Bob Higgins

More Oil From Macondo?

Posted in Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 12, 2011
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Oil Spill From BP's Deepwater Horizon Macondo Field Disaster

Oil Spill From BP's Deepwater Horizon Macondo Field Disaster

The Macondo Prospect, where British Petroleum’s ill fated offshore drill rig exploded and sank last year killing eleven men is a reservoir of oil in the Mississippi Canyon area of the northern Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The rig was actually owned by Transocean, built by South Korean giant Hyundai and under lease to BP at the time of its catastrophic demise. In the high stakes world of oil poker, details of ownership and registry are kept deliberately muddied and overly complex, the better to avoid taxes, laws and other liability and responsibilities.

The prospect which BP bid on in 2008 was estimated to contain 50 million barrels of oil which sounds like quite a lot. Sold at current prices that amount of oil would bring bring in gross revenue of 5 billion dollars and that’s just the cost of the crude. Major oil companies also own the pipelines, refineries and the gas pumps where we go to fill our tanks and pick up a six pack so in addition to the profits at the well they make great chunks of money all the way downstream to our front door and beyond.

50 million barrels of oil is about what we use in this country every 60 hours. That’s right, we use about twenty million barrels every day. The eleven dead, the despoliation of 500 miles of the Gulf’s coast, the crippling of the fishing and tourist industries, the physical destruction of people and wildlife, the damage to their lives and their future well being was all about keeping us cruising the roads and cursing at bubble packaging for a long weekend.

A year ago the NOAA, the Coast Guard, the administration and, of course, BP was telling us that the oil was 70% gone and they were working very hard to make things right. I don’t have to crawl very far out on the limb to say that they were lying then and they continue to lie today.

In the world of business, they’ve grown so accustomed to lying that the truth is no longer necessary.

The oil, BP’s crude gate crasher, appears to be back. In addition to the continual beaching of tarballs from the missing oil at the roiled bottom of the Gulf, expected with the onset of another season of warming waters, tropical storms, and hurricane activity it appears that something is leaking large in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon well.

According to an article in Al Jazeera “The return of the BP disaster? “on Thursday, reporting on animal rescue organization Wings of Care and in another piece this morning “Oil Still Gushing From BP Well In Gulf,” September, the most active month of hurricane season is likely to begin uncovering the ugly truth.

It is entirely possible that the coalition of irresponsible and incompetent corporations who gave us the tragic deaths of eleven men and the worst oil spill in our history are no more capable of safely capping a well than they are of safely drilling one, transporting its products, or refining them. They are after all, to be found spilling, gushing, leaking, spraying and otherwise carelessly spewing crude oil all over the Earth.

The reports come at us every month, from the Gulf, Alaska, the North Sea, small towns in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and from the Yellowstone River. There is no place on earth that these greaseheads will not despoil and are not actively and zealously engaged in destroying. Make a note that these are only the events that get reported or otherwise discovered.

Following the reports linked above, BP is already making noises about “natural oil seeps,” the expression being a large part of the literature that comprises their canned media response.

It’s likely that 60-70 percent of the oil from last year’s spill, rather than conveniently disappearing is laying on the bottom of the Northern Gulf mixed with toxic Corexit. Just laying in wait for a direct hit by something on the scale of last month’s Irene, to spread its filthy fingers all over the southern coast.

As for the current leaks being from natural seeps, I don’t know, but I don’t buy it. There are 4000 active oil and gas platforms in the Gulf and 27,000 that have been plugged and abandoned by actors like BP.

In addition to BP’s giant screw up in the Macondo prospect, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, that’s a lot of unnatural holes.

Bob Higgins

Originally posted at Clean Technica: More Oil From Macondo?

Photo: Courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response Team[see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

The Creek’s Rising, Texas Is Aflame And My Lawn Chairs Just Passed Memphis

Posted in Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 10, 2011
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US Temperature Map Shows Heat and Drought Stricken Southwest

US Temperature Map From Weather Underground

The wildfires continue in Texas. Much of the southwest still suffers under a drought as this summer’s brutal and record breaking heatwave continues.

There are areas of Texas that have gone without measurable rainfall for a year.

It’s the driest it’s been since 1895 when they started keeping records.

Texas Governor Rick “Goodhair” Perry, this month’s centerfold for “Science Denial Magazine” says that people may just have to get used to this toasty new climate.

Perry is on the record, in the recent GOPTP candidates debate he accused climate scientists of manipulating data to keep the research grants and the money rolling in.

I don’t know, a vast worldwide conspiracy of marginally paid climate science academics seems, somehow… unlikely.

His state, or a large part of it is on fire, over fourteen hundred homes have burned and there are at least four dead but his ideological certainties remain un-threatened by readily available evidence and unchanged in spite of the hot breezes causing the copious beads of prairie sweat that stain the Stetsons of his neighbors.

Fanned by winds that are carrying off precious Texas topsoil by the ton, a scene reminiscent of the Dust Bowl of 80 years ago,the fires are raging out of control through much of central Texas amidst an atmosphere of political certainty about the righteousness of Lilliputian government, of no taxes and no money to fight fires or train even volunteer firefighters. They have to shell out of their own pocket to buy gear and gas.

As Lucia Graves and Jason Cherkis at TheHufington Post report: Back in May, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a budget presented by the state legislature that cut funding for the state agency in charge of combating such blazes.

The Texas Forest Service’s funding was sliced from $117.7 million to $83 million. More devastating cuts hit the assistance grants to volunteer fire departments around the state. Those grants were slashed 55 percent from $30 million per year in 2010 and 2011 to $13.5 million per year in 2012 and 2013. Those cuts are effective now.  Rick Perry’s Budget Leaves Texans In Bind Amidst Historic Wildfires

This is an atmosphere that unfortunately, is not confined to Texas, a political cult has developed that seriously believes that people should fight their own fires. This cult apparently believes that only socialists call the fire department or the police.  A truly self reliant follower of this line of Randian “reasoning” would get a bucket and bravely put out the blaze or get his trusty six gun and capture the bad guys himself. If one needs a road to drive on to reach the fire well by golly don’t be a socialist wimp,just bring a shovel and take care of that project while you’re there.

While you have your bucket out

Wildfire update – Sept. 8, 2011

Current situation:

· Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 20 new fires for 1,422 acres, including new large fires in Red River, Smith, and Cherokee/Rusk counties.

· In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 176 fires for 126,844 acres.

· A more comprehensive assessment has been completed on the Bastrop County Complex by FEMA and the State Operations Center. The total number of homes destroyed on that fire is now confirmed at 1,386. Approximately 240 additional homes have been reported lost on other fires since Sunday, for a total of approximately 1,626. From: Texas Forest Service

Speaking on climate  in Sydney, Australia Ban Ki Moon declared that  “…we are running out of time” and as reports roll in of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, extreme weather events worldwide, massive flooding in Northern Australia, Moon said, “This is a global race to save the planet.”

There is no such sense of urgency among American politicians as  Obama reigns in the EPA, takes the leash off of Shell in the Beaufort Sea and speeds the process of drilling offshore. The State Department indicates that it is likely to give approval to the 1700 mile toxic bitumen pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, a project that will span the nation under spacious skies, climb purple mountain’s majesty, slice through amber waves of grain and cross our largest aquifer of freshwater  to provide greater security for oil company profits.

On the other side of the political food fight the republicans have no time for climate change, occupied as they are with fighting the twin scourges of Social Security and Medicare while defending the barricades against teachers, bus drivers, fire fighters and other enemies of the state and insuring that no woman gets an abortion and no child is exposed to science or gets a free lunch.

In a column at the Huff Post last week environmentalist, actor and director, Robert Redford asked the question, “Is the Obama Administration Putting Corporate Profits Above Public Health?”The short answer is yes…wait, that’s also the long answer and probably the only answer.

The waters are rising, the dead ocean is in the living room,the sewage ridden river is lapping at the kitchen door and the lawn furniture just blew past Memphis but please get these scientists out of our classrooms.

Everyone is being sold out here, every plant, animal and microbe on the planet is being sacrificed to the greed of big oil, big coal, big gas and big corporate profit. No air worth breathing? No water fit to drink? Is your food poisoning your family?

The republicans say they have the answer, just get rid of the American government and let the corporations run this place like a business.

Maybe that’s the “credible threat” that Homeland Security is currently babbling about, the republicans are taking over and they’re goin to run this show like Enron, Lehman Brothers or Bank of America.

I don’t know how credible the threat is but it’s pretty scary.

Bob Higgins

Must read:
Perry Tales: Rick Is Not Who He Says He Is

Weekly Reads From Common Dreams 9/10/11

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on September 10, 2011

Sarah Palin Hovers In Mid Air Unannounced And Unnoticed In Iowa Half Marathon

Posted in Humor, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 6, 2011
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Sarah Palin Flying, Running or Hovering Unannounced And Unnoticed In Iowa Click on Image to enlarge.

Greta Van What’sHerName ran the photo at left on her blog on Sunday morning.

The Huffington Post reported:
Sarah Palin ran a half-marathon after giving a speech at a Tea Party rally in Iowa on September 4.
Palin ran unannounced in the “Jump Right in and Run” half-marathon sponsored by Storm Lake Running Club. She registered for the race under her maiden name, Sarah Heath, and listed her hometown as Des Moines.

News of Palin’s participation in the race broke after Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren posted a photo to her website of a runner she claimed was the former vice presidential candidate.

I’m no expert on Photoshop but this looks suspicious to me. Not only does she appear to be effortlessly flying along, or just suspended in mid air she’s the only one not running on the course… in the street, it’s that maverick thing again, I guess.

She does have an interesting running style though, if there were a broom involved she’d be in danger of being mistaken for Christine O’Donnell.

Greta doesn’t explain where she got the photo and there’s no credit or I’d run it here.

Bob Higgins

Sarah Palin Runs Iowa Half-Marathon Unannounced Over Labor Day Weekend.

Good Morning Irene

Posted in Bob Higgins at Clean Technica, Environment, Wind Power by Bob Higgins on September 4, 2011
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Hurricane Irene Beaufort, North Carolina Coordinates: 34°43′15″N 76°39′9″W

It’s 4AM on Saturday and I’m up early. When you cant go back to sleep in the 21st century you turn the on computer, then the news.

According to NOAA, and verified visually on Google Earth, Hurricane Irene is centered at 33.7N and 77.5W which puts it in position to munch Beaufort, North Carolina just a degree or so north and west at 4°43′15″N 76°39′9″W according to Wikipedia.

A degree of latitude is about 69 miles and NOAA tells me that the Lady is moving north at 12 knots which means landfall in a few  hours.

As you can see this is a monster of a storm stretching up the east coast from the Carolinas to New York and beyond.

Originally posted at Clean Technica: Good Morning Irene

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Fire, Water, Wind or Sunshine, a Watt is a Watt

Posted in Bob Higgins at Clean Technica, Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 1, 2011
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Unicorn Tears, An Approved Hippie Energy Source

Unicorn Tears As An Energy Source?

I sometimes think that many of us have a deep seated mania that causes us to believe that for a substance to be an effective source of energy it must be something that can be burned. Not only must it be combustible, the substance must be hard to get. This manic belief requires that the energy source must be searched out and dug up or clawed from the earth at great trouble and expense.

What’s more, to be a credible source the fuel must be retrieved from the bowels of the earth or the deepest depths of the ocean in an odyssey by intrepid explorers with fedoras and a five day growth of manly stubble, all else is considered to be alchemy.

“We know that renewable energies like solar and wind at this point in time are not capable of addressing the world’s total energy demands.” The Remarkable Energy Potential of Methane Hydrate from Clean Technica by Glenn Meyers

Not to single out a fellow writer here at Clean Technica, I’ve heard and read similar statements many times but the fact that they grossly distort the reality of the potential energy sources all around us does make them nettlesome. Actually we “know” no such thing.

I don’t know where this belief comes from or how it got started, maybe it’s primal. It could be an archetype, lodged early in the human mind, left over from the terror, fascination, even trauma, when some guy with a five day stubble first dragged a burning branch from a lightning struck tree back to the cave for a mastodon roast.

Originally posted at Clean Technica: Fire, Water, Wind or Sunshine, a Watt is a Watt
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