Skip to main content

July 2, 2010 – The Oil Drum is a chat room run by professionals in the oil well drilling industry. It should come as no surprise that these folks have a lot to say about the oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. A great deal of what appears in the articles and comments has to do with the truthfulness of what BP and our government are telling us. There is, of course, a certain degree of contention among the various individuals logging in here. It can be interesting for the uninitiated as long as you don’t get too hung up on understanding the technicalities (from my point of view, who would want to? …).

One lengthy article in particular, contributed by dougr on June 13, has caused me to think about an aspect of the problem I hadn’t even realized existed. The author points out that, just as the portion of the well that we can – or could - see was destroyed, so too has the structural integrity of the well beneath the sea bed been severely compromised. Isn’t it odd – I’d never thought about that. It makes perfect sense, all the more so when dougr cites a report filed at Halliburton prior to the catastrophe stating that the Deepwater Horizon project had not adhered to Halliburton best practices with regard to building with cement. Based upon BP’s various mitigating strategies, all of them failures, dougr concludes that the well is leaking at various unseen places, and that the condition of the site continues to erode. Ultimately, he says, the outcome depends upon the successful completion of the relief well before the well falls in on itself. Go to http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6593#comment-648967 to read his very thorough analysis.

Meanwhile, a resourceful lady by the name of Mac McClelland was interviewed by Glenn Greenwald for Salon radio. McClelland has been running to ground every unanswered question she’s encountered in attempting to provide coverage of the Gulf disaster for Mother Jones magazine. In so doing, she has had repeated opportunities to observe, or hear about, BP’s unabashed thwarting of media doing their job. BP’s response to public and media curiosity has been the hiring of local police and private security firms to keep people from going where, in BP’s opinion, they shouldn’t go. McClelland has experienced this herself, time and again. She goes on to say that, while the federal government maintains that helicopter flyovers may descend to 1500 feet above the water, the enforced limit is 3000 feet. Needless to say, this makes it harder to see what is in and on the water.

She draws a comparison between the reporting of the disaster in the areas being directly affected and those further away. It makes perfect sense to know that local papers give it ongoing front page status, and that conversations she overhears have to do with only one topic: the oil spill. Seeing it, smelling it, and touching it serves, I feel sure, to heighten the immediacy to an unbearable point. With two unconfirmed suicides having already been reported, residents of the Gulf coast are suffering quietly; they never stop thinking about the hurt, and there is no end in sight. It is, after all, the only world they know that is changing before their very eyes. You can read the entire transcript of the McClelland interview at http://utdocuments.blogspot.com/2010/06/transcript-mac-mcclelland.html .

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The SunShot Initiative

In 2007, the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. was 1.1 gigawatts (GW). As of 2017, that amount has increased to 47.1 GW. Enough to power 9.1 million average American homes. If you're thinking "we've still got a long way to go," you'd be right. On the other hand, increasing installed power by 4300% deserves some attention.  How'd we do it?

The Department of Energy played an important role. In 2011, they initiated a program called The SunShot Initiative. They set targets for the years 2020 and 2030, by which times generating solar power would have become more affordable. More affordable on a utility scale, more affordable on a commercial scale, and more affordable on a residential scale. Thus far, they've succeeded in hitting the 2020 goal for utility-scale generation. Needless to mention, they reached that goal three years early. The goals, it should be mentioned, don't take subsidies into account. It's the technology, in the case of util…

Book Review: Irrevocable Acts

July 30, 2017 - Before I begin, let me mention that Jonnie Hyde is a member of the writing group I belong to, here in Vancouver, Wa. I took a stab at writing a novel about climate change awhile back; it wasn't very good, and subsequently went nowhere. Irrevocable Acts, on the other hand, is deserving of attention.

The beginning of Hyde's book is, perhaps, its only weak point: it's a bit confusing. All becomes clear as the book unfolds, and the characters are interesting, so there's no question of remaining involved. The characters hold your focus because they live their lives differently from most, yet the Sanders are a family, with three generations living under one roof: Anna, Kate, and Gracie. That family begins to unravel when the matriarch, Anna, decides she must embark, finally, on the life she was meant to live.

Anna, Danny Shepard, and Mac Caffrey have been friends most of their lives. Products of Berkeley at a time when the name Berkeley was believed to mean o…