Monday, July 25, 2011

BP spill stopped one year ago : 5,000 spills since then

NRC oil and hazardous materials spill reports, July 15, 2010 - July 15, 2011 :
about 3,000 reports that have enough usable location informationo pinpoint them on a map

From SkyTruth

July 15, 2010 was a day of relief for many - even for folks up here in West Virginia - after 2-1/2 months watching helplessly as oil and gas billowed relentlessly into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's runaway Macondo well.
On that day one year ago, the final valve was carefully closed on an improvised "capping stack" that did the job after a string of heartbreaking failures.
By that time an estimated 172 million gallons of oil had spewed directly into the Gulf, vastly exceeding the Exxon Valdez tanker spill of 1989 -- making it the nation's worst oil spill, and the world's worst accidental spill.

After cumulatively covering an area the size of Oklahoma, the massive oil slicks on the Gulf's surface began to dissipate almost immediately under the steady assault of evaporation, wind and wave action, biodegradation, photolysis, and cleanup efforts.
We last observed significant oil slicks on satellite images taken July 28.

Aerial photograph taken May 7, 2011 showing apparent oil leak originating from an oil and gas production platform in state waters 1.1 miles off the Louisiana coast, 37 miles east of Grand Chenier.
Unknown if this was a one-time release or a chronic leak.
Photograph by Jamie Ward, courtesy of SouthWings and pilot Dan Luke.

But unknown amounts of oil and chemical dispersant lingered beneath the ocean's surface, out of sight, with an uncertain fate and as-yet untallied environmental consequences.
What is clear is that this spill caused significant economic damage to the Gulf seafood and tourism industries, upsetting the lives and livelihoods of people as far away as Virginia.
And oil from the spill continues to wash ashore along the Gulf coast.

Meanwhile, Congress has yet to pass any new laws governing offshore drilling safety.
In fact, they are going backwards by reducing funding for government inspections and oversight -- despite the fact that the oil industry itself requested more funding for BOEMRE, the agency that manages offshore drilling.

Other frustrations?
Oh yeah, and the 5,100 new oil and other hazardous materials spills in the Gulf region reported to the National Response Center since July 15, 2010.

Links :
  • SkyTruth : real-time updates about environmental incidents in your back yard (or whatever part of the world you know and love)
  • TheGuardian : Oil and gas spills in North Sea every week, papers reveal

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