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Aug 12 10

Former cleanup workers talk about their oil spill jobs.

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Aug 5 10

Is it over?

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Aug 5 10

The Well is sealed.

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BP is reporting that absent the relief wells, that they are completely confident that the drilling mud that they’ve been pumping since yesterday, that has now been sealed by a cement casing has finally put an end to the leaking Macondo well. 104 days later, but who’s counting. They intend to let the cement cure, but once that is done, they say that in an abundance of caution, they will complete the relief wells, and pump more mud and cement into the well head bore to guarantee success over the next few days. The Government released reports yesterday saying that much of the 200 million barrels of oil was gone from the Gulf, though plenty of scientists, especially those who work the Gulf everyday scoffed at the idea. Even if they’re right, many pointed out there would still be over 50 million barrels of oil out there that would continue to wreak havoc on the sensitive environment of the Gulf and its shorelines. Most residents here are taking a wait and see attitude. Having the well sealed is truly a great thing, but it may be many years before anyone celebrates a true end to this tragedy.

Aug 5 10

Oil in Mississippi Harbors and Bays

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Despite the news from Government scientists yesterday that oil had largely evaporated from the Gulf, Mississippi emergency management was reporting significant sightings of oil in Long Beach Harbor, and ,even worse there were sightings at Henderson Point in Pass Christian in the Bay of Saint Louis and as far North in the bay as the the Wolf River . Oil may have breached the bay as defenses were let down and some boom removed over the last few days. Skimmers have been dispatched and we should have a better idea about how much oil might have gotten into the bay by tomorrow.

Jul 31 10

Some Good News for Fishermen

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In Louisiana, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on Thursday reopened an area east of the Mississippi River in New Orleans and St. Tammany, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes to finfish and shrimp.
Sport fishing also reopened in an area from Pass a Loutre to the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River in southern Plaquemines. While not everyone was happy, with what was widely recognized as just a small part of the waters closed off Louisiana since the oil spill, many believed it was the first step, as the State and Federal Governments wait for tests from the FDA to confirm fish in a wider area of the Gulf are safe and that oyster and crab fishing can start back up. Many expect those tests to be completed and released next week.

In Mississippi, the DMR also opened a wide swath of state waters to commercial and recreational fishing. All areas of the Mississippi sound from the islands to the shore were opened yesterday to fishing and shrimping, but as in Louisiana, crabs and oysters are still not included in the list. Also State waters south of the island will stay closed until at least next week as further testing is completed.

This will get some shrimpers and commercial fishers back to work just as BP begins a rapid draw down of it’s workers and VOOP boats along the Gulf Coast. The question remains, are Americans ready to buy, and what exactly are the conditions of the fisheries after the worst ecological disaster in US history?

Jul 30 10

Is the oil gone, or is it BP that’s leaving?

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Despite an outpouring of videos and pictures from around the Gulf yesterday that seemed to prove otherwise, National Incident Commander Thad Allen and the other members of the Coast Guard response team continued to downplay the amount of oil that was being seen in the Gulf and that could be reached by the many thousands of boats made up of out of work fishermen that spend their days spotting and skimming it. This coupled with what many have said was coming from BP as the new CEO, who takes over in October, said yesterday that’s “it’s not too soon too scaleback.” An artful phrase meaning that despite BP’s reassurances, it intends to start decoupling it’s clean up crews in areas where it believes some of the danger of oil fall has lessened. Fewer clean up crews and boats looking for oil, mean not only more out of work fishermen, but also depleted response teams should oil continue to come ashore from underwater plumes. BP itself believes that most of the oil is now “weathered”, meaning it is less volatile and therefore much less likely to be found directly on the surface. But theories about oil eating microbes aside, common sense tells us that 200 million barrels of oil didn’t disappear overnight. BP will pull back, of that we have no doubt, whether Thad Allen is complacent or conniving we aren’t as sure.

Jul 27 10

Shrimp Season in the Gulf curtailed.

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Many shrimpers are helping with the spill, and many areas of the Gulf, and Mississippi Sound are off limits to shrimping.

Jul 26 10

Static Kill, What is it? Will it work?

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Boats were streaming back into the area of the Macondo well on Monday, as everyone rushed to get back into place, and continue the operations on the relief well. One of the most mentioned operations before tropical storm Bonnie rudely forced an evacuation of the Deep Water Horizon site, was a technique called a “static kill”. A static kill is simply beginning to pump the heavy drilling mud down the capped well bore ahead of the relief wells which are expected to be completes in the next few weeks. The procedure would be a temporary effort ahead of the pumping of mud and cement into relief wells that will intersect the well bore much lower in the column. It is similar to the failed top kill, but in this case with the cap in place, BP has the added advantage of not having the pressure of a gushing well blowing out all the mud it it pumping in. No pressure=static. Thus static kill. The main concern of course is that pressure in the well stubbornly refuses to reach the 9000 psi that scientists had hoped for. That could be accounted for by all of the oil that has spilled out of the reservoir and headed for the Gulf beaches but it might also mean a leak somewhere else in the reservoir. That would be very, very bad in that fixing a naturally occurring leak on the sea bed is unchartered and potentially catastrophic territory. If they move forward with static kill, it would provide another level of containment and might help speed up the final stage of the relief well, which will also include pumping of mud into the well bore. Once the pressure of the well pushes that mud into something more solid, and begins to fill the well bore, then cement will be used to build a cap on the tomb over the whole nasty
affair. In theory, anyway.