Current oil drilling trade association head Randall Luthi, who previously worked for Dick Cheney on the team that signed off on a vast expansion of dangerous drilling leases and who later served in the Minerals Management Service in the Bush administration, gave a presentation at the conference. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a close friend of the oil industry who previously said wellhead blowouts are “impossible,” spoke at the Foundation conference, telling attendees “we should be careful and not pass reactionary legislation that hasn’t been fully thought through” in response to the spill. Notably, Murkowski blocked legislation to raise the liability cap for oil companies.
Near the end of a 12-day cruise in the Gulf of Mexico to study the habitat of just-hatched Atlantic bluefin tuna, scientist Jim Franks came upon fields of oil sheen as far as he could see.
Mixed with the oil were large amounts of sargassum, the golden brown alga that drifts at the whim of winds and tides and shelters the quarter-inch-long bluefin tuna larvae.
Not content with mere deforestation and the vast destruction of biodiversity on land, Man has now expanded to destroy the oceans through overfishing, ocean acidification from CO2 emissions, agricultural runoff, flushing pharmaceuticals down the drain and unleashing crude oil directly into the ocean waters. It almost seems as if mankind were somehow bent on destroying itself by first destroying everything else on the planet just to see what happens.
The fissures, which BP began to attempt to fix on February 13, could have played a role in the disaster, though this is a question still being explored by investigators. Improperly sealed, the cracks cause explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft.
"All the actions and few tid bits of information all lead to one inescapable conclusion. The well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking. Now you have some real data of how BP's actions are evidence of that, as well as some murky statement from "BP officials" confirming the same.
"To those of us outside the real inside loop, yet still fairly knowledgeable, [the failure of Top Kill] was a major confirmation of what many feared. That the system below the sea floor has serious failures of varying magnitude in the complicated chain, and it is breaking down and it will continue to. "What does this mean?
BP's plan to protect workers fighting the massive oil spill in the Gulf, which the Coast Guard approved on May 25, exposes them to higher levels of toxic chemicals than generally accepted practices permit.
As a result, BP isn't required to give workers respirators, to evacuate them from danger zones, or to take other precautions until conditions are more dangerous. The looser standards are due in part to federal regulations that don't specify safety thresholds for volatile organic compounds, or VOCs — the principal toxins that threaten the health of spill response workers, experts said.
The disaster scenario — contained in a May 2000 offshore drilling plan for the Shell oil company that McClatchy has obtained — is now a grim reality in the Gulf of Mexico. Less predictably, perhaps, the author of the document was the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, the regulatory agency that's come under withering criticism in the wake of the BP spill for being too cozy with industries it was supposed to be regulating.
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