Lois Capps: Booms Will Only Collect 15% of Spilled Oil

The eye-popping part of this exchange is the news that all the efforts to protect the Gulf Coast are only going to collect a fraction of it from reaching the shore.

But the whole comment is worthwhile, because Capps expresses so well the outrage we should all be expressing about the inefficacy of oil spill recovery.

21 replies
  1. fatster says:

    EW, did you see the gusher in the video BP just released? From the looks of it, it’ll be a miracle if they get 15% of the oil. I linked to it back on the last oil post of yours (thanks for keeping up with all this, btw). Let’s see if it’s still in my browser: BP video.

    Oh good. There it is.

  2. JThomason says:

    She is right. Despite the mind boggling cost of the spill in the long run the most organically sound strategy is to do nothing, at least as regard chemicals and burning. Of course the shore lines will be cleaned and rescue attempts made for the animals. The crude at this point is unrefined bio-organic stuff. Chemicals unscreened for human and health effects are not the answer.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Capps was quoting, JThomason.

      Her reaction is the same as mine.

      After all these years, after all these profits, doing NOTHING is the BEST that these companies, and their “industry” may offer?

      If that is the BEST, then there is no justification for off-shore drilling, at all.

      Huge investments have been made to, as Capp said, “get” this oil, but a commensurate investment in dealing with the inevitable, and such catastrophe, however unlikely or rare, IS inevitable, especially given human error and human hubris, on top of a mile-long stand-pipe of purely “mechanical” (for lack of a better word) failures.

      The failure of all involved, to assess ALL of the risk, especially those things the assessors are certain will NOT fail or become part of the risk, is, simply, unconscionable.


      • JThomason says:

        You are right. She is quoting, but she is not disagreeing with the premise. She is showing an industry report at tab 9 that as you note shows the risk of chemicals and burning. These continue to present more potential harm than limited mechanical efforts.

        • DWBartoo says:

          Again, if doing NOTHING is the best solution, and no discussion elaborated the consequences that would occur from doing nothing, all that is said is that doing nothing is less destructive, in certain ways, than using chemicals and burning the oil.

          What is the baseline destruction of doing nothing?

          What is considered and what is ignored?

          This will likely be the largest amount of crude ever released into the environment, considering the sanguine attitude at “play” leading up to this disaster, what real information have we to go on? How much damage may the environment sustain before it is overwhelmed and unforeseen consequences cause cascading collapse that may be too subtle for us to even recognize at first?

          We have deliberately allowed those who prefer NOT to err on the side of reasonable caution to dictate behaviors leading to consequences we cannot even imagine, consequences that may take decades to reach their full “amplitude”.

          This must become a watershed moment, JThomason, resulting in clearly significant change, else we toy with OUR eventual destruction, through destroying the Earth’s capacity to support our existence.


  3. qweryous says:

    From a source EW mentioned previously new information:

    Kenner hearing: Marshall Islands-flagged rig in Gulf oil spill was reviewed in February

    “The Deepwater Horizon vessel originally sailed under the flag of Panama in 2001 and switched to Marshall Islands in 2004. Representatives of the Marshall Islands testified this afternoon about their oversight of the rig and the 2,200 other vessels that fly their flag around the world.

    The Pacific small island nation has less stringent requirements than the United States, but still follows international safety standards. Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, is particularly fond of flying the Marshall Islands’ flag on its vessels, with 35 registered with the country.”

    The Marshall Islands, a favored vacation and information destination for Washingtonians wanting to get away from it all, congresscritters and staffers wanting to learn about offshore manufacturing,anyone wanting to meet Jack’s friends.

  4. JThomason says:

    I agree and it is complex but a redux of the Alaska response is not what is called for and as you say the industry has been negligent in developing new techniques.

    This is from a report giving recommendations following the Valdez incident.

    The EPA should not authorize dispersant use in public multiple use areas where the chemicals can potentially threaten subsistence users and others not involved in the cleanup: at a minimum, dispersants and other chemical products with high-test industrial solvents should be permanently BANNED in nearshore areas and on beaches.


    And this does not consider chemical harm to marine life including the long term effects of using oil consuming micro-organisms as cleaning agents for instance.

    I have heard stories of a nourishing effect to more simple marine animals arising from extended exposure to untreated oil from Valdez. But I admit this does not take into account differences in crude grades and is anecdotal.

    I appreciate your points. We are not going to easily get the tooth paste back into the tube on this one and I think we need to understand that restraint may be the better part of valor in deciding whether to deploy brave new technologies. That said its strikes me the more I think about it that the most reasonable strategy would be some kind of massive mechanical recovery where secondary risks are ameliorated. Of course this is me just blogging (well not really blogging but commenting on a blog) and responding to stories that I have been told about the secondary effects of the chemicals used in Alaska, so raising the question.

    • DWBartoo says:

      The thinking represented in your last paragraph is bold and most interesting, JThomason, perhaps, in future, you might elaborate?


      • JThomason says:

        Its pretty simple, now that the situation is at hand: massive fines for Halliburton and BP, national project for a mechanical recovery of the oil, a space program public works type thing for restoring the Gulf. New mobilization, a new fleet, new technologies and an ethic understanding the risks of untested chemicals and the rewards of a basic civic physical engagement of the world. Civil liability should remain in place as well and be in fact expanded (blast the restriction on ex post facto laws!).

        Its a perfect robust jobs program deflating the corporate excesses of war profiteers and forging the way into economic recovery. How’s that for a corrective of corporate excesses albeit posited by a commenter at a controversial blog site? Did I say it would be easy, but the politics are setting up for something like this. Then again I thought impeachment of the last guy would get traction.

        • bobschacht says:

          I think you’re right. By “mechanical” I’m thinking of something like a vacuum hose guided by a “head” equipped with sensors designed to turn towards high concentrations of petroleum compounds, and capable of diving and rising as well as turning right and left. The fluid would be emptied into tankers in which the oil & water would settle, whereupon the water could be siphoned off back into the ocean. At least, that’s my inexpert fantasy. (Is anything else working better?)

          Bob in AZ

  5. JThomason says:

    Its just so sad to see this kind of environmental negligence with BP. They have been running such a nice “touchy-feely” environmentally sensitive advertising campaign.

  6. JThomason says:

    Of course the risk to my plan is that a Republican succeeds BHO and Arizona Minutemen types use the operation as cover to arm a counter-insurgency in Cuba. How would Chavez take that?

  7. bobschacht says:

    I had to learn a new word tonight! Rachel Maddow used the verb “shtup” on her show tonight, so I had to go look it up (see the Wiktionary):

    to shtup (third-person singular simple present shtups, present participle shtupping, simple past and past participle shtupped)
    1. to push
    2. (slang) to have sex
    * 1969: And shikse cunt, to boot! Chasing it, sniffing it, lapping it, shtupping it, but above all, thinking about it. — Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint. …See also
    * fuck
    * nookie
    * shag

    So, Rachel won’t say “blow job,” or other terms for sexual interaction, but Yiddish is OK.

    Bob in AZ

  8. Hmmm says:

    In order of urgency:

    1. Nationalize the incident site
    2. USG take over the leak stop project
    3. Put more stringent BOP and acoustic shutoff requirements, plus unavoidable EIR requirements, into statute and not just MMS regs
    4. Massively fine BP to clawback the costs
    5. Assess emergency windfall profits tax on all domestic oil producers to start establishing a standing fund and first-responder regime for next time
    6. Criminal investigations into chain-of-command decisionmakers

    It’d be a start.

  9. Stephen says:

    You can sock it to the oil companies all you want. They will simply recoup their loss of any kind at the pump with higher gasoline prices.

    • JThomason says:

      On second thought I guess you could nationalize, but these guys should get the work. Forgive me if this comes up redundant. I am trying. An edit is not showing up.

      Edit: Oh there it is.

  10. JThomason says:

    I guess the straw solution really doesn’t address the issue of the massive deep water oil plume.

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