Gulf Oil Spill May Far Exceed BP’s Estimates, Now Much Bigger Than Exxon Valdez Disaster

According to experts commissioned by National Public Radio in the U.S., the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico may be at least 10 times the size of official estimates.

This just in from NPR:

At NPR’s request, experts examined video that BP released Wednesday. Their findings suggest the BP spill is already far larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska, which spilled at least 250,000 barrels of oil.

BP has said repeatedly that there is no reliable way to measure the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by looking at the oil gushing out of the pipe. But scientists say there are actually many proven techniques for doing just that.

Steven Wereley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, analyzed videotape of the seafloor gusher using a technique called particle image velocimetry.

A computer program simply tracks particles and calculates how fast they are moving. Wereley put the BP video of the gusher into his computer. He made a few simple calculations and came up with an astonishing value for the rate of the oil spill: 70,000 barrels a day — much higher than the official estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.

The method is accurate to a degree of plus or minus 20 percent.

Given that uncertainty, the amount of material spewing from the pipe could range from 56,000 barrels to 84,000 barrels a day. It is important to note that it’s not all oil. The short video BP released starts out with a shot of methane, but at the end it seems to be mostly oil.

Click here to read the full story and listen to the interview on NPR.

Meanwhile, yesterday on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Lautenberg (New Jersey) asked unanimous consent to raise liability cap on oil companies, and Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) objected! The Alaskan senior senator blocked the legislation that would have dramatically increased liability caps on oil companies, in the wake of one of the industry’s biggest disasters.

In honour of Ms. Murkowski’s jaw-dropping defense of Big Oil, I’m reposting this video from “Polluter Harmony”,  Even Environment-Hating Politicians Need to Feel Loved.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIfnVM4O3js&feature=player_embedded]

“The Gulf Appears To Be Bleeding”: Today is Day of Action, Night of Mourning Against Offshore Drilling

As I mentioned previously, today has been declared a National Day of Action, Night of Mourning Against Offshore Drilling. From Rising Tide North America comes this call to action:

Once again the fossil fuel industry has brought crisis to the Gulf Coast. Devastation of untold proportions spews non-stop from BP’s oil well as politicians try to save face with empty promises, and oil companies preserve their profits with PR campaigns. This catastrophic spill comes on the heels of Obama’s plan to expand offshore drilling. The price of burning fossil fuels is too high. From combustion to extraction the oil industry poisons our communities, destroys ecosystems, and destabilizes the climate. Now is the time to stop offshore drilling dead in its tracks and drive another nail into the fossil fuel industry’s coffin.

People are encouraged to take action to demand:

-An immediate ban on all offshore drilling

-A rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels

-No bailouts for the oil industry. All recovery costs must be paid for by BP, Halliburton, Transocean and other implicated companies.

-The federal government must remove any caps on liability for oil companies.

-BP provides full compensation for impacted communities and small businesses.

-BP provides full funding for long-term ecosystem restoration for impacted areas.

-Oil companies operating in the Gulf fully fund restoration of coastal ecosystems damaged by canals, pipelines, and other industry activities.

Actions To Take:

Click here to go to Rising Tide’s National Day of Action page for more information on specific actions to take.

Click here to sign Avaaz.org’s petition against offshore drilling.

Click here if you live in Canada and want to sign a petition to protect our Pacific Coast from oil spills.

Also, if you are Canadian, please take the time to encourage our Senators to pass Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, as it makes its way through the Senate. The bill will have its first reading in the Senate near the end of May, only a few weeks away.   Click here to get the Senators contact info. Keep in mind that Senators are not elected and therefore they have no constituents,  so it’s best to contact as many of them as you can.

Take time to talk to people today about how offshore drilling needs to stop, and that there is a better way to power our economy and our cars than dirty fossil fuels.  (Click here to read “We Have Better Choices Than Drill Baby Drill” if you want ideas about how to start the conversation).

Phone your elected representative and tell them it’s time to stop drilling and start focusing on a cleaner, greener way to get our fuel.

To get galvanized into action, check out this YouTube video filmed by local Brinkley Hutching and narrated by her father as they fly in his plane over the Gulf right to “ground zero” of the oil volcano that is erupting. When he says “The Gulf is bleeding”, you can see what he means!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG8JHSAVYT0]

To read Brinkley’s heartbreaking account of the catastrophe, go to “A Local’s Account of the Deepwater Disaster”.