Environment Forum

Video: Dolphins swimming through crude

In this video blog posted by Regan Nelson, a senior oceans advocate with the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), dolphins are shown swimming in the murky waters containing chemically-dispersed oil off the Gulf of Mexico.

BP engineers were using undersea robots on Friday to try to stem the continued leak of 5000 barrels of oil a day from the ruptured oil well about a mile underwater.

Wildlife rescue teams were on standby as potential calamity faces the region’s birds, sea turtles and marine mammals.

The BP oil spill is reported to be the latest in a string of environmental insults to the U.S. Gulf Coast, from wetlands eradication to flood control measures that have starved marshes of new sediment deposits.

from Photographers' Blog:

Covering the Exxon Valdez disaster

It was shortly after midnight on March 24, 1989 that the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef in Prince Edward Sound and began leaking millions of gallons of North Slope crude oil. I was sound asleep in Toronto, Canada when that happened.

Reuters was still taking a feed of pictures from UPI (United Press International) from the United States. But I remember hearing the news that morning and packing my gear (which at that time was film, powder chemicals, portable darkroom, 16S color transmitter and of course.. some cold weather clothing). I sat in Toronto as the politics of the news business played out in Washington between Reuters and UPI. Finally, it was decided that we would both cover the story. So, David Ake, a UPI staffer from Denver, and I made our way there. I remember landing in Anchorage, Alaska, and hauling my gear into a rental car at midnight, then driving six hours to Valdez in the dead of night. About 4 hours into the drive I was held up by a few hundred caribou, who decided to cross the two lane highway, they were just mingling so I still have vivid memories of being in the middle of nowhere honking my horn to help speed up the process.

Sea lions rest on a rock in the oily waters of Prine William Sound near Knight Island, April 2, 1989, after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, caused by the Exxon Valdez.   REUTERS/Mike Blake

I rolled into Valdez at first light and it didn’t take long to realize that most of the town’s people did not want the media there. The few media that had found rooms at the only hotel in town were all having to checkout as rumor had it that Exxon had bought the hotel. With help from our desk in Washington and the chamber of commerce in Valdez I found a place to stay at the home of the local taxidermist.

Time to get un-addicted to oil


– Rona Fried, Ph.D., is CEO of SustainableBusiness.com, a news and networking site for green businesses: including a green jobs service and a green investing newsletter.  Any views expressed here are her own. —

Over the past 30 years, four U.S. presidents chose to continue down the fossil fuel path of least resistance instead of investing heavily in energy efficiency and renewable energy – the only long-term solutions that can avoid catastrophic oil spills like the one we are witnessing today.

We have all the technology to transition to a clean economy that gives us the energy we need without destroying biodiversity, ecosystems, human life and the economy.

Underwater footage: capping the first leak

This video was released by BP to show a remote operating vehicle (ROV) closing one of the three leaks that are spewing at least 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the waters off Gulf coastal states about a mile underwater.

“…The oil gushing out is quite incredible – you can see it at about the 2 minute 15 second mark of the video,” writes Kevin Grandia on Energyboom.com.

On Friday, BP engineers were expected to lower a massive metal containment chamber onto a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico in an effort to stem the widening slick before it reaches mainland.

BP CEO “incredibly proud” of oil spill effort

In this video interview from May 5, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward says he is “incredibly proud” of the response effort to fight the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico from the incident command center in Mobile, Alabama.

BP on Thursday said engineers were preparing to lower a 98-ton metal chamber over a ruptured undersea oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We will be judged by our response,” Hayward says, as he defends BP’s reputation against criticism from politicians and environmentalists.

Lessons from the Exxon Valdez spill


–Riki Ott, PhD, has written two books on the Exxon Valdez oil spill impacts on people, communities, and wildlife, including the recently released Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.  Any views expressed here are her own.–

I remember the words, “We’ve had the Big One,” with chilling clarity, spoken just over 21 years ago when a fellow fisherman arrived at my door in the early morning and announced that the Exxon Valdez had run aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and was gushing oil.

For the small fishing community of Cordova, Alaska, where I lived and worked as a commercial fisherma’am, it was our worst nightmare.

Deepwater offshore development remains a vital enterprise


— Dr. Lee Hunt is president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors located in Houston, Texas. Any views expressed here are his own. –

The Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and subsequent oil spill are regrettable in the extreme.

But the fact remains that offshore drilling and production has for more than four decades provided safe and reliable sources of energy vitally needed by our nation.

World waits on Washington’s climate bill


Laura Zizzo is a partner at Zizzo Allan Climate Law LLP. Any views expressed here are her own. –

There is an important race occurring in capitals, factories and research facilities across the globe.

It’s a high-stakes race that will determine two very important things: whether we will be able to respond to climate change in time to avoid catastrophe, and which economies will be the clean energy/low-carbon superpowers.

This oil leak is different


– Willy Bemis is Kingsbury Director of Shoals Marine Laboratory, collaboratively operated by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire, and professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell. Any views expressed here are his own.–

Earth Day 2010 will be remembered for the explosion and fire on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, from which 11 workers are missing and presumed dead.

One week later, the resulting oil leak now seems certain to become one of the greatest ecological catastrophes in United States history.

Paging Hugh Bennett: The dust up over climate legislation


–Asher Miller is executive director of think tank Post Carbon Institute. Any opinion expressed here is his own.–

In the convoluted world of U.S. politics, a debate broke out last weekend over climate change and immigration, but not for the reasons you might think.

No, the debate wasn’t about how much internal migration might occur because of droughts, floods, and rising sea levels (imagine the Hurricane Katrina diaspora multiplied one hundred fold) or how many hundreds of millions of people around the world might attempt to cross borders in the coming decades as a result of the same climatic events.