Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BP Oil Plumes Confirmed, Why the Concern, and Hollywood Helpers

Photo shows Lophelia Reef Diversity from
the U.S. Geological Survey's 2008 Gulf
of Mexico deep water characterization.
Per CNN, Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms that the BP oil spill is producing plumes of oil beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
Analysis of water from three sites show that "there is definitely oil sub surface" in "very low concentrations. ... We suspected that, but it's good to have confirmation," Lubchenco said.
The CNN story continues saying that BP earlier denied the existence of plumes. I mentioned that denial in a May post via information at WWL TV.

BP's CEO Tony Hayward told media in May that there were no plumes. He declared "BP's sampling showed 'no evidence' that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface." As I wrote earlier today, Hayward's been replaced as the BP spokesperson on the spill in U.S. by Bob Dudley. But Federal officials were also skeptical about reports from independent scientists who warned of plumes in May, even Lubcheco said there were no plumes, according to Newsweek:
NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco, a respected oceanographer when President Obama tapped her to lead the agency, insists there are no plumes, only "anomalies"—though last week she acknowledged the possibility of oil beneath the surface.
Still, why should we be anymore concerned about plumes than we are about surface oil getting into the wetlands and onto our beaches? The same article at Newsweek provides the following:
"I'm not too worried about oil on the surface," says chemist Ed Overton of Louisiana State University. "It's going to cause very substantial and noticeable damage—marsh loss and coastal erosion and impact on fisheries, dead birds, dead turtles—but we'll know what that is. It's the things we don't see that worry me the most. What happens if you wipe out all those jellyfish down there? We don't know what their role is in the environment. But Mother Nature put them there for a reason," and many are in the plumes' paths.
Read the full article at its website.

Last night Avatar director James Cameron appeared on CNN's Larry King Live, offering help, saying due to his work on the oscar-winning Titanic, he knows people who do deep water camera work at depths much greater than the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. He thinks BP and the government should tap these professionals.

According to an AP story at the Times Picayune, Cameron met with federal officials about his ideas. He's fascinated by the deep ocean.

Here's video of Cameron on King's show.

In addition, you may have heard that Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser likes the idea of using a "Kevin Costner-type machine" to suck off some oil. The Hollywood star came down last month promoting a "a $24 million oil-water separator," per NOLA.com.

On a more positive. less political note, the New Orleans Saints are raffling off a Super Bowl ring in hopes of raising $1 million to help people affected by the oil spill in the Gulf, reports ABC and other sources.

Here is Saints Quarterback Drew Brees discussing his concerns about the oil spill, in particular the threat to our state bird, the brown pelican.

Saints Rally to Support Coastal Louisiana

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