Natural Resources Committee

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Filed under Co2 Insanity, Financial, Global Warming, Government, Gulf Oil Spill, Legal, Obama, Politics, pollution

Oil in the gulf? Nah it’s biodegrading!

Good news for people who actually give a hoot about the oil spill, bad news for those who have been thriving on the drama and using the spill to try to ram more “green” stuff down our throats.

Seems the oil is disappearing in the Gulf.  Mother Nature is already starting the healing process. Seems it is evaporating and even being digested by bacteria. Per Blomberg Businessweek…..

Oil has been dissipating through evaporation since BP stopped the flow from its Macondo well off the coast of Louisiana on July 15, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco told reporters yesterday on a conference call. Crude that’s dispersed into the sea is being gobbled up by bacteria, she said.

Seems NOAA has also decided to open up 26,388 square miles of fishing area because guess what? There’s no oil there. Per NOAA…..

Since mid-June, NOAA data have shown no oil in the area, and United States Coast Guard observers flying over the area in the last 30 days have also not observed any oil. Additionally, trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil, and fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination.

Terrific news for people in the Gulf who depend on it for a living. Makes me wonder if the spill was actually as bad as it has been made out to be?

This has been somewhat of a panacea for environmentalists who want to stop off-shore oil drilling.  It sure put the brakes on it in California. Since this started the Governator even went into hiding about drilling off the coast in spite of the fact he’d love to stuff a large wad of cash into the state’s coffers and he’s not running for re-election. It’s also being used to try to keep the voters feeling guilty so they won’t effectively negate AB32, California’s retarded global warming law.

It’s also offered a nice platform for the Obama Administration to take advantage of a crisis to try to foist things on us like carbon taxes, allowing the EPA to overstep their bounds and play dictator about regulations, even though this is in the court of Congress.

I hope the well stays capped and the oil dissipates fast. I’m sure some environmentalists are fuming. Their window of opportunity is closing.

Sources: Bloomberg Businesweek, NOAA

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Filed under AB32 California, Co2 Insanity, Gulf Oil Spill, NOAA

BP: “Plug the damn piehole!”

From Insaneminds we get the following article.

Alleged BP Contract to Silence Scientists

Obama: “Plug the damn hole!”                                          BP: Plug the damn pie-hole!”

Seems BP just isn’t content with its semi-successfull plugging of the hole at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, they are alleged to now want to plug scientist’s pie holes in what appears to be an effort to prevent scientist from testifying against them in the 300 or so lawsuits they currently are facing over the Gulf oil spill.

From the Telegraph we get this.

Researchers hired by the oil giant were reportedly asked to sign “restrictive” contracts for work designed to protect the company from more than 300 lawsuits in the wake of the slick.

It was claimed that contained within the contracts were clauses restricting scientists from publishing any academic research undertaken for the oil giant, sharing them with other researchers or even talking about them for as long as three years.

Prof Cary Nelson, the head of the American Association of Professors, accused the oil giant of making “hugely destructive” decisions.

Nice, first we get BP-Iwantmylifebackgate,then BP-Sailboatgate,  BP Photoshopgate, then BP-Lockerbiebombergate, now we get BP-Silencegate. It appears we’re going to have BP-Trustfundgate next, as I see allegations of them trying to slow the process down to give the people they’ve put out of work assistance.

Of course with Kenneth Feinberg running the trust find it certainly sounds possible. He doesn’t appear to have the cojones to stand up to Wall Street, so I have to wonder if BP is going to make him their sissy-boy, or perhaps already have done so.

Do you think anyone in charge at BP ever took an ethics class in college? I have to ask. Seems to fit what’s going on, it’s like they’re clueless about doing the right thing. They’re making Richard Nixon look like the epitome of honesty.

If you want to see the alleged contract for yourself, it’s here (PDF) at the BBC website.  They even highlighted the offending parts in yellow.

BP evidently doesn’t just want to silence individual scientists, per the below they want to silence whole departments at colleges.

American newspaper reports also claimed that BP attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at southern US university.

Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama, who was offered one of the contracts, said BP wanted his whole department.

He said that after he stipulated that his team would have complete academic freedom he never heard from BP’s lawyers again.

That certainly makes for a good case that BP wasn’t THAT interested in securing their services.  BP, of course, is claiming they are innocent as the pure-driven snow.

But New Orleans environmental lawyer Joel Waltzer looked over the contract and said BP’s statement did not match up.

“They’re the ones who control the process. They’re depriving the public of the data and the transparency that we all deserve.”

We have a Professor Mendelsson who would work for them for his regular hourly fee.  He has to have the quote of the year below.

“Good scientists, they’re going to be giving their opinions based on the facts and they are not going to bias their opinions. What’s most important is credibility.”

Too bad the IPCC doesn’t hire this guy to head up their next report.  I think I might trust what he said. Basing opinions on the facts? What a novel idea that would be at certain institutions of the global warming persuasion.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this as I feel it certainly warrants more investigation.

Insane Minds indeed!

Sources: TelegraphBBCWikipedia

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Filed under Financial, Gulf Oil Spill, Legal, pollution

Obama Oil Spill Response Blasted

Seems what we have with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a total, complete, massive failure of government.  It started way before this rig was ever installed, was allowed to continue and the result was the massive blowout, fire and what may be the world’s largest oil spill disaster before it’s all over.

We have corruption, drug use, sex, inaction, delay, ineptitude, suppression of information and the Obama Administration to thank for this.  It did start before that, but the reality is that Obama has been in office for 15 months now, and evidently things with agencies involved with the oil industry haven’t gotten any better, and this is the result.

Let’s start with Ron Gouget, former NOAA Spill Response Coordinator in Louisiana, who blasts the response to the oil spill.  It has now been 10 days, we’ve had little action from British Petroleum (BP) and little action from the Obama Administration. As reported from in this article

Federal officials should have started burning oil off the surface of the Gulf last week, almost as soon as the spill happened, said the former oil spill response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Ron Gouget, who also managed Louisiana’s oil response team for a time, said federal officials missed a narrow window of opportunity to gain control of the spill by burning last week, before the spill spread hundreds of miles across the Gulf, and before winds began blowing toward shore.

Sounds like we’re asleep at the wheel again in Washington, DC.  People complained about the Bush administrations response to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, that was about 2 days.  This is 10 days, going on 11 days, yet notice you don’t see the mainstream media saying a bad word.  They evidently think sending Janet Napolitano down there to tell the press they’re on top of it, and sending Obama down to basically do nothing, is a terrific response.

He also said the heavy use of dispersant’s, which cause oil to sink, has likely knocked so much oil into the water column that portions of the Gulf may be on the threshold of becoming toxic to marine life. Add in the oil spreading into the water as it rises from the seafloor, and Gouget said he expected officials would have to think about limiting the use of the dispersant’s.

Well, yesterday they announced someone finally got off from sitting on their hands and decided to send two military planes to spray disperants, but again, it’s too little, too late, not to mention it sounds like it may create more problems than not.

“There was a threshold of about 35 part per million for oil in the water. Above that, white shrimp larvae died in the laboratory. I don’t know where the levels are now in the Gulf, but that is something they will have to keep an eye on,” Gouget said.

Does anyone in charge even know about this?  Are they monitoring it if they do know?  Based on what’s gone on thus far I’d  bet they don’t.  Seems someone should have jumped on this immediately and started burning this oil off.  According to the interview…

“They had pre-approval. The whole reason the plan was created was so we could pull the trigger right away instead of waiting ten days to get permission,” Gouget said. “If you read the pre-approval plan, it speaks about Grand Isle, where the spill is. When the wind is blowing offshore out of the north, you have preapproval to burn in that region. If the wind is coming onshore, like it is now, you can’t burn at Grand Isle. They waited to do the test burn until the wind started coming onshore.”

If they had pre-approval then why in the hell did they not do anything?  Call from Washington, DC perhaps telling them to sit and let BP take care of it? Or, it plain negligence?

Asked why officials waited for a week before conducting even a test burn, Gouget said, “Good question. Maybe complacency was the biggest issue. They probably didn’t have the materials on hand to conduct the burn, which is unconscionable.”

Or, was there another reason?

He said the NOAA officials involved at the Unified Command Center in Louisiana know how to respond to spills, and know burning should have started as soon as possible after the initial release was detected. Gouget said they may have been overruled.

“It may have been a political issue. The burn would make a big big plume and lots of soot. Like Valdez, the decisions to get the resources mobilized may not have occurred until itPPup was too late,” Gouget said. “This whole thing has been a daily strip tease. At first they thought it was just the diesel, then they said the well wasn’t leaking. It’s unfortunate they didn’t get the burning going right away. They could have gotten 90 percent of the oil before it spread.”

It isn’t too late to do something in spite of the massive amounts of oil that have leaked out over the previous 10 days because everyone is standing around, looking stylish and doing nothing.

Gouget said officials could still make a big dent in the amount of oil that will hit seashores over the next several months by burning.

“If they set up multiple boat/fire boom sets & begin a ‘bucket brigade’ grabbing fresh oil, they can set up a production system to remove huge amounts,” Gouget said. “They’ve got to ramp up the burn program. It’s one of the most important tools they have to limit the damage.”

Regardless who the responsible party is to stop the leaking and clean the mess up, the Federal Government is supposed to be able to respond to these things. They have a duty not only to the US taxpayers to prevent ecological disasters like this, they have a duty to clean them up, too.  Yet, we have little or nothing going on in Louisiana other than press conferences, interviews and photo-ops by government officials including the President.

We also get an analysis of the government agency that regulates oil rigs in this article from the ProPublica Blog. They had a duty to prevent this, but that didn’t happen either. I’d like to know what we pay these people for and why they still have jobs?

As The Wall Street Journal reported this morning, the oil rig lacked a device—known as an acoustic control—that would’ve served as a safeguard of last resort. While the effectiveness of the $500,000 device is debated, the Journal points out that it is used by other oil-producing nations, including Brazil and Norway. Regulators in the U.S. were also considering requiring it a few years ago, but after industry objections decided that the devices were expensive and needed more study.

Sounds like the tail wagging the dog here.  $500,000 is nothing at all compared to the loss of life and ecological disaster at hand.

So which regulator oversees rigs and made that decision? It was the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service, an agency that has had a spotty record over the past few years.

I’ve heard of the Department of the Interior, but can’t say I’ve ever heard of the Mineral Management Service.  I bet we hear about them now. Here’s an interesting tidbit about them.

In 2008, we pointed out that MMS was in quite a bit of trouble for ethical violations by its officials. The scandal involved sex, drugs and (quite literally) sleeping with the very industry it was regulating. Here’s how The New York Times summarized the government’s investigation:

The investigation also concluded that several of the officials “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.” The investigation separately found that the program’s manager mixed official and personal business. In sometimes lurid detail, the report also accuses him of having intimate relations with two subordinates, one of whom regularly sold him cocaine.

Kind of reminds me of the good old SEC and their people surfing porn on the internet all day while Wall Street burns.  Or, Bill Clinton with little Monica under the desk.  See? It’s true. History does repeat itself.

Here’s some more on these morons who are supposed to be safe-guarding against this type of “accident.” Actually, I should use “incident” as it wasn’t an “accident” at all.

That hasn’t been the end of MMS’s troubles. According to an audit earlier this month by the Government Accountability Office, the regulator has hardly been a straight shooter on offshore drilling and the risks involved. The GAO found that MMS withheld data on offshore drilling in Alaska from regional staff members at the agency involved in environmental analyses. The report also found that MMS lacked sufficient guidelines to properly analyze the risks of drilling in the region.

“We found considerable variation among MMS’s … regions in how they asses what constitutes a ‘significant’ environmental impact,” reads the report (PDF). And on the withholding of data: “Some of its own scientists have alleged that their findings have been suppressed.” (In a formal response to the report, the Department of the Interior said it “generally agrees” with the findings.)

She added that under Ken Salazar, who became secretary of the interior in January 2009, this may be changing, “but we have not seen material changes so far.”

How lovely we not only get sex and drugs and rock and roll, we get withheld data and suppression of information from scientists.  Evidently the new guy doesn’t give a hoot.  He’s Obama’s appointee, so don’t blame Bush, this guy’s had plenty of time to clean house, but evidently he hasn’t.

Evidently they didn’t do their job when this rig was approved either. (Do they do anything besides sex and drugs and rock and roll?)

The Huffington Post points out that MMS did not require BP—which owns the well that blew up—to file a plan for reacting to a “potential blowout,” meaning an uncontrollable spill.  According to The Huffington Post’s reporting, the more limited plan BP filed with MMS predicted that if worse came to worst, a spill would release 162,000 gallons of oil. The Deepwater Horizon spill has already exceeded that prediction.

Had the Federal Government done its job, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.  This disaster started long before this oil rig was even made. It is like “The Perfect Storm” for oil rigs.

The ineptitude or inaction continues.  There are things that can be done, but from what I see on the news and read, they’re just going to wait until BP comes up with some magic trick to stop the oil flow.  They’ll wait and see if this, that or the other, pans out, even if it takes days, weeks, or perhaps months (I’ve read could be 90 days before this gets stopped).  Meanwhile we have thousands of barrels of oil per day pumping into the Gulf of Mexico.  This will probably be an ecological disaster that will be unequaled.

I bet the aftermath will consist of endless investigations and feeble explanations. As usual, I bet no heads will roll over this either. It will just eventually die and go away, people will probably not forget, but it will be like the Exxon Valdez incident, it will fade from most people’s memories. I hope that people remember this at election time.  Some of these clowns do not deserve re-election.  A message needs to be sent that we’re tired of all the crap. Yet more CO2 Insanity.

Sources: AL.COM ProPublica

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