All posts by Coastal Care

Me and you three; 2 years, 4 artists, 8 beaches

Me and You Three; 2 Years, 4 Artists, 8 Beaches

The exhibition showcases works by four island of Wight artists: Judes Crow, Annik Cullinane, Mary Flynn & Gerry Price, presented at the Michael West Gallery at Quay Arts from June 5th to26th 2010.

For two years, four artists have been making site visits together to coastal locations and visits to eight island beaches, around the Isle of Wight, UK. The result is an eclectic exhibition made cohesive by linking the marine environment to humanity. The work communicates experiences of loss and bereavement, conflict between the undeniable beauty of the coast and evidence of decay, thoughts about permanence and transience, and the rythm and inevitability of change.

15 metres of plastic debris, large sea banners stitched from materials reclaimed from the sea and installations entitled ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘This is Not a Toy’ refer to a world drowning in plastic. Plaques commemorating bodies washed ashore and paintings of human embryos comment on the unpredictability of life. Clay re-claimed from the cliffs and sketches done on location evidence the continually changing nature of the coastal environment.

Groups of young people from three local schools will visit the exhibition. These students will show their responses in the form of their own artwork. This will take place in the ‘Learning Curve Gallery’ at Quay Arts Centre 12th June – 24th July.

Artists statements:

Judes Crow

“The sea is the container of the unknown and the mysterious. It is an appropriate synonym for the unconscious” C.G. Jung 1944

Through my art practice I aim to achieve both conscious and unconscious expression of an internal mythology developed from intense life experiences and a profound connection with the natural cycles of birth and death. Within my paintings visual narratives emerge, joining together subjective feelings and transforming objective reality.
I use the richness of the coastal environment and the wealth of material it provides to explore internal states and childhood memories.

Annik Cullinane
Since moving to the Island twenty years ago I have been involved in
drawing the landscape. Settling in Ventnor, my focus became the rugged
coastline, particularly the eroding cliffs of the wild dramatic
beaches such as St Lawrence, Luccombe, Shanklin and Bonchurch.

Mary Flynn
I find myself continually drawn to the beach, witnessing the ebb and flow of the tides. The rhythm of change and the excitement of shoreline finds interest me. I am compelled to explore and record the objects I find, creating a new order from found objects, or attaching a personal significance to them. I have become concerned with the impact of man on the environment. The materials I use vary: they include found objects, fabric, stitch, and print. Exploration and experiment are key issues in my work.

Gerry Price
The focus of my visual arts practice has changed and developed over the years. I have used a wide range of materials and processes to produce objects and images. Recent work has been made in response to experiences of loss and bereavement. The work has strong conceptual and physical links to the coastal environment in which I live and work. Physically this often means using materials found on the shore. Conceptually the impact of the environment is more complicated. The sea and tidal action become metaphors for change, transformation and loss. I am currently preoccupied with thoughts about permanence and transience.

For information contact:

Judes Crow

MRSA: Bad Boy Bacteria; By Sharlene Pilkey

MRSA Bacteria

By Sharlene Pilkey

It used to be swimmers ear, (otis exterma,) and then it was swimmers itch (cercarial dermatitis) if you went to the beach, everybody got it at one time or another, but now there is a new bully bacteria hiding on supposedly pristine beaches world-wide.

Fancy name of Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA for short. Anyone ever in a hospital has heard of it or been exposed to it, but now it has moved to recreational beaches, probably left on sand from other bathers. MRSA has become a very personal thing for me. My 24 year old grandson, an avid surfer, picked it up from one of the the northern beaches in Washington State. Small scratch on his leg didn’t look so bad. He was working for an electrical company which wired yachts. Leg was sore, he put anti bacterial medicine on it and figured it would clear up. Leg swelled more and was very sore, he soaked it in hot water, continued to go to work every day. Ran a fever, passed out at work, his boss took him to the emergency room where the wound split and the emergency room was contaminated, it was MRSA, a word he had never heard of before.

He has recovered and still surfs, but will have MRSA the rest of his life, taking medicine the rest of his life, with flare-ups from time to time. A stiff price to pay for a few hours of surfing on the cold northern waters where no one knew MRSA, usually found in hospitals, even existed.

It has only been in recent years that scientists have expanded their disease contamination studies to the beaches. The public knows (or should know) you don’t go swimming where sewer outfalls, septic systems, storm water runoff or industrial waste is discharged. But what harm walking or sitting on a sunny ocean beach, children building sand castles , burying themselves in the sand, or just wading in the water?

At an American Society for Microbiology meeting held in California in 2009, Dr. Marilyn Roberts, a microbiologist, and her team from the University of Washington in Seattle, reported their findings that at least five public beaches along the coast of Washington were contaminated with MRSA found on the sand and in the water. This same year , University of Miami researchers found staphylococcus in four out of ten ocean water samples collected by hundreds of bathers at a South Florida beach. Two beaches in California were tested by Dr. Roberts, but no MRSA was found. She stated that testing of the samples was delayed and that may have affected the quality of the test.

Not to worry said several California newspapers, no MRSA found on our beaches. Well, not exactly. In comments posted to the September 12, 2009 L.A. Times story on MRSA Glenn Rock said, “I live in La Jolla and swim almost every day in the ocean at the La Jolla Shores Beach. About a week ago my arm/shoulder were so badly infected that I went to the emergency room. I hadn’t hurt myself and it just came out of the blue. It turns out that I had a Staph (antibiotic resistant strain) infection. The lab at Scripps called me several days after taking some tests to tell me that my infection was very serious because of the resistance to antibiotics. Well now after 2000mg (4 horse pills) keflex a day and 2 huge pills of Bactrim, tons of creams, etc. prescribed ,my infection has gotten much better and hopefully will be all gone in the next 3 or 4 days.” Another comment asks if Dana Point Harbor in California has been tested as this family was there and five days later her husband was dead from MRSA sepsis/pneumonia.

It is pretty obvious that something is happening health-wise on our beaches. The incidence of infection is too wide spread. The present scientific point of view is that MRSA is probably brought to the beach by the public where it stays in the sand and in the water to be picked up by a beach user. The recommendation from health care people is to shower before you go to the beach and right after you have been to the beach, but how many of us do that?

No need to be alarmed, but be aware. Swim on ‘clean beaches’ if you can. Don’t swim with cuts, and encourage local governments to broaden their testing programs. With increasing world populations and the rush to the coast that is occurring all over the world, watching out for beach water quality becomes ever more important!

We already monitor for e-coli and other bacteria, and this has proven to be successful in alerting officials to close beaches. MRSA seems to have been ignored. It is time to broaden our monitoring programs to include MRSA and what ever other new forms of bacteria may be a health threat on our beaches.


MSRA Bacteria Life Span: Original Source

Staph bacteria are resistant to salt. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies, with their disinfecting UV rays, may also kill off more of the bacteria at the sand’s surface, she noted. But below top inches of sand and at the waterline, beaches across the country may be just as susceptible as those in cold, rainy Washington.

  • MRSA can live for up to 7 months on dust
  • MRSA can live for up to 8 weeks on a mop head
  • MRSA can live for up to 9 weeks on a cotton towel
  • MRSA can live for up to 203 days (over 6 moths) on a blanket
  • MRSA can live on the skin of otherwise healthy individuals, with no symptoms indefinitely
How Long Did It Take For MRSA Bacteria to Evolve?
Maybe you were just reading about MRSA bacteria on the MRSA symptoms page and wondered how long it might take for a Multi Resistant bacteria to evolve.
Are Florida Beaches Safe? Health Department Doesn’t Know
On January 23, 2004, environmental documentary film maker Gary Burris of Goodland, Florida was shooting video at the northern end of Fort Myers Beach to continue reporting on his documentary “Deep Trouble: The Gulf in Peril.” Burris sat down in wet sand near the waterline and his pants became soaked with sea water.
Superbugs of the New Millennium
Community Associated Staph Infections a Growing Concern
Infectious Superbug Invades Beaches
Add the MRSA “superbug” to the list of concerns you bring to the beach nowadays, a research doctor said today.

Medical, Scientific, Informative Articles

MRSA Found on Beaches in Washington
VIDEO and Text. from the Interscience Conference On antimicrobial Agents , Doctor Marylin Roberts. (who is the lead scientist discovering the problem after studies on both coasts).
Medical, clear, concise yet very well explanatory information about MRSA
Recently discovered and studied
Health Department Information and Recommendations
The Most Lethal Superbug Epidemic Ever is Spreading Like Wildfire: Infectious MRSA Bacteria
MRSA Signs and Symptoms
Our results suggest that public beaches may be a reservoir for possible transmission of MRSA.”, the Puget Sound study, by Doctor Marylin Roberts
MRSA Bacteria Found at Puget Sound Public Beaches
Whether the source is human activity or the environment, beach goers should take precautions. The CDC recommends hand washing as the best defense against MRSA. Keep open wounds covered when going to the beach and avoid sharing towels. The actual risk of contracting MRSA at the beach is not currently known.” 2005.
MRSA and Other Types of Staph Found in Ocean
MRSA is resistant to common antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin, which is one reason it is so potentially dangerous.
New MRSA Bacteria Killer Registered by EPA
MRSA is usually spread by direct physical contact with those already infected or through indirect contact by touching objects (towels, clothes, sports equipment, etc.) that infected skin has contaminated. Consequently, any heavily trafficked area can be a source of infection.

In The News

Dangerous Staph Germs Found at West Coast Beaches
A day at the beach? Shower afterward. Sand, water can hold dangerous staph germs, study finds
MRSA discovered at five public beaches
Dangerous staph bacteria have been found in sand and water for the first time at five public beaches along the coast of Washington, and scientists think the state is not the only one with this problem.
MRSA ‘superbug’ found in ocean, public beaches
Lance Peterson, a University of Chicago infectious disease specialist who was not involved in the study, says, “Staph is a salt-loving organism. It’s not surprising to see it in the ocean.
MRSA on the beach?
Next time you go to the beach, you might want to shower – before you get in the ocean as well as after, says Dr. Lisa Plano, associate professor of clinical pediatrics and microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami.

THESEUS:Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate

Un programme pour mieux protéger les zones côtières

By Pauline Fréour, Le Figaro

Les énormes vagues qui ont frappé la Côte d’Azur soulignent une fois de plus les dangers encourus sur certains littoraux. Le programme européen Theseus doit aider à trouver des pistes concrètes pour protéger les populations de la montée des eaux.

Le 28 février, la tempête Xynthia faisait 51 morts sur la côté atlantique française, souvent noyés dans leurs maisons basses typiques de la Vendée et de la Charente. Mardi, c’est Cannes et Nice qui ont été frappées par des vagues d’au moins six mètres de haut. La plupart des restaurants de plage ont été détruits. Partout en Europe, la densification de la population sur le littoral – le nombre d’habitants a plus que doublé en 50 ans accroît les risques liés à l’inéluctable montée du niveau de la mer.

Pour anticiper les conséquences du changement climatique et mieux protéger ses 170 000 km de côtes, l’Union européenne a lancé en décembre Theseus, un vaste programme scientifique financé à hauteur de 6,5 millions d’euros. Trente et un instituts européens vont passer à la loupe huit régions particulièrement fragiles, dont l’estuaire de la Gironde, pendant quatre ans, dans l’objectif de pouvoir livrer aux acteurs locaux des outils concrets pour limiter les dégâts liés à l’érosion et à la montée des eaux. Selon une étude de l’Union européenne, une bonne préparation de la population et des infrastructures permettrait de diviser par quatre le coût des dégâts qui ne manqueront pas de se produire si l’on n’agit pas à temps.

Un logiciel pour gérer les évacuations
Directeur scientifique du Centre d’études techniques maritimes et fluviales, un service du ministère de l’Ecologie, Philippe Sergent étudie ainsi pour Theseus les modifications à apporter aux digues pour résister à une mer plus haute et potentiellement plus forte. «Pour une montée des eaux d’1 mètre d’ici 2100 c’est le pire scénario envisagé il faudra sans doute les surélever de deux mètres».

Au-delà des ouvrages côtiers proprement dits, son équipe va également collecter des données pour l’élaboration d’un logiciel destiné à aider les acteurs locaux à organiser l’évacuation des populations en cas de besoin. «Suivant l’ampleur du phénomène constaté, il guidera les autorités locales sur la marche à suivre. Il permettra par exemple de gérer le relogement des populations et de réguler la circulation en tenant compte des routes fermées. Autant de choses qui auraient pu être utiles dans le cas de Xynthia», explique-t-il.

Impliquer les populations
Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, professeur de sciences économiques à l’Université de Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, expert des milieux côtiers, travaille à des recommandations qui accompagneront le logiciel. L’objectif : aider les collectivités locales à bien communiquer auprès de la population, pour que celle-ci comprenne bien l’ampleur de la menace. «Lorsque l’on révèle un danger trop grand aux gens, on se rend compte qu’ils deviennent «sourds» aux avertissements. Pour éviter cela, les riverains doivent être impliqués activement à l’identification du risque et à l’aménagement du territoire», explique-t-il.

De fait, quand une population est bien informée, les risques diminuent. A ce titre, Venise, ville coutumière des inondations, offre un exemple intéressant. «Des recherches en cours montrent que les gens sont tellement habitués que le coût des dégâts est désormais presque nul. Les Vénitiens savent comment réagir, leurs maisons sont adaptées et ils ne se laissent pas surprendre», souligne Jean-Paul Vanderlinden. L’enjeu est d’autant plus important qu’il est lié à la notion de responsabilité. Car quand un lotissement est construit dans une zone identifiée comme étant à risque, qui doit payer : l’Etat, les collectivités territoriales, le promoteur, les riverains ?

L’exemple de Nice montre par ailleurs que la France a encore des progrès à faire en termes d’avertissement de la population, estime Philippe Sergent. «Dans ce cas précis, on aurait sans doute pu limiter l’ampleur des destructions puisque l’alerte avait bien été donnée par Météo France, estime-t-il. Mais il semble que la gravité du phénomène n’ait pas été saisie, par les restaurateurs notamment.» Selon, lui, il serait sans doute judicieux d’aligner le système d’alerte de franchissement maritime sur celui déjà en place pour les inondations fluviales, qui fonctionne bien. «Un service spécialisé de prévisions à été mis en place il y a quelques années et il permet d’avertir le grand public des risque de crues, par le biais de la météo à la télévision par exemple».

Original Article


THESEUS, Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate: THESEUS

THESEUS (Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate) is the largest Integrated Project funded by the European Commission (6,530,000 €) and consists of 31 partner institutes. The project will develop during the next four years a systematic approach to deliver both a low-risk coast for human use and healthy coastal habitats for evolving coastal zones subjected to multiple factors.

Sand mining company proposes expanding Stradbroke national parks

Australia Sand Mining

Excerpts;

The sand mining company Unimin is calling for large areas of Stradbroke Island off Brisbane to be declared national park as soon as possible.

The company has mining leases over about 45 per cent of the island, off Brisbane.

Unimin spokesman Paul Smith says new national parks would benefit residents, and traditional owners, who have an unresolved native title claim on the island.

Yet, mining will continue even if some parts of the island are declared national park…

Read Full Article, By Stephanie Smail, ABC News


Mining in Stradbroke Island, Queensland Australia: Wikipedia

During the 1960s sand mining operations began mining the islands frontal dunes.[citation needed] Mining moved into the interior of the island in the late 1960s and increased in scale and size. As an alternative, development of the island for seaside residential use was mooted and in 1970 a bridge from the mainland via Russell Island was under serious consideration by the Queensland government. The Queensland government also proposed a large scale redevelopment of the island in the mid 1980’s which would have seen the population of the island increase 10 fold. This proposal was never followed through when the incumbent government lost office. From the 1960s to the 1980s sand miners mined the frontal dunes of the ocean beach from Jumpinpin to Point Lookout. This mining activity destroyed numerous ancient Aboriginal middens and campsites in the sheltered areas behind the frontal dunes.[citation needed] Unique ecosystems which lay between the 18 Mile Swamp and the ocean were also destroyed. Generally there was little more than a token effort to re-vegetate mined areas so that 30 years after the area was mined the dunal areas are still ecologically devastated. There is also strong anecdotal evidence that in the 1960s one of the early mining companies destroyed a shipwreck located in the sand dunes near Jumpinpin which may have been the reputed Stradbroke Galleon.There are several accounts from sand mining employees of unusual artifacts being found during dredging operations.

However, the understanding of the island’s environmental and native heritage value was on the rise. In 1991 the Australian Government and sand mining companies ACI and Consolidated Rutile Pty Ltd attempted to reach an agreement on surrender of some or parts of mining lease tenements to form a national park. Half of North Stradbroke Island was to become a National Park in return for a guarantee that mining could continue for the life of several mines in high grade areas. The agreement was never signed by either of the mining companies nor the government and has not been progressed to this day. Mineral sands and silica sands at Myora Mine, near Dunwich, are currently being mined from the surface whilerutile, zircon and ilmenite are dredged from the Yarraman Mine on the north of the island and the Enterprise Mine on the south of the island by Consolidated Rutile Limited. In 2009 500,000 tonnes of minerals were being produced by mining about 50 million tonnes of sand. According to the Stradbroke Island Management Organisation (an environmental organisation) two-thirds of the island is covered by mining leases.

BP Ordered to Use Less Toxic Chemicals in Oil Cleanup

By Bertha Coombs, CNBC Reporter.

The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered BP to use a less toxic chemical dispersants to break up the oil spill from its broken undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP has been using a dispersant called Corexit to break up the oil slick into smaller particles since the leak, deploying more than 600,000 thousand gallons on the ocean surface. The manufacturer, Nalco recently boost its sales forecast as a result of the Gulf spill orders.

Nalco shares slumped 5.26% on news of the EPA’s directive, but the company says it remains committed to helping with the Gulf clean up.

“Our goal throughout the entire event is to help where we can, and provide whatever products we can.” says Nalco spokesperson John Schoen.

Smaller dispersant manufacturers like Joannie Doctor, president of GlobeMark Resources, welcomed the EPA’s decision. “It’s about time. It’s fair,” she says, but she wishes the EPA had moved sooner.

Doctor claims her JD-2000 dispersant is more than 10 times less toxic on shellfish and other marine life than Nalco’s Corexit. But while BP has been scrutinizing her product over the last few weeks, it had yet to place an order.

The EPA has given BP 24 hours to find alternative chemicals.

The company has reached out to the maker of an EPA-approved dispersant called Sea Brat 4, Alabaster Corp. a family-owned manufacturer in Pasadena, Texas. “They said there’s a possibility that we may have to to gear up production,” says Charles Sheffield, Alabaster’s CEO.

Sheffield says BP has yet to confirm a new order. The oil company ordered 100,000 gallons of Sea Brat weeks ago, but never took delivery. “It’s still sitting in my yard,” he says, “I have 200,000 gallons ready to go right now.”

Critics have charged that Nalco’s Corexit is over 10 times more toxic than over a dozen of the other EPA-approved dispersants listed on the agency’s website. Nalco defended the safety and effectiveness of its dispersants on its website today, noting that toxicity data collected so far does not show any significant affects on aquatic life from dispersants.

The EPA’s decision comes one week after it authorized BP to use dispersants at the source of the leak. The use of tens of the thousands of gallons of dispersant near the ocean floor in deepwater is unprecedented, and critics such as Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) say in this case it amounts to “an aggressive experiment” and the long-term environmental impact is unknown.

The EPA has also ordered BP to make public the data it has been collecting on the use of dispersants at the leak source, and to continue to monitor the impact at the source. The agency is now posting those results on its web site.

GlobeMark’s Joannie Doctor says the need for continued use of dispersants at the source may be no longer be as big a priority. “I think they’re getting that leak more and more under control.”

BP tells CNBC the company is now capturing oil at a rate of 5,000 barrels per day, up fivefold from Sunday, when it succeeded in connecting a riser insertion tube into the severed well. “The visible plume escaping from the riser pipe has noticeably declined, as the flow increases,” BP’s Scott Dean wrote in an e-mail.

The government’s most recent estimate had put the flow of oil at 5-thousand barrels a day, but a number of scientists have disputed that figure, some believing the flow to be much great. A live feed of the leak shows a steady flow of oil still spewing from the broken undersea pipe despite the ramped up pace of containment.

Rep. Ed Markey demanded the company allow access to its undersea transmission, and the stream is now posted on the House Energy and Commerce website. “This footage will aid analysis by independent scientists blocked by BP from coming to see the spill, ” says the Massachusetts congressman.

Original Article

As Oil Begins Clogging Marshes, BP Admits Leak Bigger Than It Said

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN & GREG BLUESTEIN, The Associated Press.

BP conceded today that more oil than it estimated is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as heavy crude washed into Louisiana’s wetlands for the first time, feeding worries and uncertainty about the massive month-long spill.

Mark Proegler, a spokesman for oil giant BP PLC, said a mile-long tube inserted into a leaking pipe over the weekend is now capturing 210,000 gallons a day — the total amount the company and the Coast Guard have estimated is gushing into the sea — but some is still escaping. He would not say how much.

Several professors who have watched video of the leak have already said they believe the amount gushing out is much higher than the official estimates.

Proegler said the 210,000 gallons — 5,000 barrels — has always been just an estimate because there is no way of measuring how much is gushing from the seafloor.

The well blew out after an explosion a month ago on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon

that killed 11 people.

Brown ooze from the spill coated marsh grasses and hung in the shallow water of a wetland at Louisiana’s southeastern tip, the first heavy oil seen on shore so far. Gov. Bobby Jindal declared Wednesday it was just the outer edge of the real spill, much heavier than an oily sheen seen before.

“This is the heavy oil that everyone’s been fearing that is here now,” Jindal said during a boat tour. The wetlands at the mouth of the Mississippi are home to rare birds, mammals and a wide variety of marine life.

BP, which was leasing the rig when it exploded, was marshaling equipment and conducting tests today ahead of a new effort to choke off the oil’s flow. Crews hoped that by Sunday they can start a procedure known as a “top kill,” which involves pumping heavy mud into the crippled equipment on top of the well, then permanently sealing it with cement.

The procedure has been used before to halt gushing oil above ground, but like other methods BP is exploring it has never been used 5,000 feet below the sea.

That’s why scientists and engineers have spent much of the last week preparing and taking a series of measurements to make sure that the mission doesn’t backfire.

“The philosophy from the beginning is not to take any action which could make the situation worse, and those are the final steps we’re doing,” said Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer.

In addition to the oil washing up in Louisiana, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that a small portion of the slick had entered the so-called loop current, a stream of fast moving water that circulates around the Gulf before bending around Florida and up the Atlantic coast. Its arrival may portend a wider environmental catastrophe affecting the Florida Keys and tourist-dotted beaches along that state’s east coast.

Tracking the unpredictable spill and the complex loop current is a challenge for scientists, said Charlie Henry, a NOAA environmental scientist.

The loop moves based on the shifting winds and other environmental factors, so even though the oil is leaking continuously it may be in the current one day, and out the next. And the slick itself has defied scientists’ efforts to track it and predict its path. Instead, it has repeatedly advanced and retreated, an ominous, shape-shifting mass in the Gulf, with vast underwater lobes extending outward.

Even farther south, U.S. officials were talking to Cuba about how to respond to the spill should it reach the island’s northern coast, a U.S. State Department spokesman said.

Florida’s state meteorologist said it will be at least another seven days before the oil reaches waters west of the Keys, and state officials sought to reassure visitors that beaches are still clean and safe. During a news conference, David Halstead, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, showed off a picture of a Coppertone bottle on a beach.

“What’s the only oil on the beaches? Suntan oil,” Halstead said.

Tar balls found earlier in the Florida Keys were not from the spill, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.

Still, at least 6 million gallons have already poured into the Gulf off Louisiana since the rig explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the spill, the worst U.S. environmental disaster in decades. The Exxon Valdez tanker spilled 11 million gallons in Alaska in 1989.

Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., said in a news release that BP complied with his request that a live feed of the oil spill be made publicly available on the Web.

It was not up this morning but Eben Burnham-Snyder, spokesman for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said in an e-mail that it should show up soon.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the government has access to that live video and scientists will be using it along with satellite imagery to check estimates from early on in the disaster about how much is leaking.

“The government will be making its own, independent verification of what those total numbers are,” Salazar said on the CBS “Early Show” today.

Greenpeace activists scaled BP’s London headquarters today to hang a flag accusing the oil company of polluting the environment. The group said the action was prompted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as well as a controversial project in Canada.

BP spokesman Robert Wine called the action “a very calm and genteel protest,” and said no employees had been prevented from getting to work.

Original Article

Ancestors’ Bones Halt Sand Mining

Kohimarama-Beach

By Simon Collins, The New Zealand Herald.

Plans to take sand from near Pakiri Beach to replenish Auckland’s Kohimarama Beach are in limbo, with Ngati Wai dissident Greg McDonald seeking a High Court injunction to stop the project.

Mr McDonald also applied on Monday for a judicial review of a decision by Conservation Minister Chris Carter to allow sand-mining company Kaipara Ltd to take up to 2 million cu m of sand from a 500sq km area between Pakiri and Little Barrier Island during the next 20 years.

Kaipara is fighting both the injunction and the judicial review, and has hit back by asking the Legal Services Agency to review Mr McDonald’s legal aid on the basis that he has no valid legal grounds for the two actions.

Kaipara’s lawyer Kitt Littlejohn said the Pakiri sand-mining permit that Mr Carter granted on February 19 was the only one with enough scope to provide for the Auckland City Council’s planned $6 million Kohimarama Beach replenishment.

Waikato University Professor Terry Healy, a consultant to Kaipara, found that relocating the mining would end the beach erosion at Pakiri because the new source of sand would be at least 2km offshore and in water at least 25m deep.

The Ngati Wai Trust Board agreed in 2001 to drop its objection to mining in the new area in return for getting 50c for every cubic metre of sand extracted – a total of up to $1 million.

But Mr McDonald, a part-owner of land on the beach, has challenged the board’s right to make that deal without adequately consulting Ngati Wai people, including himself.

He argues that the offshore sand is a finite resource.

Much of it originated from the period when the Waikato River flowed into the Hauraki Gulf up to 20,000 years ago.

The seabed also contains the bones of people who died in fighting between his Ngati Wai ancestors on Little Barrier and the rival Ngati Whatua in the 1600s.

He said he had a legal right to seek a review of the sand-mining permit even though he needed taxpayer-funded legal aid.

“They [Kaipara] are just trying to use their money to get rid of me. I don’t believe it’s right that they should bully a Maori that hasn’t got a lot of money,” he said.

He has gathered 600 signatures from Pakiri residents, including boxer David Tua, who owns land at the beach, against the sand-mining proposal.

Mr McDonald’s lawyer, Olinda Woodroffe, has written to Mr Littlejohn offering to withdraw her application for an injunction if Kaipara agrees not to start taking sand from the new area until the High Court rules on the judicial review. Mr Littlejohn said he was awaiting instructions on this from Kaipara.

Justice Tony Randerson issued a minute to both parties last week asking for affidavits on the substantive case by May 8.

Photos Source

BP hopes to siphon up to half of oil in Gulf

By JEFFREY COLLINS and JASON DEAREN, Associated Press Writers

NEW ORLEANS – BP said Monday it hopes to siphon as much as half of the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and is getting ready to shoot mud into a blown-out well later this week to try and stop all of it.

Meanwhile, scientists said they were concerned about the ooze reaching a major ocean current that could carry it through the Florida Keys.

BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles said at a press conference that the company will never again try to produce oil from the well, though BP did not rule out drilling elsewhere in the reservoir.

“The right thing to do is permanently plug this well, and that’s what we will do,” Suttles said.

BP’s mile-long tube is funneling a little more than 42,000 gallons of crude a day from the well into a tanker ship.
That would be about a fifth of the 210,000 gallons the company and the U.S. Coast Guard have estimated are gushing out each day, though scientists who have studied video of the leak say it could be much bigger and even BP acknowledges there’s no way to know for sure how much oil there is.

Suttles said BP would be pleased if the siphoning eventually captures half of the oil, though the company originally said it hoped the tube would catch most of it. Chemicals were also being used to disperse the oil underwater.

In the nearly a month since the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers, BP has made several failed attempts to stop the leak, trying in vain to activate emergency valves and lowering a 100-ton container that got clogged with icy crystals.

The political fallout from the spill continues. Congress is holding hearings, and the federal Minerals Management Service said Monday that Chris Oynes, who oversees offshore drilling programs, will retire at the end of the month. Oynes has come under criticism for being too close to the industry the agency oversees. His departure comes as President Barack Obama has vowed to end a “cozy relationship” between the MMS and the oil industry.

Millions of gallons of oil have already gushed into the Gulf, and researchers said that in recent days they have discovered miles-long underwater plumes of oil that could poison and suffocate sea life across the food chain, with damage that could endure for a decade or more.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday that the researchers’ announcement of the oil plumes was premature, and that further tests need to be conducted to confirm that the plumes detected were indeed caused by the well blowout.
But Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia, said researchers have found more underwater plumes of oil than they can count from the well.

“The discovery of these plumes argues that a lot more oil and gas is coming out of that well every day, and I think everybody has gotten that fact except BP,” she said.

Engineers finally got the siphoning contraption working Sunday after several setbacks. BP PLC engineers remotely guiding robot submersibles had worked since Friday to place the tube into a 21-inch pipe nearly a mile below the sea.

Once the oil reaches the tanker, the oil is being separated from the natural gas and sea water. The natural gas is being burned off, while the crude is being sent to oil terminals.

Crews will increase how much the tube is collecting over the next few days. They need to move slowly because they don’t want too much frigid seawater entering the pipe, where it could combine with gases to form the same ice-like crystals that doomed the previous containment effort. BP said it is building a second tube system as a back up.

The company said Monday that it has started drilling a second well to relieve pressure on the blown-out well and also getting ready to try a procedure known as a top-kill that uses a tube to shoot mud and concrete directly into a device on the well called the blowout preventer to stop the oil.

As engineers worked to get a better handle on the spill, a researcher told The Associated Press that computer models show the oil may have already seeped into a powerful water stream known as the loop current, which could propel it into the Atlantic Ocean. A boat is being sent later this week to collect samples and learn more.

“This can’t be passed off as ‘it’s not going to be a problem,'” said William Hogarth, dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science. “This is a very sensitive area. We are concerned with what happens in the Florida Keys.”

Landry said Monday no oil has reached the loop current.

Original Article