Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tarballs Today: Early Wednesday June 2 BP Oil Spill Update

“It’s inevitable that we will see it on the beaches.”
-- Keith Wilkins, Escambia County Neighborhood Services

1. Oil Expected on Pensacola Beach as Early as Today.

Escambia County's Disaster Response team warned late yesterday afternoon that the leading edge of BP's oil slick was only nine and a half miles offshore and could reach Pensacola Beach as early as today. The Panama City News Herald notes that the warning "conflicted with the official forecast released by NOAA and the state of Florida on Tuesday morning, which did not predict oil reaching Pensacola beaches within the next 72 hours."

A beach friend who monitors local message boards tells us there were scattered reports from others of a smell of oil in the air. We personally were gobsmacked with a strong jolt of oil odor about 3pm yesterday near Live Oaks National Park, just east of Gulf Breeze.

The smell didn't affect most of Gulf Breeze so far as we could detect, but where the odor was detectable it was so acrid it brought tears to the eyes; not from the emotion of the moment but from a physical reaction to the truly revolting smell. By week's end, we will not be surprised if all of coastal Escambia County could stink like some lower circle in Dante's hell.

The News Herald also reports that Escambia County Health officials are again warning "sensitive" residents "may experience eye, nose and throat irritation from exposure to the fumes."
People with pre-existing respiratory conditions should stay inside an air-conditioned home with the windows closed if they experience symptoms from the fumes, Health Department officials said. Affected individuals should consult their doctors if symptoms persist.
No fooling: this oil stuff smells absolutely awful, worse than we could have imagined.

2. 'Moonpie Beach.'

Many have been wondering how Pensacola Beach likely will look like when the oil reaches us. Unfortunately, courtesy of WALA-TV in Mobile, we can give you some idea based on how Dauphin Island's beaches looked yesterday as the first, lighter wave of oil washed ashore.

Every beach is different, of course, and much may depend on water currents and wind. Considering that Dauphin Island is seeing only the older, lighter crude right now, however, it's horrific for lovers of Pensacola Beach to imagine a shore like beach goers at Dauphin Island found yesterday:

3. Don't Go Fish.

Yesterday afternoon, NOAA closed more Gulf of Mexico waters to fishing. The official announcement begins:
NOAA has extended the northern and southern boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the slick moving into waters off eastern Alabama and the western tip of the Florida panhandle, as well as some large patches of sheen moving onto the west Florida shelf and southward to Cuban waters.

This federal closure does not apply to any state waters. * * * The closed area now represents 75,920 square miles, which is slightly more than 31 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters.

Click the photo, above left, for the latest don't-go-fishing map.

4. BP Remediation.

Shortly before Midnight last night, Jim Polson of Bloomberg News was reporting that "BP PLC has decided not to attach a second blowout preventer on its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts to end the flow are over until the relief wells are finished, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Thad Allen, who spoke at a press conference today."

5. P.R.

CNN reports that Coast Guard Commander Thad Allen no longer will participate with BP spokesmen in joint press briefings:
Allen, the administration's point man on the oil spill, later told reporters in New Orleans that his job is to speak "very frankly with the American public."

"I think we need to be communicating with the American people through my voice as the national incident commander," he said.

The move come amid growing frustration from the White House that BP is delivering inaccurate information and not being transparent, said the senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of not being identified by name.

One official said the last straw was Saturday, when BP officials downplayed the possibility that the amount of oil flowing could actually increase from BP's latest strategy to cut the broken pipe and cap the leak
If true, it's a welcome move. Watching Admiral Allen stand by while BP's flack-catchers poured oil in the eyes of journalists was almost as distressing as seeing the journalists swallow the lies whole.

The oil company long ago proved unworthy of anyone's trust. The federal government's decision to offer separate briefings is long overdue.
minor edit 6-02 am

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So they are just gonna stand by and "comment separately" while BP poisons and destroys the Gulf of Mexico. How noble of them.