Posted on April 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Research suggests role of bacteria has been underestimated
Some of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster coated and killed deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico, but a large quantity may have been consumed by oil-eating bacteria. Photo courtesy Lophelia II 2010, NOAA OER and BOEMR.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Nearly three years after the Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded and the busted Macondo Well spewed millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, scientists are still trying to figure out to what happened to all the oil.
Only a tiny amount was captured or burned at the surface, and vast quantity — nobody knows exactly how much — was “dispersed” with chemicals injected directly into the stream of oil streaming out of the broken pipes, but a surprisingly large percentage of the oil may have been broken down by microbes. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oil spill, oil-eating bacteria | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Jayhawk helicopter crew delivers personnel to the conical drilling unit Kulluk, southeast of Kodiak, Alaska, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Response crews have been fighting severe weather in the Gulf of Alaska while working with the Kulluk and its tow vessel Aiviq. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg.
Shell Oil struggling with keeping control off its Arctic oil drilling equipment
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — While pressing ahead with plans for offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, Shel Oil has been unable to maintain control of its equipment. In the latest accident, one of the company’s oil drilling ships ran aground New Year’s Eve on the southeast shoreline of Sitkalidak Island, about 250 miles south of Anchorage.
The Kulluk was part of the Shell’s test drilling program last summer. According to the company, the vessel was loaded with about 139,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 12,000 gallons of other oil-based drilling and mechanical fluids. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic Ocean, Environment, Kulluk, offshore drilling, oil drilling, Oil spill, Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Oil, Sitkalidak Island, United States Coast Guard | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 1, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Small grazers at the base of the food chain most directly affected
Followup studies after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill call into question the extensive use of chemical dispersants. Photo courtesy NOAA.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The massive amounts of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded was devastating to marine life, but the dispersant used in the aftermath to try and break down the oil slicks may have been even worse for some species, according to new research done by scientists with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Based on laboratory toxicity tests, the study found that the oil-dispersant mix was up to 52 times more toxic to tiny rotifers, microscopic grazers at the base of the Gulf’s food chain.
The researchers tested a mix oil from the spill and Corexit, the dispersant required by the Environmental Protection Agency for clean up, on five strains of rotifers. Rotifers have long been used by ecotoxicologists to assess toxicity in marine waters because of their fast response time, ease of use in tests and sensitivity to toxicants. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation, oil drilling | Tagged: Corexit, Deepwater Horizon, Dispersant, Environment, oil pollution, Oil spill | 3 Comments »
Posted on September 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Government report shows cursory testing with no detailed engineering data
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some observers are hoping for the best when it comes to Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling plans, because the company clearly is not prepared for the worst, at least when it comes to testing critical equipment needed to prevent massive blowouts like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
After dragging it’s feet for a while, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement finally released all the information it had on last summer’s testing of a well-head capping stack system.
All the information on that test was included on less than a single page of typed text.
“I was shocked,” said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor who requested the testing report under the Freedom of Information Act. “I was expecting 50 or 70 pages … with pressure tests, detailed engineering info, graphs … it’s a critical piece of equipment in a blow-out,” said Steiner, an oil spill expert and board member of an environmental watchdog group. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic drilling, BSSE, Chukchi Sea, Oil spill, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Oil | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 13, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation group wants SEC to investigate oil company’s statements on plans for oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Environmental activists say they want Royal Dutch Shell stockholders to know about all the potential risks and liabilities associated with the company’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic ocean.
In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Center for Biological Diversity charges that Shell may have made false and misleading statements, and omitted crucial information about its readiness to drill in the Arctic Ocean.
Considering the chain of corporate events leading up to BP’s massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s doesn’t require a huge leap of faith to imagine that an oil company may not be completely forthright about its activities, but the environmental group even offered specific examples of Shell’s preparations for oil drilling. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic oil drillng, Center for Biological Diversity, Chukchi Sea, Oil spill, Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Oil | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 3, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
‘The oil is not gone yet. This disaster is not over. There are embryos right now that are still getting exposed to that oil.’
Zebrafish. PHOTO COURTESY THE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.
The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform after the April 2010 explosion. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. COAST GUARD.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster causes very specific and potentially lethal defects in fish, including heart problems and loss of facial cartilage.
The oil also prevents fish from swimming away from danger, probably because of damage to sensory neurons, according to a study published this week in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Biology.
In a controlled lab setting, Dr. Michael Barresi and his students at Smith University in Massachusetts exposed zebrafish (a common freshwater fish often found in aquariums) to concentrations of oil that probably still exist at similar levels in the gulf today, two years after the Macondo Well spewed millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, Marine biology, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, developmental defects, Environment, fish, Gulf of Mexico, Macondo oil, marine biology, Oil spill | 5 Comments »
Posted on April 30, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Gotta keep ‘em clean!
Cape San Blas, Florida.
SUMMIT COUNTY — I spent much of Sunday reading and re-reading a very discouraging study on toxic oil pollution along Gulf Coast beaches. Despite all the chamber of commerce and government propaganda on how well everything has been cleaned up, it turns out that there are alarmingly high levels of carcinogenic oil-related PAHs still accumulating in the shallows all along the northern Gulf Coast, including beaches where our family waded and swam last spring and summer. You can read the story here. Just another reason to try and end our addiction to oil as soon as possible … (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Morning photo, photography | Tagged: beaches, BP oil spill, Deepwater horizon oil spill, Florida, Gulf Coast of the United States, Oil spill, pollution, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 24, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout spreads across the Gulf of Mexico in this NASA satellite image.
Scientists urge hard look at oil spill assumptions
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Lack of previous experience in deep-water oil spills likely hampered the early response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to a panel of scientists who this week urged the federal government to reassess how it would respond to similar oil spills that might occur in the future.
The 22 researchers said the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill was unlike any other oil spill encountered previously. Although the well blowout occurred at unprecedented depths and released enormous quantities of oil (an estimated 4.9 million barrels or 206 million gallons), the response to cleanup and contain the oil was based on assumptions made from experience with surface spills. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater Horizon, Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf of Mexico, offshore oil drilling, Oil spill | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Feb. 2 report compiles independent monitoring data
Oil washes near the shore of Chandeleur Island. PHOTO COURTESY JEFFREY WARREN/GRASS ROOTS MAPPING PROJECT.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY— Citing the public’s right to know why an oil rig 11 miles off the coast of Louisiana has been leaking oil for seven years, a coalition of watchdog and environmental groups has filed a lawsuit against Taylor Energy Company LLC.
The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by the Waterkeeper Alliance and several Gulf Coast Waterkeeper organizations, aims to halt the spill and to make public the facts of the company’s seven-year response and recovery operation. The lawsuit claims that the damaged operation has been leaking several hundred gallons per day into the Gulf of Mexico. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, energy, Environment, oil drilling, Summit County news, water | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf Coast oil pollution, Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, Oil spill, SkyTruth, Taylor Energy LLC, Waterkeepers Alliance | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 6, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The Yellowstone River.
Water samples collected all the way to North Dakota, lab results due Friday
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — EPA officials said Wednesday that aerial surveys of the Yellowstone River are showing signs of oil as far as 45 miles downstream of the spill site at Laurel Montana. Visit the EPA website for the spill.
A pipeline that burst early last weekend may have spilled more than 42,000 gallons of oil into the water before it was shut off by operator ExxonMobil.
The agency is taking water samples even farther downstream, but doesn’t expect lab results until Friday, according to Matthew Allen, a spokesman for the agency who arrived at the scene Wednesday.
“We’re doing sampling all the way down the river … clear into North Dakota,” Allen said. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, flooding, oil drilling, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: Clean Water Act, EPA response to Yellowstone river oil spill, ExxonMobil, ExxonMobil Montana oil spill, Laurel Montana, Montana oil spill, North Dakota, Oil spill, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Yellowstone River, Yellowstone River oil spill | Leave a Comment »