The Oil BP Tried To Hide Has Been Discovered, In Thick Layers On the Sea Floor Over An Area of Several Thousand Square Miles

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Dec. 22 — BP and the government famously declared that most of the oil had disappeared.

But as I’ve noted, as much as 98% of the oil is still in the ocean.

I have repeatedly pointed out that BP and the government applied massive amounts of dispersant to the Gulf Oil Spill in an effort to sink and hide the oil. Many others said the same thing.

BP and the government denied this, of course.

But the oil is not remaining hidden.

Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal noted on December 9th:

A university scientist and the federal government say they have found persuasive evidence that oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill is settling on the ocean floor.

The new findings, from scientists at the University of South Florida and from a broad government effort, mark the latest indication that environmental damage from the blowout of a BP PLC well could be significant where it’s hardest to find: deep under the Gulf’s surface.

***

Scientists who have been on research cruises in the Gulf in recent days report finding layers of residue up to several centimeters thick from what they suspect is BP oil.

The material appears in spots across several thousand square miles of seafloor, they said. In many of those spots, they said, worms and other marine life that crawl along the sediment appear dead, though many organisms that can swim appear healthy.

***

Tests now have started to link some oil in the sediment to the BP well could add to the amount of money BP ends up paying to compensate for the spill’s damage.

***

The test results also raise questions about the possible downsides of the government’s use of chemical dispersants to fight the spill.

***

Under federal direction, about 1.8 million gallons of dispersants were sprayed on the spilled oil in an effort to break it up into tiny droplets that natural ocean microbes could eat up. At the time, officials said the dispersants shouldn’t cause oil from the spill to sink to the seafloor. However, more recently, a federal report said dispersants may have helped some spilled oil sink to the sediment.

Scientific teams have reported in recent months finding a strange substance on the Gulf floor, in some cases as far as about 80 miles from BP’s ill-fated Macondo well, which blew out in April and spilled an estimated 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf before it was capped.

***”The chemical signatures are identical,” said Mr. Hollander, who found the contaminated samples in an area of the Gulf floor off the Florida Panhandle. Although it’s conceivable the tests could show a false match with the BP oil, “the statistical probability of something like that is unimaginable,” Mr. Hollander said.

The federal government also has found oil matching Macondo oil in Gulf sediment, Steve Murawski, a top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist, said in an interview. He declined to disclose how much sediment contamination the government found, or exactly where in the Gulf it was, saying experts still are analyzing the test results.

***Samantha Joye, a University of Georgia oceanographer, also has found what she believes to be evidence of BP oil in Gulf sediment. She is awaiting lab results tracing the chemical fingerprints of sediment samples she took.

On a research cruise in the Gulf that ended Friday, she saw worms that crawl along the Gulf floor “just decimated,” she said. But eels and fish, which can swim away, often appeared fine, she said.

The Journal noted on December 18th:

Oil from BP PLC’s blown-out well has lodged in the sediment of the Gulf of Mexico at levels that may threaten marine life, according to a federal report released Friday.

***

There is no practical way to clean up the spilled oil that has settled deep in the Gulf, officials said, adding that microbes in the water could eventually eat it up.

The massive application of dispersants to hide the amount of oil spilled has caused major problems to the Gulf:

  • The use of dispersants prevented clean up of the oil by skimming, by far the easiest method of removing oil from the water
  • Dispersants make the toxins in crude oil more bioavailable to sealife, and scientists have found that applying Corexit to Gulf crude oil releases many times more toxic chemicals into the water column than would be released with crude alone (and see this)
  • Dispersant might have caused some of the chemicals in oil to become airborne (and see this and this)
  • The crude oil which does not become aerosolized sinks under the surface of the ocean, and can delay the recovery of the ecosystem by years or even decades (see the Wall Street Journal article quoted above)

Extend-And-Pretend Will Fail

As I noted in May – shortly after the spill started – the responses of the government to the Gulf Oil spill and to the financial crisis are remarkably similar, as both have focused on covering up the problems, instead of actually fixing them. Because the financial system was never really reformed, the next financial shock will send the economy reeling. Because the oil was never properly cleaned up, the next hurricane will stir up immense quantities of oil now lying on the sea floor.

Extend-and-pretend is being attempted in both cases, and – in both cases – it will fail, because nothing has been fixed, and the fundamentals can only remain hidden for so long.

Moreover, in both cases, the government used “highly toxic” measures to try to hide the real problems. The government has used “emergency measures” and virtually all of its resources to prop up the giant banks instead of using the proven methods of restructuring insolvent banks and prosecuting the criminals who caused the crisis, which has caused major problems for the real economy.

Similarly, the government applied close to 2 million gallons of highly toxic dispersant to hide the amount of oil instead of using it’s resources to deploy tried-and-true clean up methods, which has caused significant problems for the Gulf.

Finally, new and potentially bigger crises will take place, because regulation hasn’t been put in place to prevent them. Regulation of the financial system – including international agreements like Basil III – have been gutted (and see this). And as Time magazine notes:

Congress never managed to pass legislation that would have overhauled drilling safety.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Source: Washington’s Blog

Related information:

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BP oil spill incident commander dies in small plane crash

BP Victims Won’t Be Allowed to Sue If They Accept Compensation

White House Probe Clears BP Over Oil Spill Disaster

Multiple Independent Lab Tests Confirm Oil In Gulf Shrimp

Scientist John Hutchison Uses Frequency Healing to Restore The Gulf After BP Oil Spill

Marine Toxicologist Dr. Riki Ott: ‘People Now Dropping Dead’ In the Gulf

US Presidential Panel: Halliburton Knew Cement Mixed For BP Blowout Well Was Unstable

Massive Stretches of Weathered Oil Found in Gulf of Mexico

The White House Blocked Government Scientists From Warning The American Public of The Potential Environmental Disaster Caused By Gulf Oil Spill

Gulf Update: Kindra Arnesen: Skin Barrier Gone, Speaks of Her Skin Condition And Continued Spraying in Gulf Region

Scientists Found 40-Fold Increase In Carcinogenic Compounds In Gulf

Blood Tests on Gulf Residents Show Benzene And Other Hydrocarbons

Scientist Rick Steiner Got Gulf Disaster Right From The Beginning, Warns Crisis Is Far From Over

Gulf Chemist: Mercenaries Hired By BP Are Now Applying Extremely Toxic Dispersant – at Night and In an Uncontrolled Manner – Which BP Says It No Longer Uses (Pictures)

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Matt Simmons Dies In An ‘Accidental Drowning’ At His Home

Matthew Simmons: ‘We’ve Now Killed The Gulf Of Mexico’ (Flashback)

Gulf Oil Blowout: Matt Simmons Was Right!

Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico Has Stalled From BP Oil Disaster! (!)

Scientists: Evidence Of Gulf Oil And Dispersant Mix Making Its Way Into The Foodchain

The Growing Health Crisis in the Gulf of Mexico:

Corexit also contain arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, cyanide, and other heavy metals. Dispersing oil with it increases toxicity 11-fold ….

EPA Whistleblower On Gulf Health Risk Cover-Up: ‘People Who Work Near Corexit Are Hemorrhaging Internally.’:

People who work near it are hemorrhaging internally. And that’s what dispersants are supposed to do.EPA now is taking the position that they really don’t know how dangerous it is, even though if you read the label, it tells you how dangerous it is. And, for example, in the Exxon Valdez case, people who worked with dispersants, most of them are dead now. The average death age is around fifty. It’s very dangerous, and it’s an economic-it’s an economic protector of BP, not an environmental protector of the public.

Gulf of Mexico BP Oil Rig Blast: Safety Alarm Was Off

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Matt Simmons: BP Cap Is A Fraud – ‘It’s The Biggest Cover-Up We have Ever Seen’

Gulf Of Mexico Water Sample EXPLODES! Other Samples Prove To Be Toxic

Toxicologists: Corexit ‘Ruptures Red Blood Cells, Causes Internal Bleeding’, ‘Allows Crude Oil To Penetrate ‘Into The Cells’ and ‘Every Organ System’

BP Oil Blowout: All States Along Gulf Of Mexico Affected By Slick

U.S. Senate Traitors Block Investigative Power for Oil Spill Commission

And Now: BP admits failing to use industry risk test at any of its deepwater wells in the US

Warning To Gulf Volunteers: Almost Every Cleanup Worker From The 1989 Exxon Valdez Disaster Is Now Dead

CNN: 1st Amendment, Free Press Suspended Near Gulf Disaster Area

Gulf of Mexico Disaster: BP Slick Covers Dolphins and Whales

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Matt Simmons: ‘We’re going to have to evacuate the gulf states.’

US Scientist: Methane In Gulf ‘Astonishingly High’, As Much As 1 Million Times The Normal Level

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Matt Simmons on Bloomberg: There Is A Much Larger Leak, Creating A Gigantic Plume; US Military Should Take Over And Use Nuclear Weapons to Seal The Blowout

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NASA Images Show Oil Entering Loop Current

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AP IMPACT: Fed’l Inspections on Rig Not as Claimed:

The federal agency responsible for ensuring that an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that inspections be done at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Since January 2005, the federal Minerals Management Service conducted at least 16 fewer inspections aboard the Deepwater Horizon than it should have under the policy, a dramatic fall from the frequency of prior years, according to the agency’s records.

Gulf of Mexico: Scientists Find Giant Plumes of Oil as Large as 10 Miles Long, 3 Miles Wide And 300 Feet Thick in Deep Waters:

Scientists studying video of the gushing oil well have tentatively calculated that it could be flowing at a rate of 25,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day. The latter figure would be 3.4 million gallons a day.

Beyond Stupid: BP CEO Tony Hayward:

“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”

US Oil Spill: Scientists and Fishermen Alarmed Over Chemical Dispersants:

Approximately 325,000 gallons of dispersant have been deployed so far in BP’s effort to break up the spreading oil slick before it hits the fragile Gulf coast, and over 500,000 gallons more are available.

Rig firm makes $270m profit from Gulf of Mexico oil spill

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The Halliburton Connection:

The company acknowledged Friday that it had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week.

US Oil Spill Disaster Is Now ‘Out Of Control’

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