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Why oil spills are no big deal

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posted on May, 25 2010 @ 02:54 PM
reply to post by benoni

Everyone needs just quit poppin off at the mouth. You obviously don't get what OP means if all you can think of is some wacky accusation. I don't think he's actually had a chance in four pages, to explain.

So give him that?

[edit on 25-5-2010 by randyvs]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 07:57 PM

Originally posted by randyvs

Everyone needs just quit poppin off at the mouth. You obviously don't get what OP means if all you can think of is some wacky accusation. I don't think he's actually had a chance in four pages, to explain.

So give him that?

Thanks randy

Let's compare the current spill to past spills.

One place that has expiereinced more oil spills than anywhere else on earth is probably the Persian Gulf.

Between 1978 and 1991, prior to the Persian Gulf War, five major oil spills had occurred in the Gulf, each involving more than a quarter of a million barrels of crude oil and each being larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. The largest of these spills was associated with a well at Nowruz, Iran that resulted in 1.9 million barrels of oil being dumped in the northern section of the Gulf. Also, a considerable amount of industrial spillage and natural oil seepage occurs in the Gulf each year. Estimates range from 250,000 to 3 million barrels per year ...

05/25/1978 Well 126, Iran 0.7 Million barrels
08/20/1981 Kuwait Petroleum Tank 0.7 Million barrels
02/04/1983 Nowruz, Iran 1.9 Million barrels
12/10/1983 Qatar 0.3 Million barrels
08/15/1985 Khar Island, Iran 0.5 Million barrels

This was all before the mother of all oil spills which was unleashed during the American invasion of Iraq.

That spill covered 4242 (101 x 42) square miles and was 5 inches thick. It was estimated to 11 million barrels.


So lets take a look at the affects of millions of barrels of oil having been spilled into the persian gulf. Before the 11 million barrel spill.

Ad Daffi Bay and Abu Ali Island experienced the greatest pollution, with the main effect of the spill concentrated in the mangrove areas and shrimp grounds. Large numbers of marine birds, such as cormorants, grebes, and auks, were killed when their plumage was coated with oil. The beaches around the entire bay shoreline were covered with oil and tar balls. Gurmah Island was of particular interest to the groups trying to protect the bay's environments. It has a large stand of rare dwarf black mangroves situated along its southwest edge. Along with these trees grows an asparagus resembling pneumatophore, the roots of which allow the mangroves to respire. Many of these pneumatophores became covered with oil resulting in the eventual death of adjacent trees. Protective booms were placed across the tidal channels but they did not completely control the flow of oil among the trees.

[edit on 25-5-2010 by Freedom or Death]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 07:57 PM

In spite of the numerous past oil spills, especially during the Iran-Iraq conflict, the natural seeping of oil, and the large number of huge oil tankers, the Gulf has remained an active and unique ecosystem and functions as a significant food source, an important recreation area, a major habitat for endangered species, and a key flyway for migratory birds. How well and how quickly the Gulf will recover from this most recent attack on its ecosystem is not yet known. Comparisons have been made between the 1991 Gulf oil spill and the highly publicized Exxon Valdez spill. However, the Valdez spill was considerably smaller at 240,000 barrels and occurred in a subpolar, rocky-shored, and highly mixed water environment.

The Gulf with its tropical temperatures and sandy low shores is a much different water environment than Prince William Sound, Alaska. It is also a much larger water body with a long flow-through rate, about five years, and its water is described as placid and very warm. A more analogous environment with a history of oil spills would be the Gulf of Mexico. An older but more comparable example would be the 1978 IXTOC spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which created a spill of roughly 3.3 to 10.2 million barrels.

Dr. Jacqueline Michel, US geochemist (2010 interview)[4]:

The long term effects were very significant. There was no shoreline cleanup, essentially, over the 800 kilometers that the oil – - in Saudi Arabia. And so when we went back in to do quantitative survey in 2002 and 2003, there was a million cubic meters of oil sediment remained then 12 years after the spill.... [T]he oil penetrated much more deeply into the intertidal sediment than normal because those sediments there have a lot of crab burrows, and the oil penetrated deep, sometimes 30, 40 centimeters, you know a couple of feet, into the mud of these tidal flats. There’s no way to get it out now. So it has had long term impact.

Dr. Hans-Jörg Barth, German geographer (2001 research report)[5]:

The study demonstrated that, in contrary to previously published reports e.g. already 1993 by UNEP, several coastal areas even in 2001 still show significant oil impact and in some places no recovery at all. The salt marshes which occur at almost 50% of the coastline show the heaviest impact compared to the other ecosystem types after 10 years. Completely recovered are the rocky shores and mangroves. Sand beaches are on the best way to complete recovery. The main reason for the delayed recovery of the salt marshes is the absence of physical energy (wave action) and the mostly anaerobic milieu of the oiled substrates. The latter is mostly caused by cyanobacteria which forms impermeable mats. In other cases tar crusts are responsible. The availability of oxygen is the most important criteria for oil degradation. Where oil degrades it was obvious that benthic intertidal fauna such as crabs re-colonise the destroyed habitats long before the halophytes. The most important paths of regeneration are the tidal channels and the adjacent areas. Full recovery of the salt marshes will certainly need some more decades.

I maintain what I said earlier to be true.

1) Methane seeps are quite natural and there are areas where sea life thrives around them.

2) The oil spill is really not the big deal it is being played out to be. There have been numerous other oil spills around the world of the same magnitude. I should have qualified my statement to read, 'compared to the size and depth of the ocean and other amounts of pollution that already exist the gulf oil spill is really just a drop in the bucket. It just looks bad becuase it is so close to land.

3) In the end the oil spill may turn out to be benificial. Maybe not to marine life or coastal economies, but it may turn out to benificial to the entire world in bringing the issue of pollution to a head.

4) There will be a die off of marine life. What doesn't die will evolve or adapt.

My point of view has not changed.

[edit on 25-5-2010 by Freedom or Death]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 08:16 PM
Sorry to upset your little sensibilities there randy....

He hasnt explained himself in four pages you say??

He has....The Oil Spill is No Big Deal.....this is his premise....

He's had 4 pages worth of posts, yet still you feel he hasnt explained himself??

I think he's said enough...I for one know exactly where he the pocket of BP.

As for the remaining marine life that doesnt get killed courtesy of BP...."it will evolve..."

What utter tripe!!

Any idea how the time frames may work, whilst the pelicans and dolphins "evolve" to survive in polluted seas of oil???

Your simple brushing aside of this disaster as being trivial would be hilarious if it werent for the seriousness.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 08:23 PM

Originally posted by benoni

Any idea how the time frames may work, whilst the pelicans and dolphins "evolve" to survive in polluted seas of oil???

I suspect that the pelicans and dolphins and other sealife that will evolve and survive will sense that the whole region has become polluted and will relocate out of the gulf of mexico to other waters.

The pelicans, dolphins and sealife that fail to recognize that a change is taking place in thier natural living environment will likely be amonst those that fail to survive.

Before you know it congress will be passing a bill to bail out the fish.

[edit on 25-5-2010 by Freedom or Death]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 09:07 PM
reply to post by Freedom or Death

I can see where you are coming from. It is even possible for me to look at the scientific and ecological similiarities that you list.


There is a heck of a lot of differences in economy between the Gulf here, and the Persian Gulf.

60% of US seafood comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone in that industry just lost a job. Everyone that processes that seafood, just lost a job. Everyone that uses or works with seafood in the US, just took a hit because prices on seafood will soar, and work hours available will dive. How about the job stocking seafood at the seafood store?

Anyone in the tourist business (hotels, tours, any recreational place from putt-putt to laser tag) that is along the coast will get hit. Let's not even mention if this stuff hits Miami. Real estate in those regions will completely belly flop. The government will be losing billions of dollars in tax revenue from that whole area, which is just in time to 'not' help pay down the national debt, or pay for our new Health Care.

The infrastructure in that region will suffer besides everything alive in the water. Who is going to worry about roads, when everyone is going to be cleaning oil off of your newly 'adapted' animal species for the next 100 years?

Come on, I can agree with the posts about the nature of oil being able to degrade in the ocean naturally. I can agree with the posts about the chemical composition not being 'that' bad compared to the cleaning agent Corexit. But there is NO WAY I can say that THIS spill, in this location, is NO BIG DEAL!

If it is stopped right now, right this very second, then maybe some of the economic doom can be skipped. But that is not going to happen. I think everyone on ATS should be thrilled if it stops tomorrow, but most of us do not think it WILL be stopped anytime soon. Every day this continues, marine life is lost, and we step closer to the first depression of the new millenium.

The Persian Gulf does not support the United States with food, jobs, and a strong tourist-based economy.

The United States cannot afford this disaster in terms of loss of marine life, jobs, infrastructure, and economy.

I wish your viewpoint luck, I think. But at the very least, I appreciate and respect your efforts at drawing scientific comparisons. Alas, our society is more complex than that. For all of you on the coast, my prayers from day one has been for this to end. Good luck to all.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 09:52 PM

Originally posted by lasertaglover

The United States cannot afford this disaster in terms of loss of marine life, jobs, infrastructure, and economy.

Have you ever seen the faces of people from the great depression?

I took my wife to hoover dam. They have an exhibit where they talk about the difficulties that the people who built the dam had to endure. My wife cried when she learned that familes moved there months in advance because they hoped to find work.

I suggest you go and see it.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 10:00 PM
reply to post by lasertaglover

Right.... so let me get this straight....
The reason this is different is because the other cases didn't affect the US?

I really wish the majority of Americans didn't think the world ended at their borders, because it makes it difficult not to be swept up in the (Sometimes justified) anti-US sentiment which unites the rest of the world.

Basically what i've seen on this thread is someone making an interesting point which doesnt agree with the mass consensus, followed by 4 pages of people who have logged in to insult the original poster and nothing else.
Hell I saw someone playing grammer whore! If you have to resort to that, you've lost the arguament...

If you actually read his posts with an open mind, you'd see that he's pointing to several events around the world where comparable events have happened, and nature pulls back quicker than you'd think.

Its bad, but from an ecological view, assuming its sorted in a reasonable time this is NO BIG DEAL, a hundred years from now, as the OP says this will be fine.
From a localised economic view I accept this might be a big thing, but I feel I need to point out for the more patrioticaly retarded amongst you, other countries aren't actually reliant on the Florida tourism revenue....

And putting this into perspective, at least its nowhere near as bad as bhopal at least BP will pay reparations.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 10:07 PM
Wasn't aimed at you in particular, more the common sentiment Im seeing on here of wounded pride, and over inflated importance.

I'd go the other way though honestly.
I think this could be construed as a GOOD THING (Or at least, good may come of this bad situation).
If it raises awareness of the damage being done to the planet in a way that distant disasters never have, If it makes your country realise that petrol shouldn't be that cheap (thats just a personal bugbear of mine, can't believe how cheap it is in the US lol), and if it induces the big business to pump money into technologies to prevent or lessen the next oil spill.

We're exploiting so many coastal reserves these days it was bound to happen, but if this had happened anywhere else in the world it would be getting a tenth of the coverage and would have been forgotten about long before now.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 11:02 PM
reply to post by Freedom or Death

I have been to the Hoover Dam, listened to the stories of elder family members now passed, and read 'The Great Depression : America in the 1930s, by T. H. Watkins'.

I think that this has the potential to be that horrible. I really hope that BP's plan works tomorrow, even though I am skeptical about it.

I just can't see how it matters if this spill is in the top ten list for worst oil spills. In terms of impact on the economy, it might make all of them added up come in second place.

Does anyone know how many people are in the tourism industry from say...New Orleans to Miami? Or the fishing industry? Or what is the population of that whole stretch of land?

All I am saying is that is a lot of jobs, and I pray that this spill ends up being nothing...but reality keeps slapping me in the face.

And by the way, I think that a tragedy like this would be horrible in any region of the world. My problem in comparing this to the Persian Gulf is not biased for anything other than Economic reasons. How many people were affected by the oil spill in that part of the world? How many people will be affected by the oil spill now? The economy is more inter connected now than ever.

If a little country like Greece (no offense, just speaking economically again) can affect the markets in the world so badly these last few weeks, what would happen if America's economy crumbled as a result of this Oil Spill? It might not be as big as the Persian Gulf Spill, but it has the potential to be far worse.

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 11:08 PM

Originally posted by lasertaglover

I think that this has the potential to be that horrible.

This oil spill is just an event, in the middle of a much larger event.

Much like how the dust bowl was an event, during the great depression.

Originally posted by lasertaglover

what would happen if America's economy crumbled as a result of this Oil Spill?

You think that a little oil on the beach is enough to crush the American empire do you?

[edit on 25-5-2010 by Freedom or Death]

posted on May, 25 2010 @ 11:26 PM
reply to post by Freedom or Death

I agree with much of what you have written here. I have written much of the same elsewhere. But there are a few omissions of fact.

I also don't really understand the relevance of your point.

But first with the omissions:

Unlike any of your previous examples, none used the quantity of dispersant used in this disaster. I have a feeling we will really pay the piper on that one.

Also, the tourism and seafood dollars are not even close in the comparison of the two gulfs.

And finally, if this crisis continues into August, we will likely surpass the size of the Persian Gulf example, bringing us into even newer territory...

Thus my confusion. You can predict the LONG TERM impact all you like, but that will still be far more speculative than what is clearly the IMMEDIATE and catastrophic case now. US fisheries, and possibly even a good portion of tourism, are toast in the Gulf.

No amount of talk about the DISTANT future will change the current reality NOW.

My $0.02.

[edit on 25-5-2010 by loam]

posted on May, 26 2010 @ 01:18 AM

Originally posted by Freedom or Death
I do care.

On the scale of caring I would put myself at a 9.5 out of 10.

If you fall under a 9.5 I might care more about the issue than I do about you.

It's all relative to your perspective on an issue.

And what special perspective on this issue do you claim to have?

I mean, apart from obviously being somehow associated with British Petroleum?

posted on May, 28 2010 @ 02:30 PM
Tell that to the thousands of unemployed people on the gulf big deal

posted on May, 28 2010 @ 03:38 PM
It is a big deal! I can't believe that anyone would say otherwise.

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 03:42 AM

Originally posted by Morpheas
It is a big deal! I can't believe that anyone would say otherwise.

Well contrary to popular thinking I am not an advocate for oil spills or BP. However I would like to bring some common sense to the table.

Ixtoc I - 1979 - 3 Million Barrels spilled into the gulf - Event lasted 9 months.

Seriously did you ever even hear of it, prior to this event? You still ordered shrimp at your local restaurant and went on vacaction to gulf coast beaches. Perhaps it was just because you were ignorant.

We may already be at 3 Million Barrels with the BP spill in about 1/8 th the time.

Ok it's bad

It's the volume and velocity of the spill a that is a problem, not the oil itself.

The dispersant that is being added to the spill is also a problem. Personally I think they are making it worse.

But back on track oil spills themselves are no big deal.

This one is turning into a fiasco though.

Time to nuke the well.

[edit on 31-5-2010 by Freedom or Death]

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 04:04 AM
I understand your point, OP. With the perspective from which you view and in which you frame this situation, the impact of this spill will not remain catastrophic (if it is temporarily catastrophic at all,) let alone permanent. I do understand and respect that point of view. At times I share it. It depends on what perspective I'm looking at things from, which is largely dependent on my given philosophical, emotional, and mental state.

With that said, not everyone shares that perspective. Some people feel that any - even temporary - damage to an ecosystem resulting from any event for which we are responsible (whether a natural or unavoidable occurrence caused the explosion or not, our technology and our desire to drill there are directly and causally linked to this spill in my opinion) is unacceptable, regardless of how self-correcting or equilibrium-seeking our global ecosystem as a whole may be in the long term.

Depending upon perspective, it can be argued that any event - from a nuclear war, to the holocaust (I am not in any way insinuating that this oil spill is in any way analogous to such events, or that you endorse or support those things, OP) - are not as calamitous or lamentable as they appear in the short term. After all, even if it took thousands or millions of years, Earth's self-correcting eco-system would recover from a nuclear war eventually. Survival of the fittest, as you said, would prevail. Life, in some form, would likely endure.

Not everyone sees life from that perspective, however. Another way of puting it is this:

Is it the end of the world? No.

Will life, in whatever form, endure whatever calamity we can imagine (in all but the most extreme cases of course)? Yes, probably.

Is it necessary or acceptable though? Not in my opinion, no.

I do respect your opinion and point of view, though.

[edit on 5/31/2010 by AceWombat04]

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 04:10 AM
reply to post by lasertaglover

I agree. I am wondering about where the tipping point is? Given that over a few decades years the oil clears upbut at what stage does the sea die? Do we know? Do we care? Are there computer models for this sort of thing?

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