Monday, December 9, 2019
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Good News On the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster, But…

It's good news (at least, we all hope!) that "BP succeeded on Sunday in its second attempt at inserting a new tube into its damaged oil pipe that has been gushing oil from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico for three and a half weeks."  Still, even if this latest "fix" actually works for more than a few minutes/hours/days, this situation remains a complete, unmitigated disaster for Gulf of Mexico, as well as for everyone who lives and works along the Gulf coast. In addition, it is important to point out that, even when BP manages to stop this oil gusher, the effects will linger, most likely for years to come.  For more on that, see "Oil spill imperils an unseen world at the bottom of the gulf", "Huge oil plumes found under Gulf as BP struggles", and "Natural Gas Leak 3000 Times Worse Than Oil".

I strongly recommend that Bob McDonnell and others in the "drill baby drill" crowd read this material with an open mind (if that's possible with these lunkheads) and reconsider their uncritical, reckless, whole-hog, mindless support for drilling off Virginia's coast. At the minimum, the Gulf of Mexico disaster should make McDonnell et al. think long and hard about the potential costs (huge) and benefits (minimal) of drilling a few miles from Virginia Beach, particularly in relation to other options like energy efficiency and offshore wind power.  It should make them think long and hard, but knowing these people, it probably won't, unfortunately.

Repower America Gulf Coast Oil Spill Ad


The takeaway message from this excellent ad? "The only way to end catastrophic oil spills is to end our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels."

“Offshore Myth Busting”

Great post by Peter Galuszka of Bacon's Rebellion, "Offshore Myth Busting." Here's the conclusion:
So, McDonnell and Obama should ask themselves, "What's it going to be for Virginia?" Obama says there will be no new offshore drilling until a thorough study is made of Deepwater Horizon. That's cold comfort.

As for McDonnell, he might want to knock off the idiotic "plane crash" excuse and consider that Big Oil with its Big Money would not be the only industry along Virginia's coast that he's sworn to protect. Consider the fishing, tourism and commercial shipping sectors, not to mention the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard which use offshore Virginia waters and pump in billions to the state's economy. That's right here, right now. Not sometime off in 2020.

So true. Unfortunately, the chances of Bob McDonnell having the interest or the brain cells to comprehend Peter Galuszka's article are minimal.

P.S. Also, see Miles Grant's Twitter feed for updates from the Gulf Coast, where he is covering the oil spill for the National Wildlife Federation.

Virginian-Pilot: “Gulf oil spill drifts to Virginia”

Superb editorial by the Virginian-Pilot, here's an excerpt but definitely read it all!
Since the beginning of the debate about offshore drilling, it has been clear that the promises are as concrete as petroleum fumes across the Gulf of Mexico. Inland lawmakers are lining up to prevent coastal states from getting any royalty money from offshore drilling. They outnumber Virginia's advocates.

[...]

But the most important assurance to residents of Virginia's coast was the one about the environment. Oil drilling, we were assured repeatedly by its advocates, is really safe these days. It won't damage the beaches, or the air, or our marshes. It certainly won't affect the wildlife.

Tell that to the people who live along the coast in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The End Result of “Drill Baby Drill”

I think Bill Maher speaks for most of us today when he says, "Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill Baby Drill' should have to report to the Gulf Coast today for cleanup duty."

Oh, and let me just add: f*** you Sarah Palin!

Finally, just remember, if "drill baby drill" (or should we call it "spill baby spill?") afficionados like Bob McDonnell gets his way, the following photos could be coming to the Virginia coastline sometime in coming years. Let's all tell him, "no thank you!"

UPDATE: According to Reuters, "White House says no offshore drilling will be allowed in new areas until review of oil spill off La. coast."  Great, but how about offshore drilling in current areas using similar types of drilling equipment and techniques, such as failing to use acoustic valves as part of blowout preventers, as is done in other parts of the world?  Oh, and how about we make getting off of oil our #1 priority?  Until we do, disasters like this will happen again and again. Needless to say, that is completely unacceptable.

What Would Gulf Coast Oil Spill Look Like Off Virginia’s Coast?

Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, we can cut the Gulf Coast spill & paste it, scaled to size, off the Virginia coast in the area where drilling is planned. Via Twitter's Brad Johnson, here's what it looks like proportionately.

Obviously this is not exactly what a Virginia oil spill would look like. There are many variables -- wind direction & speed, water current patterns. This is not a forecast, it simply shows relative sizes.

What would all that oil do? Would it head out to sea? Towards the Chesapeake Bay & Virginia Beach? Up to Ocean City? Who knows.

But hey, at least oil spills come with a darkly comic side. Sen. Mark Warner, a relentless cheerleader for oil & gas drilling off Virginia's shores, is now being listed among coastal-state senators who've "expressed concerns about the safety & environmental impacts of offshore drilling." Who says you can't have it both ways?

UPDATE by Lowell: Much, much better news!

In a groundbreaking decision that some say will usher in a new era of clean energy, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said today he was approving the nation's first offshore wind farm today, the controversial Cape Wind project off of Cape Cod.

"This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast," Salazar said at a joint State House news conference with Governor Deval Patrick. The decision comes after nine years of battles over the proposal.

Last I checked, wind power doesn't cause environmental catastrophes like offshore oil drilling does.