Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html en-gb 30 Fri 28 Nov 2014 15:06:09 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=97#comment44 bandythebane wrote @ 36:"Can anyone on this thread advise exactly how the Clean Water Act should apply in the case of the Macondo oil spill. My understanding is that the Act was designed to punish those who wilfully polluted waters and to licence those who had justifiable reason to do so.Surely BP can claim that the Macondo spill was a "Force Majeure". No one wanted the spill to happen and everyone concerned from the outset used their best endeavours to stop it. Unless someone can be shown to have wilfully acted criminally or negligently, then I don't see how fines under the Act would be applicable." ...........................................Hi, bandytb,I have had a look around, and I think that the CWA mandates the EPA to protect against the adverse effects of Point Source Discharge within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).Force Majeure would excuse BP from liability if some unforseen event beyond its control prevents it from performing its obligations under the contract. Typically, force majeure clauses cover natural disasters or other "Acts of God". The clauses are intended to excuse a party only if the failure to perform could not be avoided by the exercise of due care by that party. This is a key point of contention in this disaster - remember the very-early-on interview with an employee who said that BP had been warned about the weakness of a component in the well-head; this media release was explicitly preparing the litigation position..I have extracted from the Legal Argument (below) the EPA's duty of care:OCEAN DISCHARGE CRITERIA AND MARINE PROTECTED AREAS: OCEAN WATER QUALITY PROTECTION UNDER THE CLEAN WATER ACT by Robin Kundis Craig & Sarah Millerhttp://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/lwsch/journals/bcealr/29_1/01_TXT.htm.As a class, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for discharges into the ocean waters are rather limited. According to EPA, across the USA “there are 265 NPDES ocean discharge permits subject to section 403 compliance requirements.” Eleven of those 265 permits, however, are general permits, “and over 9,900 individual facilities have filed Notices of Intent to obtain coverage under these general permits,” mainly composed of “***offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities***, seafood processors, and storm water discharges,” Because EPA’s proposed new regulations operate only as ocean discharge criteria, these are the only entities affecting ocean water quality that the new requirements could affect..What EPA’s ocean discharge criteria regulations demonstrate, therefore, ***is the current CWA’s gaping holes with respect to compelled ocean water quality protection***. These holes are particularly cavernous regarding the relationship between pollution in the state-controlled navigable waters and the quality of ocean waters farther out to sea. Without these links, comprehensive water quality control is beyond EPA’s regulatory command. The state-based focus of much of the CWA (within the 3 mile limit) fails to acknowledge or address the expanding federal control over the seas (between 3 miles and 200 miles, and the high seas beyond U.S. jurisdiction), leaving ocean water quality largely a matter of EPA discretion and state cooperation rather than a mandated requirement to protect our nation’s ocean resources. The lawyers will have a field day with this!.State water quality standards are not generally applicable “beyond the limits of the territorial seas,” (3 miles); that is because state jurisdiction extends no further than that, not because water quality standards are irrelevant to protecting ocean water quality. State responsibilities and protection comes into play when offshore point source pollution extends into the territorial seas and further inland. EPA control can take over State responsibilities if it is poorly exercised; and the EPA is responsible for co-ordinated action, where appropriate..EPA control is (inter alia) over Point Source Pollutant Discharge To the Ocean, and the EPA issues Discharge Permits controlling releases that take account of:(A) the effect of disposal of pollutants on human health or welfare, including but not limited to plankton, fish, shellfish, wildlife, shorelines, and beaches;(B) the effect of disposal of pollutants on marine life including the transfer, concentration, and dispersal of pollutants or their byproducts through biological, physical, and chemical processes; changes in marine ecosystem diversity, productivity, and stability; and species and community population changes;(C) the effect of disposal of pollutants on esthetic, recreation, and economic values;(D) the persistence and permanence of the effects of disposal of pollutants;(E) the effect of the disposal at varying rates, of particular volumes and concentrations of pollutants;(F) other possible locations and methods of disposal or recycling of pollutants including land-based alternatives; and(G) the effect on alternate uses of the oceans, such as mineral exploitation and scientific study..........Hopefully there are not too many new bits of legislation that post-date the above!Hope this helps, Geoff. Sat 07 Aug 2010 23:07:04 GMT+1 blunderbunny http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=95#comment43 Anyone been reading RealClimate recentl? It seems to me that the good old RC Boys and Girls are suffering a little bit of (here's one for bowman) existential angst:http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/08/expert-credibility-in-climate-change-responses-to-comments/Could just be the way I'm reading all of the responses, but they seem in need of a bit of self-afirmation. I'm guessing it might be some sort of guilty hangover from their general treatment of Dr. Judith Curry and I just wondered if anyone else had noticed? Sat 07 Aug 2010 19:08:36 GMT+1 rossglory http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=93#comment42 #42 GeoffWardyou are right. china has run a huge current account surplus for years much of which went to dollar investments. holding so many dollar assets got it burnt in the recent financial crash, so an interest in diversifying and the requirement to provide for its domestic growth has inevitably led it to relationships all round the world. there's is a different approach to the aggresive, militaristic interventions of the usa that has led to a huge level of mistrust especially in latin america and china has been very successful.imho, if the usa does not learn to engage more constructively with the world the field will be left open for china's, not necessarily benign, influence. Sat 07 Aug 2010 15:40:44 GMT+1 GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=91#comment41 I have been considered by some on this blog-site to be too China-phobic about the designs that China has on this erstwhile USA sphere-of-Influence called Latin America. The link (below) backs-up my long-standing belief with a variety of facts and observations:.http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/6214/chinas-thirst-for-oil-and-its-impact-on-latin-america.Whilst this article only relates to oil, most other raw material deposits are being similarly sequestered by the Chinese.This is being made easy by the unwillingness of the USA to engage in meaningful debate and trade agreements with Latin American countries, allowing its tail to be twisted by the likes of Lula, Chaves and Moreales; thereby giving China an open market. China has many billions of dollars worth of credit lines available in exchange for oil and other raw materials, and an undeniable reason for doing it.It is made doubly easy for China because a string of South American countries are defaulting/have defaulted on international debt repayment; China's smiling tiger simply 'shows them the money'. Sat 07 Aug 2010 14:20:10 GMT+1 GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=88#comment40 Re # 5: Further news on the oil exploitation, oil pollution and land appropriation that are taking place in the upper Amazon Basin:.http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/6205/south-american-indigenous-protests-highlight-development-tensions. The article is written by a permanent South American correspondent based in Peru; the journal is World Politics Review (frequently a distinctly American viewpoint; the journal is primarily designed to give American policymakers, politicians & businessmen a more balanced view of the world)..There is significant indigenous unrest in upper Amazonia, deaths and prohibition of NGOs (including environmental NGOs) - even in countries where the President is himself indigenous! As yet there is no mention of Brazilian exploitation of oil reserves in these upper, incredibly ecologically valuable, regions. But any Government in the world is capable of riding rough-shod over environmentally sensitive areas in the greater interests of profit. If it can happen in World Biosphere reserves it can happen even more easily in your back garden and, as usual, the profits from the enterprise do not go into the pockets of the land 'owners' and indigenous peoples. Sat 07 Aug 2010 13:50:36 GMT+1 quake http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=86#comment39 Re #6:"No kidding. The climate claims - like the one about this being the hottest year ever - are so spun that it is laughable. They seem to be unaware of their own 'inconvenient' data.http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/02/noaa-graphs-62-of-continental-us-below-normal-in-2010/"So far 2010 is the warmest on record according to NOAA datahttp://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=global&year=2010&month=6&submitted=Get+Report#year-to-dateI think it's your link doing the spinning. Otherwise can you explain why it didn't show the NOAA year to date anomaly map for the globe but chose to show a US anomaly map instead? Sat 07 Aug 2010 10:32:31 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=84#comment38 CanadianRockies #37."..hysterically overhyped ... something 'fishy' going on.."sure, safe to assume that there's profit to be made on all sorts of levels, and I'd be inclined to go with sanity4all's argument (#23) if it weren't for the addition of the dispersants and the way that changes the equation (do have a read of the sciencecorps page linked to by GeoffWard (#33), the sorcerer's apprentice comes to mind :-)). Fri 06 Aug 2010 22:51:04 GMT+1 bandythebane http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=82#comment37 I do not see how anyone can accurately measure what was emitted in the Macondo gas spill.Approximately half for a start was gas, some of which was inert and all of which was immediately dissipated. Much of the remainder was light oil which would also evaporate quickly. Much was skimmed, burned or otherwise removed. The microbes which feed on oil are widespread and evaporation even of the heavier oil continues rapidly.What remains after this is anyone's guess and depends on when the guess was made. Even if the NOAA's 25% guess was a good one it would be wrong by the following day.The key issue is how much oil will remain by say the end of this month or of this year and it appears that the answer to that will be "not much" and " far less than some have predicted". Fri 06 Aug 2010 22:25:03 GMT+1 CanadianRockies http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=80#comment36 35. jr4412 But you must admit that they hysterically overhyped this disaster. The usual suspects in the North American media were painting an apocalyptic vision of a dead Gulf was death rains killing everything along the coast, etc., etc., etc.I noticed there was something 'fishy' going on when they kept showing the SAME oiled pelican, again and again, and again. This constant pattern of screaming doomsday is counterproductive, to put it mildly.But I'm sure that the lawyer herd will attempt to sue BP for everything and anything that happens to anybody down there for years to come. Fri 06 Aug 2010 22:11:24 GMT+1 bandythebane http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=77#comment35 Can anyone on this thread advise exactly how the Clean Water Act should apply in the case of the Macondo oil spill.My understanding is that the Act was designed to punish those who wilfully polluted waters and to licence those who had justifiable reason to do so.Surely BP can claim that the Macondo spill was a "Force Majeure". No one wanted the spill to happen and everyone concerned from the outset used their best endeavours to stop it. Unless someone can be shown to have wilfully acted criminally or negligently, then I don't see how fines under the Act would be applicable. Fri 06 Aug 2010 22:04:32 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=75#comment34 minuend #28."Ah diddums! The looney environmentalists have been denied their disaster by a combination of human technology and mother nature."too early for triumphalist noises, time (which is running out ;)) will tell. Fri 06 Aug 2010 21:35:57 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=73#comment33 GeoffWard #33."(Broken link)"sorry about that, the article can be found by googling 'ny times toxic dispersant', it is dated 13.05.2010.looked at the sciencecorps site you recommended and found the following quoteworthy (and disturbing!):"The combination of a dispersants and crude oil can be more toxic than either alone, since they have many of the same toxic properties. In addition, based on the basic properties of dispersants, they may make it easier for crude oil to enter the body, enter cells, and cause damage, as noted for many dispersant ingredients above." (emphasis added)apparently, propylene glycol, a key ingredient, is implicated in "metabolic disruption"; the one 'good thing' which will come of this mess is that we'll have other (bigger?) problems to contend with by the time this particular fecal matter hits the fan. Fri 06 Aug 2010 20:51:01 GMT+1 GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=71#comment32 jr4412 wrote @ 31: “what is known about the long-term environmental impact of over 400,000 gallons of dispersants used to date?The New York Times says that BP continues to stockpile and deploy oil-dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company with which it shares close ties, even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and, in some cases, nearly twice as effective." (Broken link)”.Can I recommend the ‘official’ American article on the topic. Produced by Sciencecorps, the article on crude oil hazards includes the most definitive and up-to-date information on the full range of dispersants used, their EPA ratings, and also associated links to articles on environmental toxicology and human hazard. http://www.sciencecorps.org/crudeoilhazards.htm by Burns & Harbut is a fully authoritative synopsis of the science and risk characteristics of the dispersants used in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil release.An important and relevant section is: “What effects could the use of dispersants have on marine life?.It’s important to understand that the use of dispersants is an environmental trade-off. We know dispersants are generally less toxic than the oils they breakdown. We know that surface use of dispersants decreases the environmental risks to shorelines and organisms at the surface and when used this way, dispersants breakdown over several days. However the long term effects on aquatic life are unknown, which is why EPA and the Coast Guard are requiring BP to implement a robust sampling and monitoring plan. The federal (position) is intended to ensure that these (dispersant) operations are constantly monitored for any short or long term adverse effects that may outweigh the benefit of using dispersants.”. I quote: “….. long term effects on aquatic life are unknown” This statement is a bit disingenuous, as the Exxon, the Ixtoc and most other marine oil disasters spun-off a large number of research programmes on just this aspect of oil pollution treatment. Statements like this are designed to ensure that this disaster is no different.. Fri 06 Aug 2010 20:13:47 GMT+1 GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=68#comment31 I have just done some sums to identify (i) the number of Borehole Blow-outs at sea and (ii) the number of oil-bearing vessels foundering in transit.It is abundantly clear from the plots that blow-outs were a phenomenon of the 20 year period 1965-1984, when there were 34 disasters worldwide. In the last 20 years there have been just 4.In the same 20 year periods of comparison, in 1965-1984 there were 5 tanker disasters, whilst in the last 20 years there were 17 founderings.Whilst blow-outs should not intrinsically increase in volumes over time, the size of supertankers has increased massively - with great capacity to contaminate coastlines locally (most founderings being inshore)..I would argue that a tanker contracted to carry oil (normally plying under a flag of convenience) should be subjected to the same base levels of litigative punishment irrespective of the level of development of the nation whose is coastline contaminated; ie. the owner of the oil should bear the cost (not the shipper) and nation(s) polluted should win compensation on an absolute scale rather than one relative to their 'level of development'. [This latter constraint would also stop tankers etc washing out their bilge-oils and tank-residues along the West African coastline.]This would push up insurance premiums for oil transportation, but my basic argument is within this question - "Are the American (and European) seaboards intrinsically worth more compensation than those of (eg) southern Africa or South & Central America?" Fri 06 Aug 2010 18:50:26 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=66#comment30 Richard Black.another question is:what is known about the long-term environmental impact of over 400,000 gallons of dispersants used to date?"BP PLC continues to stockpile and deploy oil-dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company with which it shares close ties, even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and, in some cases, nearly twice as effective."http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/business/energy-environment/13greenwire-less-toxic-dispersants-lose-out-in-bp-oil-spil-81183.html Fri 06 Aug 2010 15:52:19 GMT+1 minuend http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=64#comment29 You would have to dump 2 litres of oil into the Thames to simulate the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.Yes, just two litres.When you put the oil spill into that perspective you realise how fake this so called 'environmental disaster' was. Fri 06 Aug 2010 15:20:48 GMT+1 GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=62#comment28 minuend @ 28: the problem is locallized concentrations in sensitive ecological localities and in areas of concentrated (?)human activity.And so it follows:.Darrell1 @ 27: much with which I agree. Question: Although the total volume released into the Gulf is more than the Exxon Valdez deposited on the more northern coastline, is the northern sub-arctic location allowing much, much longer residence time? So, should compensation be related to the length of time the pollution remains as surface and sub-surface contamination - because, if so, the north Canadian & Siberian contaminations must be, along with the Exxon Valdez coastlines, subject to much higher compensation payments c.f. the Gulf release..My guess is that 'damage to the environment' rates a million miles behind 'interference with human activity'. Let's look at the package that the Americans request for compensation and see how it is apportioned:We may well find that bathing beaches for human recreation rate more highly than marshes for bird breeding/overwintering; oyster farms rate much more highly than wild oyster populations; trawled shrimps more highly than wild shrimp populations, damage to hotel bookings more than damage to the water-column, etc, etc. And over what period of time will 'damage to the environment' be discounted? - will this be ambient-temperature-related (see above)?.BluesBerry @ 20: My guess is that Gross Negligence will not be applied. The risk of accidental release in the oil extraction process is so high - and most of the world's great extracting companies are American - that having Gross Negligence fixed in American case law will be a disproportionate threat to the American Way Of Life. Imagine if Ecuador used Gross Negligence to prosecute American oil companies in their lands polluted by American oil extraction. Foreign nations will have a field-day destroying the viability of this core of the American economy.. Fri 06 Aug 2010 14:48:53 GMT+1 minuend http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=60#comment27 Ah diddums! The looney environmentalists have been denied their disaster by a combination of human technology and mother nature.If you do your sums you will realise that people put more oil ppm into their bathwater than the Deepwater Horizon oil-well ever leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.What people have realised is that this event was never a disaster, it was all hype and lies. Fri 06 Aug 2010 09:45:41 GMT+1 Nuttymut http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=57#comment26 There's some math[s] that we could all be over-looking?Just my thoughts of courseIt's clear that there is a huge amount of oil that has been spilledBut, and I say this as "devils advocate" if it's flooded into an area which is much larger than other spills ie. Exon V. then it's more chance to dilute. and disperse.Now don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean we should all heave a huge sigh of relief and fill the Chevee up tomorrow. But to me the simple facts here will never really be known for some years to come.For me I remain sceptical of any figures currently out there. Except the reality of those 11 people who tragically lost their lives. I cannot even begin to imagine the total sense of overwhelming sadness their surviving families will be feeling. Should the Directors at BP be held responsible for their deaths - well it's worth asking the question in my opinion. 11 people lost their life. Other families have had their livelyhood ruined. Animals have died painful slow and agonising deaths.Yet tomorrow we will all rely on oil to keep our world "as we know it" working. Oil will move our food, our goods, our planes, our cars, our guins and our armies. Our reliance upon this "black gold" is going to make tragedies like the Deep horizon more common. Yet until the loss of life becomes ours as individuals to bear we will "conveniently" overlook the main issues here.I'm sorry if I've come across as a bit of a preacher, but sometimes I feel we all ( and yes that includes me ) can't see the wood for the trees. Thu 05 Aug 2010 22:00:10 GMT+1 ghostofsichuan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=55#comment25 After Katrina there were large amounts of chemicals washed into the Gulf and the federal government quickly said that they did no harm and everybody could fish and eat the fish again. The same will happen again, not because it is true but because economic issues always trump health issues in this world. About 20 years after the fact we tend to read about increased cancers and other such diseases but by then all those responsible are gone or say they were working with the information they had at the time, of course that means some of the information they had at the time. Thu 05 Aug 2010 18:33:07 GMT+1 SheffTim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=53#comment24 When the tanker The Braer was wrecked off the Shetland Islands coast back in 1993 it was carrying 84,700 tonnes of light Norwegian crude oil and some additional 2000 tonnes of heavy oil and diesel. It was feared this would result in massive pollution of the shorelines of the islands and northern Scotland; yet this didn't happen, certainly not to the extent feared. Stormy seas appear to have resulted in the natural dispersal of a majority of The Braer's oil. An estimated 26% (a rough estimate of 4 million barrels) of the Deepwater Horizon oil remains in the Gulf; suspended underwater (plumes), mixed with sands etc. If mixed with sands under the Gulf or on shorelines then it could persist for decades before it bio-degrades.To put this 26% in perspective this is still more than five times the oil that was released by the Exxon Valdez when wrecked off the Alaska coast.Clearly this could still pose a major environmental threat; but as Richard says it not just a matter of '"how much?" but "where?"'.It's not yet all over by any means, but might be the beginning of the end.Also needing monitoring are any long term effects of the oil-dispersants on marine life in the Gulf. Thu 05 Aug 2010 17:12:17 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=51#comment23 The 75% that has been dealt with, that is if it really is 75% was the easy part. The remaining 25% will be far more difficult and time consuming to clean up. It is in the reeds and grasses in the wetlands and marshes, burried under the sand on beaches, dispersed throughout the Gulf of Mexico often at various levels under the water, and combined with the toxic dispersants. It will continue to enter the food chain, affect the local biosphere and cause damage. Finding it and dealing with it will take years, even decades. The number of locations it will be found will be in the tens of thousands. Some of it may not even be able to be dealt with at all. And BP will be liable for every last cent of it. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch. Thu 05 Aug 2010 16:41:20 GMT+1 sanity4all http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=48#comment22 The 'guestimates' of the volume 'spilled' were just that.Perhaps the missing quantities were more mud than oil? ( remember the indonesia mud eruption?)It musn't be forgotten that 'what came out of the ground' was a 'natural' (and not man-made) product, made over millenia by good ol' Mother Earth.So perhaps, this 'natural product' naturally (excuse the pun) dispersed back into the 'natural environment', naturally (of course)! Thu 05 Aug 2010 16:38:23 GMT+1 HumanityRules http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=46#comment21 I werly, werly, werly want a disaster. I werly do! Thu 05 Aug 2010 15:22:27 GMT+1 WolfiePeters http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=44#comment20 Who's responsible? We all are, as Darrell1 wrote correctly. And who is responsible for 'us' in the US? Federal Government directly and via its organisations such as MMS and NOAA.I wish Obama had stood up and said so. Would it have hurt him? After all it was his predecessor's family that made their fortune from oil and offshore drill rigs.At this point, the objective has to be avoiding other environmental disasters. I think it means eliminating the lawyers and making engineers and scientists calculate the probabilities of things going wrong. If the risk is too high, they'll stop the activity.It would have stopped Deepwater Horizon before it happened. Thu 05 Aug 2010 15:18:14 GMT+1 BluesBerry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=42#comment19 NOAA: The right answer to the wrong question?That's one way of putting it.About three-quarters of the 4.9 million barrels that entered the Gulf waters has been dealt with. How? I would write this as "have been made invisible to the naked eye".Even if we accept the 4.9 figure (which I seriously question), that leaves millions of barrels not eliminated from the sea, but as NOAA states: dispersed, either naturally or chemically - leaving the remaining quarter that, in Noaa's words..."...is either on or just below the surface...has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments." Well, that certainly sounds definitive. I like your question better: Where is it?There is no doubt in my mind that ecological damage has occurred. As for the question "who", as in "who looks good now?"I think the intention from the beginning was to make BP look good, and the "gooder" it looked the less the financial impact (under the "Clean Water Act).The political frangrance does reek.I agree with University oceanographer Ian MacDonald:"There's some science here, but mostly it's spin, and it breaks my heart to see them do it... I'm afraid this continues a track record of doubtful information distributed through NOAA."Yet, BP will suffer because it still has no feel for the size of its legal liabilities, other than that they will be enormous. Investors are behaving rather curiously; they've been buying shares at about $39 (US), well above their low of $26.75 set on June 28. Where do they think BP is going? UP...or might this be negative default swap betting on failure? The key figure in determining BP’s liabilities is the US Clean Water Act, BP would be subject to fines of $1,100 for each barrel spilled: $5.4B. But the fine would rise to $4,300 a barrel if BP is proven guilty guilty of gross negligence. The fine would rise to $21BThere is a big difference between negligence and gross negligence. The latter implies a conscious disregard for safety, or “reasonable care,” (as the law would put it). Gross negligence can lead to punitive damages or criminal charges or both, in which case BP would be in for mega-trouble. From what I read gross negligence is possible, even more than likely. The US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the leak. The investigators will want answers to the right questions, not just the ones that NOAA chose to answer.If this weren't enough, the new US oil-drilling regulator, Michael Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, wants to increase the penalties on violators by taking past transgressions into account. “I do think what a regulator such as I can do is take a company’s safety record into account in imposing sanctions,” he told reporters earlier this week. “That’s something that can be done and frankly should be done.” Wow, BP does not have the best historical record, but I agree it should be taken into account.A gross negligence ruling would pull the trigger on a host of other reactions e.g. the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workersAnd don't forget charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act and the Refuse Act. However you look at it, the BP situation is not over yet! Thu 05 Aug 2010 14:16:37 GMT+1 jazbo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=40#comment18 "There's some science here, but mostly it's spin, and it breaks my heart to see them do it... I'm afraid this continues a track record of doubtful information distributed through Noaa."That would be the same NOAA who produce temperature anomaly graphs which everyone laps up so readily..... Thu 05 Aug 2010 13:49:29 GMT+1 ghostofsichuan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=37#comment17 One quarter of something sounds manageable, until you understand that represents 1.25 million barrels of oil. They do like to put everything in the best light. The big business Republicans didn't want to say anything against big oil so they just attacked the President for lack of action as they saw it. Republicans have fought the raising of the liability for oil companies for such spills. Currently $1bn is the maximum liability by law. The US political environment is much more toxic than the oil spill. These evalutation reflect the impact on humans and the land they live on and not about the impact on animals that live in on near the waters. The collusions of governments and big business are always to the disadvantage to the people. I wouldn't consider the rethoric of the politicians about this being a British company. The US is a land of immigrants and only a vocal minority and those seeking political favor voice these anti-foreign sentiments. The media likes to shine their bright lights on the political fringe because it sells. Thu 05 Aug 2010 12:50:52 GMT+1 Roger G http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=35#comment16 The reporting of the Macondo well oil spill hasn't been that good either. One would think books like "Environmental Impact of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry by Stanislav Patin" would be referenced, look at Chapter 4 if you want to know about oil in the water column. The impression given by the press is one of surprise.Secondly take a close look at other jurisdictions rules and publish the information compared with the US rules and regulations, federal and otherwise. Thu 05 Aug 2010 10:44:34 GMT+1 Phil http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=33#comment15 4. Geofward"I wonder with what authority the President of the USA or the Houses of Congress might insist on (a regulatory regime with more stringent safeguards) in an area of the Gulf Of Mexico some 250 miles from the USA. Surely this is in international waters, beyond the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone, and therefore only operating under the Laws of the Sea Conventions?"The spill took place less than 100 miles from the nearest US shore, well within the US's Exclusive Economic Zone. It is possible for a nation to extend its mineral rights well beyond the 200 nautical mile EEZ limit, by claiming continental shelf rights, these apply if the nation can show that sea bed beyond the EEZ limit is an extension of the sea bed within their waters (the exact definition is very complicated and extremely boring as many who have studied marine law will verify), this is reasoning behind Russia’s claim on the North pole, they claim the ridge under the pole extends from their waters and is there for part of their continental shelf, Continental shelf claims generally go out to 350 nautical miles from the coast. Any mineral or hydrocarbon extraction within the continental shelf is subject to the rules of the nation that administers that area, so any rules brought in by congress would apply to drilling in their Continental shelf. Generally speaking mineral extraction is forbidden by the law of the sea beyond claimed continental shelf areas. Thu 05 Aug 2010 10:32:19 GMT+1 sensiblegrannie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=31#comment14 post 13The BP oil tragedy is merely one symptom of a spreading disease.The Financial Times has been reporting BP's cure to save itself, by amputating chunks of its assets, to prevent the black gangrene of financial loss.I wouldn't have given BP a moments thought, except that it involves the capital of millions of hard earned pensions. At the end of the day, it will be ordinary hard working people who will be forced to pay for the consequences of this oil spill and its subsequent clean up. Thu 05 Aug 2010 10:02:24 GMT+1 Jack Frost http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=28#comment13 Now is not the time for fanciful oil conspiracy theories. NOAA and the President have spoken, do not become denier of the 'expert scientific' facts. The debate is over. Thu 05 Aug 2010 09:04:51 GMT+1 Nuttymut http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=26#comment12 The huge irony in all this is that we all use oil.We are all culpable?Yes BP cut corners - but let's step back from that shall we and just ask ourselves if this tradgedy is the cause or the symptom.If we don't want oil spills we need to stop using oil - but instead we stick to our convoluted ways of thinking, which are that we can blame others for our own reliance on our materialistic way of life. Whilst we continue to argue that this accident should never have happened we continue to put others on unobtainable platforms - after all we are all only human.Let's not forget those who lost their lives and of course those who survive them. The world will appear vastly different to them now. Thu 05 Aug 2010 08:43:56 GMT+1 LabMunkey http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=24#comment11 i'd be interested to see how it's affected the marshlands- especially long term Thu 05 Aug 2010 08:19:54 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=22#comment10 Yet another example of 'environmentalists' spreading a climate of fear - and once again government jumping on the bandwagon for their own purposes.We can see a similar unevidenced climate of fear over the cloned cow - apparently we all meant to be terrified but no one can tell what we are supposed to be in fear of.Likewise with the global warming movement - people need to ask questions and form their own conclusions when globalised eco-organisations, tax addicted governments and greedy corporations try to frighten us.Enviro-panic: is it apocalypse or scam? Thu 05 Aug 2010 08:01:38 GMT+1 allanor85 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=20#comment9 This post has been Removed Thu 05 Aug 2010 06:20:45 GMT+1 CanadianRockies http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=17#comment8 Meanwhile..."Senate Democrats on Tuesday abandoned all hopes of passing even a slimmed-down energy bill before they adjourn for the summer recess, saying that they did not have sufficient votes even for legislation tailored narrowly to respond to the Gulf oil spill.Although the majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, sought to blame Republicans for sinking the energy measure, the reality is that Democrats are also divided over how to proceed on the issue and had long ago given up hope of a comprehensive bill to address climate change."http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/04/morphed-climateenergy-bill-is-doa-in-the-senate/ Thu 05 Aug 2010 02:51:06 GMT+1 CanadianRockies http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=15#comment7 Ooops! When I said Bolivia above, I meant Ecuador. Thu 05 Aug 2010 02:36:46 GMT+1 CanadianRockies http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=13#comment6 5. GeoffWard Well played by Bolivia don't you think?What a protection racket! Give me money or I'll drill for oil! And this is only for 10 years... then they'll be back for more, or drill when the oil will be worth more. More green-based extortion playing on the guilt and stupidity of the so called 'rich' nations.I assume that Brazil won't be involved in this payoff. As I recall they are playing a variation of the same game in the Amazon.And as I recall, Indonesia just did something similar, promising not to turn some rainforest into another palm plantation for a few years in exchange for a few billion. I recall that Norway was the sucker on that one.I think Canada should get into this racket. Seems very lucrative and we have all sorts of prime areas and national parks - including with the sacred UNESCO label - that we could threaten to exploit. Never actually have to do it of course.And rather pointless to pick on the Chinese. There's just one world oil market and everybody is buying it. But, even though they are the cash-richest country now, I am sure that the Chinese are not gullible enough to participate in this payoff - unless, perhaps, they got an ironclad contract to start drilling there in 10 years.Oh well. If you think this is bad just imagine how bad the 'climate reparations' scams could be! Thu 05 Aug 2010 02:17:56 GMT+1 CanadianRockies http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=11#comment5 "There's some science here, but mostly it's spin, and it breaks my heart to see them do it... I'm afraid this continues a track record of doubtful information distributed through Noaa." No kidding. The climate claims - like the one about this being the hottest year ever - are so spun that it is laughable. They seem to be unaware of their own 'inconvenient' data.http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/02/noaa-graphs-62-of-continental-us-below-normal-in-2010/And speaking of their hopeless track record, here comes yet another hurricane forecast from them. I guess the tea leaves shifted. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/02/noaa-to-issue-updated-atlantic-hurricane-season-outlook/ Thu 05 Aug 2010 02:01:56 GMT+1 GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=8#comment4 It's not just all at sea off Houston we have a problem; a few 'clicks' to the south (as we say, this side of the Atlantic ;-) we have a terrestrial equivalent:.“Ecuador Signs $3.6bn Deal Not to Exploit Oil-Rich Amazon Reserve; Pioneering deal signed with UN sets up trust fund by wealthy countries worth half expected earnings from potential sale of oil” (Guardian 4 August 2010)..I had to read the Guardian article twice to believe what I was seeing. The Yasuni National Park is a UNESCO WORLD BIOSPHERE RESERVE! The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves covers internationally-designated protected areas, known as biosphere reserves that are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between man and nature – in this case the indigenous native indians. .This oil extraction, industrial colonization, deforestation, and bulldozing for access across the Andes and into Amazonia is occuring right now in one of the most biodiverse and ecologically valuable places on earth. American oil companies are being more than laggardly in cleaning up oil exploitation damage and pollution elsewhere in the Ecuador oil basin, but here in the National Park UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Repsol, Spain’s biggest oil company, and the Chinese-owned Andes Petroleum are already extracting oil in the west of the National Park World Biosphere Reserve and, last month, Ecuador's government said it would tender oil blocks in Pastaza province in the south..Three issues:1. How on earth has the ‘world community’ sanctioned the despoilation/destruction of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve?2. On the basis of the spectacularly bureaucratic EU Set-aside Programme (1988-2009) for reducing the European ‘grain mountain’, who in their right mind thinks that a possible 10 year set-aside deal with the UN will protect this jewel in the crown of world biodiversity from (especially) Chinese rapaciousness?3. If the short-term protection is for less than 10% of the Yasuni National Park UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve (25miles x 25 miles), what protection is there for the other 90%? Thu 05 Aug 2010 01:41:59 GMT+1 GeoffWard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=6#comment3 "Shifting everything onto the company's shoulders was also a way of distracting attention from anything the Bush or Obama administrations, or indeed the Houses of Congress, could have done differently - such as insisting on a regulatory regime with more stringent safeguards." Richard..I wonder with what authority the President of the USA or the Houses of Congress might insist on (a regulatory regime with more stringent safeguards) in an area of the Gulf Of Mexico some 250 miles from the USA. Surely this is in international waters, beyond the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone, and therefore only operating under the Laws of the Sea Conventions?.There must be some legal experts out there somewhere, because all I seem to be getting is media bluster from local 'good guy' town sheriffs, jockeying state senators seeking re-election and a President who is truely thankful that the name on the tin was not Exxon again. Thu 05 Aug 2010 01:03:28 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=4#comment2 I wouldn't trust NOAA's pronouncements on the oil spill. There is no way they can know with precision what percentages of oil have done what, all they can do is make projections based on their interpretation of what data they do have and right now they seem to be making the rosiest possible projection because their boss at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave would dearly love for this issue to go away before the elections in November. The category in the pie chart showing evaporated or disolved is of concern. What effect will disolved oil have on marine life? It can't be good.I think most Americans undertand that it's unreasonable to expect that all offshore oil production will be shut down permanantly but even Americans who support offsdhore drilling want to hear from their government what steps will be taken to see that offshore oil production sites receive proper oversight and and meet safety standards designed to prevent environmental disaster, not accomodate the convenience of the oil companies. BP wasn't the only player in this disaster, there's plenty of room for blame to go around for the American players involved, including the government agency that clearly failed in it's oversight capacity. Thu 05 Aug 2010 00:12:04 GMT+1 BluesBerry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=2#comment1 This post has been Removed Wed 04 Aug 2010 22:55:54 GMT+1 John_from_Hendon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/while_listening_to_the_latest.html?page=0#comment0 Remember - deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is/was only taking place because of the need for the USA to guzzle far more than its fair share of the world's oil! It is an environmental disaster caused by the American people's desire for oil! If the authorities had listened to their own advice and concluded and remained resolute that drilling in such deep waters was hugely risky then this whole disaster could not have happened. Wed 04 Aug 2010 21:57:11 GMT+1