The Beacon

Blog Tags: Offshore Drilling

Good Work, Obama. Now Make it Permanent.

President Obama announced today that he plans to suspend Arctic offshore drilling, cancel lease sales in the western Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia, suspend activity on 33 exploratory wells and extend the moratorium on deepwater drilling for six months. 

Senior pollution campaign director Jackie Savitz had this to say about the announcement:

“President Obama has now seen first hand the impacts that offshore drilling can have on oceans and coastal economies. The actions taken today are just the first steps. We are relieved that Arctic drilling is off the table this summer. We continue to call for an end to all offshore drilling, on every coast,” said Jacqueline Savitz, senior campaign director.


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Oceana Chief Scientist to Testify on Offshore Drilling

Breaking news this morning: A Coast Guard official says the “top kill” maneuver has stopped the oil leak that has been gushing into the gulf for more than a month, though engineers still have to seal the well permanently with cement before they deem it a success.

And more good news -- President Obama will announce today that he is extending the moratorium on permits to drill new deepwater wells for six more months.

Meanwhile, this morning Oceana Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist Mike Hirshfield will testify about the costs of offshore drilling before the House Committee on Natural Resources.  


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Ted Talks Drilling on Larry King Live

Oceana board member Ted Danson was on Larry King Live last night sounding off on offshore drilling. It’s an issue near and dear to Danson; he has been an outspoken critic of  offshore oil and gas development for decades.

If you're as incensed as he is, sign our petition to stop offshore drilling and pass it on.

 


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New Spill Estimate: > 40,000 Barrels a Day

At this point, we all know that BP’s 5,000 barrel-a-day estimate is laughable, as are their claims that they can't measure the rate that the oil is gushing into the Gulf.

Over the weekend, four scientists, Ian MacDonald, John Amos, Timothy Crone and Steve Wereley wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that provides a new estimate of the oil spill’s flow rate.

BP has claimed that it would be impossible to use their video clip of the broken pipe to analyze the rate of oil flow. These scientists have shown that claim to be blatantly false. Using computational methods to analyze the video, the scientists’ estimates showed median values of 60,000 to 75,000 barrels per day spilling into the Gulf.


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Slideshow from the Gulf

Today is the one-month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

And still it spills.

This week Oceana’s Pacific science director Dr. Jeff Short is down in the Gulf responding to the disaster. Short is an environmental chemist who worked for NOAA on the Exxon Valdez spill.

He sent us the images of the oil spill in the slideshow below, including one of himself collecting samples of the mousse oil for analysis at LSU.

Short wrote in an e-mail to us that “Despite deploying mile after mile of oil containment boom to protect the coast from oiling, nearly all the boom materials we saw during our overflight had been abandoned and their integrity subsequently compromised, often resulting in scrambled masses of boom uselessly washed up against shorelines.”

To read the full captions of his photos, see our Flickr photo pool, and be sure to share any photos you have, too, so we can include them in our Oil Spill Photo Map.

If you haven’t already, sign the petition to stop new offshore drilling today.

 


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New Climate Bill Bribes States, Risks Coastlines

Yesterday, Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman unveiled their climate change bill. As you know, the U.S.’s consideration of any climate change legislation is historic – but in the light of the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, the senators’ proposal leaves me dismayed.

The “American Power Act” trades away our oceans to the oil industry even as at least 5,000 barrels of oil continue to gush from the broken Deepwater Horizon pipeline every day.  Here’s the first released video of the broken pipeline spewing oil:


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New Orleans Says 'Clean it Up!'

There is anger and bewilderment in New Orleans. Five years after Katrina comes the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, which continues to gush 210,000 gallons of oil into the gulf every day.

Last Saturday’s rally, organized by the Sierra Club with the support of Oceana as well as local groups such as the Gulf Restoration Network, drew several hundred supporters to Lafayette Square Park with the mantra, “Clean It Up!”

Speakers included local fishermen, wildlife experts, and politicians. The message to BP and the federal government was clear: cap the spill, clean it up, and never let it happen again.


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Sam Waterston Testifies on Ocean Acidification

Oil isn’t the only pollutant pouring into the oceans these days. There’s another big one, only it’s much more insidious and widespread: carbon dioxide.

Today Oceana board member and actor Sam Waterston will be on Capitol Hill urging Congress to take action to stop ocean acidification.

Last year, Congress passed the Federal Oceans Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, which created an ocean acidification program in the federal government. Waterston will call on Congress to fully fund and implement the program.


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Officials Clamor for a Spill Solution

The size of the oil spill in relation to Washington, DC via http://paulrademacher.com/oilspill/ 

After this weekend’s attempt to place a dome on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill failed, and as tar balls began washing ashore in Alabama, officials are scrambling to figure out what to do next.

One plan involves building up almost 70 miles of barrier islands by dredging sand and mud, including some from the bottom of the Mississippi River, and depositing it onto the outer shores of the islands, a process that would normally require years of environmental assessment.

Sediments from the river are likely to be contaminated with a host of other chemicals, like mercury, which could add insult to injury in the already badly contaminated Gulf waters.

Some of these islands are home to bird and wildlife sanctuaries, including the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. The plan may not work because the barrier islands have shrunk significantly, in part as a result of human engineering that has altered the flow of Mississippi for a variety of reasons -- including in efforts to facilitate oil and gas production.  


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Oil Makes Landfall in Wildlife Refuge

Oil has begun washing ashore in Louisiana’s Chandeleur and Breton Island chain, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge is a nesting site for the brown pelican, which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List last year. Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents also discovered two dead gannets covered in oil on Wednesday. And today, the Fish and Wildlife Service closed the Refuge to the public.


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