Thursday, June 24, 2010

Under the Surface....

This just in - NOAA discovers underwater oil plumes partially caused by dispersant linked to BP oil spill.

I did not make that up. NOAA has finally stepped up and admitted the glaringly obvious. There are undersea plumes of oil - despite BPs' continued denials - and they seem to be chemically dispersed droplets. Why the delay in calling these what they are? Well, NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco was way too busy denying their existence and calling other research "premature."

And where was NOAA and their illustrious leader? She was way too busy yapping about "climate change" to take serious notice that the Gulf of Mexico was rapidly changing into chemically enhanced sludge. Rather than take on her EPA pals and identify the dispersant as a problem, Lubchenco fell back on the tried and true bureaucratic method. She just denied the problem. Well, those days are over. Her own scientists have proven her wrong.

As recently as 3 days ago, this sterling example of a scientist turned bureaucrat was making reference to "collectible concentrations of oil" in her denying of reality. She was repeatedly parroting the BP/Thad Allen mantra that the dispersant was harmless and not an issue. In fact, her agency was busy producing spill maps and forecasts that were far rosier than the reality.

Collectible oil. Now that would be funny were it not so obviously designed to conceal the existence of the plumes that oceanographers have been pointing to for weeks now. It would be an interesting phrase if it was not the end result of BP's (with government endorsement) ongoing use of these dispersants to hide the bulk of the spilled oil from plain sight. Collectible oil would be an interesting phrase if it did not imply non-collectible oil. Oil intentionally diluted and kept sub-surface with dispersants just to prevent a larger visible surface slick.

I have been saying this for weeks and weeks. The dispersants compound and worsen the problem. The use of millions of gallons of what is a very dangerous and caustic chemical is meant to do just one thing - hide the oil. Keep it from the surface. The endless pumping of this stuff into the oil a mile below the surface is meant to minimize the surface slick.

Exactly. A chemical known to be dangerous to humans - let alone aquatic life - is being used in unheard of quantities for PR purposes. And Obama's EPA is OK with this. The only reason to use this much dispersant undersea is to keep the oil from coming up to the surface where it can be seen and collected. The intent from the start was to try to hide the severity of the problem.

Instead, the frivolous use of dispersant has allowed the oil to spread much further than is obvious and do so under the surface where it cannot be easily seen, tracked or collected. The wanton pumping of this stuff into the oil has created a new problem that we will be dealing with for decades. The oil is now spread in near microscopic droplets over a massive area where fish can consume it. Since it is now tiny particles that don't rise to the surface, the oil and dispersant is now able to infiltrate the entire Gulf of Mexico life cycle.

See, oil and water don't normally mix well. Oil tends to want to float. This floating tendency has always given us the ability to track and pick up spilled oil. But the dispersant allows an emulsion of oil, water and dispersant to form. This alters the actual water itself. Now the emulsified oil/dispersant mixture is small enough to ride along with the water wherever it goes. At any depth.

University researchers and marine experts have been saying this for weeks. Environmentalists and fishermen have been saying this. I have been saying it. But, until today, the government has been ignoring it, preferring the "out of sight, out of mind" method of crisis management.

In interviews, Lubchenco seems to be parroting BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward when it comes to the size of the spill - both surface and hidden.

According to her, "It is a big Gulf out there." Yeah, a big Gulf. A big dying Gulf.

I am offering shirts with this design and will be sending the profits directly to the Plaquemines Parish Fund that is set up to help the folks most hurt by this mess.

I spoke to the good folks at Plaquemines and I have to say that for people living a horror show, they are some of the nicest and most grateful people you would ever want to talk to.

Please help out and get the message out at the same time.

You can order them here:

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