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. AccuWeather.com 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 AccuWeather.com.

AccuWeather.com 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, AccuWeather.com 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.

Comments

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
TRANSOCEAN LTD.

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.

Being from Jersey, I'm pretty good at sensing sarcasm, which is what your comment amounts to, right James?

What gets me is that in todays technological age we still have to go and get submarines to have shut off valves on the bottom of these things. Why have they not found a way to close the well. All wells should have some backup system if not having a 3rd backup. Ex. having a hardwired cutoff valve near the bottom and if that were to fail having an easy way to send something, or having a computer program with sensor that could cut the well off....

Conservatives!?!?!?! It's their (your) fault we're in this slimy mess. I've got a better drilling method for you. It's called a frontal lobotomy. Too bad it will be empty like every other conservatives head. This oil rig is a prime example why we should have another civil war. Conservatives should not be part of my country.

Just because George W Bush stopped drilling in the Gulf when in office and Joe Scarborough killed a bill to allow drilling the Gulf doesn't mean that it's our fault. I'm a life long Republican and didn't vote for Obama but now that he's in office we get an oil spill. DO THE MATH!!!

To the ones fussing about McCain, Sara, and the republican, I just heard today (Wed. 28 2010) that Obama made a speech on March 31st that he wants and has planned on more offshore drilling. See the video for yourself. here~~~> http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/03/31/obama.energy/

I'm so tired of everyone blaming each other. Blaming Mccain, Blaming republicans, blaming Sara, Blaming conservatives, Blaming everyone but themselves. We are all GUILTY! All plastics are made out of oil. I'm sure everyone here today had used something made out of plastic today. We all drive. We all use electricity. We all travel. I'm sure your not on horseback when you travel! So Everyone needs to shut the hell up and blame themselves. I live near the gulf coast and I'm pissed because our beautiful white sandy beaches are being threatened and wildlife is being threatened and also our seafood. Most people bitching about the republican don't have to worry about all this. I can give a rat's ass about Republican, Tea parties, Democrats and what other parties are out there. We are all in this together as humans living in a country call America. Instead of blaming and finger pointing, why don't you get off your ass. Go to school. and lets invent something new. Let's change the world. Lets think in ways we have never thought before about energy, movement and technology. I am trying myself. For us, our kids, the human race.

A young teenager came up to a old man and said, "We have cell phones, Video games, Lap tops, Ipods, All kinds of Gadgets and Awesome cars. You old guys all had none of this stuff."
The old man replied, "Your right. We did not have any of those cool things, But we invented them. What will you invent for your kids?"

"I'm a life long Republican and didn't vote for Obama but now that he's in office we get an oil spill. DO THE MATH!!!"

The math would appear to be that you are mathematically incapable of not blaming Obama?

"I'm so tired of everyone blaming each other. Blaming Mccain, Blaming republicans, blaming Sara, Blaming conservatives, Blaming everyone but themselves. We are all GUILTY!"

I can tell you one thing, i wasn't on that damn rig so i had nothing to do with it. I'm Not Guilty! Not to mention I barely use any oil in my car. maybe an oil change here or there, so I damn sure had nothing to do with it.

One of the first things Saint Ronnie Reagan did upon assuming office was remove the solar panels from the W.H. and eliminate the programs that helped fund solar energy research as well as the subsidies for people to install solar panels. It is the Repubs who are joined at the hip to Exxon and have backed their campaign to deny the science behind global warming. It is the conservatives who have consistently screamed for more drilling. Conservatives, bought and paid for by big oil, run the legislatures of Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Alabama and welcomed with open arms oil rigs off their coasts. Conservatives are the ones who consistently ridicule any attempt to wean ourselves from oil or to prevent drilling near our shores. Republicans have always been consistent and reliable water boys for big oil.

Yes, Obama is a spineless wimp and far too concerned with "bi-partisanship". He needs to tell the Republicans to go pound salt. They have nothing to contribute but obfuscation and obstruction. But the vast majority of the blame for our continued dependence on oil, and our inefficient and dirty use of it lies squarely with the Republicans.

I've lived in Florida for 50 years and it's been a perpetual battle with Republicans to keep drilling rigs away from our shores. What little support that has come from Republicans has been been solely attributable to the fact that so many of them are owned by the tourist industry lobby. The few Florida Republicans who oppose drilling in the Gulf near our shores have done it not out of any environmental concern, but strictly as a cost/benefit calculation for the benefit of the tourism industry. If these Fla. Republicans were in the aforementioned Gulf States, they would all be chanting "drill baby drill" just like their counterparts in Mississippi, et. al.

Who is it that constantly ridicules "environmental-whackos"? Who fights increased fuel efficiency standards every time they're brought up? Who propagandizes against alternative fuels and environmental protections as "burdensome" or "too costly" or "unrealistic". Here's a clue; Conservatives. Conservatives are only interested in conserving the wealth of the wealthy and the power of the powerful. Even the name that supposedly characterizes them is a fraud. There is no longer any conservation ethic in conservatives. There hasn't been for at least 30 years. Teddy Roosevelt would be spinning in his grave.

Are some Democrats complicit in this? Sure, there are a few whores in any party. But the vast bulk of the responsibility lies with the free-market fundamentalist bootlickers and oil whores in the Republican Party.
So, you posters who insist on trying to draw false equivalencies can just clam up. Drawing false equivalencies regarding all sorts of issues has become a favored M.O. with wingnuts, encouraged by the propagandists on right-wing radio and Faux News, for too long now.

If I hear another defense of indefensible Republican behavior that rests upon that ridiculous refrain "both parties do it" one more time, to quote your favorite wingnut, my head will explode.

I live right in the center of the target area this is so hard for everyone to see the impact on the enviroment. Sea Birds are nesting right now thousands of them and most of them will be lost. The local sea food industry will be devistated and will not recover for years if not decades. The estuarys and salt water marshes will be destroyed cutting off the food chain for the Gulf of Mexico and it cannot be cleaned up. This is more damaging than the worst hurricane in history someone better act fast and spare no expence in trying to save anything that we can.

Is Obama Republican? No! I'm not blaming anyone but fox news for blowing this out of proportion. If Bill Oreilly hadn't jumped on this so fast the oil spill probably wouldn't be as big as it is now, who knows? I think the real enemy here is plastics. Once all the oils gone how are we going to charge anything with no credit cards? I can't really swipe my Visa solar power at the check out now can I.

What part of plastic is made from oil don't you understand? If you use plastic,you use oil.

It's not quite that simple, Anon. Many thousands of tons of plastic are not made from petroleum at all, but rather from renewable biomass such as corn starch or vegetable oils. These materials are called bioplastics, and you are going to see more and more of them in the future.

Bob, What's the source of the energy to convert those raw materials to bioplastics? Maybe oil?

We are all part of the problem. We all consume energy, and most of us have no control over where that energy comes from. When you turn on a light switch you are at the mercy of the local utility and wherever or however they decide is the most economical for them to get the electricity at that moment. Might be nuclear, coal-fired power plant, a large dam on the Colorado River...whatever. Unless you are totally self sufficient, unless you grow all of your own food, make your own clothes from the wool of sheep that you have raised, make your shoes from the leather of cattle that you have raised.......if you ever buy anything in a store, or travel by any means other than walking....then you are part of the problem.

Ride a bike? Good for you (so do I). Where do you think the bicycle came from? Materials that were mined and manufactured and transported to your local bike shop by a fossil fuel burning truck.

Lars, I'm not unfamiliar with the central thrust of your argument. I taught a course on sustainable earth concepts and practices for many years, and when I could find the time for it, I wrote instructors manuals and student guides for environmental texts. I'm now retired and no longer preach the gospel (I'll leave that task to enthusiasts like yourself), but I still try to live by sustainable earth principles.

I have something to say on this subject. For the one whom suggested the rigs be safer, they are. Exactly what you describe is what we have on these rigs. That's right, I work in the GoM and am proud of it. I am actually educated too for that one who things we need more education. I am a Medic and Safety Officer onboard a rig that was close enough to watch the Deepwater Horizon explode, burn, and sink. To say that we had sorrowful hearts out here is to put it mildly. This affected every person working in the oil field. But more importantly it affected the lives of all 126 crew members that were on that rig, especially the 11 men that were lost at sea to this horrific accident. You dont blame the President for this accident. The technology on these rigs is outstanding. There is a manual shut off on the Blow Out Preventer Stack (BOP Stack) tha is located on the ocean floor of this well. It can not be activated. There are computers that sense this and set off alarms. And then there is the man behind all the buttons. Unfortunately the equipment is made by man and sometimes does not provide the security it is designed to do. This well blow out happened so fast that the men had less than 4 minutes to react and 10 minutes to muster and escape. I personally know men that were on that rig that had to jump because they couldn't make it to the lifeboats fast enough. I am friends with family of two of the men that lost there lives trying to stop the blow out. Please remember that lives were lost in attempt to stop this from happening. And for the tree huggers and environmentalist out there, try wiping your arse with bark instead of toiler paper. Bio fuels are a grand thing, I agree. Solar power is awesome. But do you realize that it takes more energy from hydrocarbons to produce those products than those same products will produce. We need development of new energy sources for certain. But until that time comes, we are dependent upon fossil fuels. Drilling is safer than it has ever been. This accident is a rare occurrence. The impact the spill will have is of great importance to our coastal states. I grew up on the beaches of South Louisiana and love to bring my children to Alabama and Florida. So I understand how this will impact us, but to go off half cocked and argue about whom is to blame is just crazy people. There will always be drilling no matter who is in office. The thing here is 11 men lost there lives, wives, sons, daughters, and parents lost their loved ones. 115 men and their families will be forever affected by this tragedy as well. If you have any doubt as to who this tragedy affects the most. There are some videos on the Facebook website and a Condolences page on Transoceans website. Go to Facebook, search Deepwater Horizon, see the faces of the men that lost their lives.

This just points to the need for a clean alternative to oil. Ethanol is the answer. No beaches were ever closed due to an ethanol spill.

I totally agree with you...Thanks for letting us all know that we are all responsible...:)

Drilling may be safer than it's ever been, but it isn't safe enough. This same thing that is being touted as extremely rare (a seafloor well spewing uncontrollably) happened in Australia nine months ago. There have been something like 40 blowouts in the Gulf Of Mexico over the last 20 years. Of course the mechanical fail-safe is going to fail sooner or later. And it will fail again.

tsk. what are we doing people! look at us now

I live in mary esther florida, I've lived near the ocean my whole life, from the florida keys to west palm beach... it seems like some kind of propaganda is going on... official sources are saying the water is fine, the truth is it is better hidden being more mixed with the water as it rises 5000 feet... 2 days ago a small pocket of well mix oil and water flowed into the inter coastal... it had a darker tint, and slippery oil like feel it didnt even smell like salt water... I went to a different beach 10 miles away... and it was a entirely different story with clean water.. they can test one beach a hour after a report and it could have moved by then.. it was a small pocket porpoises have died and sea turtles... what did they check for black oil on them... this is a different type of oil spill then before... its better blended in the ocean

That wouldn't be a bad idea for you to do. (1) In 2003, Bush wants to "fast-track" drilling in Alaska and the West Coast and eases regulations in addition to allowing the oil industry to monitor itself. (2) In 2008, he makes a proposal to congress to lift the OCS drilling ban & when they vote his proposal down, he lifts the drilling ban by executive order. The government, a year ago, warned that gas buildup was a concern and BP in its infinite wisdom declared a year ago that gas buildup was likely to pose only a "negligible" risk. Who monitors that risk? BP.

Documents show (a 52-page exploration plan and environmental analysis, conducted by - you guessed it - BP) that it was virtually impossible for an accident to occur. (Gee I wonder a company such as BP would downplay the potential for an accident on their oil rig. Maybe the people GOP which was so enthusiastic about BP monitoring itself can address that question.)

According to workers who are being investigated - other than internally by BP - the rig had intermittent trouble for SEVERAL WEEKS with pocket after pocket of highly flammable gas forcing its way up the pipes and that there were several loudspeaker announcements calling for a halt to "hot work" meaning any smoking or work with welding or use of fire.

n an attempt to move the stalled climate change bill - stalled by Republicans - Obama signaled (which isn't anywhere near an incessant "drill baby drill" mantra) that he would allow drilling 50 miles off Virginia PROVIDED coastlines are protected which would include conducting studies of the mid-atlantic outer continental shelf and determining not only the quantity of potential oil and gas resources but seismic exploration. He also said that drilling off Virginia's coast would be delayed past the proposed 2011 drilling date.

That's hardly the green light Bush gave when he lifted the OCS ban in 2008 by executive order after the majority in Congress in 2008 refused to pass his proposal to lift the ban.

Take responsibility where responsibility should be taken. The campaign platform of "DRILL BABY DRILL" along with the GWBush Administration's lifting the ban and easing regulations which included allowing BP to monitor itself are directly linked to this ecological catastrophe.

We are all guilty, to a certain extent - but it's particularly irresponsible when we ignore causal relationships.

I know there are a lot of Republicans out there who are slow-thinkers and the thought of high speed rail is just too much for them to get their minds around, but isn't it time to at least THINK about railways for freight and commuting without the attempt to consider it getting shouted down by the party of NO?

Editor's note: With all due respect, there are some Democrats who are slow thinkers as well. The GOP doesn't have a monopoly on that.

Well, BP's containment box scheme failed. Big tar balls are now washing up on Alabama beaches, and the oil is spreading east to Florida. The danger to the ecosystem is imminent. All this political bloviating is childish in the face of such a colossal disaster. It's nothing compared to the lickin we're about to get from Mother Earth. And she won't care whose fault it is.

Future generations will likely not survive to invent anything new in an environment polluted by the natural gas industry. Onshore Gas Drilling Pollution Disasters have compromised water from toxic chemicals used in drilling fluids. The government exempted the Poisons from being included in water testing! An underground live video cam can show where toxic drilling chemical end up...in your next sip of water, in your bath water near gas drilling? Spread the word: Humans, wildlife and aquatic life are being polluted by toxic chemicals while the government and corporations legally loot and pollute. This is an onshore gas drilling environmental crime! We are not environmentalist, just ordinary citizens who have seen the truth of buried secrets. We don't believe or trust anyone who believes in fossil fuels and "Riches". You can't clean dirty water offshore or onshore! See what we have learned about gas drilling pollution, same story onshore but most people including the president is clueless to toxic brews.
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I hate to call people retareded. So Rich, I just have to tell you that you are uneducated. Gasoline comes from oil wells. Even if you never change your oil you are still using oil when you drive your big gas eating SUV. So since you use gasoline (oil) you are demanding that we drill and search for more oil. Since we have drilled all of it from the land, and off shore, we are now into deep water. So we are all in trouble.

Rich Watts, your just as much to blame as everyone else is at fault.

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