Yes,those are better links Bixa,thanks. Yes,T. goes down there,either Venice,or Port Fouchon on an almost daily,sometimes twice a day basis. He has not been advised to wear any protective gear. He isn't there but to pick up or drop off whatever load they give him. Many times it's "samples",other times equipment. One time was 2 giant screened TV sets, (maybe they're watching reruns of Dallas or the movie classic Giant ) documents in briefcases,passengers etc.He goes back and forth often to the various BP nerve centers and staging areas,sometimes as far as Houston,Texas.
[LOS ANGELES] - Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the state of Florida will try to save tens of thousands of endangered sea turtle eggs threatened by the Gulf oil spill. The plan calls for the newly buried eggs from some 700 to 800 turtle nests on the beaches of Alabama and northwestern Florida to be dug up later this month and shipped by truck to central Florida's Atlantic coast. There, they will be kept in temperature-controlled holding facilities until they hatch and the baby sea turtles can be released near the water.
On a somewhat cheerier note,two separate couples that I know just got back from a holiday on the Gulf,one couple was in Navarre Beach,just a tiny bit east of Pensacola.the other couple were even further east. Both couples said the water was clean,clear,the swimming was good. One of them rented a kayak and said she saw lots of healthy happy,dolphins and stingrays,they also caught some redfish off their boat. Granted,this is east of where the major contamination has occurred,but it made me feel a little bit better.
I am crying as I post this. It seems like the death of hope.
By this time, the whole world must know the exact position of New Orleans. I bring that up because I've repeatedly encountered the assumption that N.O. must be right on the Gulf of Mexico. You can see what the oil must have despoiled on its path into Lake Ponchartrain.
Oil seeps into New Orleans' Lake Pontchartrain By Cain Burdeau, Associated Press Writer 13 mins ago
NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans, which managed to escape the oil from the BP spill for more than two months, can't hide any longer.
For the first time since the accident, oil from the ruptured well is seeping into Lake Pontchartrain, threatening another environmental disaster for the huge body of water that was rescued from pollution in 1990s to become, once more, a bountiful fishing ground and a popular spot for boating and swimming.
"Our universe is getting very small," Pete Gerica, president of the Lake Pontchartrain Fishermen's Association, said Tuesday.
Over the July Fourth weekend, tar balls and an oil sheen pushed by strong winds from faraway Hurricane Alex slipped past lines of barges that were supposed to block the passes connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the lake.
State authorities closed the lake's eastern reaches to fishing on Monday, though most of it remained open. Barges were lined up at bayous and passes to stop the oil from coming in, and cleanup crews Tuesday used nets to collect tar balls from marinas and docks. They also planned to lay out 9,000 feet of special permeable booms. But the lake was too choppy for skimmer vessels to operate.
About 1,700 pounds of oily waste has been collected, said Suzanne Parsons Stymiest, a spokeswoman for St. Tammany Parish.
The amount of oil infiltrating 600-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain (pronounced PAHN-chuh-trayn) appears small so far. And tests on seafood have not turned up any oil contamination, said Brian Lezina, a state biologist. But the pollution is distressing to the many people in Louisiana who have a deep attachment to the lake.
"You won't hear songs about a lot of the marshes in south Louisiana, but you will hear songs about Lake Pontchartrain," Lezina said.
Out in the Gulf, meanwhile, stormy weather kept skimmers from working offshore Tuesday for yet another day and delayed the hookup of a big new ship intended to suck more crude from the gushing well. Also, the arrival of a Navy blimp intended to hover above the relief effort was delayed until Friday.
Tar balls from the spill also washed up on Texas beaches over the holiday weekend, meaning the disaster now touches all five Gulf Coast states, spanning more than 500 miles of coastline.
Lake Pontchartrain, named for the French count of Pontchartrain during the reign of Louis XIV, is on the northern edge of the city. It is connected to the Gulf of Mexico by two main passes: the Rigolets, a winding passage of about 10 miles, and the Chef Menteur, around nine miles long.
For centuries, it has been a playground, a source of seafood and a backdoor route to New Orleans for invading British troops and hurricane storm surge.
Until the 1970s, its shores were a top destination for city folks who took streetcars and buses to the lake to swim and to dine at restaurants that cooked up the lake's crabs and other seafood. They played in penny arcades and rode the Zephyr roller coaster at the Pontchartrain Beach amusement park.
But pollution shut down the swimming and chased away marine life, and the amusement park closed in the early 1980s.
The lake's restoration included a ban on commercial clam dredging and new regulations governing urban runoff. Slowly, the lake revived. In recent years, sightings of dolphins and manatees have delighted locals, and commercial and recreational fishing is thriving.
About 60 commercial fishermen catch blue crabs and shrimp in the lake, and scores of sport fishermen can be found on any given day reeling in speckled trout, redfish, flounder, black drum and sheepshead.
"Even the people involved in the restoration didn't believe it could be restored. It was completely written off. It was thought to be an impossible task," said John Lopez, a scientist with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, which led the restoration effort. "It has been a dramatic turnabout."
The oil could be the second setback in five years. Hurricane Katrina knocked out seafood docks and lakeside restaurants in 2005. The lake's water quality also took a hit when the Army Corps of Engineers drained the city's contaminated floodwaters into the lake.
"So far, this stuff has been offshore for the majority of the population in the southeastern portion of Louisiana," Anne Rheams, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, said of the oil spill. "This is bringing it closer to home."
Gerica, like the dozens of other commercial fishermen who use the lake, planned to pick up his crab traps as soon as the weather cleared.
Anthony Montalbano Jr., the chef and owner of II Tony's, an Italian seafood restaurant next to the lake, said it has been a struggle to stay open. Katrina swamped his restaurant at Bucktown, a lakeside community in New Orleans that has the feel of a bayou town.
"This was going to be our best year since Katrina for sure, but not now," Montalbano said as the TV in the bar showed an ad for a law firm suing BP. Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman and Tom Breen in New Orleans contributed to this report.
I was watching a report on manatees the other day which said that their fate was pretty much sealed with the new developments. They have been declining in population for years, cut up by boat propellors, drowned in nets or choked on plastic. And of course their natural habitat has been drained and built up all along the Gulf Coast. They were saying that even if the oil doesn't finish them off directly, the indirect pollution of their food sources will do it.
In fact, the only hope for manatees is the fact that there are manatees in Brazil, too, and not just in the United States.
They discovered oil in Lake Pontchatrain...This is where we go to sail,swim,fish,go crabbing, and many, many of our friends have homes on (and a few clients as well). How I thought they were going to keep it out,I don't know,but,this new news has me angry and depressed beyond belief.
Sorry,but I can only read or listen to a wee bit of this stuff,I have to filter the rest out. I am working the Hotline tomorrow night and am dreading it so much because of the recent developments regarding Lake Pontchatrain, are going to be on a closer to home basis,so devastating to so many people I know.I spoke with someone this evening at a neighborhood meeting and they said the call volume was really,really high.
So, while we wait for BP to figure out if this new cap is effective or not...closer to home the topic of how this is effecting not only the livelihoods of so many people,(the service industry is clearly taking a huge blow right now,restaurant personnel etc.). The mental health impact is subtly being addressed and monies,funding for is being appealed for on many levels. Oh, the red tape involved though!!! I had lunch with some people from the Mental Health Crisis Unit this week. More people are stepping up to volunteer the hotline etc. Whether or not they follow through is one thing,then there's the training,inservice aspect of it. So,we will see what happens.
July 16, 2010 Oil Spill Capped for a Second Day, Offering Some Hope By Campbell Robertson and Henry Fountain
NEW ORLEANS — The hemorrhaging well that has spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico remained capped for a second day Friday, providing some hope of a long-term solution to the environmental disaster.
Live video from the seabed Friday morning showed that all was quiet around the top of the well, suggesting the test assessing the integrity of the well was continuing. Earlier in the week, Kent Wells, a senior vice president for BP, had said that the longer the test continued the better, because it would indicate that the pressure inside the well was holding.
The oil stopped flowing around 2:25 p.m. Thursday when the last of several valves was closed on a cap at the top of the well, Mr. Wells said.
The announcement that the oil had stopped flowing into the Gulf came after a series of failed attempts to cap or contain the runaway well that tested the nation’s patience. Mr. Wells emphasized that pressure tests were being conducted to determine the status of the well, which is now sealed like a soda bottle. BP and the government could decide to allow the oil to flow again and try to collect all of it; they could allow the oil to flow and, if tests show the well can withstand the pressure from the cap, close the well during hurricanes; or they could leave the well closed permanently.
The last option seems unlikely, but whatever the decision, the cap is an interim measure until a relief well can plug the leak for good.
“I am very pleased that there’s no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico,” Mr. Wells said, “but we just started the test and I don’t want to create a false sense of excitement.”
That was not much of a risk along the Gulf Coast, where countless livelihoods have been put in jeopardy and fishermen frequently and gloomily remark that Prince William Sound has never been the same since the Exxon Valdez disaster.
“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a dead man in my opinion,” said Jeff Ussury, 48, who considers his days as a crabber over for good. He doubted the news of the capping was even true.
“I started out kind of believing in them,” he said, “but I don’t believe in them at all anymore.”
Whether it was just the eye of the hurricane or the morning after the storm, the moment was a time to take stock of just how much damage had already been done since the deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on the night of April 20.
For weeks, the BP spill camera — which along with terms like “top kill,” “containment dome” and “junk shot” made up a growing list of phrases that many people wish they had never learned — had shown a horrible chocolate plume of oil pouring upward from the broken blowout preventer, a symbol of government and corporate impotence. The plume has been a constant presence in the corner of TV screens, mocking reassurances from officials on the news programs who describe the latest attempt to stop the gushing.
But the view on Thursday afternoon was eerily tranquil, just the slate blue of the deep interspersed with small white particles floating across the screen. Though the exact amount of the oil that has poured out of the well may never be known, it was suddenly and for the first time a fixed amount. The disaster was, for a little while at least, finite.
At the White House, President Obama called the development a “positive sign,” though he cautioned that the operation was still in the testing phase.
In statements, Louisiana officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, said they were “cautiously optimistic.”
Officials at all levels played down expectations. Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is coordinating the spill response, told reporters on Thursday that the cap was primarily meant to be used to shut the well during extreme weather.
“The intention of the capping stack was never to close in the well per se,” he said. “It creates the opportunity if we have the right pressure readings to shut in the well. It allows us to abandon the site if there is a hurricane.”
He said that after the test, the cap would be used to capture oil through surface ships — two that are on the site now and two more that will be in operation in a week or two. With all four collection ships in place, BP could capture all of the oil, estimated at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day.
Mr. Wells cautioned that the test could take 48 hours or more, as scientists study pressure readings from the cap. If pressure rises and holds, that would be a sign that the casing — the 13,000-foot string of pipe that lines the well bore — is undamaged.
But if the pressure stays low or falls, that would suggest the well is damaged. In that case, Mr. Wells said, the test probably would be stopped well ahead of schedule, valves would be reopened and collection systems that had been shut down for the test would start again.
“Depending on what the test shows us, we may need to open this well back up,” he said.
The test had been delayed by about two days, first when the government ordered a last-minute review of the procedure out of concern that, by allowing the buildup of pressure, the test itself might harm the well. A particular fear, experts said, was that it might cause a shallow blowout — damaging the well lining close to the seabed, which could allow oil and gas to escape into the gulf outside the well, making the spill worse.
By Wednesday afternoon, those concerns had been allayed and preparations were made to begin the test. But late that night, a hydraulic leak was discovered in part of the choke valve equipment, and the test was scrubbed.
Thursday afternoon the test began again, first with the shutting down of pipes that funneled oil and gas to two surface ships.
In even the most optimistic case, the BP oil spill is far, far from over.
There are still millions of barrels of oil out in the gulf and months of work missing for fishermen and shrimpers; inestimable harm is still being inflicted on wildlife throughout the food chain; and anger still seethes along the Gulf coast.
“What’s to celebrate?” asked Kindra Arnesen, the wife of a shrimper from Plaquemines Parish, La., who has become a recognizable voice of outrage over the past two and a half months.
“My way of life’s over, they’ve destroyed everything I know and love,” she said, before going on to explain, in detail, why she believes the pressure tests are likely to fail.
Florida realtors are putting a positive spin on it, though:
This week we've had some hopeful news regarding the BP oil spill. As mentioned before, the oil never even made it close to Southwest Florida and it looks like it never will. Our beautiful beaches and estuaries seem safe. Last week some 2 dozen oil victim birds, mostly brown Pelicans from the Louisiana Gulf Coast, were set free on Bowman's beach on Sanibel to start a new oil-free life.
from Royal Shell Realtors email, 7/18/2010 (I really hope they aren't counting their turtle eggs before they've hatched!)
The Sunday paper is saying that most of the oil spill has just "disappeared." Dispersed? Eaten by bacteria? Lurking just under the surface?
Is this going to be like in the horror movies where the monster seems to have left, but since you're only a half hour into the movie, you know better?
My husband told me this last night,and I made him repeat it at least twice, because, I didn't get WTF he was saying. (Ever the conspiracy theorist,I didn't want to get him cranked up...). As I've often said,I don't ever trust the mainstream media. I guess I'll see today's paper soon as they deliver it,in a few minutes. But,my thinking is,it will only get me cranked up. Best, I go and meditate by the pond instead...
I was talking to the cab driver on the way home from the big supermarket and commented that "they" say it won't reach any of Mexico's coastline. He snorted, and said a version of what you're saying above, which is how can it not affect the entire Gulf of Mexico, that it's gotta go somewhere.
And what does "dispersed" mean in terms of oil? Doesn't it mean they made the problem zillions of times worse?