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article imageSea Shepherd not afraid to fly over BP's uncontrolled oil spill

By Stephanie Dearing     Jul 8, 2010 in Environment
With reports coming out about BP attempting to control media access to the actual site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not afraid to step in.
In fact, Sea Shepherd normally goes where others tell the organization not to go, so when it appears BP is working hard to keep certain sectors of society away from the spill, you can be sure Sea Shepherd will take up the challenge. And the organization did just that, taking advantage of the approaching Hurricane Alex to venture into the air to survey the Gulf of Mexico on July 1.
Writing for Sea Shepherd, Steve Roest said "... We see oil washing up on the beaches of the Chandeleur wildlife area, we see it washing up on the beaches of Louisiana, and we see it everywhere we look. We see hundreds of birds flying across and into the oil slicks trying to find food."
Describing the ten hours the organization spent surveying the spill from the air, Roest said "Looking down at the surface of the Gulf here is like looking at liquid metal, hundreds of miles of unbelievable oil slicks, which get ever worse until eighty miles further out we see ships and flames ahead. During ten hours of flying, covering hundreds of miles, we finally see the first and only vessels that appear to be cleaning or dispersing oil. There are four, just four of them, and they are probably deploying the horrendous dispersant Corexit, which ironically is more toxic than the oil it hides.
We ask each other in amazement -- where are all the cleanup ships we expected? What are fishing boats doing out here with fishing nets still in the water? How can this be, after 70-plus days and this incredible immensity of contamination?
Then we see the epicentre, the Deepwater Horizon rig. Support vessels, burning gas flares, and fire support ships surround the rig, but the sea is no longer water; it is oil.
BP’s response to the crisis they have caused is not nearly enough; the only way to describe their attempts to rectify the mess we see below us is that it is like using a teaspoon of water to put out the flames of a burning skyscraper. BP needs help, they need a lot of it and they need it now. If they will not accept help from the public sector, then the US government must intervene immediately."
Recently the United States Coast Guard announced that a safety zone had been established, and violators who go closer than 65 feet to a boom could face fines of up to $40,000, the Macon County News reported. The mysterious rules have prompted speculation that BP is attempting to control access to the spill. There have been many complaints that BP is attempting to restrict or control media access. BP, however, said its policy for its employees is to allow anyone to speak to the media openly and honestly about what they have seen in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP maintains that it is doing everything possible to address the oil spill. Not only has it deployed "... Approximately 44,500 personnel, more than 6,563 vessels and some 113 aircraft ... ," the company has "... recovered, in total, approximately 673,497 barrels (23.5 million gallons) of oily liquid. In addition, a total of 275 controlled burns have been carried out to date, removing an estimated 238,000 barrels of oil from the sea’s surface." BP is also in the process of drilling two relief wells in an attempt to stop the underwater well from releasing more oil in an uncontrolled spill.
It is thought the well is releasing between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil per day.
In spite of BP's efforts, President Obama is pushing for more recovery of oil from the gusher reported the New York Times. The White House has been asking BP to provide the government with time lines and plans.
More about Gulf mexico oil spill, Deepwater horizon, Sea Shepherd
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