Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is an understatement. After several years of recovering from hurricane Katrina, imposing fishing regulations and water rights scandals, the Florida panhandle is now under siege from the deadliest of unnatural disasters, oil spill. While some critics like Rush Limbaugh have complained that the liberal media is overstating this as a disaster, truth be told, this is a nightmare.
According to the Times Wires, federal and state officials have criticized BP for their mishandling and what they termed as “an inadequate response” to the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off of the coast of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Today Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency for six Florida panhandle and gulf coast counties.
Governor Crist and EPA secretary Mike Sole planned to fly over the oil spill this weekend and inspect the preparations for the slick. The EPA is urging these counties to protect wetlands and mangrove swamps instead of beaches. These plans consist of floating barriers along the coastal wetlands to help prevent the oil slick from moving inland.
So what’s being done to stop the oil leak? So far BP has sent six remote controlled submersibles to the well head to engage the emergency shutoff valve known as the blowout preventer (BOP). The BOP was designed to close when an emergency occurred, but the explosive that killed 11 workers prevented the valve from working correctly. All attempts at shutting off the over mile deep well have gone unsuccessful.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Norway and Brazil require offshore rigs to be fitted with a device called an acoustic valve. This allows crews from nearby ships to close valves remotely, preventing future catastrophe. The switch is not required in America and was not present on this rig. However, it is not known how this device would have functioned in this deep of water.
To make matters worse, the Mobile Press-Register obtained a secret government document that reports concerns over sand spewing out from the well head are eroding the kinked pipes that are helping to contain the oil flow to a minimum. When these pipes release the built up pressure, “the flow could become unchecked, resulting in the release of oil in a volume on an order of magnitude higher than previously thought.” This was according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials.
The only other options for containment are two plans that have never been tested at this depth and will take two weeks to three months to complete. At this rate of flow, in one month will eclipse the oil spill of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska. BP simply just doesn’t have the resources to contain this spill without help-and all the time a river of Black Death endlessly flows on.