Friday, April 30, 2010

Mom's on the Roof

Although BP originally stated that the spill amounted to 42,000 gallons of oil a day, the company later agreed with the U.S. Coast Guard's figure of 210,000 gallons a day. The nonprofit SkyTruth, which specializes in analyzing satellite and aerial data, also warns that the spill may be releasing as much as 850,000 gallons a day 

It is with a deep repugnance toward the forces at work in America today that I will watch the spectacle unfold on the coast of Louisiana. I suspect it will be worse than we have been led to believe, if my experience with TVA's Coal Waste disaster is any precedent.

In a repeat of the tactics that played out immediately after the December 22, 2008 collapse of the TVA ash storage mountain, when the disaster turned out to be at least three times as large as originally reported with far greater economic impact, the oil platform explosion turns out to be five times greater than we were told and will have devastating environmental and economic impact on the coastal communities of at least four states.

Up until now all environmental disasters have been compared to the Exxon Valdez. Exxon is still battling in court to prevent having to pay for all of the damage caused as a result of its short sighted cost avoidance and lack of supervision of a toxic cargo in an area where that cargo could cause terrible consequences if released into the environment. The names have changed but the situation is the same. BP Oil, in an all too corporate typical move, decided to save big money by not installing a proper remote cutoff valve on a wellhead the lies nearly a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Hey...What could go wrong? When future environmental disasters are compared to the BP platform explosion of 2010, everyone will know what could go wrong.

So let's complete the Bill Maher quote:

"Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill Baby Drill' should have to report to the Gulf Coast today for cleanup duty."

And now this:

A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.

"The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."

An order of magnitude means 10 times as great. That would equal one Valdez disaster every 5 days. Get ready.

More on the story and some really scary pictures


  1. I also noticed some very disturbing similarities to the Kingston coal ash spill of the failure to anticipate the worst-case scenario variety.

    I suspect such failures are systemic and endemic. Unless we change how we calculate risks and approve such plans, more environmental disasters are not just likely but assured.

  2. This is BAD. We will be punished for this.