As usual with any important event, the Internet lights up with misinformation. As if it were alive and trying to make us stupid. No excerpt becomes famous and successful from a disaster by underplaying the threat! Here are some websites providing valuable and reliable information about the Gulf oil spill. Many of the articles in both the news media and blogosphere rely – with varying degrees of accuracy and completeness — material from these websites.
- EPA Response to BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico — so far mostly about air quality
- NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration: Deepwater Horizon Incident — excellent graphics showing the extent of the oil spill
- Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center — Run by BP and several government agencies. The go-to website for information about this disaster.
Of special interest from the Joint Information Center:
- Incident Updates
- Fact Sheet about the Subsea Oil Recovery System — The last best chance to reduce the flow during the next week. Plan B requires drilling a new well, which will take months.
- Other fact sheets about the the spill, the response, and the threats to the economy and ecology
Other valuable articles:
- About blowout preventers, Rigzone — About the large valves at the top of a well that stop the flow
- “Oil in the Sea III — Inputs, Fates, and Effects“, National Academy of Sciences, 2003 — The definitive report about oil spills
- “Nothing New in Obama Plan for Offshore Drilling“, Peter Berman, 20 April 2010 — Obama’s proposal was a small step, not “drill, baby, drill”
- “BP Fought Safety Measures at Deepwater Oil Rigs“, ABC News, 30 April 2010
- “Leaked report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked gusher“, Ben Raines, Alabama Press-Register, 30 April 2010
- “Oil slick fight continues with robots and fire“, New Scientist, 30 April 2010
- “Current Could Push Oil Spill Up East Coast“, Discovery, 3 May 2010 — “Oceanographers are keeping their eyes on the Gulf Loop Current, which could spread the oil slick through the Florida Keys and to North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras.”
- Valuable background information about oil slicks: excerpts from Science, FM website
This and the Massey mine disasters might be inflection points in US energy policy. Both result to some degree from lax regulation. Massey Energy had a long history of safety violations. US safety regulations for offshore drilling were weaker than Norway’s or even (God help us) Brazil’s (both of whom required these, see Reuters for more). This dysfunctional relationship between energy companies and the government might prove even worse for the nation than that between unions and manufactures (look at our late great automobile and steel industries).
We’re already horrifically unprepared for peak oil. This makes it likely that we’ll be disastrously unprepared. However, both sides will have excellent excuses! As if our children will care.
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