However welcome the latest news, below, the weekend could get oily for parts of Pensacola Beach and nearby beaches. NOAA's 48-hour oil projection map, above, shows us just outside the dreaded Zone of Uncertainty. But the Mobile regional weather office reports:
Southwest Atlantic Ridge will build westward today as a tropical wave moves westward resulting in an increasing southeasterly wind flow which will persist through the period. Seas will build to 3 feet by late today and become fully developed on Saturday and remain near 3 feet through Monday when subsiding seas will occur.Heavier, sustained seas from a southerly direction are not good. We need a north wind. If near-shore seas are more moderate, however, we may get lucky again. Keep an eye on the colored flags at Pensacola Beach. Red and yellow are bad, green good.
2. Anxious Waiting, Cautious Hoping.
Harry Webber for the Associated Press has it exactly right:
BP finally gained control over one of America's biggest environmental catastrophes by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring. Engineers, politicians and Gulf residents will watch anxiously over the next day and a half to see if it holds.Locally, the PNJ relies on a report from its sister newspaper, USA Today, that adopts the same cautiousness. ["Oil Stops Flowing But Is It Over?"] Dan Vergano explains:
After nearly three months and up to 184 million gallons, the accomplishment was greeted with hope, high expectations — and, in many cases along the beleaguered coastline, disbelief. But no one was declaring victory just yet.
The success of the new cap, the best hope yet of containing the leak, still rides on pressure tests that began late Wednesday. In a metaphor for the bumpy progress of containing the disaster, the testing halted when a valve in the new cap started leaking. It was fixed, and the oil stopped flowing.Here in Pensacola, Sean Dugas supplements the national news with reactions from a few local residents.
But for how long? Engineers will monitor the pressure readings over a period of 48 hours.Looming even larger is the work on a nearby relief well that BP continues to bill as the permanent solution to stopping the spill that has triggered a $3.5 billion response.
"I think we have a long road to hoe, but this will lift people's spirits. Now we know where we stand. As long as it was flowing, it seemed like there was no hope." - Darice Langham, 40, of PensacolaCampbell Robinson and Henry Fountain in the New York Times quote another coastal resident, a fisherman from Louisiana:
"It's about time. If they would have taken care of the blowout value in the first place, we wouldn't be in this mess now. It's sad. It's just sad." - Diane Nelms, 55, of Milton
"It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a dead man in my opinion, said Jeff Ussury, 48, who considers his days as a crabber over for good. He doubted the news of the capping was even true.We don't remember cynicism being one of the stages of oil grief, but it makes sense under the circumstances. Even if the pressure tests hold, there are more hazards to be overcome. Not the least of them is the tropical storm season and what it could wash up on our shores even months after the BP oil leak is stopped at the source -- if it ever is.
“I started out kind of believing in them,” he said, “but I don’t believe in them at all anymore.”
3. Rubio's Poopy Platform.
Andy Marlette's editorial cartoon for the PNJ today reminds everyone that Republican senatorial candidate Marco Rubio still favors drilling off the Florida coast. What it reminds us about is what we've been told is an old Vaudeville joke: "Some dirty pigeon stooled on me."
Those "drill, baby, drill" pols are still out there, even if they are laying low for now. While we hope for a permanent stop to the leak, they're hoping the voters get amnesia and forget the devastation which indiscriminate deep water drilling in the Gulf can cause.
4. Europe Learns.
Having watched with horror our misfortune, the European Union is now considering a ban on deep water drilling.
5. Rebranding BP.
As we have cautioned, even if the leak has been stopped for good lasting damage has been done to the Gulf and to coastal communities in five states. Some worry that BP's image is a little dented, too.
In a parody of those authoritarian stalwarts who look forward to the day when BP once again rules MMS and drills wherever it wants however it wants, Great Britain's chapter of Greenpeace has been holding a "rebranding contest" for BP. Multiple entries have been received in the categories of Best Logo, Best Illustration, Best Wildlife, Best Slogan, and -- our favorite category -- "WTF?"
And, you get to vote for the ones you like best! Our personal favorite is in the "best slogan" category. It pokes fun at two villains with one blow:
Would you believe there was more drilling of oil wells in the very same quarter of the year BP's Deep Horizon platform blew up than in the year before? It's true, according to the American Petroleum Institute:
After posting a 22% decline in the first quarter, US oil and natural gas drilling activity staged a turnaround in Q2, with completions rising 38% from the same period of 2009, the American Petroleum Institute said in a report this week.
An estimated 10,358 oil wells, gas wells and dry holes were completed in Q2, API said.
minor edit 7-16am