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Updated: Drilling Rig Disaster Could Send Oil Spill Into Gulf Islands National Seashore


A weather forecast predicts that oil from a drilling rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could coat portions of the Gulf Islands National Seashore coastline. graphic.

An oil spill from the sinking of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico could wash ashore in the coming days at Gulf Islands National Seashore, according to a forecast from meteorologists predicted the ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico will switch to a southerly direction and could push "oil on the surface of the ocean towards the southeastern U.S. coastline."

Gulf Islands officials were watching the developing situation but had not taken any precautions as of Thursday evening.

“We are monitoring real close, and we’re ready to act if it appears there’s going to be an environmental threat, but there aren’t any indications at this time of any imminent threat," said Chief Ranger Clay Jordon.

The National Park Service was staying in contact with both the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA forecast said "the oil should remain offshore for at least three days; however, inclement weather forecast for 23-25 Apr will impact response and recovery operations."

As of midday Thursday, the Gulf of Mexico current was taking oil from the sunken rig away from land, but meteorologists expect the current to change course as a storm from the Rockies begins to move towards the Mississippi Valley, said in a release.

"Surface oil washing upon beaches in Louisiana and Mississippi could be devastating for life along the coast," the company said.

While portions of Gulf Islands National Seashore are nesting grounds for four species of sea turtles, Chief Jordan said the nesting season typically doesn't arrive in earnest until June and July.


Actually, your putting the horse before the cart. The drill is an exploratory platform (in its present mode) and most likely hit a pocket of natural gas.
Also, it is NOT sinking as you describe. I agree there is ample reason to keep a close eye on the situation, but this article is just a little over reactive!

Good lord, here we go again.

Another reason to work to get off the ruddy stuff, people! Petroleum products are important to our way of life, to be sure, but we're so grossly inefficient with the stuff, and it's so damned hazardous and expensive (both in real dollars and in the "hidden costs" like pollution).

Anonymous, have you read any of the news reports lately?

I just watched the news 15 minutes ago and there is oil on the surface but it is only residual at the moment. They are keeping a close eye to make sure it doesn't spring a leak. Anon, this rig was looking for crude oil, not natural gas and it did indeed sink.

A tragic situation at any time, both in terms of loss of life and ecological impacts, but the timing of this mishap is especially interesting in light of the recent announcement of plans to increase off-shore drilling activity along both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Despite all the assurances from the drill, baby, drill camp about advances in petro-technology, oil and gas activity is risky business, and the impact (and difficulty in clean-up) of oil spills in the water (and in the case of northern Alaska, on the ice) is vastly greater than similar accidents on land.

UPDATE 7: Unified command continues to respond to Deepwater Horizon
DATE: April 25, 2010 03:14:55 EST

NEW ORLEANS - The unified command for the Deepwater Horizon Explosion Response announced Saturday that the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit was located capsized on the sea floor approximately 1500 feet northwest of the well site. Remotely Operated Vehicles located two places where oil is leaking from the well pipe and estimates indicate that up to 1,000 barrels of oil a day could be leaking into the water approximately 5,000 feet below the surface.

The unified command, consisting of the Coast Guard and Mineral Management Service, in collaboration with BP, the responsible party, are working round the clock to determine options to contain and secure the spill.

During an overflight this morning, a 20-mile by 20-mile rainbow sheen with areas of emulsified crude was located approximately 40 miles offshore. Although there is currently no shoreline impact, Gulf Coast states have been notified and invited to participate in the Area Command Center located in Robert, La. On-water recovery efforts were hampered by thunderstorms, rain and rough seas in the area today. However, onshore planning and staging efforts continue unabated and recovery efforts will continue when weather conditions improve. One-thousand-nine-hundred gallons of dispersant were applied Friday and 33,726 gallons of oily-water mix have been recovered by surface skimmers.

"Our response plan is focused on quickly securing the source of the subsurface oil emanating from the well, clean the oil on the surface of the water, and keeping the response well offshore," said Rear Adm. Mary Landry, Incident Commander and Federal On Scene Coordinator.

It is too early to know the cause of this incident but a collaborative investigation by the Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service is in progress.

BP, the responsible party, is required to fund the cost of the response and cleanup operations. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, established after the Exxon Valdez incident, is also available to fund cleanups, if needed.

The Coast Guard search and rescue operation was suspended Friday at 7 p.m. (CST). During the search, rescue personnel conducted 28 sorties and covered more than 5,000 square miles.

Gulf of Mexico - Transocean Drilling Incident

The cost of this one oil spill -- $100 million to drill the relief well, $1.6 billion in insurance losses, PLUS the cost of the wasted crude oil, PLUS the ecological problems, we could probably pay for thousands of homes to be heated with solar energy, pay the cost for all new cars that are manufactured to be hybrids, then we wouln't have this problem. Train the oil rig workers to install solar panels!!! But NOOOOO, god forbid we stopped bowing to oil companies. Gimme a break!

If the Republicans would stop all of the hippy, green living crap we could fund better drilling methods. This is the conservatives fault for not allowing free drilling in the Gulf.

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