New Oil Spills and New Reports

Next month the Gulf Coast Waterkeepers will be releasing a state of the gulf report. Besides updating everyone on what has happened since the Macondo well was capped and the media disappeared, we will also release a summary of tissue, sediment, and water samples from Louisiana to Florida. These samples were taken by four different Waterkeeper organizations. It's been a busy year for everyone, including your Waterkeepers. Stayed tuned as more news comes out on this exciting first ever Save Our Gulf: State of the Gulf. 

Update: Late Wednesday afternoon, the Alabama Press Register confirmed that the oil bubbling near the Deepwater Horizon well is in fact oil from that Green Canyon MC252, the same oil that washed up on the Gulf Coast shoreline last summer. We still do not know if it is coming from a relief well, wreckage from the Deepwater Horizon sitting at the bottom of the Gulf, or possibliy cracks in the ground from the pressure of the Top Kill that eventually capped the Maconodo Well.

Original Post:

Over the past week, Gulf Coast communities have been paying attention to a lot of news regarding a possible new BP oil spill and a possible new leak at the Macondo well head. The well was capped on July 15, 2010, but given that it took almost four months to cap, speculation about a new leak has put many of us on edge.

The bottom line is that we just don't know yet. Yesterday small circles of oil emerged about a mile away and last week a longer slick was seen about 100 miles away from the site. BP continues to deny that there is any new oil coming from the Macondo well. Oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico are way too common for comfort and changes in the industry, regulations, and regulation enforcement must happen in order to protect and restore this important body of water.

SkyTruth, who is a founding member of the Gulf Monitoring Consortium, posted a couple blogs about it with some great analysis over the past week. On Tuesday Paul Woods posted a blog entitled "Everything Old is New Again" showing that continual leaks from submerged structures that contain oil is common and it might be what is happening now. Afterall there is a lot of equipment at the bottom of the Gulf related to the oil and gas industry. Paul does a site by site analysis of a flyover from Wings of Care and Gulf Restoration Network from earlier in the week. At this time, Paul is unconvinced that the Deepwater Horizon well has a new leak.

While BP continues to deny that any oil is coming from the site, it's incredibly difficult for Gulf Coast communities to take the company seriously after the fiasco that was the company's rapid response in the days and weeks of the oil disaster last year. In fact, the Department of Justice is still investigating BP for low balling the estimated number of gallons that were discharged into the Gulf.

Here are a couple good media reports on the situation:

Alabama Press Register, "Deepwater Trouble on the Horizon: Oil Discovered Near Source of Gulf of Mexico Spill"

Times Picayune, "BP Denies Reports of Oil Leaking from Site of Deepwater Horizon Disaster"

Mother Jones,"A New BP Leak in the Gulf of Mexico?"

And in case you haven't read Kate Sheppards article "10 Reasons to Still Be Pissed Off About the BP Oil Disaster" from April, it's worth the read.

As always your Gulf Coast Waterkeepers are monitoring the situation. Keep checking back in this space for new information.

Renee Blanchard, Save Our Gulf Coordinator

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