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Gulf Oil Spill—What Might We Expect?


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View John McManus's blog posts
30 April 2010, 12:31 PM
Former reporter recalls how Exxon Valdez spill hurt wildlife
Clean-up effort during Exxon Valdez oil spill

(Earthjustice Media Director John McManus remembers what it was like covering the Exxon Valdez oil spill as a CNN journalist)

The oil now washing up on the Gulf Coast reminds me of the last big oil spill America lived through, the Exxon Valdez spill 21 years ago.

On March 24, 1989 a supertanker that had just topped with oil left the port of Valdez and crashed into a submerged rock reef in Alaska's Prince Williams Sound. Eleven million gallons of north slope crude oil gushed from the side of the ship into the Sound.

Authorities immediately discussed lighting it on fire. There was even talk of the military firing missiles at the oil slick to ignite it. But the fires never happened. Maybe it was too cold, being Alaska. Instead the oil washed up on the beaches, headlands, harbors, villages and rocks that ring this giant bay. Some of the oil washed out of the Sound and into the Gulf of Alaska, fouling beaches hundreds of miles away on Kodiak Island and beyond.

News reporters, producers and camera crews descended on the scene from around the world. I worked for CNN at the time and was one of them. Over the next six months I went back and forth to cover the spill and didn't finally make it home for the year until October. We'll likely see similar news interest in the developing spill in the Gulf. Some reporters may be on this story all summer long.

The once-huge herring schools that used to swim annually into the Sound to spawn were poisoned by the oil. Their numbers plummeted and have not recovered to this day. Three years after the oil spill scientists documented suppressed immune systems in these critical food fish that made them sucseptible to disease.

If the fish species at the base of the food chain in the Gulf of Mexico are badly hurt by the spill, as the herring were in Alaska, one can safely assume all dependent species higher on the food chain, including humans, could be badly hurt for many years to come.

Herring are a small fish that naturally school in large numbers. They are a main source of food for other fish and wildlife up the food chain. Sea lions love to eat them, so do salmon, halibut, sea birds and many other species. The hit to herring was a very hard hit to all wildlife in the Sound. Before the spill there were an estimated 120,000 tons of herring that would spawn annually in Prince William Sound. Today, there are an estimated 20,000 tons of herring. The Sound supported a number of vibrant, economically robust commercial fisheries prior to the spill. Herring, salmon and other species provided for a good living for many fishing families. Things are very different there today.

Oil still persists in Prince William Sound. Last time I was back to check on the Sound was in 1999. We could still easily find oil under rocks on many beaches. The stuff was still sticky and extremely hard to get off your hands or clothes.

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading
omegle

I live on Cedar Key, Fl. in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been involved in aquaculture since 1996, raising hardshell clams (Mercenaria Mercenaria) on 14 acres in the Gulf of Mexico I employ eight people planting, harvesting, processing, and shipping clams all over the U.S. and to Canada. I am extremely concerned bout this BP oil spill. I have begun making arrangements to move some of ny nursery clams to waters on the east coast of Florida. sesli sohbet

Boycott BP for crimes against the environment

There comes a time when being complacent is the same as being complicit. A month has gone by since the explosion caused by BP's ineptitude to drill slowly and properly according to guidelines in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then we have been lied to as to how much oil is gushing into the gulf. BP had announced this accident was not a possibility. Therefore, there was no plan A or B in case of an eventuality of this magnitude. The top hat didn't work, what a surprise. The golf balls and tiers didn't work and the chemicals more dangerous than the oil spill did not work. BP is content to send their lawyers to Washington to blame others. It's their rig,and it was their stupidity to drill too fast that caused the worst oil spill ever.

The only thing BP understands is the bottom line, the old wallet. So I propose a Boycott of all BP Gas stations immediately and to continue until the spill is completely cleaned up and retribution has been made to all the gulf industries that will be destroyed and to the wildlife that has already started to wash up on our shores. Turtles, Dolphins, fish, birds dead.

Boycott BP and please forward this e-mail to all your friends. Especially to those in the Gulf States. Twitter, Blog and e-mail. Lets show them they can't destroy our wild life and fishing industry with out retribution.

Thank you Dolores Whitelaw

An attainable scapegoat has been identified to blame the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill on. BP has taken accountability for cleaning the mess and Transocean has taken some of the responsibility as well, however both companies are looking at Halliburton, a cement organization. The Halliburton oil spill is said to have been a result of negligence on the company who was employed to cement the oil well. When the oil well isn't cemented appropriately chemicals can trickle out causing an explosion. There have been a number of other oil explosions blamed on this process as well. Halliburton has claimed to have concluded their work merely 20 hours prior to the explosion, but takes no liability for the oil spill or blast that possibly killed 11 people.

This is so awful. When the hell are people going to learn... Everyone is so damned concerned with the political take on it... Screw the politics! There are real people that are going to lose everything and innocent animals that are going to die while we slowly kill this planet in the name of greed. I swear I'm ashamed to be an American and even a human at this point. It really disgusts me. By the time we get our priorities straight, it will be too late. (IF, IF we get our priorities straight)
I lived in Pensacola FL for 9 years. This is truly a tragedy. We have not yet begun to see the full extent of this damage. Mother Earth won't be so forgiving.

On another note, If half the energy that went into discussing future oil policy, was applied to finding a way to stop the gushing of oil from the ocean floor, then I think they just might get somewhere, with their supposed "efforts".

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is an accident... could it of been prevented? Maybe. What is for sure is BP et al are responsible... offering $10/hour wages for labor in 2010 is not acceptable.. they paid $25/hour 21 years ago in Alaska... do you see a trend of events and policies? BP chose to not use the best technology Blowout Preventer with a secondary acoustic control to close the well head - now they are paying a Billion dollar bill because they saved a few hundred of millions. I called to advise about a great petroleum absorbent - ABSORBENT W - manufactured in Washington State that really works... I was told they they had everything under control... OMG - and the oil is hitting the beaches and marshes... BS BS BS - take a look at the technology for yourself - let every local news station you know about it so the public is informed that BP is not working in good faith to clean up the oild spill in an ecological way - watch the video and decide for yourself click this link: http://www.socksandpads.com/videos.html
NO DRILLING IN THE ARCTIC!!!

I live on Cedar Key, Fl. in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been involved in aquaculture since 1996, raising hardshell clams (Mercenaria Mercenaria) on 14 acres in the Gulf of Mexico I employ eight people planting, harvesting, processing, and shipping clams all over the U.S. and to Canada. I am extremely concerned bout this BP oil spill.

I have begun making arrangements to move some of ny nursery clams to waters on the east coast of Florida. This is costly and extremely time consuming. I have already heard from numerous customers that they will look into alternate sources from which to purchase their clams until it is clear how big a problem this is going to turn out to be, and how Cedar Key will survive this tragedy. Even without being inundated with the contaminated water from the spill (yet), my business has been negatively affected. If this contamination does engulf our waters here in Cedar Key, it will more than likely be the death of this industry!! I pray this does not happen, but as I've said, even now, at this point my business has been hurt and this is costing real money.

I would like to know of a qualified Law Firm that woluld be interested in representing my company. I don't think it is too soon to begin planning for the worst (while hoping for the best).

I am all ears and would appreciate comments.

Thank You;
CR

I live on Cedar Key, Fl. in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been involved in aquaculture since 1996, raising hardshell clams (Mercenaria Mercenaria) on 14 acres in the Gulf of Mexico I employ eight people planting, harvesting, processing, and shipping clams all over the U.S. and to Canada. I am extremely concerned bout this BP oil spill.

I have begun making arrangements to move some of ny nursery clams to waters on the east coast of Florida. This is costly and extremely time consuming. I have already heard from numerous customers that they will look into alternate sources from which to purchase their clams until it is clear how big a problem this is going to turn out to be, and how Cedar Key will survive this tragedy. Even without being inundated with the contaminated water from the spill (yet), my business has been negatively affected. If this contamination does engulf our waters here in Cedar Key, it will more than likely be the death of this industry!! I pray this does not happen, but as I've said, even now, at this point my business has been hurt and this is costing real money.

I would like to know of a qualified Law Firm that woluld be interested in representing my company. I don't think it is too soon to begin planning for the worst (while hoping for the best).

I am all ears and would appreciate comments.

Thank You;
CR

This is extremely bad news for the Gulf Coast. I am guessing that a substantial portion of our Countries seafood comes out of the gulf. I know that oyster, blue crab, shrimp, flounder, speckled trout, snapper, baracuda, and many other species will be affected. Making matters worse, spring time is usually when many species are in breeding around the marshlands. I know many species of gulf bird produce offspring around this time. I suspect an entire generation of gulf bird will be lost. The surf is also predicted on Magicseaweed.com to be coming in at 5-10 foot offshore for the next week making matters much worse. I could see the slick covering the vast majority of the gulf coast all the way from LA to Tampa bay within the next week.

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