Oil Spill: a Visual Context

Via Joseph Susanka’s post at Inside Catholic, a bird’s eye view of what we’re up against in the Gulf, where, we are now told, is much worse than we have known.

Calculating the exact flow of crude out of the bent Deepwater Horizon oil rig “riser” pipe on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is difficult. But it’s now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard’s figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.

Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register.

The aerial pictures from Eric Gay of the Sacramento Bee are very sobering.

Oil and Sheen Moving Past Oil Rig

Off the Louisiana Coast

There are many more pictures, each more appalling than the last.

We’re in terrible trouble, here. Why does it seem like no one is sending a strong message that they are confidently in charge of this?

Yes, we’re in trouble.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Taqiyyotomist

    This could be fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

  • http://whiterosebrian.deviantart.com Brian

    Shall we pray for a restraining of the disaster and an eventual healing?

  • Mike

    My dear Anchoress: take a deep breath. Praise God, very little of this oil has actually washed ashore, so far. With luck and work, much of it never will. This is indeed a serious situation, but not yet catastrophic. From what I read in the local Hunstville Alabama paper, much is being done during this reprieve. So don’t panic yet, until I say its OK to.

  • Bill

    Even if this does not hit the coast, it is a catastrophy.

  • http://www.opey124.wordpress.com Mrs. O

    “Why does it seem like no one is sending a strong message that they are confidently in charge of this?”
    Because it blew up, broke off and what they are trying to plug isn’t easy.
    They are lowering the second “plug” or casing.
    It isn’t like this is something they “train” for either.

  • http://www.opey124.wordpress.com Mrs. O

    Also, I fully expect to see something else come from in the form of safety measures and prevention.
    Some things they can foresee and take measures to prevent things, some things they can’t.
    Those that are pushing for less drilling here in the US, I would ask do we want to buy oil from those that have stricter guidelines (US) regarding drilling and environment or those countries who may not?
    Oil isn’t just used for fuel.
    If the same considerations were made regarding safety, would we have nuclear energy? I am not real happy about that. There are risks and dangers in these things.
    It is very sad.

  • dymphna

    Oil spills have happened before and will again. Freaking out, like the media want us to do won’t help a thing.

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  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    “Why does it seem like no one is sending a strong message that they are confidently in charge of this?”

    Because the same Administration that wants to take over every other aspect and component of the economy on the grounds that they are smarter and better and more efficient than the people who actually run these industries, that very same Administration in this instance ran away, doing nothing but it’s typical demonization and saying, “it’s all BP’s fault, BP has to do it all by itself.”

  • Left Coast Conservative

    Anchoress – I read somewhere that the bishops in the LA area have asked us to pray and to particularly ask “Our Lady of Prompt Succor” to intercede for us.

  • recovering cynic

    Why does it seem like no one is sending a strong message that they are confidently in charge of this?

    Because, anyone who appears to be in charge will get their head chopped off and be torn limb from limb by those looking for compensation through litigation. Rather than seeing this as our problem, since it affects our coasts and our industries, and our fuel for our cars, we prefer to see it as their problem and that they owe us.

    To echo another blogger, it would seem to be in the best interest of the whole oil drilling industry to be helping out with the clean up, their future ability to drill in the gulf could be at stake. But, I don’t think there are any good Samaritan protections for any company who inadvertently causes a little harm while doing a lot of good by helping with the clean up.

  • P. Buchta

    Those photos are striking and a compelling call to action!!! From my understanding, the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Navy are all pitching in, in a combined effort to help with this emergency. This is the major disaster of the century to our environment folks. It is going to make the Exxon tragedy pale in comparison when it is over. The new estimates say 70,000 barrels of oil a day.

  • sunnyrj

    I second the motion in requesting for intercessory prayers to Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Here is info with a novena and litnany:
    Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us

  • LarryD

    FYI, a lot of oil naturally seeps into the Gulf.

    Environmentally, the blowout is a problem only because it’s concentrated. The new estimates aren’t credible.

    The well is releasing a lot of natural gas as well as oil, and that has interfered with the attempt to cap the well.

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  • Joseph Marshall

    Well, Anchoress, when you drill baby drill, you run the risk of spill baby spill. But it seems to me that most of those who so pointedly advocated more offshore drilling in those thrilling political conventions [as well as the people who supported them and cheered them on] have been willfully evasive of the risk/benefits ratio involved and more intersted in using the issue as a political club than in any serious engagement in where our energy is coming from and how we are making use of it.

    This may be why the situation appears so rudderless to you now. If you willfully ignore those who warn you about the risks being greater than the benefits, you are in no position to respond intelligently when the risks blow up in your face.

    As you know, I don’t get around very much, and maybe folks like Rudi Guilani and Sarah Palin have come forward with intelligent and cogent suggestions of how we should address the risks, now that we can no longer ignore them. But I have not heard of it if they have.

    We have just had a government change in the UK that I’m sure most of your readers approve of. And it throws into high relief how the Brits have put us to shame, both under Thatcher/Major and Blair/Brown, with how well they have managed their bounty of offshore oil and turned their economy around in doing so.

    When you study it, what you find is not only did they take the risk of drill baby drill, they also have systematicly reduced their total oil consumption while doing it. This made a major shift in the ratio in favor of benefit rather than risk.

    America uses energy like someone who does everything possible to increase the water pressure and then takes a bath without bothering to plug the drain.

    Have you ever advocated plugging the drain? Have the bulk of your readers?

    With every new well in the ocean, the risks increase and the benefits do not keep pace with them. The only thing that keeps pace is the personal wealth of those who own energy stocks, or the mutual funds that proxy for them.

    Up to now you and your readers have largely acted as if this alone were benefit enough to justify the risks.

    It doesn’t.

    So maybe we have lost the Gulf Coast. Or maybe not. But it really dosen’t matter in the end. America committed itself 30 years ago to losing everything in the interest of using more and more oil with every passing year.

    Until we abrogate this commitment being confidently in charge of disaster is beside the point.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    It is rather galling, is it not, to have someone lecture you about costs exceeding benefits, telling you that you are the problem because of your enjoyment of those benefits, when he himself is just as guilty as those he bitches about.

    If he had any integrity, he would stop commenting on the Internet, turn off the computer, shut off his electricity, stop driving anywhere, stop buying food and goods that were transported to market by oil, tear off his clothes that were made only because of oil and gas and coal, and go live a 17th century lifestyle in a damn cave.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Bender, you miss the point. There is a difference between using energy wisely and using it foolishly in exactly the same way that you can be an investor or a spendthrift of money.

    You don’t have to be a miser to be an investor and you don’t have to be a gambler and a wastrel to be a spendthrift. All you need to be is inattentive to where your money is going.

    There are no better words to describe how we use energy in America than “inattentive spendthrift”. We don’t have to be this and we don’t have to go live in a cave to stop being this.

    The notion that we must do so is simply ridiculous.

  • Greta

    The environmentalist create a lot of issues about almost every form of energy for decades and then when anything occurs, try to use it to justify their position. Has anyone asked why we are far out in the gulf drilling for oil rather than say a place like Anwar or closer in where it is easier and safer and if accidents occur, easier to fix?

    I also have a question on why weeks after the accident, there are still so many questions even as to the full impact where we hear everything from a total catastrophic event to something that nature will probably have the biggest solution with minimal negative impact.

    Not surprising that the left comes out saying the drill baby drill crowd is the cause. But it is also very apparent to many that we cannot eliminate drilling and have a country left with the result. Who wants to pay 8$ a gallon for gas? Who wants to see every product increase in costs because of high gas prices? Who wants to see all that money going to foreign countries and growing debt and growing unemployment? fix the leak and then open up safer areas and those where if an accident occurs, it is easier to fix and send all the whacko leftys over to Al Gores new multi milliondollar energy guzzling home.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Actually, what I’d like to see is “Nuke, baby, nuke!” As in nuclear power plants.

  • physician

    I live on the coast of Louisiana. Today, for the first time, the air smells of oil. The shrimp season was only open for 4 days and charter fishing is currently dead. The lifeblood of this community is the oil patch and fishing, until now, they coexisted happily. Things happen and life isn’t Disneyland. There will be terrible economic consequences from this but no one thinks that we should shut down oil exploration. There was an accident at Three Mile Island and it was used as an excuse to halt virtually all nuclear plant production. My fear is that with half the local economy crippled by a closed fishing season, the Feds will shut down the other economic engine here and Wipe. Us. Out.

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  • David Davies

    Every day an average of 3,065 barrels of crude oil enter U.S. territorial waters by natural seepage. That is 1,119,000 barrels per year. All done by Mother Nature herself. But that’s OK. Ma has her little microorganisms which eat and digest the oil.

    Aren’t ‘natural’ things good? According to our green friends? Since crude oil is a perfectly ‘natural’ substance, one wonders why they get their knickers in a twist about it. Sure, in high concentration it kills birds. Ice kills penguins, too, when they fall into crevasses too deep for escape. That doesn’t strike me as a reason to become hysterical about ice.

    I am NOT in favor of burning in one short and glorious orgy of consumption all the oil/coal/nat gas we can get our hands on. Conservation is not something opposed by this conservative. We need to move eventually to energy sources other than fossil. Dr. Gerard K O’Neill and the L-5 Society had a plan for a space-based solar power facility way back in the 70′s. Might have worked. No one in power was interested in pursuing it.

    I, personally, as a former Sierra Club member, wish to apologize to the nation for my contribution in stopping the construction of all the nuclear power plants we now so desperately need. I am so very sorry.