Yesterday, officials were predicting the eastern edge of the BP oil spill would arrive in Florida tomorrow. Today, the News Journal reports that "Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Sole said Saturday that the slick will likely not hit Florida's coast until Tuesday or Wednesday." Or maybe not, the paper admits. "Those estimates could change depending on wind and currents in the Gulf of Mexico."
Is there any doubt no one knows when, how, or what is really going on?
2. New York Car Bomb Eclipses BP Oil Spill.
The big news today, of course, isn't about the Gulf Coast and the floating oil monster headed our way. It's about the car bomb that emptied Times Square last night.
This is a useful heads-up for coastal residents. The time is fast approaching when it won't be "Gone but not forgotten" but the reverse: "Forgotten but not gone."
That's what to expect in a week or two as what passes these days for the U.S. News Machine tires of the BP oil spill... all the dead fish and animals... the stinky air.... the foul water.... all the discouraged people... and just quietly slips out the door and moves on.
3. Early Warning.
Some of the more well informed reporting on the causes of the leak and the negligence of the oil company, however, is coming out of Great Britain. The London Times is reporting that BP was warned of rig fault 10 years ago":
BP faces fresh questions over the cause of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after it emerged that problems with the type of equipment that led to the disaster were first reported a decade ago.4. Lasting Effects.
In June 2000, the oil giant issued a "notice of default" to Transocean, the operator of the rig that blew up last month. The dispute was over problems with a blowout preventer, a set of iron slabs that should close out-of-control wells. It failed on the Gulf of Mexico rig, triggering the explosion and oil spill.
Transocean acknowledged at the time that the preventer did "not work exactly right". The rig in question, the Discover Enterprise, was unable to operate for extended periods while the problem was fixed.
The U.K. Guardian -- formerly known as the Manchester Guardian -- explains why the BP oil spill will live on... and on... and on, even as the corporate news cycle leaves us behind:
Crews have struggled for days without success to activate the well's underwater shut-off valve using remotely operated vehicles. They also are drilling a relief well in hopes of injecting mud and concrete to seal off the leak, but that could take three months.5. The Stink of Oil.
The prospect of oil pouring into the gulf for such a period could have horrifying effects on wildlife, added [Liverpool University Prof. Chris] Frid. "That part of the gulf's coastline consists of a sedimentary shore with lots of muddy inlets. The oil will penetrate into the mud, and because it contains no oxygen the oil will not biodegrade. For generations, any disturbance of the sediment will bring oil back to the surface and that will happen over a very large area." [emphasis added]
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has fired up a new web site dedicated to reporting air quality along the Gulf Coast. Chief concerns are "particulate matter" like smoke in the air, ozone levels, and what the scientists call "volatile organic compounds." That's what the rest of know as "really bad smells."
6. Prize Winner.
As we mentioned last night, Mineral Management Services, the U.S. Interior Department agency in charge of
Turns out, last year's winner was BP Corp.'s chief executive officer Daryl Luoma. He couldn't be present this year, but he should'a been a shoe-in to repeat BP's triumph. Last year, MMS handed Luoma the award for his "innovative and visionary approach" to something called "extended-reach drilling technology."
How much more 'extended' can your drilling 'reach' be than sending an oil slick the size of France all the way to Pensacola Beach?