Skip to main content

Originally posted here

Sometimes it feels like conversations about the Gulf of Mexico -- nearly three years after BP's Deepwater Horizon catastrophe unleashed roughly 5 million barrels of fresh crude -- take place in parallel universes.  Inside a courtroom here in New Orleans, BP and its high-priced lawyers continue to push for lower estimate of how much oil was spilled, while their unending barrage of uptempo TV ads seeks to convince Americans that the environmental disaster is ancient history.

The reality is completely different. Environmentalist and pilot Bonny Schumaker, of On Wings Of Care, took to the skies over the Gulf yet again this weekend and produces sad and stunning photo documentation of a natural treasure that remains under assault from crude oil pollution, both at and near the Deepwater Horizon site, near another industrial oil spill, as well as unexplained seepage of fresh crude. The ongoing damage to this vital natural resource continues to threaten not only low-lying wetlands but key wildlife sanctuaries and marine habitats.

Here's how Bonny Schumaker describes what she's seeing, both now and over the last three years:

A few weeks ago, our flight over the Gulf showed little of the usual ugly sheen we had been seeing off the southeast coast of Louisiana for the past six months, so we voiced cautious but hopeful optimism. (See "Clearer views and good news for the Gulf?") But today's flight gave us anything but optimism.  We saw pervasive rainbow and gray sheen in many places, including the two chronic pollution sites that have plagued the Gulf for years now -- the Taylor Energy site about 12 nautical miles (nm) off the southern tip of Louisiana, and the Macondo prospect another 50 nm offshore (home to the infamous lease block MC252 and the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe of 2010 April). We have flown more than 500 flight hours in the past three years over these offshore and coastal waters, and the two trends that disturb us most are 1) sources of "unknown sheen" are constant and uniquitous, and 2) the presence of visible marine life has dropped drastically.   After today's flight, we filed 15 NRC reports with the US Coast Guard for significant oil slicks or sheens over our 350-nm route.


Here is some of the background. It was the On Wings of Care flights over the Gulf that has documented a series of alarming oil sheens in the Macondo oil field, which is where the Deepwater Horizon was located. The first major discovery was in the summer of 2011, or roughly a year after the oil leak, which prompted an investigation and a raft of denials from BP. In November of last year, the oil was back -- and this time BP, confronted by indisputable evidence, tried to blame the problems on a small leak from a containment dome. The Coast Guard, thanks to pressure from officials like Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey, continues to look more closely at the real cause of the problem. We've long been concerned that pressure from the drilling in the unstable Macondo area may have caused cracks in the sea floor.

I would urge you to read all of Bonnie's whole flyover report. It coves a lot of territory in the Gulf, including another oil rig spill -- the Taylor Energy site. which is much closer to the Louisiana coastline than the BP site -- as well as other apparent oil slicks or pollution of unknown origins.

However, the ongoing situation at the Macondo field remains particularly vexing, as she reports:

As we flew southward from MC252, we found the ENSCO DS-3 drillship still where it has been for the past several months, and a few miles beyond that BP's MC474A "Nakiki" production platform.  This platform was flaring, as usual, with dirty smoke rising high into the air. There was light surface sheen for miles and miles to the north and east of Nakiki, and scattered rainbow patches in the sheen to its north.  We also noted several other significant-looking areas of surface sheen between here and about 10 nm northwest of MC252, making a total of three more NRC pollution reports beginning with the sheen at MC252.



This is more remarkable -- albeit somewhat depressing -- work from On Wings of Care. In the big picture, it continues to puncture the myth that Big Oil is capable of drilling safely in the Gulf, especially in a complex formation like the Macondo Field. On a more down-to-earth level, it gives me one final chance tourge readers to nominate On Wings of Care for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Guardian of the Gulf Award -- it is a couple of minutes well spent. (The form is here.)

To read the On Wings of Care flight report from March 8 (last Friday), please check out: http://onwingsofcare.org/...

My March 8 post urging support for OWOC to win a "Guardian of the Gulf" award is here: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/...

The actual nomination form is here: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/...

Read my Aug. 17 , 2011 post that broke the story of the “new Macondo leak”: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/...

To check out my post from November 2011 about leaks at the Macondo field, go to: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/...

Here is our report from Oct. 3 of last year about another fresh oil sheen in the Gulf: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/...

To read Bonny Schumaker’s report of a Dec. 2, flyover please go to: http://www.onwingsofcare.org/...

For more information about BP’s ongoing misinformation about leaks at the Macondo sire, please read: http://www.rightinginjustice.com/...

© Smith Stag, LLC 2013 – All Rights Reserved

Originally posted to Stuart H Smith on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Gulf Watchers Group.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Bob Johnson, Pat K California, JekyllnHyde, Ed in Montana, cslewis, Sylv, DeminNewJ, Chi, filkertom, hester, grollen, NYmom, emal, karlpk, Shockwave, tacet, cotterperson, etatauri, hubcap, emmanuel, missLotus, TracieLynn, ask, roses, ctsteve, askyron, scorpiorising, mrkvica, Boppy, cosette, newore, lcrp, attytood, oortdust, sb, ExStr8, Bluesee, 3goldens, greycat, LakeSuperior, basquebob, reflectionsv37, majcmb1, Sun Tzu, where4art, Ice Blue, ScottAC, snoopydawg, Rogneid, Jim R, martini, Gorette, KenBee, blueoasis, praenomen, gpoutney, Crashing Vor, JVolvo, Turbonerd, onionjim, doingbusinessas, SD Goat, Statusquomustgo, bstotts, krwheaton, ladypockt, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, FoundingFatherDAR, out of left field, Habitat Vic, ninkasi23, devis1, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, yowsta, chigh, terabytes, DWG, jayden, cyncynical, carpunder, madgranny, wayoutinthestix, OleHippieChick, Sixty Something, VL Baker, Therapy, mikeconwell, monkeybrainpolitics, Calamity Jean, RandomNonviolence, Horsefeathers, petulans, doppler effect, shortgirl, zmom, greengemini, The Dead Man, bsmechanic, Nebraskablue, Methinks They Lie, FinchJ, sfarkash, citisven, indie17, plankbob, gulfgal98, Jaimas, Pakalolo, jm214, Bluerall, Alice Olson, smiley7, marleycat, floridablue, peregrine kate, chira2, Wood Dragon, Sunspots, stlsophos, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Mentatmark, anodnhajo, cwsmoke, greenbastard, IndieGuy, Horace Boothroyd III, Forward is D not R, lunachickie, arizonablue, databob, Lily O Lady, Chaddiwicker, countwebb, jbob, weck, unfangus, entrelac, IndyinDelaware, solarbay, Brian1066, footNmouth, Oldestsonofasailor, sensetolisten, OldSoldier99, Hauser Aspen

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site