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Pelican News is gathered from around the world from online newspapers, magazines and plain old word of mouth. There's an emphasis on those pelicans in the western US, the California Brown Pelican and the American White Pelican. The purpose is to inform and educate. There are also occasional news of other endangered bird species and threats to seabirds, especially, but also to other birds, worldwide: see: pelicanlife's wildlife news page. The hope is to draw support for the Santa Barbara pelicans, by appreciating pelicans and other threatened and vulnerable birds.

NB: For longer stories, this non-profit site, PelicanLife.org, will edit, with edits marked by ... or :::snip:::, and will provide active links to the original sources. PelicanLife's News section's sole purpose is educational, to contribute to pelican education and research. Citations and references should always be to those original sources. Most pieces require permission for copying for other than "fair use" purposes such as here; please contact the original sources for permission.



This page is a compilation of news stories accumulated through Google Alerts of the British Petroleum so far unrestrained gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. It focuses on the Gulf environment, especially the Louisiana State Bird, the Brown Pelican with updates on pelicans and other seabirds/marine life affected by this disaster.

Barack Obama, 3/31/2010, on drilling in the Gulf: YouTube - support this ad!

Tracking the spilling oil: http://nyti.ms/anMcRY and bracing for impact, http://tinyurl.com/2audddf ; Where oil has make landfall: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/27/us/20100527-oil-landfall.html ; also: http://firedoglake.com/bp-oil-disaster

Pictures: Detroit Free Press gallery, May 1. 5/12: Video of the gushing oil/gas: http://tinyurl.com/2cbt8lt ; to follow via the New Orleans Times Picayune: http://www.nola.com/t-p/ and, specifically, the Gulf oil "spill": http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/

5/27 — ABC News video Under the Water, with Phillippe Cousteau: http://tinyurl.com/3xa88m

To help: The IBRRC has been inundated with questions about how people can help. While those responsible for this spill are covering the cost of the Gulf clean-up, you can support the ongoing work of the non-profit organizations currently on the ground preparing to respond to oiled wildlife. You can support International Bird Rescue's ongoing rescue work by donating, becoming a member or adopting a bird, all available online here.

Please also consider donating to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research with whom IBRRC is partnering in this ongoing effort on the Gulf Coast. (Tri-State this winter undertook the very expensive rescue operation of frost-bitten pelicans noted below in the Pelican News section on Maryland pelicans; IBRRC also has had the heavy costs of this past winter's California Brown Pelican problems.)

2010: June 16 ->

2010: June 1 -> June 15

2010: April 20 ->May 31

This is what is happening to the wildlife
Barataria Bay, Louisiana

National Geographic, May 27, Gulf Oil Spill

and more images

Need, Greed and Oodles of Red Tape.... and Part 2

pelicans in oily water

Clip from 5/1 BBC story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/video_and_audio/default.stm

Oil leak an 'environmental crime'
Reuters — Last updated 15:12 31/05/2010 -- with heartbreaking photos of oiled birds

US lawmakers and local residents clamored on Sunday for BP and the Obama administration to do more to save the Gulf Coast from an out-of-control oil spill that has become the biggest environmental catastrophe in the country's history.

Lawmakers from US President Barack Obama's own Democratic Party called the nearly six-week oil gush in the Gulf of Mexico an "environmental crime" and demanded $1 billion from BP to protect the region's treasured marshlands.

The failure on Saturday of a "top kill" technique attempted by London-based BP to try to seal its leaking Gulf well has unleashed a surge of anger that poses a major domestic challenge to Obama and his party in an election year.
Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu called on BP to immediately invest $1 ($NZ1.47) billion to protect marshes, wetlands and estuaries across the region. "While we may not be able to plug the leaking well right away, there is nothing that should stop us from getting help to the Gulf Coast immediately," she said.

Gulf residents fear the oil slick could be whipped further inshore by what forecasters predict will be the most active Atlantic storm season since 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina.

That deadly storm proved a political disaster for President George W. Bush, who was accused of complacency in handling it, and Obama is fighting to prevent the Gulf spill from becoming his own "Katrina" ahead of the November congressional elections.

At the New Orleans protest, Jennifer Jones said Louisianians still recovering from Katrina's devastation are frustrated by the response thus far.

"We need the help again, continuing from Katrina, this is like Part Two," Jones said.



Scientists warn of an unseen disaster in the Gulf as oil plumes stretch through the depths

MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press Writer

May 31, 2010 | 1:08 p.m. — NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Independent scientists and government officials say there's a disaster we can't see in the Gulf of Mexico's mysterious depths, the ruin of a world inhabited by enormous sperm whales and tiny, invisible plankton.

Researchers have said they have found at least two massive underwater plumes of what appears to be oil, each hundreds of feet deep and stretching for miles. Yet the chief executive of BP PLC — which has for weeks downplayed everything from the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf to the environmental impact — said there is "no evidence" that huge amounts of oil are suspended undersea.

BP CEO Tony Hayward said the oil naturally gravitates to the surface — and any oil below was just making its way up. However, researchers say the disaster in waters where light doesn't shine through could ripple across the food chain.

"Every fish and invertebrate contacting the oil is probably dying. I have no doubt about that," said Prosanta Chakrabarty, a Louisiana State University fish biologist. ...

But last week, a team from the University of South Florida reported a plume was headed toward the continental shelf off the Alabama coastline, waters thick with fish and other marine life.

The researchers said oil in the plumes had dissolved into the water, possibly a result of chemical dispersants used to break up the spill. That makes it more dangerous to fish larvae and creatures that are filter feeders.

Responding to Hayward's assertion, one researcher noted that scientists from several different universities have come to similar conclusions about the plumes after doing separate testing.

No major fish kills have been reported, but federal officials said the impacts could take years to unfold. ...

Recent discoveries of endangered sea turtles soaked in oil and 22 dolphins found dead in the spill zone only hint at the scope of a potential calamity that could last years and unravel the Gulf's food web. ...

An estimated 910,000 gallons of dispersants — enough to fill more than 100 tanker trucks — are contributing a new toxin to the mix. Containing petroleum distillates and propylene glycol, the dispersants' effects on marine life are still unknown.

What is known is that by breaking down oil into smaller droplets, dispersants reduce the oil's buoyancy, slowing or stalling the crude's rise to the surface and making it harder to track the spill.

Dispersing the oil lower into the water column protects beaches, but also keeps it in cooler waters where oil does not break down as fast. That could prolong the oil's potential to poison fish, said Larry McKinney, director of the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

"There's a school of thought that says we've made it worse because of the dispersants," he said.

Associated Press writer Jason Dearen contributed to this report from San Francisco.


Late Night: BREAKING — British Petroleum to Sue Pelicans for Theft of Company Assets

By: Thers Saturday May 29, 2010 8:01 pm

BATON ROUGE — British Petroleum, whose Deepwater Horizon crude oil extraction facility has historically done so much to liberate America from a debilitating reliance upon petroleum products provided by swarthy, untrustworthy foreigners, today announced its decision to sue Louisiana-based brown pelicans in federal court for the theft of valuable company assets. :::snip:::


Oiled pelican cleaned at Theodore (Ala) rehab

Published : Saturday, 29 May 2010, 10:03 PM CDT

THEODORE, Ala. (WALA) - A bird bath was potentially life-saving for a brown pelican found covered in oil.

"It looks pretty healthy, and it's fairly heavily oiled," said Michelle Bellizzi.

The bird which was found near the Cochran Bridge Friday was taken to the Theodore Oil Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. :::snip:::



After 'top kill' fails, a dispiriting summer of oil, anger is ahead for Louisiana
By The Associated Press

May 30, 2010, 4:47PM — There is still a hole in the Earth, crude oil is still spewing from it and there is still, excruciatingly, no end in sight. After trying and trying again, one of the world's largest corporations, backed and pushed by the world's most powerful government, can't stop the runaway gusher.

As desperation grows and ecological misery spreads, the operative word on the ground now is, incredibly, August -- the earliest moment that a real resolution could be at hand. And even then, there's no guarantee of success. For the United States and the people of its beleaguered Louisiana Gulf Coast, a dispiriting summer of oil and anger lies dead ahead.

Oh ... and the Atlantic hurricane season begins Tuesday. :::snip:::

There is still a hole in the Earth, crude oil is still spewing from it and there is still, excruciatingly, no end in sight. After trying and trying again, one of the world's largest corporations, backed and pushed by the world's most powerful government, can't stop the runaway gusher.

As desperation grows and ecological misery spreads, the operative word on the ground now is, incredibly, August -- the earliest moment that a real resolution could be at hand. And even then, there's no guarantee of success. For the United States and the people of its beleaguered Louisiana Gulf Coast, a dispiriting summer of oil and anger lies dead ahead. :::snip:::


BBC news: Worst US Eco-Disaster (video): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/video_and_audio/default.stm



Latest Attempt by BP to Plug Oil Leak in Gulf of Mexico Fails

Published: May 29, 2010 — HOUSTON — BP engineers failed again to plug the gushing oil well on Saturday, a technician working on the project said, representing yet another setback in a series of unsuccessful procedures the company has tried a mile under the sea to stem the flow spreading into the Gulf of Mexico.
BP said Saturday it would not comment on the technician’s assertions. Officials have said they will continue the process into Sunday before they declare it a success or failure. :::snip:::



Documents Show Earlier Worries About Safety of Rig

Published: May 29, 2010 — WASHINGTON — Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.

The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig.

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer. :::snip:::



BP's Dog and Pony Show for Obama on his brief visit and the media with him; picked up by CNN...

Dog And Pony Show: BP Bussed In Hundreds Of Workers To Set Stage For Obama’s Photo Op

Rob Port • May 28, 2010 — I posted about Obama’s gulf coast photo-op earlier today, and while the event was undoubtedly choreographed, I had no idea the extent:

Perhaps you saw news footage of President Obama in Grand Isle, La., on Friday and thought things didn’t look all that bad. Well, there may have been a reason for that: The town was evidently swarmed by an army of temp workers to spruce it up for the president and the national news crews following him.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, whose district encompasses Grand Isle, told Yahoo! News that BP bused in “hundreds” of temporary workers to clean up local beaches. And as soon as the president was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too, Roberts said.

“The level of cleanup and cooperation we’ve gotten from BP in the past is in no way consistent to the effort shown on the island today,” Roberts said by telephone. “As soon as the president left, they were immediately put back on the buses and sent home.”

Roberts says the overnight contingent of workers was there mainly to furnish a Potemkin-style backdrop for the event — while also making it appear that BP was firmly in command of spill cleanup efforts.

New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU reports that the workers were paid $12 an hour and came mostly from neighboring Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

News of 11th-hour spruce-up brigade spread rapidly Friday afternoon and infuriated locals. One popular radio host, WWL’s Spud McConnell, suggested that the Coast Guard and the White House may have been involved in setting up the “perfect photo op.”

What a joke.



Important story on the possible environmental effects - here are selections:
The Gulf's silent environmental crisis
By John D. Sutter, CNN

May 28, 2010 9:40 a.m. EDT — On the Gulf of Mexico (CNN) -- Ten miles off the coast of Louisiana, where the air tastes like gasoline and the ocean looks like brownie batter, Louisiana State University professor Ed Overton leans out of a fishing boat and dunks a small jar beneath the surface of the oil-covered water.

"God, what a mess," he says under his breath, scooping up a canister of the oil that's been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

Even though Overton has been studying oil spills for 30 years, he's not sure what he'll find in that sample. That's because, just below the surface, the scope and impact of one of the biggest environmental disasters in the history of the U.S. remains a mystery.

And that terrifies some scientists. ...

As one oceanographer put it, a Chernobyl-sized catastrophe could be brewing under the sea. Or the environment here may be dodging a huge bullet.

"It's kind of like falling out a window," Overton said of the confusion. "We don't know how hard that ground is gonna be until we hit bottom. We don't now if we're going to land in soft shrubs and live -- or if we're going to hit a rock." ...

There are several reasons for the widespread scientific confusion.

Perhaps the best is that nothing like the Gulf oil spill has ever happened before.

Many have compared it to the 1989 disaster in which the Exxon Valdez tanker spilled oil off the coast of Alaska. About 260,000 barrels -- a smaller amount than what's gone into the Gulf -- were released into the environment in that case, and it happened rather quickly. The Gulf spill has dragged on over weeks and hasn't stopped.

A better comparison, some scientists say, is the IXTOC I oil well disaster in Mexico in 1979. But, in that case, little research was done to understand the spill's impact on the Gulf of Mexico, Overton said. So there is no real-world scientific precedent that could be used to understand what's happening now.

BP, the company that was leasing the offshore oil rig that exploded and sank April 20, is handling the environmental cleanup. It's doing so in a way that adds further question marks to the environmental situation. :::snip:::



Later on Friday:
BP’s Effort to Plug Oil Leak Suspended a Second Time — By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

Published: May 28, 2010 — HOUSTON — BP’s renewed efforts at plugging the flow of oil from its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico stalled again on Friday, as the company suspended pumping operations for the second time in two days, according to a technician involved with the response effort.
The suspension of the effort was not announced, and appeared to again contradict statements by company and government officials that suggested the top kill procedure was progressing Friday.

The suspension of the effort was not announced, and appeared to again contradict statements by company and government officials that suggested the top kill procedure was progressing Friday. :::snip:::


Oil Flow Is Stemmed, but Could Resume, Official Says

Published: May 28, 2010

HOUSTON — By injecting solid objects as well as heavy drilling fluid into the stricken well leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico overnight, engineers appeared to have stemmed the flow of oil, Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, the leader of the government effort, said on Friday morning. But he stressed that the next 12 to 18 hours will be “very critical” in permanently stanching what is already the worst oil spill in United States history. :::snip:::

“They’ve been able to push the hydrocarbons and the oil down with the mud,” he said, referring to the heavy drilling fluid. “The real challenge is to put enough mud into the well to keep the pressure where they can put a cement plug over the top.” :::snip:::


Veterinarians poised to help in Gulf oil spill disaster

By: Stephanie Fellenstein

May 27, 2010 — National Report -- When oil from the Gulf Coast spill started moving toward the wetlands of the Florida coast, Dr. Norm Griggs sounded the alarm on Facebook. Four days later, he had 7,000 volunteers ready to help affected wildlife.

“I have a serious army of volunteers,” he said. “One way or another, we have got it covered.” :::snip:::



(One word not mentioned by Obama in his presence conference was “wildlife”; another mentioned only in connection with Hawaii was “birds." ("I grew up in Hawaii where the ocean is sacred. And when you see birds flying around with oil all over their feathers...") And no mention at all of the Louisiana State Bird, the Brown Pelican, recently off the endangered species list, but now brown in a death-causing way. It was a sadly missed opportunity by no-drama-Obama to be more than cool....)

Defending Spill Response, Obama Expresses Frustration

Published: May 27, 2010 — WASHINGTON — President Obama declared on Thursday that he is “angry and frustrated” over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and ordered a further moratorium on new permits to drill new deepwater wells as he tried to address deepening public frustration. :::snip:::



Bad Company
Why did we trust free enterprise to clean up the oil spill? by E.J. Dionne Jr.

May 27, 2010 | WASHINGTON—So who is in charge of stopping the oil spill, BP or the federal government?

The fact that the answer to this question seems as murky as the water around the exploded oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico suggests that this is an excellent moment to recognize that our arguments pitting capitalism against socialism and the government against the private sector muddle far more than they clarify.

But the truth is that we have disempowered government and handed vast responsibilities over to a private sector that will never see protecting the public interest as its primary task. The sludge in the Gulf is, finally, the product of our own contradictions.



‘Top Kill’ Effort Seems to Be Working, U.S. Says Cautiously



A running commentary on the news - May 26, 2010, 10:36 PM
Is It Obama’s Oil Spill Now?



BP Used Riskier Method to Seal Well Before Blast
Published: May 26, 2010

WASHINGTON — Several days before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP officials chose, partly for financial reasons, to use a type of casing for the well that the company knew was the riskier of two options, according to a BP document. :::snip:::

The April 20 disagreement between the BP well site leader and Transocean officials is also a growing focus of the investigation.



Gulf Disaster Shows Drilling Is Too Dangerous

by Jamie Rappaport Clark
Posted: May 26, 2010 02:21 PM

...As a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I'm feeling a profound sadness for the people and wildlife that have died or been harmed by the toxic sea of oily goo slowly creeping to the shore. Some 39 wildlife refuges lie in reach of this massive oil slick. Some of these refuges were just starting to recover from the near devasting impacts of Hurricane Katrina and Tropical Storm Arlene.

Breton National Wildlife Refuge off Louisiana's coast, for example, lost 80 percent of its land base, including three entire islands out of the refuge's original eight. Yet refuge personnel have been tirelessly working to revegetate the remaining islands.Their efforts have yielded good results: brown pelicans and other birds have returned to nest successfully in recent years. But today, oil is lapping at Breton and Delta National Wildlife Refuges' shores. The booms BP officials and the Coast Guard have placed act as mere speedbumps as the slick rolls to the coastline. It doesn't bode well for the nesting seabirds already sitting on eggs or nurturing young. ;;;snip:::

Although Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have unveiled a bill that goes a long way toward reducing global warming, it would actually provide incentives for states to approve more oil drilling off of their coastlines. It's hard to believe that while the Gulf of Mexico, with all its fisheries, oyster reefs and beaches that attract millions of dollars in tourism each year, gets covered in oil, anyone would open the door to more coastal drilling.

If the catastrophe in the Gulf does not wake us up to the need to wean ourselves off oil and move towards clean, safe renewable energy, I don't know what will. This latest spill is a wake up call to the White House, Congress and frankly all Americans. President Obama and Congress must not expand offshore drilling operations. Our leaders need to lead. :::snip:::



Oil spill update from the field: The pelican dilemma, saving mom may mean killing

By Justin Nobel

05/26/2010 ...Onshore, oiled pelicans continuously preen themselves, a futile attempt to remove the goop and smooth out their feathers, which form a protective shield that keeps birds dry and warm. Birds can become so obsessed with trying to remove the oil that they forget about hunting and starve to death. :::snip:::

And pelicans are the easy ones to spot. Birds like least bitterns and clapper rails live deep in the cane grass that cloaks the mouth of the Mississippi like a jungle. Right now, the area is getting slammed with oil.



NWF Scientist Visits Nesting Grounds Hit Hard By BP Oil Spill (VIDEO)

Miles Grant, National Wildlife Federation communications manager
Posted: May 26, 2010 01:54 PM

Dr. Doug Inkley, certified wildlife biologist & senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, called me at 6:30am local time. He was heading down to Venice Marina for another long day on the water viewing the effects of the BP oil disaster, but before motoring out beyond cell service, Doug wanted to tell me about his day on the water yesterday, touring Cat Island near Grand Isle.

"How did it compare to what you expected to see?" I asked.

"Honestly, I expected to see booms protecting critical island nesting habitats and people maintaining those booms," Doug told me. "But instead, I saw booms drifting around & breaking apart, oil ashore on the islands, and no responders or boats anywhere to be seen." :::snip:::



Need, Greed and Oodles of Red Tape: Second Day in Grand Isle, Louisiana


As we rounded the corner and walked onto the south side of the beach, we were met by a sheriff on a four wheeler equipped with police lights.

The sheriff said that even though we had encountered no signs indicating that the beach was closed, it was in fact closed and that we should leave immediately. The officer said that he had no problem with reporters being on the beach as long as they had proper credentials and went on to say that his job was simply to keep all of the lookie-loo types off of the beach.

I can understand keeping people off of a beach that is in the process of being cleaned, because surely civilians would get in the way of workers. But where we were walking, that was not the case. No one was cleaning the beach, no one was laying out oil boom, no one was doing anything but chasing people off of an otherwise dead or dying beach. I believe that the citizens of this country not only have the right to be able to see what is happening for themselves, they need to see this for themselves. I guess the police disagree however, because everywhere we drove today seemed to end at a police manned road block. :::snip:::



BP oil spill: how Gulf's sensitive and endangered species are faring

Manatees, bluefin tuna, and Kemp’s ridley turtles are especially challenged by the BP oil spill. The Kemp’s ridley turtle is an endangered species that until recently was threatened with extinction. Story by Bill Sasser, Correspondent

May 26, 2010 New Orleans — For the past two days, New Orleanians who start their mornings with The Times-Picayune have seen front-page photographs of oiled brown pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana. The brown pelican had been removed from the threatened-species list just last year, but now, as the BP oil spill washes onto beaches and wetlands, the species is up against a new challenge.

While relatively few numbers of Gulf wildlife have been counted as oil fatalities to date, wildlife experts say the spill could produce mass casualties and steep declines of populations in the coming weeks, months, and years. Of particular concern: bluefin tuna, Kemp’s ridley turtles, and Florida manatees.

“The situation in the Gulf is unprecedented for wildlife, in terms of magnitude and numbers of species involved,” says John Hewitt, senior vice president and directory of husbandry for the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans.

IN PICTURES: The Gulf oil spill's impact on nature

Up to 400 Florida manatees migrate to Louisiana waters each summer, Mr. Hewitt says. This year, the aquatic mammals may be exposed to oil as they swim and forage in the state’s coastal lakes, rivers, and marshes.

“If oil gets into the waterways, we could see a significant impact on the manatees,” Hewitt says. “They’re herbivores, like cows, and have finely tuned digestive tracts. No one knows how this oil could affect the manatees: Nothing has ever occurred on this scale before.”

A record number of manatees – 417– died in Gulf waters last year. Habitat destruction, strikes by boats, cold temperatures, and red tide are cited for most premature deaths of manatees. It is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as vulnerable to extinction. :::snip:::

Among deepwater species, the western Atlantic bluefin is the most threatened by the Gulf oil spill, according to marine biologists. Weighing close to a ton and reaching 13 feet in length, it is among the fastest of fish and at the top of the ocean’s food chain.

The area of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster is one of a handful in the Gulf where western Atlantic bluefins breed, accounting for one-quarter of the species’ spawn each spring, says marine biologist Barbara Block of Stanford University in California. The oil spill, she says, will have serious effects on bluefin eggs and larvae, which free float in Gulf waters.

“The spill is so tragic for the bluefin because it happened right at the time of year when the fish come in to breed,” Ms. Block says. “Big fish can sense the oil and swim away. The smaller fish, the eggs and larvae, can’t get away.”

Overfished, the bluefin has undergone an 80 percent decline since the 1970s. :::snip:::



Dead-bird count now over 300 and rising
News Services May 25, 2010

More than 300 sea birds, mostly brown pelicans and northern gannets, have been found dead along the U.S. Gulf Coast during the first five weeks of BP's huge oil spill off Louisiana, wildlife officials reported Monday.

The 316 birds found dead along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida -- plus 10 others that died or were euthanized after they were captured alive -- far outnumber the 31 survivors to date. :::snip:::

"It's clear that the defence of the shoreline, at this point, has not been successful," Hayward said. "I feel devastated by that, absolutely gutted. What I can tell you is that we are here for the long haul. We are going to clean every drop of oil off the shore."

This was a different Hayward from the one who initially suggested in a British TV interview that the environmental impact would likely be "very, very modest."

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Dead+bird+count+over+rising/3067524/story.html#ixzz0ozYlYcoo

A Last-Gasp Airlift for Oily Birds

May 24, 2010, 5:19 pm — In an unusual and no doubt bewildering migration, a handful of birds oiled by the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico have been transported by military aircraft from coastal Louisiana to Florida and released at coastal wildlife refuges there.

On Sunday, seven birds – three brown pelicans, two northern gannets and two laughing gulls – arrived at the Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge, a coastal island in the Florida Keys. (sic) The journey included a flight onboard a Coast Guard HC-144A fixed-wing aircraft to Tampa, a van ride and a boat trip out to Egmont Key. Additional birds have been transferred to other wildlife refuges in Florida.

The long journey was necessary to keep the birds from returning to the site of the spill, said Boyd Blihovde, deputy manager of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, a nearby refuge, who helped coordinate the release.



BP Ignored Warnings Before Oil Rig Explosion

In the hours before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th, BP received and ignored warning signs that something was seriously wrong. In a memo [pdf] released last night, the House committee investigating the disaster confirmed that BP made a "fundamental mistake" in continuing operations after the problems were detected. The memo doesn't say who specifically made the call to keep drilling after the problem was found, but we can just about picture the guy. BP's investigation has "also raised concerns about the maintenance history, modification, inspection, and testing of the [rig]."

The Times has published a provocative article looking at the links between BP and President Obama’s energy secretary Steven Chu. Three years ago Chu received the bulk of a $500 million grant from BP to develop alternative energy sources, and Chu selected BP’s chief scientist Steven E. Koonin to be his under-secretary. :::snip:::

By John Del Signore in News on May 26, 2010 1:07 PM 27


BP Prepares for ‘Top Kill’ Procedure to Contain Spill

May 25, 2010 — With frustration growing in the Gulf region ... BP said equipment was in place for what is known as a “top kill” procedure, in which heavy drilling fluids twice the density of water are pumped through two narrow lines into the blowout preventer to essentially plug the runaway well. Depending on pressure readings taken Tuesday, officials said they might start the procedure as early as Wednesday morning — but they left open the possibility of more delays. :::snip:::

(BP’s dispersant useage has met criticism) Rep. Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, praised the E.P.A.’s action, saying, ... “Despite the assertions made by BP that dispersants can be safely used, we know almost nothing about the potential harm from the long-term use of any of these chemicals on the marine environment in the Gulf of Mexico, and even less about their potential to enter the food chain and ultimately harm humans.” :::snip:::

The Corexit dispersants were removed from a list of approved dispersants in Britain a decade ago because one type of test used in that country found them to be dangerous to animals like limpets near rocky shores.

Corexit dispersants are still approved for use in the United States and Canada, which rely on different types of testing.

BP told to cut back on toxic remedy
A skeptical EPA calls for a sharp reduction in the company's use of an oil dispersant.

...Even if the top kill succeeds and not another drop of BP crude escapes into the gulf, the scope of the disaster is already enormous.

"We still have a huge problem. It's a problem that is so wide in its dimension that we can't really say what the effects are likely to be," said Chris D'Elia, dean of the School of the Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University. "There has never been a spill of this magnitude, at this depth before. It's a three dimensional problem, and it's remarkable in scope."



The BP blowout has become an issue in the Santa Barbara State Assembly race, Santa Barbara continuing to remember well the Union Oil blowout of 1969. Jordan has consistently opposed offshore drilling; Williams got into the race because of his support for expanded PXP drilling and the promise to have an early end to drilling.

Democrats Call For Clean Campaigns — Story Updated: May 24, 2010 at 5:00 PM PDT

...The battle is taking place in the 35th Assembly District primary race between democrats, Das Williams and Susan Jordan.

The latest issue involves a flyer sent out by Jordan's campaign, claiming Williams supports offshore oil drilling. And it uses the British Petroleum accident in the Gulf as one of their images.

Williams strongly opposes offshore oil projects, but recently favored the PXP project off Lompoc. A project that would which allow more drilling now, and then the removal of platforms at a later date.

The democratic party of Santa Barbara County says it opposes the flyer using the BP disaster in it, and similar campaigning. However, Susan Jordan supporters say it is not dishonest. ...


See also for more on the Santa Barbara race: http://www.thedailysound.com/052510negcampaign

Louisiana birds reflect oil spill's breadth
By Greg Bluestein and Matthew Brown, Associated Press

May 24, 2010 — BARATARIA BAY, La. - As officials approached a coastal marsh Sunday to survey damage caused by the oil spill, some brown pelicans couldn't fly away. All they could do was hobble.

Several pelicans were coated in oil on Barataria Bay off Louisiana, their usually brown and white feathers now jet black. Pelican eggs were glazed with rust-colored gunk. New hatchlings and nests were also coated with crude.

It is unclear if the area can even be cleaned, or if the birds can be saved. It is also unknown how much of the Gulf Coast will end up looking the same way because of a well that has spewed untold millions of gallons of oil since an offshore rig exploded more than a month ago. :::snip:::

The pelicans struggled to clean the crude from their bodies, splashing in the water and preening themselves. One stood at the edge of the island with its wings lifted slightly, its head drooping - so encrusted it could not fly.

Wildlife officials tried to rescue oil-soaked pelicans Sunday, but suspended their efforts after spooking the birds. They were not sure whether they would try again. U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Stacy Shelton said it was sometimes better to leave the animals alone. (Hard to understand why doing nothing is better than doing something! Shame!!! - pelicanlife comment.)

Pelicans are especially vulnerable to oil. Not only could they eat tainted fish and feed it to their young, but they could die of hypothermia or drowning if they are soaked.

The spill's effect now stretches across 150 miles, from Dauphin Island, Ala., to Grand Isle, La.

Each day the spill grows, so does anger with the government and BP. Federal Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa P. Jackson was headed Sunday to Louisiana, where she planned to visit with frustrated residents.

Salazar and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano were to lead a Senate delegation to the region Monday to fly over affected areas and keep an eye on the response.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/front_page/20100524_La__birds_reflect_oil_spill_s_breadth.html#axzz0osuqUylz


Oil Threatens Pelicans

Island http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2010/05/oil_threatens_pelicans_5.html Added by The Times-Picayune on May 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

An island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well at terns, gulls and roseated spoonbills is impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Barataria Bay, just inside the the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Eggs: http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2010/05/oil_threatens_pelicans.html Added by The Times-Picayune on May 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Pelican eggs that appear to be stained with oil sit in a nest on an island in Barataria Bay in Plaquemines Parish, just inside the the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. The island which is being impacted from oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well at terns, gulls and roseated spoonbills. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Oil-stained pelican http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2010/05/oil_threatens_pelicans_1.html Added by The Times-Picayune on May 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

An island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well at terns, gulls and roseated spoonbills is impacted by oil, seen on the grass at the water line, from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill just inside the the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2010/05/oil_threatens_pelicans_2.html Added by The Times-Picayune on May 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

An oil stained pelican leaves its nest as oil washes ashore on an island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well at terns, gulls and roseated spoonbills in Barataria Bay just inside the the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is now ipacting large ares of the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2010/05/oil_threatens_pelicans_3.html Added by The Times-Picayune on May 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

An oil stained pelican is seen at its nest as oil washes ashore on an island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well at terns, gulls and roseated spoonbills in Barataria Bay just inside the the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is now impacting large areas of the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2010/05/oil_threatens_pelicans_4.html Added by The Times-Picayune on May 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Nesting pelicans are seen landing as oil washes ashore on an island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well at terns, gulls and roseated spoonbills in Barataria Bay, just inside the the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is now impacting large stretches of the Louisiana Coast.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)



Gulf oil spill: Grand Isle, cleaning up, fishing closures, brown pelicans in peril (with pictures, video)

May 23, 2010 – Yesterday, crews continued to clean up the oil washing onto to the beaches of Grand Isle, LA. New photographs and video show the oil spill's impact on brown pelicans nesting around Grand Isle. On Friday, beaches were closed to the public for an indefinite period of time and some area waters were closed to fishing. Those closures were extended on Saturday with this announcement:

"Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the... additional closure(s) to recreational and commercial fishing activities in a portion of state inside waters east of Grand Isle effective immediately, today, May 22, 2010.


With no end to the oil spill in sight, the beach clean-up will be an ongoing labor-intensive process to stay ahead of the oil that coming ashore each day. The beaches will remain closed as long as necessary to protect public health. As to the brown pelican population, how many will sicken or die and how this season's offspring will be affected remains to be seen.




James Carville Takes On Obama On Oil Spill: He's 'Risking Everything' With 'Go Along With BP Strategy'

First Posted: 05-21-10 06:55 PM | Updated: 05-22-10 04:35 PM

Democratic strategist James Carville and MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews, two reliable supporters of President Barack Obama, have issued withering critiques of the administration's handling of the Gulf oil spill.

Carville, the famously outspoken Louisianian who was a chief political aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday that the administration's response to the spill has been "lackadaisical" and that Obama was "naive" to trust BP to manage the massive clean-up effort.

"I think they actually believe that BP has some kind of a good motivation here," he said. "They're naive! BP is trying to save money, save everything they can... They won't tell us anything, and oddly enough, the government seems to be going along with it! Somebody has got to, like shake them and say, 'These people don't wish you well! They're going to take you down!'"

Carville also accused the White House of going along with what he called the "let BP handle it" strategy. ...

Likewise, Chris Matthews argued during a "Tonight Show" appearance that the President was "acting a little like a Vatican Observer."

"The President scares me," he said. "When is he actually going to do something? ..." :::snip:::




Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser declares the oil-polluted marshes a dead zone
May 22, 4:52 AM New Orleans Progressive Examiner, Gregory Boyce

Ever since the BP oil rig the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank over a month ago, gushing at best guess a minimum of 700,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, local residents of the coast have harbored the fear that Louisiana's once pristine coastal eco-system, - home of some of Louisiana's most sacred wildlife - will eventually turn into an oil-polluted graveyard. To the dismay of everyone, that fear has now turned into reality.

Billy Nungesser, president of Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish, toured the oil-polluted marshes of Plaquemines Parish on Wednesday and said:

"Had you fallen off that boat yesterday and come up breathing that stuff, you probably wouldn't be here today."

The consequences of an oil-polluted graveyard

Oil started washing ashore in Louisiana this week, approximately 50 miles northwest from where the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank.

In a part of Plaquemines Parish in an estuary called Pass a Loutre, reeds in the marshlands that were normally green with life, are now brown and dead, saturated with oil. :::snip:::



Oil spill: How much is a pelican worth?
By Steve Hargreaves, senior writerMay 21, 2010: 3:06 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Just how much is a dead pelican worth? BP is about to find out.

As the owner of the still-leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil giant will pay billions of dollars in damages, much of which will compensate for the birds, fish, mammals and plants that are killed by the accident.

Exxon paid nearly a billion dollars in damages into a wildlife conservation fund following the 1989 Valdez disaster, roughly a quarter of the company's entire tab for the spill.

"What BP might pay could be much higher," said Linwood Pendleton, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute.

Hundreds of biologists, rangers, and other wildlife experts have been dispatched to take inventory along the Gulf Coast. The official tally is tiny compared to the Valdez, but that's not the whole story. :::snip::: http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/21/news/economy/bp_wildlife/index.htm



Can Wildlife Survive the Oil Spill?
Friday, May 21, 2010
Audio - Jay Holcomb, director of IBRRC, and Michael Fry, oil toxicologist at the American Conservancy



The Latest on the Oil Spill
Published: May 20, 2010

THE NUMBER BP said the well was leaking more than the 210,000 gallons a day that it and the government had been estimating.

MORE DATA In a letter to BP’s chief executive officer, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Lisa Jackson of the Environmental Protection Agency said BP had “fallen short” in providing information on the spill and asked the company to release all monitoring plans, records, video and any reports from internal investigations.

NOT QUITE LIVE A live video feed of the leak was posted on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Web site. The site crashed shortly afterward because of a spike in traffic.

STAYING PUT Adm. Thad W. Allen will continue to manage the government’s response to the oil spill after stepping down as commandant of the Coast Guard later this month.

WILDLIFE A young brown pelican was found dead with its neck and one wing matted in oil at the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. About 4,500 pelicans and tens of thousands of terns nest on the dozens of islands that make up the sanctuary.

MORE HEARINGS The Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service will hold another round of hearings on the drilling rig accident next Wednesday to Saturday in Kenner, La.

An interactive map tracking the spill and additional updates are available at nytimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/21/science/earth/21latest.html


Need, Greed and Oodles of Red Tape: A Trip down Louisiana Hwy 23, Part 1

On the way we stopped at Historic Fort Jackson were, during the civil war, the battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip occurred in 1862. Fort Jackson is where they have set up an animal response-and-recovery center. We thought we would get to take a few photos and ask a few questions. Instead, we were abruptly escorted away by a security guard in a BP cap.

security guard

The center itself seemed dead and no animals seemed to be being cleaned or treated, though there are undoubtedly hundreds, if not thousands, of birds, turtles, and the like that have already been affected – not to mention the undersea life that is harder to monitor. (We saw photos this morning of bait fish washing ashore in huge numbers.)



Louisiana's brown pelican imperiled by oil spill

By JOHN FLESHER, The Associated Press May 19, 2010

CALIFORNIA BAY, Louisiana — Hounded by hunters and fishermen, driven to near-extinction by chemical pollution, the brown pelican has survived a century of human abuse -- only to face another challenge from the giant oil spill threatening to devastate the Gulf of Mexico marine environment.

The plight of Louisiana's state bird is emblematic of dangers the disaster poses for the region's wildlife.

"I would not say there's going to be any species wiped out because of it, but it's a very serious situation," said Bob Love, coastal resources administrator for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

The brown pelican is particularly at risk because it dives beneath the water's surface to forage. Not only could pelicans eat tainted fish and feed it to their young, but their feathers could become oil-soaked, causing hypothermia or drowning. :::snip:::

If oil coats the waters around islands and marshes, it could cause prey fish numbers to plummet, said Aaron Pierce, a shore bird specialist at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

"Even if the pelicans can avoid the sheen, they must be able to forage within a reasonable distance to keep their chicks alive," said biologist Paul Leberg of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. "We've been very lucky the oil has stayed so far offshore." :::snip:::

Restoring their endangered status, Scott Walter, a Louisiana-Lafayette wildlife biologist studying brown pelicans on Gulf barrier islands, said, might become necessary if food contamination and habitat loss cause a population crash.

"They're in a very precarious position," he said.




May 18, 2010 | Oil in Gulf of Mexico Spells Disaster for Young Birds as Breeding Season Unfolds [Slide Show of birds of the South Coast]

Jan Dubuisson heads up the least-tern sanctuary for an Audubon Society chapter in Gulfport, Miss. She's been working with the migratory birds for the past 30 years—her chapter formed to help imperiled springtime breeding colonies there in 1976.

The smallish birds have an unsavory habit: they dive-bomb intruders and defecate on them as a defense. So Dubuisson is used to coming home filthy from the field.

But when she returned home from her monitoring efforts about a week after the oil spill began, she saw stains on her clothes she'd never seen before. They were dark, she says, and "when I washed my hat and shirts, the spots did not come out, which makes me wonder if they're not oil-based."

So far, Dubuisson's suspicions have not been confirmed. :::snip:::

washing a pelican

Here wildlife rehabilitator Erica Miler—member of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team—cleanses a pelican of oil at Ft. Jackson in Louisiana on May 15. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg

Nowhere to go
Familiar, non-migrating locals like brown pelicans are also a special worry, Hunter added, because their numbers in the Gulf have only recently been stabilizing after habitat loss to erosion on the east side of the Mississippi Delta, combined with hard hits in 2005 by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Part of the birds' recovery strategy has been to expand their nesting sites to both sides of the Mississippi Delta—but now both sides are in the path of the spill. :::snip:::




BP Gains Some Control Over Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

ROBERT, Louisiana, May 16, 2010 (ENS) - Overnight, BP technicians successfully inserted a tube in piping about 600 feet from the leaking wellhead on the Gulf of Mexico seafloor to divert some of the oil and gas to a drill ship 5,000 feet above on the water's surface. :::snip:::

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says eight live birds have been admitted to the wildlife rehabilitation centers: two northern gannets, one green heron, three brown pelicans, one magnificent frigate bird, and one laughing gull. Of these, five birds have been cleaned and some have been released back to the wild.

Sixteen birds were dead on arrival: four northern gannets, one rock dove, one sora, five laughing gulls, one cattle egret, two brown pelicans, one American white pelican, and one frigate bird.:::snip:::

To report oiled or distressed wildlife call: 1-866-557-1401.

:::snip:::There are 17 equipment staging areas in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines. In Alabama they are at: Dauphin Island, Orange Beach, and Theodore; in Florida at: Panama City, Pensacola, Port St. Joe, and St. Marks; in Louisiana at: Amelia, Cocodrie, Grand Isle, Shell Beach, Slidell, St. Mary, and Venice; and in Mississippi at: Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Pass Christian.


MAY 14, 2010 Slick's Slow Advance Gives Defense Crucial Time

VENICE, La.—Officials bracing for an oily onslaught said the Gulf of Mexico oil slick's long delay in reaching shore has given them valuable time to reinforce defenses to protect sensitive marshes and estuaries. :::snip:::



Wildlife death toll from BP oil spill likely includes dolphins
Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, May 13, 2010

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is taking its toll on the region's wildlife: brown pelicans, sea turtles, several species of fish, and now dolphins have been found dead.

The National Marine Fisheries Service reported today finding six dead dolphins in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama since May 2nd. :::snip::: http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0513-hance_dolphin_oil.html



May 13, 2010
Drill-rig owner seeks to limit liability; Gulf spill reportedly 70,000 barrels a day

The owner of the drilling rig that burned and sank in the Gulf of Mexico wants a federal court in Houston to limit its liability for the massive oil spill to just $26.8 million, a small portion of the projected damage claims.

Transocean, which owns the Deepwater Horizon rig, said its insurer "demanded that the company file the petition in order to keep intact the insurance coverage on the rest of its fleet of 139 offshore drilling rigs," The Washington Post writes. As plaintiffs' lawyers see it, Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling contractor, is "trying to consolidate the more than 100 lawsuits in a Houston court because Houston juries would be the most sympathetic to the oil industry." One lawyer said they would try to consolidate the lawsuits in New Orleans or Washington — presumably because juries would be more sympathetic to the plaintiffs. :::snip:::



Protecting Wildlife: Brown Pelicans From Gulf May be Headed to NC




Bird rescuers helping in Gulf
By Sandy Mazza Staff Writer
Posted: 05/10/2010 06:55:42 PM PDT

When a female adult pelican arrived coated in gummy black oil at a newly opened Louisiana bird rescue center, a veterinarian from San Pedro was there to care for her.

Hundreds of rescue workers from throughout the country have descended on the southern Gulf of Mexico area since last month's disastrous oil spill, which is expected to take a heavy toll on the region's wildlife.

The International Bird Rescue and Research Center's San Pedro facility sent three skilled workers to help birds harmed by the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. :::snip::: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_15057479

IBRRC and TriState workers helping wash pelican

Dr. Heather Nevill, Right, a veterinarian with the San Pedro, International Bird Rescue and Research Center works with memebsr of the Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Center cleaning oil off a Brown Pelican in Louisiana. Credit IBRRC

photo gallery http://dailybreeze.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=10018



In Limbo In Louisiana: Birds on Pelican Island Engaged in a Waiting Game

By Greg Butcher

The call came Wednesday night, May 5. Would I be willing to fly to Louisiana to assess the oil spill and advise on what Audubon could do to help? Within two hours, I was at the airport.

Today is my fifth day on-site. Anticipating the worst, Audubon mobilized volunteers to help transport oiled birds, but surprisingly few need it so far.:::snip::: photo: Brown pelican on nest, by David J. Ringer.



BP looks for new plan to stop leak
The oil company may try a smaller containment box or try to clog the well.




Media helicopters force Gulf birds to abandon nests

By Justin Nobel

Birds in the Gulf of Mexico have a new enemy: some members of the press. Media aircraft have been conducting illegal flights and disturbing birds over Breton National Wildlife Refuge, an Important Bird Area off the east coast of Louisiana where oil from the leaking BP wellhead has been washing ashore.

“We’ve done all this work to try and protect those islands with booms,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Chuck Underwood. “But in the end, folks flying in low and landing just to get their photographs has been disturbing the birds. In some cases, there has even been nest abandonment.”

Tens of thousands of birds are presently nesting and foraging on the sandy strips and marshy spits in Breton National Wildlife Refuge, making this an especially devastating time for an oil spill. :::snip:::

“We know it’s a great story,” added Underwood, specifically addressing journalists, “but back off a little bit here.”



May 08, 2010
How will Gulf oil spill affect brown pelicans?

Since the birds dive into the water to catch prey, the oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill could poison their food supply, CBS News reports.

"Right now they don't want to leave their nest," Dr. Erica Miller told CBS. "That means they're going to stay, unfortunately, where the oil is."


Containment dome lowered into position over oil leak

As the gulf slick grows, crews will spend the weekend preparing the device to capture oil and pipe it up to a ship. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-20100508,0,972775.story

Groundhog Day for Oil
By TIMOTHY EGAN, May 5, 2010, 9:00 pm

Wish it weren’t so, but I fear my lasting memory of many trips to Prince William Sound will be of hunched-over workers with toothbrushes, trying to scrub black tar from shivering birds and sea-worn rocks in the Alaska spring of 1989. :::snip:::


National Geographic Daily News

Gulf Oil Spill Pictures: Ten Animals at Risk


Dispatch From Louisiana: The Brown Pelican and Media Etiquette -- by: Tom Bearden

Brown pelican being cleaned in Louisiana; Photo by Lorna Baldwin

The Fort Jackson bird rescue facility near Venice, La., got its second patient on Monday -- an oil-soaked Louisiana brown pelican. The gawky bird was picked up on Storm Island, but the folks who are standing by to clean birds weren't really sure where that is.

When they exhibited the first bird to be rescued last week, more than a dozen TV crews and a big crowd of reporters showed up. There were about half as many media representatives on Monday. There seemed to be a higher percentage of foreign press covering the spill, :::snip:::


and also: http://www.wwl.com/Another-oiled-bird-found-and-birds-dropping-from-t/6973557


La. Refuge Established by Teddy Roosevelt in Harm's Way

Published: May 4, 2010

BRETON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, La. -- Nesting season is in full swing for brown pelicans on Breton Island, the southern end of a chain of barrier marshes stretched along Louisiana's Gulf Coast. :::snip:::



Amount of Spill Could Escalate, Company Admits

Published: May 4, 2010 — WASHINGTON — In a closed-door briefing for members of Congress, a senior BP executive conceded Tuesday that the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico could conceivably spill as much as 60,000 barrels a day of oil, more than 10 times the estimate of the current flow.

The scope of the problem has grown drastically since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the gulf. :::snip:::

At the briefing, ... “What we heard today from BP, Halliburton and Transocean were a lot of worst-case scenarios without any best-case solutions,” said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, who leads the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House energy panel. :::snip:::

The company’s top crisis managers have been dispatched to the gulf. Mr. Gowers, the BP spokesman, said the company was now “considering some targeted advertising in the affected states” to publicize how to make claims and how to sign up to help with the cleanup.

Mr. Hayward also gave a briefing on Tuesday for reporters from Gulf Coast newspapers and The Associated Press in which he said he wanted to “win the hearts and minds” of the people. :::snip:::

“We’re preparing for the worst,” said Jim Hood, the attorney general of Mississippi, referring both to the spill itself and the possibility of fierce legal struggles. The state has been taking photos and video of coastal areas and counting fish and birds, he said, to have a record of what exists before the oil arrives.


Unpredictable Current Is Wild Card in Gulf Disaster Scenarios

By PAUL VOOSEN of Greenwire
Published: May 5, 2010

An undersea conveyor belt to Florida is approaching the Gulf Coast oil spill, and should it stretch past its typical bounds, oil from the BP PLC accident, blobbing placidly off the Louisiana coast, could soon stream into the Florida Keys and up the United States' Eastern Seaboard.the Gulf of Mexico," she said. "It should be in real time. It should be ready." :::snip:::


News Analysis
Gulf Oil Spill Is Bad, but How Bad? By JOHN M. BRODER and TOM ZELLER Jr.
Published: May 3, 2010

...Yet the Deepwater Horizon blowout is not unprecedented, nor is it yet among the worst oil accidents in history. And its ultimate impact will depend on a long list of interlinked variables, including the weather, ocean currents, the properties of the oil involved and the success or failure of the frantic efforts to stanch the flow and remediate its effects. :::snip:::

“Right now what people are fearing has not materialized,” said Edward B. Overton, professor emeritus of environmental science at Louisiana State University and an expert on oil spills. “People have the idea of an Exxon Valdez, with a gunky, smelly black tide looming over the horizon waiting to wash ashore. I do not anticipate this will happen down here unless things get a lot worse.”

Dr. Overton said he was hopeful that efforts by BP to place containment structures over the leaking parts of the well will succeed, although he said it was a difficult task that could actually make things worse by damaging undersea pipes.

Other experts said that while the potential for catastrophe remained, there were reasons to remain guardedly optimistic.




Estimated spill is 70,000 barrels/day -- not the 5,000 originally estimated:


Breton National Wildlife Refuge and the Nesting Brown Pelicans - May 3, 2010 John Blatchford

On 2 May 2010 Scientific American reported that there is "the possibility of some oil beaching on the Chandeleur Islands ... and ... the Breton National Wildlife refuge". This would be very bad news for the Brown Pelican population of this area. :::snip:::

The refuge suffered badly when Hurricane Katrina swept past in 2005, and again in the same year when a small oil spill from a storm-damaged drilling platform was blown ashore. The hurricane destroyed many young pelicans at their nest sites, and the oil fouled the area killing many of those that were left.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has stated that the Deepwater Horizon accident could "leak 100,000 barrels of oil per day", making it much more serious than the 2005 spill.

Brown Pelican Nesting Sites

The nesting grounds of the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) within the Breton National Wildlife Refuge are a critical part of their habitat.

The pelicans are at their most vulnerable to oil fouling when nesting on the ground, but even those nesting in mangrove trees are dependent on nearby fish for survival. :::snip:::


5/3 On Point podcast: Oil Danger and the Gulf Coast: http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/05/oil-danger
And maybe Americans are coming face-to-face again with the implications of a fossil fuel-driven national life.
The robots undersea have not stopped the oil. The booms on high seas have not stopped the slick. The fishermen see what’s coming and shake their heads.

It could get much worse before it gets better. And it’s bad now. :::snip:::



Gulf Coast Towns Brace as Huge Oil Slick Nears Marshes
Published, New York Times: May 1, 2010

COCODRIE, La. — Oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico unabated Saturday, and officials conveyed little hope that the flow could be contained soon, forcing towns along the Gulf Coast to brace for what is increasingly understood to be an imminent environmental disaster. :::snip:::

On the way to Terrebonne Bay, which was not yet affected by oil on Friday, Dr. Kolker pointed out signs that the marshes were weak: cypress trees, for example, dying by the side of Route 10. Farther out, local fishermen tell of pelicans whose nests were so crowded onto what remains of sinking barrier islands that they looked like Manhattan co-ops.

“The area can only sustain so many environmental insults,” he said.




Allen Hershkowitz’s Blog
On Oil Spill Disasters and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Posted May 1, 2010: Tonight is the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner. NRDC coordinated the greening of that dinner. But today it is impossible not to first think about the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and how it relates to everything we do, including fancy dinners.




BP's containment problem is unprecedented, "an upside-down faucet, just open and running out." LATimes, 4/30, Jill Leovy:

The problem with the April 20 spill is that it isn't really a spill: It‘s a gush, like an underwater oil volcano. A hot column of oil and gas is spurting into freezing, black waters nearly a mile down, where the pressure nears a ton per inch, impossible for divers to endure. Experts call it a continuous, round-the-clock calamity, unlike a leaking tanker, which might empty in hours or days.

"Everything about it is unprecedented," said geochemist Christopher Reddy, an oil-spill expert and head of the Coastal Ocean Institute at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "All our knowledge is based on a one-shot event…. With this, we don't know when it's going to stop." :::snip:::

To BP falls the daunting task of trying to stop the gush before it becomes the most damaging spill in American history. If the flow is not stopped, it will exhaust the natural reservoir of oil beneath the sea floor, experts say. Many months, at least, could pass. :::snip::: The April 20 accident 50 miles off the Louisiana coast is presumed to have killed 11 people. It occurred 5,000 feet under the sea — many times deeper, for example, than any platform now drilling off the California coast. :::snip:::




NPR/ INSKEEP: Catastrophic nest loss for (the Brown Pelican) that was just taken off the endangered species list a few years ago. Other birds could be affected too.

Driscoll directs Bird Conservative for the Louisiana Coastal Initiative.

Ms. DRISCOLL: A lot of birds have just begun to nest so they're on some of the outer coastal islands and out in the marshes breeding. And because they have nests they are more tied to a location, making it harder for them to avoid the oil or just move to a more inland habitat.

In addition, near tropical migrant birds and a lot of shore birds are sort of at the peak of their spring migration, so there are greater densities in numbers of birds flying across the Gulf of Mexico now, than would happen really at any other time in the year, except for fall migration.




CSM Pictures: http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/In-Pictures/Louisiana-oil-spill

Christian Science Monitor
Experts: Most of Gulf of Mexico oil spill won't be cleaned upBy Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor - posted April 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm EDT

Despite BP's efforts, only a small percentage of the oil from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be cleaned up, say experts ::::snip::: History attests to the lingering problem of oil spills. Exxon Valdez, one of the worst oil spills ever, dumped more than 10 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989. And there's still a lot of oil that didn't get cleaned up, which has continued to impact wildlife in the area for the past 20 years, experts say.

"Despite spending $2 billion dollars and using every known clean-up method there was, they recovered 8 percent of the spilled Exxon Valdez oil," said Jeffrey Short, Pacific science director for Oceana, a Washington, D.C.–based ocean conservation organization. "That is typical of these exercises when you have a large marine oil spill. You're doing really great if you [get] 20 percent." ::::snip::: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0430/Experts-Most-of-Gulf-of-Mexico-oil-spill-won-t-be-cleaned-up

Oil spill threatens brown pelicans, other creatures
State bird may return to fragile species list
April 29, 2010, 10:35PM

NEW ORLEANS —Wildlife authorities and environmentalists waited warily, and wearily, as a huge oil spill took aim Thursday at Louisiana's ecologically fragile coast, where hundreds of species are in harm's way.

Forecasts showed the spill making a beeline for the pristine barrier islands of Breton National Wildlife Refuge, home to the brown pelican, which faces a new threat less than six months after it was removed from the endangered species list.

Louisiana's state bird is emblematic of challenges ahead for those tasked with protecting the array of wildlife along the Gulf Coast from the spill. The brown pelican, royal tern and other shorebirds nest in the islands, which are accessible only by boat.

The pelican, for one, nests in mangroves along the shoreline and plunges into the water to feed on fish. Other species make their nests in the sandy beaches.

“Their entire way of life makes them very, very vulnerable,” said David Ringer, a Mississippi-based spokesman for the National Audubon Society. :::snip:::




Oil spill could be disaster for animals, experts say
By Ashley Hayes, CNN
April 30, 2010 -- Updated 0236 GMT (1036 HKT)

(CNN) -- A huge oil spill oozing toward the Gulf Coast on Thursday threatens hundreds of species of wildlife, some in their prime breeding season, environmental organizations said.

The Coast Guard said Wednesday that the amount of oil spilling from an underwater well after an oil rig explosion last week has increased to as many as 5,000 barrels of oil a day, or 210,000 gallons, five times more than what was originally believed.

Although efforts to minimize the damage are under way and options under consideration include asking the U.S. military for assistance, wildlife conservation groups say the oil could pose a "growing environmental disaster."

"The terrible loss of 11 workers (unaccounted for after the rig explosion) may be just the beginning of this tragedy as the oil slick spreads toward sensitive coastal areas vital to birds and marine life and to all the communities that depend on them," said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the Louisiana Coastal Initiative, in a statement.

Coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida could be at risk, the organization said.

"For birds, the timing could not be worse; :::snip:::: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/04/29/oil.spill.wildlife/

(videos: responding to a spill, fishermen's livlihood threatened, extent of spill, and Gulf Coast braces....)


Happier days....

pelicans Breton NWR

AT RISK: Breton National Wildlife Refuge is home to an estimated 34,000 birds, including 2,000 pairs of pelicans. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/wildlife-workers-prepare-for-spill-to-reach-coast

April 29: The Fish and Wildlife Service is supporting response efforts to the oil drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico with specialists, land managers and support personnel. Booms to capture and deflect anticipated oil are being deployed at Breton National Wildlife Refuge, where thousands of brown pelicans and shorebirds are nesting. The service also is initiating natural resource damage assessment and restoration activities in this incident to assess and address the long-term damage. :::snip::::

Potential threats to bird life along the Gulf Coast
The greatest threat to bird life is to species which nest along the barrier islands, beaches and shorelines along the Gulf Coast. Species at risk include sandwich tern, royal tern, least tern, Forster's tern, caspian tern, brown pelican and black skimmer. Birds are most susceptible to being oiled while foraging for fish and other food items in the open Gulf waters or near nesting sites. Nesting sites/colonies could also be at risk if storm tides push oiled water over barrier islands or beaches where those birds typically nest. :::snip:::

Refuge staff have estimated more than 34,000 birds, including 2,000 pairs of pelicans, 5,000 pairs of royal terns, 5,000 pairs of caspian terns and 5,000 pairs of feeding, loafing and nesting gulls and other shore birds. :::snip:::



Deepwater Horizon oil spill to be set on fire to save US coast Burn-off to start as robot submarines fail to shut off flow of oil from wrecked rig

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 April 2010 16.04 BST


Thousands of birds such as egrets and brown pelicans are nesting on barrier islands close to the rig's wreckage. If they are affected, rescuers would need to reach their remote islands, wash them down and release them back into the wild.

Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, said cleaning up brown pelican chicks after a modest spill in Louisiana in 2005 was a big undertaking.

"Just about any petroleum can cause problems for birds because they lose their waterproofing, and that's what keeps them dry and warm," he said. "It's a really difficult time, and we're close to the peak of migration."




A reminder of the last major threat faced by the Brown Pelicans and the man who worked to overcome it. There seems to be no one of his stature now.


John Philips – Guardian of marine life

At the time, the issue of ocean pollutants, particularly the synthetic pesticide DDT, had become a pressing national and international issue. Phillips' research and efforts to raise awareness about the effects of DDT on brown pelicans and other marine organisms had helped lead to the first U.S. ban of the chemical in 1972. The brown pelican was listed as an endangered species in 1970.

In 1969, Phillips sent an open letter to then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, calling for a ban on DDT. The letter, signed by 60 marine scientists from 15 institutions, expressed concern of "wholesale damage to important world fisheries" and warned of the "possible loss of whole categories of animals which play important roles in preserving on the planet an environment favorable to man."

According to Baldridge, "it was evidence that was gathered at Hopkins by Phillips and others that was able to turn the tide on DDT and get control of some other pollutants."

The 1972 ban on DDT is cited as the primary reason that the brown pelican population has recovered from the brink of extinction. The bird was removed from the endangered list in 2009. :::snip:::





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