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Best Case Scenario for the Gulf, See Exxon Valdez Report Ten Years Later

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posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 11:36 AM
Besides looking at all the doom and gloom of what the worst case scenario would be if the BOP tilts over collapsing the well head or if the sea floor collapses creating a tsunami wiping out Florida and not to mention the New Madrid Fault opening up swallowing the land from the Great Lakes to the Gulf, I think we should look at the best case scenario. Being a native of Louisiana who grew up crabbing and shrimping all up and down the coastal areas I wanted to know what our best case scenario will be in the event that they do get this well under control in the next couple months.

So after watching the BS of how safe the seafood is to eat from Pres. Obama and his message to push his “clean” energy through cap & trade due to this spill, I decided to find the environmental reports from the worst oil spill in North America (until now) the Exxon Valdez. Luckily our internet has not been shut down yet so I was able to do so this am. I found a report by the Technical Background Paper for Alaska Wilderness League: The Exxon Valdez 10 years later, by Pamela Miller of Arctic Connections that she wrote in March of 1999.

So what will the Gulf States look like environmentally in 2020?

A few facts to consider as you read this report.

1) The Exxon Valdez dumped 270,000 barrels into the ocean
2) The oil covered 10,000 square miles of ocean
3) The oil contaminated 1500 miles of shoreline
4) The US Gov is now estimating as of 6/15/10 that the Deep Horizon well is
dumping 60,000 barrels a day into the gulf minus the 15,000 barrels that BP
claims they catch. That would mean that an estimate of 2.5 million barrels of
oil has now been dumped into the Gulf and that’s just an estimate.

So do you want to look into the future at the best case scenario for the Gulf States? Continue reading………………..

Toxic effects linger.

To the naked eye, Prince William Sound may appear “normal.” But if you look beneath the surface, oil continues to contaminate beaches, national parks, and designated wilderness. In fact, the Office of Technology Assessment estimated beach cleanup and oil skinning only recovered 3-4% of the Exxon Valdez oil and studies by government scientists estimated that only 14% of the oil was removed during cleanup operations.

A decade later, the ecosystem still suffers. Substantial contamination of mussel beds persists and this remarkably unweathered oil is a continuing source of toxic hydrocarbons. Sea otters, river otters, Barrow’s goldeneyes, and harlequin ducks have showed evidence of continued hydrocarbon exposure in the past few years.

The depressed population of Pacific herring – a critical source of food for over 40 predators including seabirds, harbor seals and Steller sea lions – is having severe impacts up the food chain. Wildlife population declines continue for harbor seal, killer whales, harlequin ducks, common loon, pigeon guillemot, and pelagic, red-faced cormorant, and double-crested cormorants.

Exxon-funded scientists have repeatedly dismissed evidence of on-going effects to wildlife from the massive 1989 oil spill by claiming that oil seeps contribute a bigger background source of hydrocarbons in bottom sediments in Prince William Sound.[18] Yet, they dismiss coal as a possible source due to ignoring location of known deposits and other factors about its “fingerprint.” A new study by the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the source is coal, and that coal hydrocarbons are not chemically available to impact wildlife.

Oil is more toxic than thought.

Even before the spill, scientists knew that a drop of oil could kill a bird’s egg. But after studying the impact of the Valdez spill, they now believe oil pollution is at least 100 times more toxic to fish than previously known. It is also more persistent.

In Katmai National Park wilderness, oil remained along the rocky coast with only slight weathering compared to freshly spilled oil after more than 5 years. Chemically, it was like 11-day old Exxon Valdez crude, with high concentrations of toxic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s).[20] In the past, it was presumed that wave action would have rapidly removed oil in such areas. Future releases of toxic oil can still affect wildlife.

New studies by the National Marine Fisheries Service show that even very low levels of weathered Exxon Valdez oil (0.5 to 1 part per billion PAH’s) are toxic at the early life stages of salmon and herring.[21] This data on toxicity to salmon eggs shows that current Alaska water quality standards allow hydrocarbon levels that can impair reproduction.

Exxon Valdez spill resulted in profound physiological effects to fish and wildlife. These included reproductive failure, genetic damage, curved spines, lowered growth and body weights, altered feeding habits, reduced egg volume, liver damage, eye tumors, and debilitating brain lesions.


Sea otters -- 3,500 to 5,500 died. Continued exposure to hydrocarbons in 1998. Populations in heavily oiled bays not recovered.

Harbor seals -- 300 died. Most seals and pups oiled at contaminated haulouts. From 1989 to 1997, the population has declined 35% and continues downward.

Killer whales – Up to 22 died. Unprecedented mortality of females with calves. Males with collapsed dorsal fins subsequently died. Not recovered.


Common murres -- 175,000-300,000 killed. Minimum of 300,000 chicks lost, complete breeding failures at several large colonies from 1989 to 1991. El nino has set back recovery that was occurring.

Other seabirds -- 375,000 to 435,000 died. Declines of 16 species compared with earlier baseline surveys, including loons, black oystercatchers, pigeon guillemots, pelagic and red-faced cormorants, scoters, Barrow’s goldeneye, mergansers. Not recovered.

Harlequin ducks -- 400-1,000 died. Decreased molting populations and wintering survival for females in oiled areas, and evidence of exposure to hydrocarbons in tissues through 1998. Not recovered.

Marbled murrelets – 12,800 to 14,800 died. A large part of the world’s population at risk from the spill; Prince William Sound numbers declined 67% since the 1970’s. Population continued to decline to 1991. Not recovered.

Loons - 395 carcasses, 4 loon species. Common loons have small, slow reproducing populations. Not recovering.


Pacific herring -- Most salmon spawning and feeding habitats in Prince William Sound were oiled, causing egg and larval mortality and physical deformities. Unprecedented population crash in 1993, first year eggs laid in 1989 should have returned. Not recovered.

Pink salmon -- Increased mortality of eggs in oiled streams. Lower adult survival and juvenile growth rates and gross abnormalities in young fish in oiled streams. Oil-spill related collapses in pink salmon populations in 1992 and 1993. Some spawning streams still oiled. Not recovered.

Dolly varden -- Lower adult survival through 1991 in oiled areas. Rate of recovery unknown.

Cutthroat trout – At its northwest limit in Prince William Sound, its isolated ranges are highly vulnerable to pollution. Lower rates of growth persisted through 1991. Recovery rate unknown.

Rockfish, other marine fish -- Rockfish died from ingestion of oil and had sublethal injuries. Hydrocarbons were found in halibut; pollack; rock, yellowfin, Dover, and flathead sole; Pacific cod; and sablefish. Recovery rates unknown.


National Parks -- Oiled Kenai Fiords, Katmai, and Aniakchak National Park and Preserve. Buried oil remains in park beaches.

National Wildlife Refuges -- Kodiak, Alaska Peninsula/ Becharof, Alaska Maritime refuges oiled. Resources not recovered.

Chugach National Forest -- Wilderness study area oiled. Forest resources still injured.

Designated Wilderness -- Oiled Katmai National Park, Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fiords National Park wilderness study area, and Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park. Invasion of more than 11,000 clean up workers, boats, and helicopters on remote beaches harmed wilderness values throughout spill area. Permanent loss.

Intertidal Communities – 1,500 miles of beaches harmed. Recent studies revealed that even on “cleaned-up” washed beaches, mollusks and other invertebrates were far less abundant than on comparable unspoiled beaches. Not recovered.

Subtidal Communities – Habitats providing shelter and food for an array of fishes, birds, and marine mammals were oiled, killing snails, clams, sea urchins, and invertebrates. Evidence of oil contamination in sediments, reduced abundance of clams and altered community composition persists. Not recovered.

Archeological Sites -- 24 sites were damaged by the spill and cleanup. Permanent injury.

America’s Public Lands – American’s were outraged and saddened by the Exxon Valdez spill. A study of the lost aesthetic and intrinsic values derived simply from knowing that the resources exist (“passive use”) estimated the damage to Americans at $2.8 billion.[26] Permanent loss to a priceless place.

I am not going to talk about the health concerns that affected the workers at the Exxon Valdez spill. We are (for the most part) very intelligent individuals here on ATS that realize that this Gulf Crises is very toxic not to mention what BP is dumping to disperse the oil as reported.

Our best case scenario as evident from this report 10 years after of the Valdez event brings a very grim picture to the gulf coastline due to the magnitude of oil being dumped. It’s interesting that our Government is more concerned about using this event to push an agenda then to realize the importance of what we are about to loose. ATS is just full of conspiracies on why, just pick one………..

I will end this post by wishing the best of luck to everyone. Hopefully our worst is the best case scenario...........

[edit on 16-6-2010 by Cloudsinthesky]

[edit on 16-6-2010 by Cloudsinthesky]

[edit on 16-6-2010 by Cloudsinthesky]

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posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 12:28 PM

Think I'll order my Ark now before the rush starts...

Got wood?

[edit on 6/16/2010 by Hx3_1963]

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 05:49 PM


posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 10:23 PM
After watching the threads here on ATS and seeing all the skeptics argue different OP’s opinions of if a doom and gloom situation will occur, this has brought boredom to my reading as I seek “new” information from those ATS members who are attempting to figure out where this crises is headed.

So after posting what ten years would look like for a spill of 270,000 barrels I closed ATS and googled more research concerning what the Exxon Valdez spill looks like today.

The biggest problem in looking at the reports from the 20 year anniversary of the Valdez is that we have not yet capped the well. Even if we do get these relief wells drilled it would not be accomplished until September at best. If the government estimates of 60,000 barrels are correct, this would mean that 5 to 6 million barrels of oil being dumped into the gulf. WOW!!

Since I am from Louisiana, will I ever be able to go shrimping or fishing off the Gulf waters in my life time again? Sadly my response is NO!

Twenty years later after the Exxon Valdez clean up the oil still remains…………..

“Oil Persists and Will for Decades or More”

“The long-term impact of the spill might continue to be deliberated, but one thing is clear: the oil is still there. Dip a pail into the sand and you may very likely pull up a black, oozy oleo of sand and oil (watch a video of such an exercise). The Valdez Trustee Council writes: “One of the most stunning revelations of … the last ten years is that Exxon Valdez oil persists in the environment and in places is nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill.”

“Dr. Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist and former commercial fisherma'am, told me that the sound and other areas affected by the spill recovered unevenly: “Some beaches that were moderately or lightly oiled in 1989 have fared okay. The oil broke down and degraded and the wildlife that used the beaches recovered.”

"But,” she continued, “northern-facing beaches and bays were hard hit in 1989. These heavily oiled beaches still have relatively fresh, toxic oil, buried about 6-12 inches below the surface.”

'Doesn't look done to me' was the photographer's comment when he took this photo on Smith Island, Prince William Sound, after the Supreme Court ruled in the Exxon Valdez case in the summer of 2008. (Photo by Dave Janka, July 1, 2008)

Just six days before the Deep Horizon crises this report was published by Scence Daily............

Wildlife Still Exposed to Exxon Valdez Oil 20 Years After Disaster

"ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2010) — Scientists in Alaska have discovered that lingering oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill is still being ingested by wildlife more than 20 years after the disaster. The research, published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, uses biomarkers to reveal long-term exposure to oil in harlequin ducks and demonstrates how the consequences of oil spills are measured in decades rather than years."

"Here, on Death Marsh, Mandy Lindberg, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Alaska's Auke Bay, turns over a shovel of sand and broken rock to reveal a glistening pool of brackish oil. The crude can be chemically typed to the Exxon Valdez, and more oil can be found beneath the beach at Death Marsh and at a number of islands around the Sound. "I wouldn't have possibly believed the oil would last this long," says Lindberg. "Studying the spill has been a great learning experience, but if we had known in the years after the spill what we know now, we would have been looking for oil much earlier."

"Rice and his colleagues picked a sample of 90 random sites at beaches around the Sound and dug about 100 small pits at each site — more than 9,000 in all. They found oil in over half the places they sampled, despite the fact that only 20% of the beaches that had been hit hardest by the spill, like Death Marsh, were included in the study. Altogether, the NOAA scientists estimated that about 20,000 gallons of oil still remained around the Sound, usually buried between 5 in. and 1 ft. below the surface."

20 years later, Alaska still poisoned from Exxon Valdex oil spill

So I look at the Valdez spill and the beaches that are still toxic and wonder...........

Why is our Government responding to this as they are?? To push the clean energy agnenda through as Pres Obama spoke of last night?

Again, the Valdez was only 270,000 barrels. We are looking at anywhere from 5 million to 10 million plus barrels released before there is any hope of stopping this well.

I hope the skeptics enjoy that they may be right but they are wrong at the end.........

[edit on 16-6-2010 by Cloudsinthesky]

[edit on 16-6-2010 by Cloudsinthesky]

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[edit on 16-6-2010 by Cloudsinthesky]

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 11:37 AM
Clouds, this is excellent work! A fresh and positive concept on the worst environmental disaster in the history of the U.S.

Since the Exxon Valdez caused immeasurable damage, still present 10 yrs later, I can not imagine what the permanent outcome will be not only in the Gulf but world wide.

The information you have presented, needs to be seen by all here. Especially,
the ones saying it's NOT a big deal!!

Thanks, for a well thought out intelligent post!


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