Update on the Gulf Oil Spill

George Washington's picture

Washington’s Blog


Oil Tests Positive for Dispersants in the Mississippi Sound

The Press-Register notes today:

degraded oil collected in the Mississippi Sound has tested positive
for several of the main ingredients in the Corexit dispersant used in
connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to
scientists working for a New Orleans-based lawyer.

with the federal government and BP PLC have maintained throughout the
oil spill that no dispersant products have been used near shorelines in
Alabama or Mississippi.


Marco Kaltofen, part of the
group of scientists who found the oil in Mississippi Sound, said it was
impossible to determine when the dispersant had been applied to the
oil. Results from the tests, which were conducted in a Colorado
laboratory, indicated the oil was from the Deepwater Horizon well, he


“EPA samples found only one indication of
dispersant near shore in Louisiana. That location was sampled several
times with no other detection,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
spokeswoman Terri White said in a Monday e-mail. “There is no
authorization to apply any dispersant at this time. If anyone has
information about this, they need to report it immediately so it can be
investigated and referred to law enforcement.”


the lawyer who funded Kaltofen’s sampling expedition, discounted the
notion that dispersants had not been used near shore.

personally saw C-130s applying dispersants from my hotel room in the
Florida Panhandle. They were spraying directly adjacent to the beach
right at dusk,” said Smith. “Fishermen I’ve talked to say they’ve been
sprayed. This idea they are not using this stuff near the coast is

Other tests are coming back positive for dispersant as well.

BP Tells Experienced Gulf Fishermen that They Don't Know the Difference Between Oil and Seafloor Muck


The Pensacola News Journal notes:

fisherman Mark Fuqua, 47, of Pensacola, who has fished the waters from
Destin to Pensacola most of his life, discovered just how big the mess
is on the first day he struck out to drop a line in the water since
the fishing ban was lifted two weeks ago.


After a day of fishing in several areas of the bay on Wednesday, his boat, anchor and cast net were covered in oil.


never seen anything like it," he said. "I was fishing in front of
Palafox Pier and pulled up my anchor, and it looked like it had black
mud on it. I reached down to try to wipe it off and it was all greasy,
like greasy sand."

The anchor was dropped in 20 feet of water.


Piggott, who heads the Escambia and Santa Rosa cleanup operation for
BP] said the reports from fishermen about finding oil often are not

heard accounts of people who hold up their anchors that have this black
stuff on it," he said. "I can't tell you how many times we've gotten
reports from fishermen with sightings of sheen and oil. Ninety-nine
percent of the time, these reports turn out to be organic material."


Fuqua said Piggott's statement "sounds typical."

is really counting on that out-of-sight, out-of-mind thing. It's there
and they know it," he said. "They need to be exposed and made to do
something about it."

Sure, and the oil plumes and
dispersant which experienced scientists think they are finding in the
Gulf are really just kelp, and the dead animals which people see are
really just sleeping, and the rashes and breathing problems coastal
residents exposed to the dispersant are suffering are really just

Mission (Not) Accomplished on Oil Spill


You've probably heard that BP has capped the oil well and the almost all the oil has been cleaned up, right?

Meanwhile, back in the real world:

  • A tidal wave of oil is, supposedly, about to hit shore: "A 200-foot-by-2-mile swath of oil is going to make landfall on Grand Isle in the next couple of days"

As oil industry expert Bob Cavnar writes today:

Allen announced today that BP's fishing job being undertaken on their
Mississippi Canyon Block 252 well has been called off due to total failure.
You'll recall that I disagreed with the procedure when it was
announced on the 21st, believing it was unwise and risky. After now
attempting to fish out the drill pipe (actually 3 pieces) for several
days, they have called off the job after completely failing at achieving
their goal. Previously, Adm. Allen had said that they wanted to get
all the drill pipe out before pulling the BOP (which I also think is
unwise), and replacing it with the BOP from the DDII before completing
the relief well.


They're going to pull the damn BOP anyway. That's right, they're going to pull the BOP anyway. What's amazing is that they're
pulling it with an estimated 3,000 feet of drill pipe hanging in a set
of rams, as well as two other smaller pieces in the stack and God
knows what else.
Admiral Allen said they're setting an overpull
limit of 80,000 pounds over stack weight to pull it free, worried that
more would dislodge the casing hanger and packoff that are supposedly
in the casing hanger. They couldn't get the camera in that far down,
but they still continue to assume that all that is somehow still in
place after the well blowing out and flowing for 87 days, probably
right through where they say the packoff is set. Not likely. Allen
says they're going to actually try to pull the drill pipe, still hung
in the rams and then, while suspending the BOP above the casinghead,
cut the drill pipe with ROVs and drop it back in the well.

Probability of success of getting that done? Almost zero.

As Rick Steiner told Dan Froomkin this week:

I smell politics all over it. The only plausible explanation is they were in a rush to hang the 'Mission Accomplished' banner.

BP's Crude Oil May Be Radioactive


New Orleans attorney Stuart Smith knows something about radiation from oil drilling:

Smith is well known for his role as lead counsel in an oilfield radiation case that resulted in a verdict of $1.056 billion
against ExxonMobil for contaminating land it leased from the Grefer
family in Harvey, Louisiana –– and attempting to cover it up.


court stated that from June 1986 to March 1987, “Exxon officials
intentionally withheld information,” and that the company “knew the
[radioactive] scale posed a direct danger to the physical health of
those workers.” Oilfield waste, or TERM, is primarily composed of
radium, a highly radioactive chemical element. Exposure to radium is
known to cause a variety of devastating illnesses, including cancer.
Radium’s impact on the human body is particularly acute because it is
similar chemically to calcium –– and as such is frequently absorbed
into bones after entering the body.

But at least there's no radiation being released from BP's oil spill in the Gulf, right?

Well, as Smith wrote on August 4th:

This is directly from the EPA website discussing oil drilling activity:

processes may leave behind waste containing concentrations of
naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) from the surrounding
soils and rocks. Once exposed or concentrated by human activity, this
naturally-occurring material becomes Technologically-Enhanced NORM or
TENORM. Radioactive materials are not necessarily present in the soils
at every well or drilling site. However in some areas of the country, such as the upper Midwest or Gulf Coast states, the soils are more like to contain radioactive material.”


wastes from oil and gas drilling take the form of produced water,
drilling mud, sludge, slimes, or evaporation ponds and pits. It can
also concentrate in the mineral scales that form in pipes (pipe scale),
storage tanks, or other extraction equipment. Radionuclides in these
wastes are primarily radium-226, radium-228, and radon gas. The radon
is released to the atmosphere, while the produced water and mud
containing radium are placed in ponds or pits for evaporation, re-use,
or recovery.”


“The people most likely to be exposed to this
source of radiation are workers at the site. They may inhale radon gas
which is released during drilling and produced by the decay of radium,
raising their risk of lung cancer. In addition, they are exposed to
alpha and gamma radiation released during the decay of radium-226 and
the low-energy gamma radiation and beta particles released by the decay
of radium-228. (Gamma radiation can also penetrate the skin and raise
the risk of cancer.) Workers following safety guidance will reduce
their total on-site radiation exposure.”

It’s time BP comes clean as to the levels and amounts of radioactive material released from this oil spill.

Here's the EPA website which Smith is quoting.

This is not to
say that radiation is being released from the well at dangerous levels
for the general public. Obviously, BP and the government should be
pressed to release all radiation test results (or to do them if they
haven't already). I haven't heard any information indicating dangerous
levels, and I'll assume for now that radiation
levels in the Gulf as a whole are low and not much more than background

However, for the clean
up workers, and when it is concentrated in landfills, crude oil from the
Gulf might be a real health threat. As Smith writes:

is all bad enough at the spill and cleanup sites, and it’s not nearly
the near-term danger of all the toxins in the oil-dispersant stew. But
it can become a danger when you start concentrating it in normal
landfills. Remember, oil was exempted from hazmat regulations for
political reasons, not because it’s not hazardous.


And, as far as
we can tell, nobody is even testing the BP waste going into those
landfills and if the oil company knows radiation levels, we can expect
them to keep it secret. Hey, this is the company that required a
Congressional order and a Federal Court Subpoena just to release video
of the spill … we have no way of knowing what else they’re not telling


And it’s not comforting that the EPA, which allowed BP to use
toxic dispersant to hide the oil and is now minimizing what’s left
through bogus science, and the Coast Guard, which allowed dispersant
use even in excess of what the EPA approved, are in charge of all this.
And the EPA knows better, of course.

Confirmed: Corexit Still Being Sprayed in the Gulf


Veteran chemist Bob Naman says that Corexit is still being sprayed in the Gulf, and that he found 13.3 parts per million in Cotton Bayou, Alabama.

As I pointed out last week:

Parts per million might not sound like much.

But the EPA has found that exposure to 42 parts per million killed 50% of mysid shrimp within 4 days (and most of the remaining shrimp didn't last much longer).


response to Naman's findings, the mayor of Orange Beach - the town
located on Cotton Bayou - said that the City would conduct its own,
independent tests:

The City's test results have now come back, showing 66 parts per million of dispersant.

The City Engineer for Orange Beach - Kit Alexander - also states that the EPA sets the screening level for dispersant at 750
parts per million (see above video). In other words, the EPA doesn't
even test for Corexit at concentrations of less than 750 ppm, even
though Corexit at much lower concentrations kills marine life.

I have personally been copied with emails sent to the Coast Guard documenting continued spraying of Corexit.

And yesterday, toxicologist Dr. Ricki Ott sent [an outstanding] letter to the EPA which summarizes evidence of ongoing use of dispersants in the Gulf.

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Ruffcut's picture

Other good sites for updates




Deplorable actions by BP and our goobermint.

Just keep your blinders on and you'll be fine.

Oh, and did you buy a respirator and reverse osmosis water filter yet?

Amsterdammer's picture

Great reporting George, as usual. Any info

about the second BP rig ? Maybe they're busy

with that one

sodbuster's picture

Thanks GW! As far as BP is concerned, I only have one thing to say- "Release the Kraken!!!"

JW n FL's picture

God Bless You and Yours G.W.!!! Bang up job on the summation of the real deal... I would have likes some of the cover up links as well though... B.P. covering it all up with clean sand. GREAT! JOB!! and Thank You! Kind Sir!!

whatsinaname's picture

And now another weather delay.

tempo's picture

Thanks GW for taking on the BP zealist.  On www.theoildrum.com daily post an apparent experienced oil patch hand commented that BP is conducting extensive sonic surveys w Remote vehicles.   He says the sonic surveys relate to continuing concerns about the unstable seabed around the BOP and continued leaks.    After that comment all the BP hacks attacked the blogger w the vengence from hell calling him an idiot.  It is clear the blowout well is not leaking much oil but  the well has not been killed and appears to be VERY unstable.    Something is wrong since BP has not attempted to complete the relief well and no progress has been made to kill the well in over two weeks.   Remember sonic surveys are look for possible new ruptures.   The danger has not passed only covered up.

Overpowered By Funk's picture

Corexit = Hide the shit so no one sees the fuckin' mess, and then go on tv and declare that the oil has disappeared or was never as bad as we thought. Problem solved. Now if only Corexit worked as well on those toxic bank assets.

Kali's picture

Ah, but perception is everything.  Not surprised by any of this, SOP for gov and crooks of all stripes.  No one will be held accountable for anything.  There is no law in the land for the golden.  Only for us useless eaters.  When, not if, reality trumps the lies, I wonder, will anyone really do anything about this?  Nah.  Just look at Wall Street and the Fed.  Or irresponsible egg farmers or ..... the list could go on forever.   What a joke everything is.

Cursive's picture

Thanks, GW.  And keep it coming.

Hang The Fed's picture

Hahahaha, if not for G.W., we'd be in a total blackout at this point.  I think we're going to need a hell of a lot of rope in order to properly punish these BP scumbags and their kow-towing puppets in the government.

I bet Heli-Ben and Timmah could put a serious dent in the absorption of that remaining oil with all of the dollars that they've been printing lately.  God alone knows that that's about all for which it's good anymore.

THE 4th Quadrant's picture

East and West coast. The high levels of bacteria is a result of oil in the water. Mix the bacteria with Corexit and you get Liquid death.

Mutated Viruses from Corexit + bacteria (oil in the water produces oil eating bacteria)

Cities like Tampa who suck 25 million gallons per day of "fresh drinking water" out of the bay using desalinization:

Any bacteria/Corexit near the desalinization plant in Tampa? Oh not much... http://www.tampagov.net/appl_tampa_announcements/ViewRelease.asp?Release...

Google; Florida water bacteria. Dig deep into the search results because Google has been instructed to obfuscate.

High alert:



read in full

Cistercian's picture

 I posted some time ago how festive the aquaculture would become with so much oil.Nothing like toxic bacterial blooms to really ruin things.Here's the best part:no one knows what kind of hilarious mutations will occur in the areas with no oxygen either.

  We could easily produce the conditions that will breed a horrible new plague of destructive bacteria...Russian roulette writ large.


  Large fish kills?It is only warm water...yea, that's the ticket!

Milestones's picture

G.W. My thanks also. Doin ahellva job there Brownie! Ya have my respect. You be as tough as a junk yard dog.  Milestones

bigkahuna's picture

I have a feeling that this thing is really going to cause a bigger problem. The capped well is just emptying it's contents under the gulf floor for now. Eventually, it will find another way to the surface. The kill well should have been done by now. BP says the oil has all disappeared? What kind of bs is going on down there?! This should not be hidden from us just because there is about to be an election! Is it magically going to become an issue again after the elections? If it does, well then - there would be yet another hallmark of down right sociopathic, evil behavior.

Fred Hayek's picture

I'd feel better about BP's efforts to clean up the oil if their local guy spokesman in their tv ads could pronounce the word.  What the hell's "oal"?

woolly mammoth's picture

GW, Thanks so much for keeping us informed with the updates.

knukles's picture

BP is Correct!

"I can't tell you how many times we've gotten reports from fishermen with sightings of sheen and oil. Ninety-nine percent of the time, these reports turn out to be organic material."

Fucker's absolutely right, honest, spot on, above board (not intended) telling the truth, honest as the day is whatever and happier than a Bishop in Boy's Town.

Oil is an Organic Material.

Just like alll them folks got plastic bags over their heads courtesy of Pol Pot?  Them bags was educational materials.  Folks got educated real quick in how long they could go without oxygen.

You're in Good Hands in Our States.

breezer1's picture

the epa can't do everything ya know. the country is full of toxic lead bullets. who do think will clean all that up if they are sent away to lay on beaches in the gulf watching mother nature clean itself up. they could be down there for years.

MsCreant's picture

And knuckles is correct...straight from the Clinton school of cocksucking and face saving.

onlooker's picture

""GW , thanks for staying with this. these bastards seem to have shut down much of the news coming out of the gulf. right up there with ' green shoots ' and ' the war is over '.""-------- you forgot about all the jobs created and the economy on the mend. And "get educated and you will have a job" from the Dept of Education. 

I am awaiting the article from an American Science magazine showing the good stuff from the oil blow out. I predict within a year.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

"Shut up", Karl Denninger explained. Destin's Darling thinks GW should be reeducated.

George Washington's picture

Denninger is one of my favorite economic and financial writers.  I see things a wee bit differently from him on the Gulf, but that doesn't diminish my respect for him on economic issues.

taraxias's picture

Denninger is a douchebag

Don't be polite

AssFire's picture

Denninger couldn't pull a rag out of a sick whore...

How's that for not polite?


sweet teef

Buck Johnson's picture

As soon as they start pulling that BOP up with the pipe (at an angle remember), it will also do damage to the casing and the "cement blockage" that has cemented the pipe to the wall.  It would have been smarter for them to have did this without the cementing being done.

breezer1's picture

GW , thanks for staying with this. these bastards seem to have shut down much of the news coming out of the gulf. right up there with ' green shoots ' and ' the war is over '. 

CashCowEquity's picture

Reroute the Corexit into the Washington Dc water supply and Wall Street water supply.

digalert's picture

Cameron want's to delay retrieval of bop. Where to put it and who will "guard it" seems to be a big issue. We wouldn't want anyone to hide anything concerning this bop, would we?


CitizenPete's picture

Just truck it off in the middle of the night like the WTC7 steel and ship it off for the Chinese to melt down.  Ooops ya didn't want to see that did ya?

buzlightening's picture

Blue flu goo! Spooks are out!! Everyone needs to consume their fair share of corexit water!!  Patriots share the burden!!  Bus'em in from district of corruption!!

Clycntct's picture

FOBAR is so old school.

We need to super size FOBAR to the 5th.

whatsinaname's picture

Meanwhile coming soon to a SUPERSTORE near you - hybrid grown SUPERSIZED salmon fish. Aquaculture's stock up big on the news..

Miss Expectations's picture

Thank you GW...I appreciate the update.

whatsinaname's picture

do GW and Leo K. belong to the same planet ?

thanks GW.

taraxias's picture


many thanks GW, and keep up the great work

MsCreant's picture

I sound like a parrot but your work is appreciated and looked forward to. Thank you.

MrSteve's picture

Reporting of this caliber leads to back to school essays asking for a comparison of the cleanup in NOLA to the coverup in GOM. Discuss the power of focus in a single-payer (BP) system.