Deep Horizon oil spill to escape the Gulf of Mexico

A NASA satellite image shows that the worst-case scenario for the Deep Horizon slick is becoming a reality: the oil has entered the Loop Current.

The NASA image below shows that the worst-case scenario for the Deep Horizon slick is becoming a reality. The slick is easily visible near the Gulf shoreline. I’ve added a red line that shows you what I’m talking about. The slick has developed a tail, and the end of that tail is curving south-east. That means the oil has entered the Loop Current.

Satellite image showing the Deep Horizon slick entering the Loop Current.
Satellite image showing the Deep Horizon slick entering the Loop Current.

The Loop Current will carry the oil down around the tip of Florida, through the Keys, and up the eastern coast of the continent. Beaches and oceanfront habitats all along the East Coast are now in danger.

A Hydrocarbon Chernobyl

In this clip from CNN.com, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar cites Chernobyl as a comparable disaster to the Deep Horizon spill. Who wants to bet that he’ll regret using that analogy?

In this clip from CNN.com, Wolf Blitzer asks Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar “When will the oil spill end?” Salazar admits it could be months. In the end, he cites Chernobyl as a comparable disaster. Who wants to bet that he’ll regret using that analogy?

 
The thing is, he’s not the first one to notice the similarities. Dmitry Orlov outlines them with great clarity, coming to a conclusion that any realist will admit is all too likely:

The energy industry has run out of convenient, high-quality resources to exploit, and is now forced to turn to resources it previously passed over: poor, dirty, difficult, expensive resources such as tar sands, heavy oil, shale, and deep offshore. Under relentless pressure to do more with less, people are likely to try to cut corners wherever possible, and environmental safety is likely to suffer. Before it finally crashes, the huge final effort to wring the last few drops of energy out of a depleted planet will continue to serve up bigger and bigger disasters.

When I ignore my friends harassing me about not driving a car, each time I spend a few extra dollars on CFL or LED lighting, and every time I pack my reusable bags before heading to the grocery store, blunting this upcoming catastrophe is the greatest motivator for my actions. I know I’m not the only one, but I’m afraid there aren’t enough of us.

Deep Horizon: pictures worth a thousand words.

Images of the fire, and diagram and video showing what happened when the rig sank, and what BP is trying to do to fix it.

Horizon Fire photograph from Americablog.com.
Horizon Fire photograph from Americablog.com. Click through for many more.

After the jump, a diagram & video showing what happened when the rig sank, and what BP is trying to do to fix it.

Continue reading “Deep Horizon: pictures worth a thousand words.”

Today, Puerto Rico. Tomorrow, Texas.

I think you can be sure that the full scope of the Deep Horizon crisis hasn’t yet penetrated the American consciousness. This could be a environmental and economic disaster that makes Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath look pedestrian.

While the Times Square car bomb momentarily shifted focus from the ongoing crisis in the Gulf, I think you can be sure that the full scope of the Deep Horizon crisis hasn’t yet penetrated the American consciousness.

AP Photo of Deep Horizon spill, by Patrick Semansky.
AP Photo of Deep Horizon spill, by Patrick Semansky. Click through for more.

This morning, many news sites are comparing the surface area of the spill to the island of Puerto Rico. It’s been what, 15 days since the spill started? The spill will eclipse the Exxon Valdez spill by this time next week, for sheer volume. My sources say it could be another 30 days before BP manages to stem the flow, if they can at all. Ken Salazar’s worst case scenario is a relief well that’s 90 days out.

Tourism to the Gulf is drying up. The Gulf fishing industry is already severely impacted, because they can’t fish in oily water, and the oil’s effects on fish populations are impossible to measure or predict. The same is true of the Gulf oyster industry, and now they’re saying that the oil could escape the Gulf and travel up the East Coast. This could be a environmental and economic disaster that makes Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath look pedestrian.

My friends are constantly nagging me about buying a car. Right now, I’m confident that staying a mass transit commuter is the most responsible thing I’ve done in years.