SaintJoe H2O

As of June 4, 2010, the uncontrollable oil gusher from BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well is an undoubtable disaster.  As of the present time, the major news media have been covering the attempts to stop the spill from further spilling.  The reality at this point is that even IF the spill were stopped today by some new technological feat, the oil spilled today will haunt the people and the wildlife of the Gulf for some time to to come.

Scientists speak out about the event.

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the oil spill, check this Wikipedia page for up-to-date discussion of the situation.  This will likely be an important page for this year's studies of marine biology.  Therefore, if you haven't been keeping up to date in this event, you owe it to yourself as both a member of this course as well as a citizen of the United States to keep up on the unfolding story...

1)  What current articles can you find to share with the group that add to the information we need to understand this tragedy?  Find, copy and link those articles here inline to share with the rest of us.

2)  While there is little doubt as to the blame to be placed on BP (the company who owns the oil well), Transocean (the company who owns the drilling rig), and Halliburton (the oil services company who did much of the cementing work on the oil well's casing), many will also ultimately blame the US Federal government who allowed such deepwater drilling under current regulations to happen in the first place.

3)  After checking out the latest news on the oil spill (check anywhere you wish, but you might start here for a hub beyond the Wikipedia page), respond below with a discussion on one of the following questions...

*At this early point, where to do see fit to place blame for the oil spill disaster in the Gulf?  Where do you place the blame?  The oil company?  The company owning the drilling rig?  The company doing the cementing work for the well?  The United States Federal Government who is responsible for protecting US interests at home and abroad?  Please cite examples to back up your claims.

Much work will certainly be done this coming school year regarding the fallout of this epic spill ( already the largest ever in US history) and the environmental tragedy which will almost certainly come from it.  Let us use this discussion thread to debate the general issues of the spill for the time being.  We will get more specific as time goes on...

Image credits:

Oil well explosion & fire.

Oil-soaked pelican.

Tags: BP, Gulf, Gulf of Mexico, Halliburton, Transocean, oil spill

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I found this picture here.

"I don't care who made the mess, just clean it up." That’s what moms say all the time.

Why are people wasting their time pointing fingers when we need to clean up the mess we made? All they are doing is making it harder to fix the problem. Right now we are in a red alert! Whenever we are done repairing the ocean, then we can play the blame game.
I agree!!!
Way to take the super-adult level-headed position there. Seriously. I think you make a good point in saying the blame game should be secondary to a greater focus on handling the crisis head-on. That ability to stay focused on the matter at hand is a good, solid leadership skill.

I don't know... but it seems like people jumped to the blame game when they knew the result was going to be so epic that the typical shoreline response would be largely futile. And from what I still see on the news, there aren't a ton of bodies out doing any sort of clean-up.
I totally agree.
I totally agree! That is a rule of thumb everyone pretty much goes through. Therefore, the government does need to step it up before the mess spreads even more. There is no time to waste!
I agree 100%
1. Okay here are some of the sites I found:

This is a picture of all the offshore oil drilling sites in 2006 only. The white box in the picture is where they are planning to fill with other offshore drilling sites.

3. I blame the U.S. Government for not having proper ways or back up plan that works for if this ever occurred. They should have shut offs every quarter mile or so. Our government is responsible for this because they don't really have stricter restrictions or codes for offshore oil drilling. Right now it doesn't matter whose fault it is just get it cleaned up and fixed A.S.A.P. Once the problem has been fixed then America can figure out who to blame.

The website down below is a site I found that has regulations for offshore oil drilling rigs
The sawfish... corals... dolphins... turtles, etc... all very emotional stories for humans. We tend to attach much sentiment to large and rare species. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this, perhaps the far bigger issue will be the widespread effect on the tiniest organisms in the Gulf... plankton. These trillions upon trillions of tiny critters rise from the depths each night to feed. It has been often said to be the largest migration on Earth- and it happens every night. There problems here is that plankton will not be able to simply "relocate" and swim away from oil-soaked areas.

Furthermore, the widespread use of dispersants in very deep water during this spill are causing an even larger complication this time around. While this breaks up massive gluts of oil on the surface, it causes oil to spread out into countless tinier droplets. While this is supposed to allow more surface area for the naturally-occurring bacteria that can actually feed on these hydrocarbons... it also has helped to hide much of the typical surface slick of oil away from the public view. Though I'm not actually saying this strategy was a deliberate attempt to conceal the size of the spill, there is no doubt that this is the effect it has had until now. Ultimately, this strategy keeps oil deeper for longer, thus allowing more time for the toxic substances in oil to interact with the foundations of the Gulf food web. This... is what scares me more for the long term.

With regard to the image above which shows planning zones for offshore drilling in the Gulf- you are right. Those zones are areas where future drilling can take place. However, I don't want anyone to imagine that the same density of "yellow dots" depicting today's oil platforms will likely ever spread over the entire area to the same degree. Why? The short and simple answer is: the water in the Gulf generally gets deeper toward the south and east of those zones. This depth increase is no small issue. It is simply very difficult -even with remote robotic technology- to do precision work at these depths. The depth of the Deepwater Horizon well has been one of the main obstacles to capping the blown-out wellhead.

As the price of a barrel of oil has gone up, drilling in deeper and deeper water has become economically feasible. However, it is clear from this example that perhaps our current regulations as well as our understanding of the technical aspects of this type of drilling, have just not kept pace. While I think there will be some massive reparations due from these oil/drilling/services companies... I do agree that unfortunately, we have to blame the Federal government for lax oversight of this industry as a whole. Particularly when the stakes are this high.

Thanks for the thought-provoking additions...
My point with the picture was to show people all the other offshore drillling sites that have to be looked over and all the other places for errors to occur. I do agree that there are millions of small animals that are also endangered and usually without the smallest unit of life the rest of the balance is messed up.
Yes- Imagine each of those blips as a potential for further disaster. This is all the more impetus for smart regulation. We have clearly been too lax. 99.9999% of all Americans lack the knowledge required to know what level of backups and fail-safe measures are required of such work. It is this fact that proves our need for strong governmental oversight to protect our people, our economy, and our environmental resources into the future.

We're truly an oil-based economy and culture. That we will not get out of anytime soon. However, I believe that we can, and should require strict fail-safe measures and protocols for disaster of these multinational companies that reap great profits from our resources.
Educating our society would also help with the strict fail-safe measusers and protocols for diasters of this size rather than just depending on the government. This way we the people can decide how strict the measures need to be since the government already messsed it up once.
You're right. Although that is a far longer, drawn-out and difficult process... I would agree that it is ultimately the best for all of us.








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