Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Spill With the Crystal Plumage

Scientists Detect Giant Plume in Gulf, Say Oil Has Not Disappeared

The scientists said that, using a robot submarine that zigzagged across the deep gulf, they found a plume of oil droplets that was as tall as 65-story building and more than a mile wide. The plume, whose droplets were so small that the water appeared clear, extended off to the southwest of the well, 3,600 feet deep.

They said they were puzzled about how, exactly, the oil got there: Despite the conventional wisdom that oil floats, this crude seemed to have stopped rising less than halfway through its journey from the well to the surface. They thought that perhaps icelike hydrate crystals played a role, or that the dispersant chemicals squirted into the oil as it escaped.

What was certain, at least at that time, was that it wasn't disappearing. Scientists tested the levels of dissolved oxygen to find out whether they were unusually low, which would indicate that microbes were at work. But they weren't.

Finally more and more universities and independent scientific researchers are discovering the truth of the fake resolution of the Gulf oil disaster, and finally the media are beginning to pay this the attention it deserves. Perhaps hydrate crystals played a small role in dispersing and hiding the oil, as mentioned in the article, but the next segment of that sentence is where the real action is, and the scientists know it. It was the Corexit that allowed BP and Barry Soetoro to claim that 76% of the oil had disappeared from the Gulf due to burning, evaporation, microbial digestion and unicorns bearing saddlebags.

I don't know anything at all about methane hydrate crystals, or how much of them may be floating alongside the oil in these giant plumes which independent researchers keep discovering, or what side effects they may have. The only time I'd heard mention of such crystals was after the first failed attempt that BP botched trying to contain the oil geyser at MC252. Remember when they tried to cap the well(s) by essentially dropping a pre-built barn sized building on top of the site? But it failed within minutes because of frozen methane crystals.

Such crystals are of no consequence now. The oil and the methane in its gaseous state are, and the 40+ million gallons of Corexit that is admitted to have been used is an even deadlier threat. These enormous oil plumes could be found all over the Gulf of Mexico if there were enough people to run ROV surveys and enough money to fund such operations. But there are not. BP has been going around to all the Gulf Coast universities and paying professors and scientists to remain quiet. The news media don't report it in quite so simple terms -- the professors have been "hired by BP under contract" to "perform studies."

Right. Bought-and-paid-for studies to hand the EPA, Thad Allen and Barry Soetoro which allow them to say with straight faces that the crisis is over, if there ever were even a crisis to begin with. Because, they will tell you, the media were scaremongering you, and there never was a crisis in the first place. And any remnants of the non-crisis their brilliant handling of the matter has fixed with swift and total precision.

Never mind the fact that more and more people are getting seriously ill in the Gulf states, massive fish kills are taking place from Florida all the way up to New England, that plants are being chemically burned from the toxic rain caused by BP's and Barry's massive Corexit usage or that the beaches ooze dark oil when stepped on, which comes up and out from under the layer of sand BP dumped in order to hide it. No, everything is fine, in fact it is better than before the non-crisis. In fact, BP has left the beaches even cleaner, safer and healthier than they were before April 20, when Deepwater Horizon exploded. Because their cleanup workers picked up trash too, not just oil.

Every time I start obsessing on the question of whether there is one well or if there were and are two, I have to pull back and realize that that is, at the point, an academic matter. These plumes of oil that BP and Soetoro have attempted to hide from the media and public are the real issue, as is all the oil that has washed up on the beaches, as is the millions of cubic feet of methane released and the oxygen depletion it has caused. It will be years before we will be able to know the actual extent of the damage done by the BP oil disaster. It will take time for the tremors to reverberate and find their way to the top of the food chain. But at the very top of the food chain are we, the human beings, and that is why I spend so much time on this story.

Testifying before a House subcommittee Thursday, Florida State University professor Ian R. MacDonald called the administration's account "misleading." He said that the government's assumptions about how much oil is breaking down underwater were too optimistic and that its report didn't mention the natural gas that gushed out of BP's Macondo well along with the oil.

"This oil is going to be in the environment for a long time. I think that the imprint of the BP release, the discharge, will be detectable in the Gulf of Mexico for the rest of my life," said MacDonald, who is 58.

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