made with contaminated gulf seafood
To believe it is to see it
Murdoch? Oh, well, he's gone on
to his great reward.
Yeah... yeah, they say he's in Florida somewhere.
--The Big Kahuna (1999)
You won't read much about it in the news (the BP oil spill is so yesterday), but Louisiana has just suffered a major fish kill. Field & Stream asks, "Is Massive Louisiana Fish Kill BP Related?" Naw, it couldn't be -- could it? Unfortunately, these disasters are messy, and lack for a discrete end point. Oil spills are a gift that keeps on giving.
Despite the impossibility of closure, BP's Macando well was officially declared "permanently killed" on 9.18.10 by Adm. Thad Allen "point man" for the incident. The WaPo reported "several clues indicated it had been done successfully."
"Allen said that the relief well lost drilling fluids, which was a sign it had broken through. The drill bit encountered extra resistance, indicating it had pierced the Macondo well's casing. And readings from the Macondo well's new blowout preventer also seemed to agree that something had changed far below the seafloor" (BP's Macondo well to be permanently "killed" by Saturday).
In our impossibly sketchy coverage of this spill, it is always a comfort to know that something has changed. One thing for sure that has changed since the well's kill is the directionality of hundreds of thousands of fish off the Louisiana coast who have decided to go belly up (Louisiana Seeks Cause of Massive Fish Kill.)
This is absurd, as most presidents readily o.k. beach photos. It shows they are a man of the people, and none would do so more than a collection of photos of Obama and family frolicking in the polluted waters of the Gulf. After the fact, one solitary photo was released by an official White House photographer of the president up to his neck, with daughter Sasha in an indeterminate body of water.
The London Independent identified the swim as actually occurring at Alligator Point in St. Andrews Bay, well to the East of the spill zone. In any event, the official photo lacked any identifiers, like the name of the boat or shore-side signage. Nothing was evident in this photo aside from water and two people (minus the FLOTUS), which makes me doubt the sincerity of Obama's "personal assurances of (the) Gulf's safety." The AP would not publish the WH's handout photo.
I really can't blame Mr. Obama for not wanting to hang out at the Redneck Riviera, and he and the missus were soon off for their second trip this summer for 10 days in Bar Harbor, Maine. Even sans the oil, the Gulf Coast is not a very chic hangout. But the Apalachicola Bay did produce some of the country's best oysters and shrimp, and those days are gone.
Despite the massive fish kill, "Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, has ordered an emergency reopening of all fishing in 210 square miles of state waters west of Bayou Lafourche previously closed due to the BP oil spill. With today’s action, 95 percent of state waters are opened." Oysters are still verboten. One wonders why the rush to judgment? Methinks the governmental agencies doth protest too much.
Who knows -- maybe the agencies will also discover that the oil dispersant Corexit (whose presence is not being tested for in the fish flesh) is good for what ails you ("Corexit'll Correct It!"), and better living through chemistry will be more than just another fallow promise.
The Gulf fiasco -- "the worst ecological disaster in the nation's history" according to FSU Biological Oceanographer Ian McDonald -- has been dwarfed by other, more visible national dissipations. McDonald is an international expert on oil spills who estimated early on that the amount of oil spilling was at least five times BP estimates.
How much oil was actually spilled and how much remains is anyone's guess. The UK Telegraph reports 4.4 million barrels; the NYT, 4.9 million bbls. Researchers have found a 2-inch slime carpet on the ocean floor, and report, "It's kind of like a slime highway from the surface to the bottom" (Scientists Find Thick Layer of Oil on Seafloor.)
And what of the 22-mile, 3-mile-wide column of oil below the surface, and other such findings? The news stories conflict: Oil Spill Persists, Oil Plume is not Breaking Down Fast, Oil from spill not going away quickly.
But y'know, Halloween's fast approaching, and I've seen Thanksgiving tchotchkes in the stores, so there's plenty else to distract us before Christmas gets here.
[Cross-posted @ BigBrassBlog]