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Do you know what an in-situ burn is? It's OK, neither does Pres Obama nor the mainstream media

Original post made by jimf01 on May 4, 2010

But it is this method and technology that would have spared the gulf coast perhaps 95% of the oil slick now approaching the area, perhaps even averting an ecological disaster.

But you probably would not know about this, because our own mainstream media has apparently not questioned White House spokesman Robert Gibbs about this subject. Try googling it, tonight you get approx 4 results:

Web Link

Nope, not much there, but we do get this:

Web Link

Which is by a UK (not US) newspaper, describing the technology and the pre-approved plan the US EPA has on hand for containing an oil slick and destroying up to 95% of it. By surrounding the oil with a fire boom and burning it, the oil on the surface burns off and the heavy oil under the water drops to the floor of the sea.

One big problem, the US didn't have a single fire boom on hand in the Gulf of Mexico. One was delivered from the stock of the manufacturer, 8 days later.

Why isn't our own media even asking about this? Why isn't our EPA having to explain why they were unprepared? Why weren't we prepared?

Even the New York Times says it took the "administration more than a week to really get moving".
Web Link

This is not excusing BP and the oil rig operators from responsibility, but our federal government has oversight and authority in this situation (ironically, unlike hurricane Katrina, in which state and local authorities had initial responsibility to call in the feds), and the responsibility to act. What happened? We may never know.

Comments (14)

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm

you must work for fema! tee hee hee, tee hee hee...


Posted by anti-stupid brigade, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Jim,
This is so freaking typical of you teabaggers. All we hear is that we have too much government in our live, we have too much oversite of business, we have a socialist president trying to destroy our constitution, and this oil slick happens and the first thing you do is complain about the federal government's slow response. If there was any consistency to your movement at all, you'd be coming forward saying private industry is much more efficient than the government in handling these issues and thus BP should be allowed to deal with the problem on their own. But have we heard a single teabagger make that argument? No...instead it's "where's the feds??? Where's the oversite??? Where's the EPA!!!"

Even when you might have a few salient points about the initial slow response (remember that it was a few days before the realization of the scope of the surface-level oil leak set in and the primary response was a search and rescue of the 11 men who died in the initial explosion), you completely undermine your own argument with your selective need for the federal government's intervention. You guys really need to sit down and make up your collective minds on this thing...


Posted by Bowler, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on May 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm

The following links are to two major American "mainstream media" outlets who reported the in-situ option, along with a dozen others, including Fox, NPR and the Miami Herald, within days of the event:

Web Link

Web Link

It was not ignored, nor was the potential looming catastrophe underestimated, as you will note. The primary factor in the in-situ burn not being employed, after a number of attempts, was weather. It requires calm seas, which were not present when the concentrations of fuel-to-water would have allowed this to operation to proceed.

The direction your inquiry is leading, if I may be so bold as to assume, is toward the unfounded and irrational statement from former FEMA director Michael ("Good job, Brownie!) Brown. He said President Obama wants the Gulf oil spill to spread, and is using it to stop all offshore drilling.

This conspiracy-laden hysteria needs to stop here and now. All you Obama haters, make it real. If you want to blame the president, present your facts, not your attitudes.


Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on May 5, 2010 at 7:44 am

Well, two nice attempts, but wrong and wrong.

A-sb, have you have ever heard the term "limited government". Yeah go ahead and look it up.
As for the rig fire and search and rescue effort, the in-situ burn can take place irregardless of these conditions, the oil slick is not contained around the rig. How many days would you say should be expended in a rescue effort of 11 guys on an oil rig burning completely out of control?

As for the two articles linked, they are dated 8 days after the spill when the weather was turning and the fire boom finally arrived. As I described above, the EPA and the media, as well as the White House and BP, had no response like this during this period. Even at that point, they had apparently obtained 1 fire boom, so what could they have done, even if the weather was cooperative?

A missed opportunity.


Posted by SteveP, a resident of Parkside
on May 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Further corrections: It's Tea Party not Teabaggers, stupid.

They stand for limited govt.--So, what about the govt we've already had signed and we've paid for? Shouldn't it work as designed and should we not criticize it's inaction and ineptitude?

As far as the inevitable, breathless hand wringing the environmentalist zealots will engage in, whether Obama orchestrates it or not, they will attempt to use this accident as fodder to return our country to pre-Industrial Revolution standards. Good luck to them driving their kids around using wind and solar power.


Posted by Bowler, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on May 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

Jim -- The Coast Guard had a remote underwater camera 5,000 feet below the surface at the mouth of the well on April 25. That was five days after the explosion, three days after the rig collapsed and two days after their search for survivors was suspended

This was the first opportunity to actually quantify the amount of oil spillage and to observe the blowout preventer, which is intended to prevent release of crude oil at the mouth of the well. It had failed to activate. Had this device operated properly, there would have been no spill.

This is an unprecedented event and no blue print or preparedness plan could have been set into action. Because of the unfavorable weather conditions, dispersants were utilized until the fires could be set.

To suggest that no one was responding is simply inaccurate.

Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2010 at 9:41 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Bowler wrote: "It had failed to activate."

According some one source I read, there's no way to operate the device remotely with the rig gone. The controls were on the rig. And, apparently, other countries with off-shore drilling operations require companies to have off-rig remote control of these devices while the US does not have this requirement.

Or another possibility for why the device failed could be guessed at by reading this: Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2010 at 9:45 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link-

"the oil rig lacked a device—known as an acoustic control—that would've served as a safeguard of last resort [3]. While the effectiveness of the $500,000 device is debated, the Journal points out that it is used by other oil-producing nations, including Brazil and Norway. Regulators in the U.S. were also considering requiring it a few years ago, but after industry objections decided that the devices were expensive and needed more study. "


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2010 at 9:53 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's the actual Weblink from above that PW's software conveniently mangles: www.propublica.org/ion/blog/item/Gulf-Oil-Spill-Puts-Spotlight-on-Regulator-With-Mixed-Record-

Did Bush know what an acoustic switch is?


Posted by Curious, a resident of Del Prado
on May 5, 2010 at 10:12 am

@Jim- I think you just lost that round dude. Stacey is a far better chess player than you are. She has completely boxed in your queen and is poised to declare checkmate. You might want to surrender and crawl back into your bomb shelter.


Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on May 5, 2010 at 10:14 am

jimf01 is a registered user.

Then talk to the NYT bowler, the Reuters timeline is somewhat contradicted by NPR's timeline, but in either case, the in situ burn was called for, and did not happen.

Web Link

Interestingly, neither of these news organizations report the situation with the in-situ burn, which was clearly needed on April 25th when "The Coast Guard says remote underwater cameras detect the well is leaking 1000 barrels of crude oil per day & The agency calls the leak a "very serious spill" that threatens on-shore ecosystems along the Gulf Coast.

What is simply inaccurate is to suggest that no blue print or preparedness plan could have been set into action nor that because of the unfavorable weather conditions, dispersants were utilized until the fires could be set.

Fires could not be set because they had no fire booms, and the plan is on the internet and has existed since 1994
Web Link

excerpts from this PDF -
In-situ burning alters the composition of the spilled oil by eliminating anywhere from 90% to 99% of the original volume of oil contained in a fire resistant boom
...
the intended use of this document is for oil spills 3 nautical miles or more offshore of the Louisiana and Texas shorelines

The fact is that a tailor made plan existed for containing and burning off the oil, and if the equipment was on hand during the first 8 days, the weather favored the execution of the plan

Web Link


Posted by Bowler, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on May 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm

The responsible party, BP in this case, must submit an application to the federal on-site coordinator, the U.S. Coast Guard in this case, requesting approval to burn. The list of factors which must be considered to approve the request is very long and comprehensive. What date did BP make this submission, anyone know?

You would be second-guessing the findings of the USCG here to suggest from your arm chair that all evaluated factors were satisfactory so early on in the disaster.

I would argue with you that the burn plan is "tailor made" for this situation on many points, but the bottom line here is that since 1989 the owner/operator is responsible for cleanup, not the federal government.

Stacey, thanks for the background on the acoustic switch. Very interesting.


Posted by radical, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2010 at 10:36 am

another day another way the govt failed in its oversight

Web Link


Posted by Che, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2010 at 8:15 am

Obama should and will be put on trial for economic terrorism!!! He is just a corrupt Chicago mob guy. I hope he serves a long time in prison.


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