Archive for the ‘News Bulletins’ Category

The oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico will go down in history as one of the biggest catastrophes this planet has ever seen. The cover up and the lies that led this country into the health crisis we are about to face will be documented in years to come. Acts of God, like hurricanes, are fast and furious, the damage is immediate. This, on the other hand, is a slow death.

To read this ALARMING article go to: http://www.projectgulfimpact.org/

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…after three weeks of waiting, waves of oil began washing into the shores and wetlands along Louisiana’s fertile coastline, one of the greatest estuary wetlands in the world. When it became clear the booms hastily assembled by BP and government officials were not doing the job, Cristian worked with other locals to organize a huge caravan of thousand-pound hay bales that would soak up the oil before it hit the beaches of Grand Isle.

“BP wouldn’t let us help,” he says. “We had to turn around all the trucks and trainloads of hay we had coming and tell them to go back to where they came from. It was a huge wasted effort that we knew could have helped keep the oil out. I had nightmares after that of not being able to do anything.”

 Cristian later got a job with a BP contractor on the cleanup, but he still feels the effort has been half-hearted and wasteful. He saw hundreds of workers on small boats using small power vacuums trying to suck oil out of the marshes, looking like kids sucking chocolate out of a straw. But this was a seemingly endless line of oily dark brown goo stuck to miles of marsh grass. It wasn’t coming out and he knew he needed to do more.

Then he heard about a non-petroleum based cleaning agent used for agricultural purposes called Evolve, which breaks down oil and disperses it in a non-toxic chemical reaction.

Cristian decided to give it a try and see if it worked on the marsh. He had sprayed it on a few small sections of marsh and had nearly gotten arrested for it. The Coast Guard let him go, he says, and said they would do independent testing.

But Cristian doesn’t want to wait for that. He says there isn’t time. “All anyone wants to do here is spray water on the oil in the marshes or sink it to the bottom and hide it like they did with the chemical dispersants. They just want to wait it out for years and years and let nature run its course. Well we don’t have years and years, and these marshes are disappearing and will be gone by then. We need to do something now.”

So he headed out to the marshes with a red bucket intent on getting samples of oiled marsh to take back with him. He wants to prove his product will work. There were plenty of cleanup boats bobbing in the waters close to the oiled shores along Bay Jimmy. Cristian powered up his 90 hp engine and motored around one island that was devoid of boats, then pulled up to the marsh grass. A stench of oil rose up from the line of brown, matted dead grass. A light sheen of oil kicked up from the boat prop close to shore. A few oiled plastic bags and ubiquitous plastic soda bottles littered the marsh, coated in thick black and brown weathered oil…

To read entire article http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkistner/cristian_delano_wore_a_long-sl.html

Oysters Found Contaminated

Posted: September 7, 2010 in News Bulletins

 

Sampling by environmental groups has found oysters contaminated with oil along the Louisiana coast befouled by the BP PLC oil spill, a finding that casts doubt on statements by state and federal officials that all seafood tested here is safe to eat.

Batches of oysters were sampled on Aug. 2 and 3 near the mouths of the Atchafalaya and Mississippi rivers and laboratory tests revealed the animals were tainted by oil. That’s according to Wilma Subra, a well-known Louisiana chemist working for environmental groups.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says that since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion the agency has found no oyster samples with high levels of oil contamination.

Louisiana has opened some waters to oyster harvesting, but much of the state’s coast remains closed to oystermen because of concerns over oil.

80% of Oil NOT Recovered

Posted: September 7, 2010 in News Bulletins

…but earlier this week researchers at the University of Georgia and the Georgia Sea Grant challenged that interpretation. Almost 80 per cent of the oil has not been recovered, they say. They took particular issue with the NIC’s dismissal of dispersed oil hidden below the surface. “One major misconception is that oil that has dissolved into water is gone and, therefore, harmless,” says Charles Hopkinson at the University of Georgia in Athens, director of Georgia Sea Grant.

At stake here is the toxicity of dissolved oil in water. According to Hallberg, the Environmental Protection Agency claims that a billion droplets of water contaminated with a droplet of oil is safe to drink. So if, as the NIC suggests, the oil is reaching that point of dilution in the Gulf, we’re in the clear. Not so fast, others retort. Even if we can handle some oil in our water, deep-sea animals may not be able to. Unfortunately, it’s too early to know how these organisms are faring.

Gulf oil spill to blame for oily blobs in vital Gulf sea life?

  • August 26, 2010 5:54 am

NEW ORLEANS — To find out how the food chain has been affected by the Gulf oil spill, marine scientists are closely monitoring this year’s spawn of blue crab – a key kind of plankton – in the Gulf of Mexico.

In late May, marine biologist Erin Grey, a post-doctoral researcher at Tulane University, discovered oily orange droplets inside blue crab larvae she collected in areas affected by the BP oil spill.

Eighty percent of crab larvae samples collected from an area of the Gulf stretching from Louisiana to Florida showed evidence of the orange substance, which initially tested positive for hydrocarbons, says Dr. Grey, who along with other Tulane researchers, is collaborating with the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

More blue crab larvae with the orange blobs were recently collected off Grand Isle in Louisiana, she adds.

“This is something that researchers with decades of experience have never seen before, and we think it must be linked to the spill,” says Grey.

Subsequent testing, however, has yet to give a definitive answer on whether the unusual substance contains either oil or dispersants related to the oil spill, she says. “It’s been frustrating because you want answers, and initial analyses said, ‘Yes, it’s hydrocarbons,’ but we still haven’t gotten a clear enough reading to say for sure,” she adds.

Importance of blue crabs

Blue crabs are an important commercial species accounting for nearly $300 million in economic activity in Louisiana alone. Oil inside blue crab larvae could mean a disruption of the fishing industry. It could also be a worrying sign that the spill is affecting the reproductive cycles of a number of plankton species at the base of the Gulf’s food web.

“Since almost Day 1 of the spill, there have been grave concerns about how plankton life in the Gulf will be affected,” says Robert Thomas, director of the Center for Environmental Communications at Loyola University. “Answers to those questions could mean a lot to the future of the Gulf, and the public is dealing with a lot of speculation these days.”

Reports of the possible discovery of oil in blue crab larvae prompted an immediate response by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Initial screenings by NOAA scientists have not found the unusual orange droplets or other signs of oil in blue crab larvae, says John Lamkin, a fisheries scientist with NOAA.

In summer months, female blue crabs release millions of eggs in estuaries, which float on currents into Gulf waters. The larvae mature offshore for a number a weeks before swimming back inshore as juvenile crabs.

“Juvenile blue crabs should be swimming back over the next couple of months in the hundreds of millions, so if we don’t see that we know the spill has affected them,” Grey says.

 
Tim Robbins narrates our ongoing series documenting the environmental issues and coastal community concerns in the wake of the BP drilling disaster. This episode features interviews with Len Bahr, Ph.D. the coastal science adviser to 5 different Louisiana Governors and Matt Rota of the Gulf Restoration…
In an exclusive report, CNN’s Ed Lavandera says researchers found oil and dispersants built up on the ocean floor.