The Beacon

Blog Tags: Offshore Drilling

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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Want Energy Independence? Don't Look to Drilling.

Source: Department of Energy, Annual Energy Outlook, April 2010

After the Deepwater Drilling Disaster began 17 days ago, we’ve all tried to figure out why we should continue to expand drilling offshore.

For those who think it’s because it will help us achieve energy independence, think again. There is no way that we can drill our way to energy independence – and the government knows it.

Right now, we get about 65% of our oil from other countries, the biggest sources being Canada and Mexico. And government studies show that all the oil in US waters wouldn’t change that figure much. It would only lower it to about 60% at best. A government study expected to come out soon shows that even that much is unlikely.


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Sign the Petition: Stop the Drill

In response to Oilmageddon, as some of us have taken to calling it, we created this brand new PSA and website, http://oceana.org/stopthedrill. Watch it, sign the petition, and pass it on!


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Oilmageddon Continues Apace

Andy Sharpless (fourth from left) talks to Senator Bill Nelson (far left) and environmental advocates. © Oceana/Lindsay Orlowski

The Deepwater Drilling Disaster continues without resolution, as the first reports of sea turtles washing up on shore are starting to trickle in, and local fishermen are reluctantly accepting jobs working as cleanup crew for the company that has ruined their livelihoods.

As the oil continues to gush from Deepwater’s broken pipe at rates that cannot be accurately determined, we are looking at an oil disaster that will surpass Exxon Valdez in a matter of weeks, if it hasn’t already.

But this tragedy has galvanized opposition to offshore drilling.

Two notable developments have taken place this week already. On Tuesday, I was honored to speak to press in the shadow of the Capitol alongside Senators Bill Nelson, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, as well as the executive directors of the Sierra Club and Environment America.


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Oceana Joins Senators in Opposition to New Drilling

andy sharpless

Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless © Oceana/Lindsay Orlowski

Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless joined three Senators at a press conference on the oil spill yesterday, and he called on President Obama and Congress to ban new offshore drilling.

"I will make it short and to the point," said Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida). "The president's proposal for offshore drilling is dead on arrival.” Senator Nelson was joined by New Jersey Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez.

The Senators also vowed to keep new oil drilling provisions out of any climate change legislation that comes out of the Senate, and Senator Menendez has introduced new legislation to raise the limit on the amount of money oil companies could be forced to pay for economic damages from catastrophic oil spills. 


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