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The 90 Day Plan

Friday, April 30, 2010

Reports from Deepwater Horizon Press Conference

Louisiana Environmental Action NetworkLMRK logoLouisiana Environmental Action Network
Lower Mississippi RIVERKEEPER©

Helping to Make Louisiana Safe for Future Generations

  APRIL 30, 2010
LEAN / LMRK Technical Adviser Wilma Subra Reports From Deepwater Horizon Press Conference April 30, 2010

(l-r) US Coast Guard District Commander Mary Landry, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson address the press about the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Oil Spill Press Conference April 30, 2010

Press Conference Highlights April 30, 2010

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals will be opening shelters to provide for the special needs of people impacted by air emissions coming from the spilling oil.

Continuous Air Monitoring will be conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the air monitoring stations at Kenner and Chalmette.

The EPA will be expediting the testing and results of collected environmental samples.

The oyster beds in areas 2-7 east of the Mississippi River in Plaquemine and St. Bernard parishes will be closed to harvest.

Lower Breton Sound was closed to harvesting at 6 am today, Upper Breton
Sound will be closed to harvesting at 6 PM today (April 30, 2010).

BP is the responsible party and will be covering the cost of the response and cleanup.

The president has ordered the administration to use every single resource available.

On April 29, 2010 Governor Jindal designated the spill to be of national significance.

There has been a substantial release of oil and hazardous materials.

Comments from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson:

Air sampling began yesterday (April 29, 2010).

At the 6 existing permanent air sampling stations in the area there has been an increase in frequency of samples taken.

The data and results of the air sampling will be available on the EPA
web site

Two mobile labs will be employed to monitor the air quality.

The oily odors experienced in the New Orleans area are due to the large oil sheen being dispersed into the air by the high winds and rough seas and forming aerosols of oil particles.

Water sampling began today (April 30, 2010).

Administrator Jackson had planned on staying two days but vowed to stay as long as needed.

Comments From BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles:

Three on-the-water control burns of oil have been conducted as of the conference.

This has been the largest oil spill response ever.

The sub sea application of dispersants will begin in 2 hours (time was 2:40 PM when this statement was made).

The relief well will begin to be drilled tomorrow (May 1, 2010).

A second drill ship will be in place tomorrow and will be used to deploy the subsurface application of dispersant.

There is a need to protect the coast, wetlands and the economy.

The quantity of oil being released has not changed.  Initially BP estimated 1,000 barrels per day. Based on aerial flights and satellite images the estimate was changed
to 5,000 barrels per day.  There was a change in estimate not in quantity of oil being released.  "This process is highly imprecise."

The weather has been a challenge. The skimming of surface oil was not being performed during the time of the press conference due to adverse weather conditions.

Comments from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar:

One third of the domestic oil and gas production of the United States comes from the Gulf of Mexico area.

President Obama has requested, within 30 days, a detailed report of safety measures within the oil and gas production industry that should be addressed.

Support this vital work today!

Yes! I want to help make Louisiana safe for us and for future generations!

LEAN is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) is a non-profit organization working to foster communication and cooperation among citizens and groups to address Louisiana's environmental problems.

For More About LEAN:

Worst-Case Scenario for the Gulf of Mexico

This is an update from our good friends @ the Louisiana Environmental Action Network

Louisiana Environmental Action NetworkLMRK logoLouisiana Environmental Action Network
Lower Mississippi RIVERKEEPER©

Helping to Make Louisiana Safe for Future Generations

  APRIL 30, 2010
Worst Case Scenerio: Spilling Gulf Oil Well Could Exceed Valdez every 6 days

Reports from multiple independent sources have corroborated reports that there is concern that the well head of the leaking Gulf oil well could be shorn from the well by abrasive sandy grit in the flowing oil causing an unchecked flow of oil from the well.

Illustration of the Deepwater Horizon disaster

Presently the leaking oil is flowing through the failed blowout preventer and a long section of riser pipe that remained attached to the well head after the Deepwater Horizon sank. The kinks and bends in the riser pipe are restricting the flow of oil from the well. However, there is concern that abrasive sand particles are mixing with the flowing oil and acting like a "sand blaster" and eroding the interior of the pipe.

A source close to LEAN reported that employees of a contractor working on the clean up were told to be prepared to move out of the Venice area in the event that the well head were eroded to the point of failure by sand in the oil.

The reason given for being prepared to move from the area was the concern that if unprecedented volumes of oil were to be released into the Gulf of Mexico that air quality could become degraded enough to require an evacuation of people from the coastal areas.

In addition, the Alabama Press-Register released articles earlier today outlining just such a scenario with a leaked NOAA emergency response document as evidence.

The NOAA emergency response document from April 28, 2010 stated:

"The following is not public... two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought... There is no official change in the volume released but the USCG is no longer stating that the release rate is 1,000 barrels a day, Instead they are saying that they are preparing for a worst-case release and bringing all assets to bear."

From the Press-Register article:

In scientific circles, an order of magnitude means something is 10 times larger. In this case, an order of magnitude higher would mean the volume of oil coming from the well could be 10 times higher than the 5,000 barrels a day coming out now. That would mean 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day. It appears the new leaks mentioned in the Wednesday release are the leaks reported to the public late Wednesday night.   

The emergency document also states that the spill has grown in size so quickly that only 1 to 2 percent of it has been sprayed with dispersants.  

The Press-Register obtained the emergency report from a government official. The White House, NOAA, the Coast Guard and BP Plc did not immediately return calls for comment made early this morning. 

The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead and kinked piping currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons -- per day.

If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate.

"Typically, a very good well in the Gulf can produce 30,000 barrels a day, but that's under control. I have no idea what an uncontrolled release could be," said Stephen Sears, chairman of the petroleum engineering department at Louisiana State University. 

Let us hope that this scenario does not play out.

Victory for Appalachian Communities and Watersheds

On April 1st, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a landmark decision to curtail pollution from Appalachian mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining operations. The EPA's planned actions are all geared toward providing improved guidance for the environmental review process and the Clean Water Act (CWA) permits issued to MTR operations. To achieve these aims, the agency plans to clarify the requirements of CWA Section 402 and 404 permits for pollutant discharges to its cooperating permitting authorities. As part of this decision the agency issued a memorandum acknowledging the detrimental ecological effects mountaintop removal operations have had in Appalachia, including the filling in of 2,000 stream miles since 1992 and the deforestation of a total land area as large as Delaware.

Mountaintop removal entails blasting off the tops of mountains with explosives to mine thin layers of coal. Current mining practices devastate the environment by altering the topography of entire mountain ranges, deforesting massive areas, causing erosion, displacing plants and wildlife, altering hydrological regimes, and polluting waterways. After a mountaintop is removed, mining operations fill in nearby valleys and their network of streams with excess rock and sediment. These "valley fills" require both Section 402 and 404 permits as they leach heavy metals into waterways, raising levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), conductivity, phosphates and selenium. Pollution from valley fills also pose risks to human health when heavy metal pollution contaminates drinking water and recreational waterways.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the new policy is the establishment of numeric criteria for conductivity. Conductivity is a measure of the amount of electricity conducted by water, and is measured by determining levels of ionic salts. Low conductivity levels indicate a stream is more hospitable to the microorganisms and macro-invertebrates that form the basis of the stream food web; high levels of conductivity render waterways uninhabitable to all but the most pollution tolerant aquatic organisms. After review of internal agency studies and a growing body of scientific work, the EPA concluded that streams with conductivity levels exceeding 500 microsiemens per centimeter (μS/cm) are "impaired," and that streams with conductivity between 300-500 μS/cm experience negative ecological impacts. Under the new guidance the EPA will block new permits for mining operations projected to raise downstream conductivity above 500 μS/cm. In a statement to reporters on April 1st, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson highlighted the extent of conductivity pollution in Appalachian streams, saying, "Some existing mountaintop mining operations are generating pollution levels as much as ten times the new standard."

Aside from scientific consensus underscoring the causal relationship between pollutants originating in MTR valley fills and a loss in both benthic species richness and diversity downstream, the memorandum lists another motivating factor behind the EPA decision. A 2009 focused Permit Quality Review of state-issued NPDES permits revealed a series of pervasive problems with permits that "warrant immediate attention" including: "serious issues with underlying data quality, such as erroneous field meter readings, biological samples collected outside of state index periods or during extreme low flows, and inclusion of non-endemic taxa in taxonomic lists." To remedy this situation the EPA is encouraging its regional offices to more closely review state-issued NPDES permits, work with states to write CWA and Section 401 compliant permits, and to raise objections when states are unable to produce acceptable permits.

"We are thrilled that EPA has taken steps to protect our streams and our communities. In issuing this guidance, EPA is doing what they are legally required to do: propose specific limits on pollutants discharged from mining operations into our water that protect human and ecological health under the Clean Water Act," said Judy Petersen, Executive Director of Kentucky Waterways Alliance.

River Network applauds the efforts of many Central Appalachian environmental groups and environmental law firms that have been hard at work advocating for such a policy shift for years, including Alliance for Appalachia,Appalachian Center for the Economy and the EnvironmentAppalachian Citizen's Law Center,
Coal River Mountain WatchEarthjusticeKentuckians for the CommonwealthKentucky Resources Council,Kentucky Waterways AllianceOhio Valley Environmental CoalitionPublic JusticeSierra ClubWest Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and many others. These groups have spent years tirelessly pursuing legal action against MTR operations and permitting agencies, as well as promoting awareness of the devastating social and environmental impacts of Appalachian coal mining.

While it marks a definitive shift from the Bush administration's policies toward mining permits, this new policy does not ensure adequate protection for Appalachian communities and watersheds. The new conductivity criteria will apply only to the 79 new project permits currently up for EPA approval, future mining permits, and permit renewals. NPDES permits for MTR operations last for 5 years, after which time they must be renewed. While the guidance is immediately effective, the EPA will solicit public comments throughout 2010 and then reexamine the new guidance with public comments and additional scientific and technical reviews taken into account.

To learn more and read the EPA memorandum visit:


The tragic and devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a stark reminder that offshore oil drilling is not the answer.

The Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sank has spilled millions of gallons of oil into the ecologically rich waters in the Gulf of Mexico and continues to gush 210,000 gallons of oil into the sea every day. The spill remains unabated and now has the potential to become one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The unfolding catastrophe clearly illustrates that offshore drilling is not safe and new technology is not fool proof.

Tell the Obama Administration new drilling is NOT THE ANSWER. Our coasts and the economy they support cannot withstand anymore

We are reminded why the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill led to state and federal moratoriums on offshore oil drilling. The tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico makes it clear that it is time once again time to restore those moratoriums.

Take Action!

Click here to take action on this issue: 

Take Action

To join Surfrider click here or to unsubscribe click here.

NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE (the most complete resource for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in GOM)

Deepwater Horizon Incident, Gulf of Mexico

Deepwater Horizon Trajectory Map Icon April 30
Jump down to our Oil Spill Downloads section for a full-sized trajectory map.

Updated each evening
Situation: Thursday 29 April

Today the Deepwater Horizon incident declared a Spill of National Significance (SONS).  A SONS is defined as, "a spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of federal, state, local, and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge" and allows greater federal involvement.   Estimates of the release rate increased to 5000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day based on surface observations and reports of a newly discovered leak in the damaged piping on the sea floor.

NOAA is assisting the Unified Command in evaluating a new technique to apply dispersants to oil at the source - 5000' below the surface, if successful this would keep plumes and sheens from forming.  Work continues on a piping system designed to take oil from a collection dome at the sea floor to tankers on the surface; this technique has never been tried at 5000'.  Drilling of a relief or cut-off well is still planned, but will not be complete for several months.

Dispersants are still being aggressively applied.  Over 100,000 gallons have been applied.  The test burn late yesterday was successful and approximately 100 barrels of oil were burned in about 45 minutes.  Additional efforts are planned contingent on good weather.

With shore impacts looming, sensitive shorelines are being pre-boomed.  Over 180,000 feet of boom have been deployed, and another 300,000 feet are forward staged.  NOAA efforts have included: getting pre-impact samples surveys and baseline measurements, planning for open water and shoreline remediation, modeling the trajectory and extent of the oil, supporting the Unified Command as it analyzes new techniques for handling the spill. Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) activities are also underway.

  • Forecasts indicate persistent winds from the southeast through the weekend which will push surface oil towards shore
  • The State of Louisiana allowed shrimpers to start an early season today to get ahead of oil impacts
  • NOAA's Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD) is evaluating concerns about potential injuries of oil and dispersants to fishes, human use of fisheries, marine mammals, turtles, and sensitive resources
  • ARD is coordinating with Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to evaluate plankton and trawl sampling efforts.
  • Baseline aerial surveys to assess marine life were conducted today with personnel from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), these will continue as needed.

Media Inquiries

For NOAA media inquiries, please contact: Keeley Belva at keeley.belva@noaa.govor 301.713.3066.

For response inquiries, please contact: Joint Information Center (JIC) at 985.902.5231 or 985.902.5240.

Deepwater Horizon Incident Volunteer Hotline: 866.448.5816.


The incident involves a deepwater drilling platform approximately 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. An explosion and subsequent fire damaged the rig, which capsized and sank on April 22, after burning for hours. It is unclear how much of the estimated 700,000 gallons (approximately 16,700 barrels) of #2 fuel onboard burned before it sank.  The rig is owned by Transocean and under contract to BP.

More Information about this Incident 
  • The Louisiana Regional Restoration Planning Program Federal and Louisiana natural resource trustees have developed a statewide Louisiana Regional Restoration Planning Program to assist the natural resource trustees in carrying out their Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) responsibilities. [leaves OR&R site]
Visual Resources 
Links to photo and video galleries related to this incident on other Web sites.
  • NOAA Deepwater Horizon Footage A direct link to a large Quicktime format video file hosted on the National Ocean Service website. [leaves OR&R site]
  • Imagery from NASA Earth Observatory Images of the affected area, captured on April 25, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite, and the Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. [leaves OR&R site]

Oil Spill Downloads 
  • Deepwater Horizon Trajectory Map April 30 Approximate oil locations from April 25, 2010 to April 30, 2010 including forecast for April 30, based on trajectories and overflight information. 
    (Document format: PDF, size: 216.7 K)
  • Dispersant Application Observer Job Aid A field guide for spill responders who have completed training in dispersant application observation. Updated in August 2007 with new photos and labels to show critical elements more effectively. 
    (Document format: PDF, size: 2.1 M)
  • Oil Spill Dispersant Application and Monitoring Once oil has spilled, responders use a variety oil spill countermeasures to reduce the adverse effects of spilled oil on the environment. Dispersants are one kind of countermeasure. 
    (Document format: PDF, size: 407.5 K)
  • Open Water Oil Identification Job Aid An aid created to help spill responders perform efficient assessments and communicate their findings effectively. As of November 2007, includes new standardized oil slick appearance and structure nomenclature and code. 
    (Document format: PDF, size: 4.6 M)
  • SMART Fact Sheet Special Monitoring of Applied Response Technologies (SMART) is a cooperatively designed monitoring program for in situ burning and dispersants. 
    (Document format: PDF, size: 365.0 K)
Fisheries Downloads 
  • Fish Stocks in the Gulf of Mexico Information about the economics of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico including shrimp species, crabs, oysters, fin fish and sharks. 
    (Document format: PDF, size: 85.9 K)
  • Impact of Crude Oil on Seafood Information on the potential impacts of crude oil on seafood and safeguards against them. 
    (Document format: PDF, size: 123.7 K)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Louisiana Oil Rig Explosion vs. Ixtoc I Oil Well in 1979-1980

Exxon's got nothing on this one… Ixtoc I oil well spilled 139,832,000 – 147,840,000 gallons between 6/3/1979 and 3/23/1980… it took them almost 10 months to cap it. 


The Ixtoc I oil well was a 2 mile deep exploratory drilling site. A blowout of oil and gas out of the well ignited on June 3rd, 1979 causing the platform to catch fire. After the burning platform collapsed there were great difficulties controlling the well, which continued to leak 10,000 - 30,000 barrels per day into the Gulf of Mexico until it was finally capped almost 10 months later.
The ocean currents carried much of the spill towards Texas and in total 260 kilometers (162 miles) of U.S. beaches were oiled. Marshes, mangroves and sand beaches - including some of the few remaining nesting sites for the critically endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle - were affected.




From: Kristian Gustavson []
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:31 AM
Subject: [Water News Network] New comment on 5x times the original spill estimate per day.


Kristian Gustavson has left a new comment on your post "5x times the original spill estimate per day":

So @ 210,000 G/D, this has about 50 days before it is worse than the 11,000,000 G Exxon-Valdez spill, right?

The only problem is, the flow is increasing and estimates are up to 90 days before they can put a lid on this thing.

Unless the well stops flowing on its own, I'm willing to bet that this will be at least twice as bad as the Exxon-Valdez spill and either way will be catastrophic to the Gulf of Mexico! Any takers?

Posted by Kristian Gustavson to Water News Network at April 29, 2010 8:31 AM

If You Live in the Great Lakes Basin, Take Action Against ALGAE!

Bothered by Algae? Let Your State Know

It's hard on the eyes, offensive to the nose, squishy underfoot – and potentially dangerous to your health.

Nutrient pollution may sound obscure, but its results are there any time you see algae piled along the beach, or roll up the car windows during a shoreline drive on a warm summer day.

If you've ever wanted to do something about it but didn't know how, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania residents have two upcoming opportunities to tell officials to hold the line on algae-causing pollution.

• Wisconsin residents have until April 30 to tell regulators they support strong state phosphorus regulations to help protect Great Lakes beaches and the state's rivers and lakes from phosphorus runoff that feeds nuisance algae.

• Pennsylvania residents have until May 3 to ask state regulators to list Lake Erie as impaired by phosphorus, nitrogen and mercury pollution on the state's 2010 federal Impaired Waters List.

"Nutrient overload is turning sandy beaches into lab experiments gone bad when layers of green muck wash up from Erie to Michigan," said Lyman Welch, Water Quality Program manager for the Alliance. "The Great Lakes nutrition pyramid has been turned on its head."

Though phosphorus occurs naturally in low concentrations, excess phosphorus and nitrogen enter waterways from agricultural runoff, untreated sewage discharges and phosphorus-based fertilizers and detergents.

Too much of it  in the water promotes the growth of nuisance algae – transforming the water into a green soup of algae and bacteria that can cause foul-smelling water, algae blooms, fish kills, and health threats such as toxic algae and contaminated drinking water.

In Wisconsin, phosphorus pollution was said to cause more than 30 percent of the impairments on Wisconsin's 2008 Impaired Waters List and to contribute to downstream water quality problems -- such as the massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico now jeopardizing the health of many human and ecological communities.

"It's time to stop overloading our waters with nutrients," said Eric Uram, chairman of the Wisconsin Sierra Club's statewide John Muir Chapter. "It seems everywhere you go in Wisconsin, at sometime during the summer, the lakes and streams are algae-filled and weed-choked."

"Careful monitoring of nutrient pollution to allow faster cleanup plan development, more effective stormwater management to prevent excessive runoff, and creating a numeric baseline for measuring progress all need to happen here and now," Uram said. "We should be able to solve this messy problem, while creating jobs to improve the economy and Wisconsin's natural resources."

As a Great Lakes state with 63 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, Welch said Pennsylvania plays an important role in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Discharges of excess phosphorus and nutrients may be connected to a dead zone in Lake Erie, and the lake is also harmed by mercury contamination -- with mercury cited as one of the most common chemical causes of sport fish consumption advisories.

Weighing in on states' Impaired Waters Lists – which states are required to update and submit to the U.S. EPA every two years -- has yielded results. In response to the Alliance's Michigan efforts in 2008, that state's final report  includes a new section about its algae problems, and  designates 142 miles of Saginaw Bay and 37.5 miles of western Lake Erie as needing more information about potential algae impairment.

The Alliance has also urged Michigan and Ohio to address algae in their lists and to identify all affected public beaches.

Wisconsin phosphorus public comment info >>

Wisconsin fact sheet >>

PA 2010 proposed impaired waters list and report >>

PA public notice of 2010 impaired waters list and public comment info >>

Alliance comments on Pennsylvania's proposed 2010 impaired waters list >>

Posted 4-27-10

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

5x times the original spill estimate per day

1 if by Land, 2 if by Sea!

But how did colonial Americans create the lights in the first place? At that time, most likely whale blubber or paraffin wax.

Opportunities abound to reuse rather than quickly dispose and make room for more things to be consumed.

My girlfriend is in Haiti right now doing relief work and she sends me regular emails about the want of the most basic needs for survival. While she experiences resilience in the face of this, I sit comfortably in a country of apparent abundance yet we are still learning how to more fairly use our share.

Here is a great example of how our wastewater agencies can help Be The Solution, by making better use of the things they are charged with disposing of. It takes creativity, a little curiosity, but perhaps a well penned editorial to get the ball rolling.

Check out NY Times Editorialist Rose George's recent editorial Power From Sewage

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

90-Day Plan - 90 Ways to Save Water

Below the Surface - Atchafalaya River Expedition featured in Reader's Digest

Kristian Gustavson receives the American Red Cross "Hero of the Heartland" Award

David Gallo Shows Underwater Astonishments

Below The Surface Podcast

Robert Ballard's TED talk is an inspiring, optimistic look at the future hope of ocean exploration

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US EPA Water Science News

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