Friday, February 28, 2014

Deepwater and media hype...

Roughly four years ago I stood at the 2010 Shad Planking handing out information and discussing with people the need for the United States to Drill for more oil here within the United States. There still remains solid reasons and benefits for us to pursue this option to secure our energy future and to improve the economy but the focus and discussions have changed...

The tent was busy and even with it being located away from the main aisle of the Planking event, there was good traffic and interest as well as a wind power booth not far away. Interesting how the focus has changed since then and there was little if any talk of "Fracking" for Natural Gas back then. In that short time Natural Gas use has increased considerably and many electric generation plants have changed from Coal to NatGas to make their electricity. A by-product of this change has been the reduction of CO2 gas which many claim is the reason for "Global Warming" and then "Global Climate Change". Our President has been quick to note the reduction of CO2 but fails to mention it is due to the increased use of Natural Gas via "Fracking" and the mainstream media is willing to avoid asking him the hard questions as they should....

Ironically during this event several of us were monitoring news reports of a offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that had a explosion and was still on fire. The "Deepwater Horizon" incident was to become a major environmental, political, and technological incident, regarding deep water drilling for oil and natural gas. Reports now put it at over 210 million gallons of oil released into the Gulf waters over several weeks and several attempts to "cap" the well.

Without a doubt the Deepwater Horizon incident was major and resulted in a detrimental impact to the environment but not anywhere near what the media predicted during and since. A U.S. Government report estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels (210 million US gal) but that went into a substantial volume of water which diluted it greatly. The impressive thing is how “Mother Nature” took control of this “disaster” and repaired herself.

The Deepwater Horizon oil provided a new source of nutrients in the deepest waters," explained Hazen, who is with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. "With more food present in the water, there was a population explosion among those bacteria already adapted to using oil as a food source. It was surprising how fast they consumed the oil. In some locations, it took only one day for them to reduce a gallon of oil to a half gallon. In others, the half-life for a given quantity of spilled oil was 6 days. This data suggests that a great potential for intrinsic bioremediation of oil plumes exists in the deep sea and other environs in the Gulf of Mexico."

 Oil-eating bacteria are natural inhabitants of the Gulf because of the constant supply of food. Scientists know that there are more than 600 different areas where oil oozes from rocks underlying the Gulf of Mexico. These oil seeps, much like underwater springs, release 560,000-1.4 million barrels of oil annually, according to the National Research Council.
"The bottom line from this research may be that the Gulf of Mexico is more resilient and better able to recover from oil spills than anyone thought," Hazen said. "It shows that we may not need the kinds of heroic measures proposed after the Deepwater Horizon spill, like adding nutrients to speed up the growth of bacteria that breakdown oil, or using genetically engineered bacteria. The Gulf has a broad base of natural bacteria, and they respond to the presence of oil by multiplying quite rapidly."
Gulf of Mexico has greater-than-believed ability to self-cleanse oil spills
It is also evident that the Deepwater Horizon incident did considerable damage to the local economies along the Gulf coasts and States. Many vacations were canceled as well as industries experienced substantial damages. Owners of the Deepwater Horizon project (BP petroleum) is continuing to payout a total estimated at $42.2 billion in damages.
But one can only imagine the negative influence on this incident that the mainstream media caused with it's reporting practices. We all know that the media portrays the worst case scenario for in this day and age that is what sells the best in the media. Think back to all the dire reports and predictions during that period and compare them to what you hear now. I recall hearing a story of sport fishing guides returning to the docks after a productive day of fishing in the Gulf only to find the NEWS media not interested in how the day of fishing went only to flock to the boat that returned with oil samples brought back in mason jars.
When living in Key West back in September 1998 we had hurricane Georges come through town at a category three and did some damage to electric service and flooding, but the most damage came from the reporting by the mainstream media. I recall getting phone calls and friends looking to see if we were still alive after they saw the reports coming out of the Keys. Turns out everybody was watching the same NEWS video coming out of downtown Key West where there was a large tree toppled in the street and the NEWS casters used this for a backdrop for their video shoots. If people on the “Mainland” only knew that if the camera man was to pan in either direction they would have seen the crowds of locals standing on the curb in shorts, tee-shirts, flip-flops, and drinking beer while watching the Newscast.... Found this piece in the wikipedia account of the hurricane incident...
"Due to lack of law enforcement, those who stayed in Key West went through red lights, double-parked, and disobeyed traffic laws. Long-time Florida Keys citizens noted the solitude of the time and enjoyed the island for how it once was, rather than the large crowds of tourists"



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