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The 90 Day Plan

Friday, May 21, 2010

U.S. Needs to Cap the Well

BP needs to stop trying to salvage this well and just cap it.  Or the U.S. Government needs to do it for them if BP is too incompetent to take care of business.  While BP has an incentive to try to recoup their losses and have tried to dome it and suck it up through a straw of a pipe... ask yourself, "What have they done to cap the well and stop it from spewing more into the ocean?"

Nothing.  Haven't heard it mentioned yet.  Maybe they can't do it until they build their second relief well or maybe their shareholders demand that they salvage as much as they can to offset the losses from this disaster.  Maybe their fiduciary responsibility to their stakeholders provides a conflict of interest with all the citizens of the Gulf Region of the United States and other countries around the Gulf.

What would it take for the U.S. Government to say, "Enough is enough.  We are sending in the best and the brightest to stop this problem today." 

Let's demand action from Homeland Security to step in and protect the Homeland.  Not just with booms and dispersants, but submersibles with the capacity to stop the flow.

This is a public health and safety issue that is essential to protecting the prosperity of citizens of the United States of America.  If ever there was a time for the Department of Homeland Security to step up to the plate and demand action, it is now.

Kick BP out of there and fine them substantially for their failure to drill in a safe manner.  Raise the fine limit to something proportional to the damage caused.  $75 million is seriously inadequate to incentivize a company that nearly profits to the tune of $70 million per day.

The U.S. Government needs to step in now and kick BP out.  It is a matter of National Security.  It is a matter of protecting the Homeland.  This is more important then border patrol.  This is more important than bailouts for Greece.  This is more important than volcanoes in Iceland.  This is more important than primary elections between party-changers and teabaggers. 

This is not Obama's Katrina.  This is BP's disaster.  They need to pay for it, but can they fix it?  After the failed attempts so far and the solutions that allow them to continue to gather their precious crude are we really going to wait around for the, 'junk shot'?  Now that's just a kick in the pants.

EPA Posts Underwater Dispersant Monitoring Data

Under stringent plan, BP must conduct constant monitoring of dispersant use at leak source and provide data to the government


May 20, 2010

EPA Posts Underwater Dispersant Monitoring Data
Under stringent plan, BP must conduct constant monitoring of dispersant use at leak source and provide data to the government

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last night began posting results from the ongoing monitoring of BP’s use of underwater dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico at EPA received this data from BP last night and posted it within hours. Dispersants are a chemical used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded. Dispersants are generally less toxic than the oils they break down.

This is part of EPA’s continued commitment to make air, water, sediment and dispersant monitoring data available to the public as quickly as possible and to ensure the citizens of the gulf region have access to all relevant public and environmental health information relating to the BP spill.

On May 15, EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard authorized BP to use dispersants underwater at the source of the Deepwater Horizon leak. As the dispersant is used underwater, BP is required to do constant, scientifically rigorous monitoring so EPA scientists may determine the dispersant’s effectiveness and impact on the environment, water and air quality, and human health. EPA is posting the information BP collects during the monitoring to ensure the public has access to this data.

While EPA has not yet identified any significant effects on aquatic life, EPA today also directed BP to begin using, within 72 hours, a less toxic and more effective dispersant. EPA took this step because BP is using this dispersant in unprecedented volumes and, last week, began using it underwater at the source of the leak – a procedure that has never been tried before. Given the unprecedented use, EPA wants to ensure BP is using the least toxic approved product.
Regardless of which dispersant BP uses, EPA has been and will continue to closely scrutinize the monitoring results. EPA still reserves the right to stop BP’s use of dispersants underwater entirely if the science indicates that this dispersant method has negative impacts on the environment that outweighs its benefits.

EPA continues to add information to its BP oil spill response Web site to keep the public informed about the impact of the spill and the EPA’s response. The public can also see results of EPA’s ongoing air, water and soil quality monitoring on the Web site.

The dispersant page:
Continue to track EPA’s response to the spill:

Additional information on the broader response from the U.S. Coast Guard and other responding agencies:





May 20, 2010

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a directive requiring BP to identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants. Dispersants are a chemical used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded.

The directive requires BP to identify a less toxic alternative – to be used both on the surface and under the water at the source of the oil leak – within 24 hours and to begin using the less toxic dispersant within 72 hours of submitting the alternative.

If BP is unable to identify available alternative dispersant products, BP must provide the Coast Guard and EPA with a detailed description of the alternative dispersants investigated, and the reason they believe those products did not meet the required standards.

EPA’s directive to BP can be found here:

While the dispersant BP has been using is on the agency’s approved list, BP is using this dispersant in unprecedented volumes and, last week, began using it underwater at the source of the leak – a procedure that has never been tried before. Because of its use in unprecedented volumes and because much is unknown about the underwater use of dispersants, EPA wants to ensure BP is using the least toxic product authorized for use. We reserve the right to discontinue the use of this dispersant method if any negative impacts on the environment outweigh the benefits.

On May 15, EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard authorized BP to use dispersants underwater at the source of the Deepwater Horizon leak. As the dispersant is used underwater, BP is required to do constant, scientifically rigorous monitoring so EPA scientists may determine the dispersant’s effectiveness and impact on the environment, water and air quality, and human health. EPA is posting the information BP collects during the monitoring to ensure the public has access to this data.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

BP Setting the Rules

This news report shows oil making landfall in Louisiana, and more unnerving, a boat of BP contractors and Coast Guard officials threatening to arrest the reporters.

Click Here to see the report!

Oil spill update from the field: Deepwater could spell extinction for a tribe of Louisiana Indians

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dissolved Oxygen and Dispersants in the Gulf

At 20 C (room temperature) and standard atmospheric pressure (sea level), the maximum amount of oxygen that can dissolve in fresh water is 9 parts per million (ppm or mg/L). If the water temperature is below 20 C, there may be more oxygen dissolved in the sample. Generally a dissolved oxygen level of 9-10 ppm is considered very good. At levels of 4 ppm or less, some fish and macroinvertebrate populations (e.g. bass, trout, salmon, mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs, caddisfly larvae) will begin to decline. Other organisms are more capable of surviving in water with low dissolved oxygen levels (i.e sludge worms, leeches).

DO Percent Saturation values of 80-120 % are considered to be excellent and values less than 60% or over 125% are considered to be poor.

Low DO levels may be found in areas where organic material (dead plant and animal matter or oil) is decaying. Bacteria require oxygen to decompose organic waste, thus, deplete the water of oxygen. Areas near sewage discharges sometimes have low DO levels due to this effect. DO levels will also be low in warm, slow moving waters.

Question 1: Read the following statement and assess the normal range of DO for the Gulf of Mexico? Very Good, Good, or Bad

What is dissolved oxygen (DO) and why would dispersant application monitoring be stopped if DO levels dropped?

Dissolved oxygen (DO) analysis measures the amount of gaseous oxygen (O2) dissolved in the water. Adequate dissolved oxygen is necessary for good water quality. Normal ranges for DO in the Gulf area are 4 mg/l. The lower the concentration of dissolved oxygen, the greater the stress is on aquatic life. The evaluation criteria to determine further use of subsea dispersant include DO levels that are < 2mg/l and the results of toxicity tests.

Question 2: Which organisms would you most expect to see while snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico at 2 ppm DO? 4 ppm DO?

Study Finds Low Levels of Unregulated Chemicals in Drinking Water

The report, released today, includes recommendations for further study and developing standardized analytical methods to better evaluate water quality data.

Read NWRI’s press release and download the 160-page report or four-page research profile on the study.



Look Below the Surface PSA

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Statement of Lisa P. Jackson Administrator

EPA Press Office

May 18, 2010


Statement of Lisa P. Jackson Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Testimony on Federal Response to the Recent Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico


Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works


WASHINGTON - Chairman Boxer, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify about EPA’s role in responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.  As we all know, efforts by BP to stop the oil release continue.  While there is no perfect solution to the environmental disaster that the Gulf of Mexico is facing right now, EPA is committed to protecting our communities, the natural environment and human health.   That commitment covers both the risks from the spill itself, as well as any concerns resulting from the response to the spill. 


Let me begin by recognizing the extraordinary effort put in by our responders.  These are people that have maintained their resolve in the face of often overwhelming challenges.  They have gone above and beyond and we certainly owe them a debt of gratitude.  In the last three weeks, EPA has dispatched more than 120 staff scientists, engineers, and contractors to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to perform rigorous testing and monitoring of air and water quality.  We are tracking any possible adverse impacts stemming from controlled burning of surface oil, possible chemicals rising from the oil itself, and any issues caused by the use of dispersants.  We are working with State officials, with local University scientists, and other Federal agencies to get the best available data, share that data in a timely fashion, and to ensure proper response for the Gulf Coast people and their environment.


At the president's direction I have personally traveled to the region – the region I grew up in and still consider home – twice over the past weeks, to personally oversee EPA's efforts and to meet with the local community to ensure their questions and concerns are addressed.


For weeks, EPA responders have been monitoring air pollutants including, particulate matter, hydrogen sulfide, and total volatile organic compounds – or VOCs – from the oil in the Gulf, as well as the controlled burning of oil.  These pollutants could pose a health risk to local communities and this monitoring is essential to ensure that communities are protected as BP takes direct response actions.  EPA is also monitoring water quality by conducting surface water testing along the Gulf Coast, both in areas that have been impacted and those not yet affected.  All of this information is being made public as quickly as we can compile it. We have been posting regular updates to our webpage, which has been a critical resource since the beginning of this event. 


A primary concern is to ensure the safe application of chemical dispersants.  Oil spill dispersants are chemicals applied to the spilled oil to break down the oil into small drops below on the surface. The dispersed oil mixes into the water column and is rapidly diluted.  Bacteria and other microscopic organisms then act to degrade the oil within the droplets.  However, in the use of dispersants we are faced with environmental trade-offs.  We know that surface use of dispersants decreases the environmental risks to shorelines and organisms at the surface.  And we know that dispersants breakdown over weeks rather than remaining for several years as untreated oil might.  But, we are also deeply concerned about the things we don’t know.  The long term effects on aquatic life are still unknown and we must make sure that the dispersants that are used are as non-toxic as possible.  We are working with manufacturers, with BP and with others, to get less toxic dispersants to the response site as quickly as possible. 


EPA has previously authorized use of several dispersing chemicals under the National Contingency Plan.  In order to be placed on this list, each dispersing chemical must undergo a toxicity and effectiveness test.  On Friday, EPA and the On Scene Coordinator authorized the application of dispersant underwater, at the source of the leak.  The goal of this novel approach is to break up and degrade the oil before it reaches the water’s surface, and comes closer to our shorelines, our estuaries and our nurseries.  Based on our testing, this can be done by using less dispersant than is necessary on the surface.  But let me be clear that EPA reserves the right to halt the usage of sub-surface dispersant if we conclude that at any time; the impact to the environment outweighs the benefit of dispersing oil.  As with our other monitoring initiatives, EPA and the Coast Guard have instituted a publicly available monitoring plan for sub-surface dispersant application to understand the impacts to the environment. This data will come to EPA once a day and if the levels in the samples are elevated, EPA will re-consider the authorization of use of dispersants.


EPA is also preparing to support any necessary shoreline assessment and cleanup.  This could include identifying and prioritizing sensitive resources and recommending cleanup methods.  EPA, in coordination with the States, will continue to provide information to both workers and the public about test results, as well as assisting communities with potential debris disposal and hazardous waste issues. 


Madam Chairman, as a New Orleans native, I know first hand the importance of the natural environment to the economy, to the health and to the culture of the Gulf Coast.  As I mentioned, since the accident, I have been to the region twice. I have listened to people in numerous town halls from Venice, LA, to Waveland, MS and other communities in between.  I’ve learned in those meetings that the people of the Gulf Coast are eager to be part of this response.  They want to be informed and – where possible – empowered to improve their situation on their own.  We have a great deal of rebuilding to do, both in material terms and in terms of restoring this community’s trust that government can and will protect them in a time of need.  This is one of those times.  I urge that we do everything within our power to ensure a strong recovery and future for the Gulf Coast.


EPA will continue to fully support to the U.S. Coast Guard and play a robust role in monitoring and responding to potential public health and environmental concerns.  As local communities assess the impact on their economies, EPA, in partnership with other federal, state, and local agencies, will provide all assets to assist in the recovery.  At this time I welcome any questions you may have.



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Monday, May 17, 2010

Satellite Image of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

MODIS Image from May 17, 2010, confirms reports that the oil has hit the gulf stream.
Go to MODIS for most current photo

Calif. Non-Profit Documenting Oil Spill   

Kristian Gustavson from Below the Surface is interviewed on CBS13 via skype.

Below the Surface in Reader's Digest

Google Earth - Deepwater Horizon Crisis Response Page

Huge Oil Plumes Found Under Gulf

Nitrate water pollution spreading

How to Clean an Oil Covered Bird

Dead Sea Turtle and Dolphin on Ship Island

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fuel/Dispersant mixture is more toxic

This table unequivocally shows that a fuel/dispersant mixture is more toxic than either fuel or dispersant by itself. This is from the EPA website. LC50 is the Lethal Concentration that kills 50 percent of indicator species, in this case Menidia beryllina (the current EPA-approved marine vertebrate used in both acute and chronic toxicity testing.) and Mysidopsis bahia (opossum shrimp, an estuarine species suitable for life-cycle toxicity tests to determine the effect of a pollutant).

Corexit EC9500A has an LC50 of 25.20 ppm (96-hr) for Menidia beryllina and 32.23 ppm (48-hr) for Mysidopsis bahia.

No. 2 Fuel Oil has an LC50 of 10.72 ppm (96-hr) for Menidia beryllina and 16.12 ppm (48-hr) for Mysidopsis bahia.

Corexit EC9500A & No. 2 Fuel Oil (1:10) has an LC50 of 2.61 ppm (96-hr) for Menidia beryllina and 3.40 ppm (48-hr) for Mysidopsis bahia.

These results indicate that combining the dispersant with the fuel oil increases toxicity 4-10 times.

90-Day Plan - 90 Ways to Save Water

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David Gallo Shows Underwater Astonishments

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

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