Oil Leak Update: Oil Hits Florida Waterways
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Oil Leak Update: Oil Hits Florida Waterways

New Orleans : LA : USA | Jun 11, 2010 at 11:50 AM PDT
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Riley Meets With Adm. Allen To Hash Out Plan

"I'm watching the oil come in, I've seen it on the beach. It's in the seaweed. I cry. For the animals, for the rest of my life, it won't be the same. I'm mad at BP."- Dorothy King, resident of Perdido Bay, Florida.

"There's no 100 percent guarantee that the oil won't get through. There are very strong currents at the ebb and the flow." - Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.

"It's very depressing when you live here. They're shutting our economy down." - Harry Haas, resident of Orange Beach, Alabama.

"The bureaucratic process is an abomination. It's very alarming now with the amount of oil coming into Perdido Pass. It's not the time to be slowed down by a bureaucratic process that is not working." - Dino Villani, public safety director of Okaloosa County, Florida.

"We have since gone way over the top on that in terms of resources, command, and control and the amount of personnel that we're bringing to this fight." - Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.

"The Coast Guard is doing a great job, but they are stretched to the limit. We are livid that the command and control is not there. Communication is not coming to the state and local government." - Florida Senator Bill Nelson.

"I still don't know who is in charge. Is it BP? Is it the Coast Guard? I have spent more time fighting the officials of BP and the Coast Guard than fighting the oil."- Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.

Day 53 of the BP oil leak disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The United States government has spent $140 million in cleanup costs and the Feds, according to Admiral Thad Allen are going to keep "pouring in assets."

BP had 72 hours to come up with a plan to increase the amount of oil being collected and a backup plan. Federal authorities are considering BP's proposals.

Four million gallons of oil have been collected so far. It was also announced that researchers have doubled their estimates of how much oil has been leaking into the Gulf. With those numbers doubled, it means that the oil will cover a much larger area that will kill even more birds and fish and other wildlife.

The numbers that the researchers are now using means that anywhere from 42 million to more than 100 million gallons of oil are now in the Gulf. The new numbers will make it much more expensive for BP. The flow rate could have been as high as 2.1 million gallons per day. This is the third time that the federal government has increased it's numbers.

Those estimates did not take into account the cutting of the bent riser pipe on June 3rd. BP said this would for a short time increase the flow rate by about 20 percent, until the new cap was installed. There were no estimates given on the flow rate of oil with the new cap installed. You might remember that BP said there were four vents on the cap and they would be shut down slowly one by one, so that there wasn't a sudden increase in pressure and blow the cap off the leaking well.

It became very obvious by looking at the live feed of the leak, that it had increased the flow a lot more than 20 percent. The next problem is that BP has not been able to close these vents. This new cap, because of that, and the cutting of the riser pipe, has made a bad situation much worse.

It is also bad news for the brown pelican population that had only recently recovered. This could wipe them out. "This is a nightmare that keeps getting worse every week" ,said Michael Brune who is the executive director of the Sierra Club.

Oil flow estimates are different from every team estimating them. One of the most respected of them is Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. It has come up with even higher numbers. If Woods Hole numbers are correct , 107 million gallons have leaked into the Gulf since April 20th. According to the Woods Hole numbers, the BP leak is the size of the entire Exxon Valdez spill every five days.

"I'm not dead, I'm not sick. I think a lot of this is nothing but media hype." -Elaine Fox, resident of West Monroe, Louisiana.

Scientists are now using sonar, pressure readings and analysis of the video to come up with some new estimates. It should be pointed out that every time a new estimate comes out, it is higher than the previous one. At one time the U.S. government said that 42,000 gallons were leaking into the Gulf per day. Since then they have changed that to 210,000 gallons per day.

Yet another surprising comment from Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen who says that BP will not have tankers to capture the leaking oil in place in the Gulf until AT LEAST July. If the undersea procedure to direct the oil to the surface works, it will after that take a number of weeks to have the proper equipment to carry out the plan.

Admiral Thad Allen was asked if there was "trust" between the White House and BP. "This has to be a unified effort moving forward if we are to get this thing solved. If you call that trust, yes." , said Allen.

"For God's sake,don't finish us off with a moratorium.", Buddy Caldwell, Louisiana Attorney General. Yes, while their beaches are covered in oil and their wildlife is dying, and their marshes have become dead zones, Louisiana is pleading to "drill, baby, drill".

Louisiana state officials are saying that President Obama's temporary ban on oil drilling in the Gulf is sending Louisiana's economy into a death spiral. They called the President's order a "knee-jerk reaction. They compared it to grounding every airplane because one airplane had crashed. OK- here is my opinion on that. If airplanes were crashing due to problems with equipment that was common on every plane, than maybe all planes would be grounded. What the Louisiana officials fail to see is that we don't have the proper equipment to handle deep sea oil leaks. That should be quite evident to them.

Louisiana officials are saying that this could put more than 100,000 people out of work. The Obama Administration wanted the six month ban to study the safety of deepwater drilling. There is a bill being presented to shorten this ban on drilling. This moratorium has halted 33 exploratory rigs in the Gulf and also banning during the moratorium , any new drilling permits. But here is a very important point that nobody seems to get: platforms that are already PRODUCING oil and rigs in shallow water are still in operation. Let me repeat that. All PRODUCING rigs are still in operation. This means that the nearly one third of America's oil production that the Gulf provides, is still going on. There will not be any gas shortages, contrary to stories that have told you otherwise. yes, I'm talking to you- Fox News. The non-producing rigs that are shut down employ 5,900 to 9,200 people. The average rig worker makes $1,800 dollars per week. Louisiana officials point out that the figure does not include support workers of around 26,000 to 46,000 people. An example is Louisiana catering company owner Glenn LeCompte. "It's going to put us out of business. My payroll probably runs about $150,000 a week. That payroll is going to disappear", said LeCompte. His company's main business is providing food to offshore rigs.

Meanwhile,, the reports are that BP is capturing more oil from the bottom of the sea every day. Admiral Thad Allen thinks that could be up to 1.17 gallons per day by next week. Since they don't have any tankers to take the oil, I guess they are burning it off.

"Those two things, fishing and oil, coexist together and form a way of life down here", John Young, Council Chairman of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The Energy Department says that 25 million barrels of oil production will be lost in 2011 because of this year's ban. Sound like a lot? It is less than what this country uses in two days. Some are afraid that a lot of these drilling rigs will go to Brazil which has a lot of oil off it's coast. So be it. If safety issues and emergency plans can't be made better than they are right now, we have no business drilling in deepwater. You can't destroy the entire environment to keep jobs. It is costing more to clean this up then what revenue and jobs these rigs provide. It would actually be cheaper for the U.S. government to pay these rig workers to stay home. Run all the figures and THEN tell me I'm wrong.

Barry Graham operates 21 oil support vessels from Alabama and Louisiana and is hoping to avoid laying off his 150 people. "It's like sitting here waiting for the storm to approach. You sit and wait for a hurricane when you get the news it's coming. That's what this feels like-just waiting to hit", said Graham.

Some U.S. senators are in coastal Louisiana today to look at the damage caused by the still out of control oil leak. President Obama will make his fourth trip to the Gulf next week. Charlotte Randolph is President of Lafource Parish, Louisiana and had this to say about the President. " I think he has an agenda and this is certainly working into his agenda. Right now we are the poster children for alternative energy. He can point to us and say this is why we need to move to alternative energy. The other morning I heard he was looking for some butt to kick. What he doesn't realize is that he is kicking our butts right now. We can recover from all the storms we have had in the past. We are managing the oil. We can't overcome this overriding issue-this moratorium-now", said Randolph.

Ok, again my opinion. Everything Charlotte Randolph said was true, except that they have not recovered from Katrina, and they are not managing the oil. Charlotte, we DO need to find alternative energy. This disaster underscores what we have been avoiding for far too long. We need to stop giving money to countries that harbor terrorists who want to destroy this country. If we keep depending on oil, we will destroy our own country. Every year we are more dependent on other countries for this black poison. There is no reason why $15,000 electric cars that can go at least 300 miles per day, using NO oil can't be on car lots right now. This is this generation's "moon shot". We owe it to our grandchildren to get this oil monkey off our backs. Yes, lots of jobs will be lost. It has happened to a lot of people in different industries. These people need to be re-trained in jobs that we have available. I also believe that is is the duty of our government to force certain industries to bring back manufacturing to our shores. Awhile back, I did a story on Tylenol being made in Mexico ina shoddy plant. They were making children's and adult medicine that they had no idea how much medicine was in it. People pay a lot more money for Tylenol because it is a "trusted" product. The profit that is made on those products make it feasible to manufacture it in America. The only reason it isn't is because of greed. Make them come back or don't import their product. The same thing with 75-to $100 athletic shoes- sneakers. They can be made here for good wages and good profits, instead of using Chinese slave labor. Again, force them to return or don't import their products. Unlike the Japanese, the Chinese make inferior junk. They should go back to making whopee cushions and junk like that. Big ticket items need to be made in America.

On another note- since the rig explosion on April 20th, 6,000 volunteers have been trained in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to help monitor and prepare for oil coming onto beaches. The Audubon Society has 5,000 new volunteers. The Mississippi Commission For Volunteer Service has 4,000 new volunteers. THIS is what America is all about. People helping people.

An update on the relief wells being drilled by BP. They need to get to around 17,000 feet below the seafloor. The deepest one has reached 13,978 feet. Captain Nick Schindler on Development Driller III said that the pace was slow but it had to be done very carefully. "Part of the problem is that there is a lot of outside scrutiny on what it is that we're doing out here. The American population is wanting this well done. They want it done now. We all want it done now. But we all have to understand that this is a well that killed 11 people and sunk a rig. So we're not going to speed up, and we're going to do this as safe as possible", said Schindler.

It is too bad that BP did not have that same ethic before April 20th, 2010.

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U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, left, the National Incident Commander for the Gulf oil spill, and...
U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, left, the National Incident Commander for the Gulf oil spill, and Walt Dorn, Director of Emergency Services for Patriot Environmental Services, briefs reporters at the staging and decontamination area in Theodore, Ala., Saturday, June 5, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster has started washing ashore on the Louisiana, Alabama and Florida coast beaches. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) | Gulf Oil Spill
RoyEisner is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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