[Coral-List] BP Oil Spill Response Where's FACTS and TRUTH??

Quenton Dokken qdokken at gulfmex.org
Sun May 9 10:36:24 EDT 2010

Sorry folks, I forgot to include the partial listing of spill events in the Gulf of Mexico I referenced in my previous communication.  This list does not include estimates of natural seepage or chronic inputs coming down river and through the storm drains.  Nor does it take into account the incredible soup of pollutants, hydrocarbon and other chemicals, that enter the system with every storm:

June 3, Gulf of Mexico: exploratory oil well Ixtoc 1 blew out, spilling an estimated 140 million gallons of crude oil into the open sea. Although it is one of the largest known oil spills, it had a low environmental impact.

June 8, off Galveston, Tex.: Mega Borg released 5.1 million gallons of oil some 60 nautical miles south-southeast of Galveston as a result of an explosion and subsequent fire in the pump room.

Aug. 10, Tampa Bay, Fla.: three ships collided, the barge Bouchard B155, the freighter Balsa 37, and the barge Ocean 255. The Bouchard spilled an estimated 336,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil into Tampa Bay.

Nov. 28, Mississippi River south of New Orleans: oil tanker Westchester lost power and ran aground near Port Sulphur, La., dumping 567,000 gallons of crude oil into lower Mississippi. Spill was largest in U.S. waters since Exxon Valdez disaster in March 1989.

Aug.-Sept., New Orleans, Louisiana: The Coast Guard estimated that more than 7 million gallons of oil were spilled during Hurricane Katrina from various sources, including pipelines, storage tanks and industrial plants.

June 19, Calcasieu River, Louisiana: An estimated 71,000 barrels of waste oil were released from a tank at the CITGO Refinery on the Calcasieu River during a violent rain storm.

July 25, New Orleans, Louisiana: A 61-foot barge, carrying 419,000 gallons of heavy fuel, collides with a 600-foot tanker ship in the Mississippi River near New Orleans. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel leak from the barge, causing a halt to all river traffic while cleanup efforts commence to limit the environmental fallout on local wildlife.

Jan. 23, Port Arthur, Texas: The oil tanker Eagle Otome and a barge collide in the Sabine-Neches Waterway, causing the release of about 462,000 gallons of crude oil. Environmental damage was minimal as about 46,000 gallons were recovered and 175,000 gallons were dispersed or evaporated, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

April 24, Gulf of Mexico: The Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible drilling rig, sank on April 22, after an April 20th explosion on the vessel. Eleven people died in the blast. When the rig sank, the riser—the 5,000-foot-long pipe that connects the wellhead to the rig—became detached and began leaking oil. In addition, U.S. Coast Guard investigators discovered a leak in the wellhead itself. As much as 5,000 barrels (200,000 gallons) of oil per day were leaking into the water, threatening wildlife along the Louisiana Coast. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared it a "spill of national significance." As many as 1,000 people and dozens of ships and aircraft were enlisted to help in the cleanup. BP (British Petroleum), which leased the Deepwater Horizon, is responsible for the cleanup, but the U.S. Navy supplied the company with resources to help contain the slick. If the slick reaches the coastline, it could dwarf the Exxon Valdez in terms of environmental damage.  
Here is an article from the Economist that cites some stats on how much industry spills and how that compares to the natural seepage.

Quenton Dokken, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Inc.
PMB 51 5403 Everhart Rd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78411

Office:  3833 South Staples Suite S214
                Corpus Christi, TX 78411

361-882-3939 o
361-882-1262 f
361-442-6064 c


-----Original Message-----
From: James Cervino PhD. [mailto:jcervino at whoi.edu] 
Sent: Saturday, May 08, 2010 6:36 PM
To: Quenton Dokken
Cc: goreau at bestweb.net; ""Joshua S. Verleun" <JVerleun at riverkeeper.org>.ctwiliams"@yahoo.com; 'Steve LeGore'; 'Coral List'
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] BP Oil Spill Response Where's FACTS and TRUTH??

Dear Quenton, with all due respect; You claim the sky is not falling, according
to a direct quote you provided as a result of this spill.....well over here in
New York City; they sky did fall and EXXON had to pay the bill for the death of
precious invertebrates, shell-fish and a long list of other biologically
significant species.  We still see the ecological effects of this mess.

If you want to see the impacts of Oil exposure on marine ecosystems, and
wetlands, take a visit to my neck of the woods located in Newtown Creek
Brooklyn USA. As I said, "the think tankers" will come out and have you NOT
believe your eyes on the ecological effects as a result of this spill.

IS it true that you have direct ties to the Oil and Gas Industry?

>From the NEW YORK TIMES: According to Dokken, the Foundation has a budget of
about $2 million. A quarter of its funding comes from private sector sources,
including oil and gas companies. The other three quarters, he estimates, comes
from federal and state government grants.

For more info:

Dr. James M. Cervino
Visiting Scientist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Contact Information:
NYC Address: 9-22 119st
College Point New York, 11356
Cell: 917-620*5287

Quoting Quenton Dokken <qdokken at gulfmex.org>:

* Good Morning Tom,
* I agree that the questions you list below must be addressed, but what does
* the cause of the spill have to do with scientific evaluation of the impact of
* the spill on the marine ecosystem?  No doubt your questions will be addressed
* in scores of lawsuits, but the marine science community still needs to focus
* on what is the actual measured impact rather than what are the possible
* impacts. Purely based on speculation the popular press has already declared
* this an "unprecedented disaster," fisheries are going to collapse, whole
* communities will disappear, etc.  None of this is supported by scientific
* assessment.  Steve LeGore stated the appropriate position for the science
* community very well.
* Quenton
* Quenton Dokken, Ph.D.
* Executive Director
* Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Inc.
* PMB 51 5403 Everhart Rd.
* Corpus Christi, TX 78411
* Office:  3833 South Staples Suite S214
*                 Corpus Christi, TX 78411
* 361-882-3939 o
* 361-882-1262 f
* 361-442-6064 c
* www.gulfmex.org
* -----Original Message-----
* From: Tom Williams [mailto:ctwiliams at yahoo.com]
* Sent: Friday, May 07, 2010 9:54 PM
* To: 'Steve LeGore'; 'Coral List'; Quenton Dokken
* Subject: Re: [Coral-List] BP Oil Spill Response Where's FACTS and TRUTH??
* Keeping to the FACTS and TRUTH would be great - WHERE are they, has BP given
* them out??  Do the FEDs have them??
* Let's focus on
* 1...Informed Consent needs reliable information and process of consenting
* 2...Do no harm
* Where are the facts regarding what they were doing before and during the
* situation of the explosion, fire, and collapse?
* Where are the facts regarding the record of operations, inspections, and
* QC/QA?
* Can't we say something about the situation without ALL of the FACTs?? Isn't
* this the situation with Global Warming vs Climate Change?? Smoking
* cigarettes, DDT/DDE, tetraethyl lead, etc.
* Maybe this is why I did so much engineering for 30+ years because we didn't
* have to have "perfect" knowledge, all FACT, and only Truths
* I guarantee that when you are working in 4-5000ft of ocean, FACTS are seldom
* available, and BP does not worry too much about TRUTH
* So let get real and develop our multiple hypothesis and get the info to test
* and eliminate the ones we can...
* Rig was approved and inspected by the Bush Feds
* Operations had been monitored and inspected by Bush and Obama Feds
* Drilling was reported to be underway and a Gas Zone was encountered
* The required BlowOut preventer didn't work
* Report was drill stem was in the preventer when the gas blow occurred
* Stem in Preventer prevented the BOP from closing off the gas (>4000psi)
* Gas bubble came up the stem and enveloped the floating rig
* Questions - were they shooting/fracing the casing at the time...
* Who did the QC/QA on the preventer, its installation, its operations...??
* > From: Quenton Dokken <qdokken at gulfmex.org>
* > Subject: Re: [Coral-List] BP Oil Spill Response
* > To: "'Steve LeGore'" <slegore at mindspring.com>, "'Coral List'"
* <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
* > Date: Friday, May 7, 2010, 2:32 PM
* > Steve is correct!  I've just finished a week long tour of the north Gulf
* > coast. This event is being hyped for political and economic reasons.
* > Lawyers are advertising on T.V. for locals to join class action suits.
* > I've been interviewed constantly all week and my position is let's keep
* > the discussion based on facts and truth.
* > Subsequently, I and the Gulf of Mexico Foundation are being hammered,
* > particularly by interests in the North East with a shut down oil and gas
* > agenda.
* > The scientific community needs to stick to facts and the truths these
* > facts support.
* > Quenton Dokken, Ph.D.
* > Executive Director
* > Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Inc.
* > PMB 51 5403 Everhart Rd.
* > Corpus Christi, TX 78411
* >
* > Office:  3833 South Staples Suite S214
* >
* > Corpus Christi, TX 78411
* >
* > 361-882-3939 o
* > 361-882-1262 f
* > 361-442-6064 c
* >
* > www.gulfmex.org
* >
* > -----Original Message-----
* > From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
* > [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov]
* > On Behalf Of Steve LeGore
* > Sent: Friday, May 07, 2010 2:24 PM
* > To: Coral List
* > Subject: [Coral-List] BP Oil Spill Response
* >
* > I am going to contribute something that may well be
* > unpopular, but I believe it must be said.  I implore
* > the scientific community to abstain from crying wolf about
* > the BP oil spill.  Cries of “disaster” and
* > “destruction of fisheries” will, I believe, ultimately
* > return to bite us in our collective asses.
* >
* > Look, I am not stupid or uninformed.  My Ph.D.
* > dissertation research at the UW (Seattle) concerned toxicity
* > of Prudhoe Bay crude.  I have responded to several oil
* > spills and I managed the year-long field sampling response
* > to the Ekofisk Bravo Blowout in the North Sea – at the
* > time the largest spill in history.  I have participated
* > in training oil spill responders, and I evaluated IMO
* > response procedures and policies to the Desert Strom spills
* > in the Persian Gulf.
* >
* > The BP spill is of course a problem that should not have
* > happened.  Spilled crude oil makes a mess; it oils
* > birds and turtles and is potentially devastating to
* > air-breathing marine mammals.  BP must be held
* > accountable for its shortcomings, which are many and
* > profound.  BP should be encouraged to return to the
* > days when its Environmental Affairs Department reported to
* > its Chairman of the Board rather than its PR Department Head
* > – as it did when BP earned the respect of the world’s
* > entire environmental community.
* >
* > However, we must remember that crude oil is not as toxic as
* > refined petroleum products.  It is a mix of many
* > hydrocarbons, including many heavy complex compounds as well
* > as lighter fractions.  Leaving aside potential
* > carcinogenicity, it is the latter that generally exhibit
* > toxicity.  Fortunately, crude oil floats, and in doing
* > so it provides opportunity for the more toxic lighter
* > fractions to differentially evaporate into the atmosphere,
* > removing them from the water column environment.  These
* > same lighter fractions tend to dissolve into the water
* > column, but fortunately they do so only to a limited
* > extent.  They are, almost by definition,
* > hydrophobic.  The only light component that dissolves
* > to an appreciable extent is benzene, which, if I remember
* > correctly, can reach 17 ppm in a super saturated
* > state.  This means that there is a profound limit to
* > the depth at which these compounds can exert their toxic
* > impacts.  They are generally limited to the top few
* > centimeters of the water column, which is of concern for
* > floating eggs and some other planktonic components.
* >
* > Yes, the rough weather and wind following the spill will
* > tend to exacerbate these issues, causing more mixing and
* > potentially affecting availability of toxins to marine
* > organisms.  And yes, the extreme depth at which this
* > oil is released in the marine environment may well create
* > unprecedented opportunities for mixing and
* > dissolution.   These factors may well enhance
* > impacts of the spill in the GoM, but what concerns me much
* > more profoundly is the wholesale use of dispersants.
* > The furor to control the spill, and BP’s concern for its
* > public image with a  view to oil-coated shorelines,
* > have resulted in pouring amounts of dispersants into the
* > marine environment that I would have personally thought
* > unthinkable before this spill.   Dispersants
* > are in themselves toxic and run the risk of disrupting
* > lipid-based cell membranes of fish eggs and other
* > plankton.  They also emulsify spilled hydrocarbons,
* > making them more biologically available in the water
* > column..  I question whether BP would have used so much
* > of these ill-advised compounds if public pressure had been
* > more measured.
* >
* > Oil spills are nasty when they reach shore.  There is
* > no question about it, and the oil will indeed cause many
* > environmental problems in these environments for many years
* > to come, depending on how much oil reaches these
* > areas..  But the oil will most likely NOT cause
* > destruction of all GoM fisheries for the foreseeable
* > future.  Deepwater fisheries likely will be affected
* > more by fouling of gear by oil than by oil killing the
* > target fish.
* >
* > Yes, this spill is awful and was almost certainly
* > preventable.  And yes, it will likely cause very
* > unfortunate damage to the marine environment and marine
* > fisheries, especially in shoreline environments that it may
* > strike.  And yes, BP and its partners must be held
* > fully accountable.  But the spill will not turn the GoM
* > into a biological desert.  By screaming “Murder” I
* > believe well-meaning environmentalists run the risk of
* > providing “Drill Baby Drill” people an argument when the
* > ultimate environmental effects fail to measure up to extreme
* > panic calls.  Let us please be measured and realistic
* > so as to not provide a free advantage to those who would
* > overlook the real issues involved here.
* >
* > Steve LeGore
* >
* >
* > Steve LeGore, Ph.D.
* > LeGore Environmental Associates, Inc.
* > 2804 Gulf Drive N.
* > Holmes Beach, Florida 34217 USA
* > Tel: 941/778-4650
* > Fax: 941/778-4761
* > Cell: 941/447-8010
* > GMT + 4 hrs
* > _______________________________________________
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* > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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* >
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