EPA Briefing: A Spill of National Significance; Louisiana Press Conference


The U.S. Coast Guard begins burning oil leaking from the site of an offshore oil rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Environmental Protection Agency EPA.gov website (see also deepwaterhorizonresponse.com) is providing information regarding the April 20 incident in the US Gulf of Mexico involving a Transocean drilling Rig Deep Water Horizon. The Horizon was engaged in drilling activity on behalf of BP at Mississippi Canyon Block 252, about 52 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana.

BP is assisting in the response and has staffed up its Houston crisis center to provide support for the response.

Coast Guard is the lead management agency for the disaster. EPA is generally the Command center moved to Louisiana.

Air monitoring program has been setup. Aircraft are also collecting air quality data.

Additional controlled burns likely in the future.

British Petroleum is paying for the cleanup.

The increased government urgency followed the discovery of a new leak that officials said meant a fivefold increase in the amount of oil, to 5,000 barrels or more than 200,000 gallons a day, pouring out from the debris of a sunken rig. Previously only 42,000 gallons per day were estimated to be leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

Compared to Valdez took four summer to clean up after 11 million gallon spill. Speculators are claiming that the Valdez spill will pale in comparison to this disaster.

Areas of the Louisiana coast are expected to be affected with first impacts tonight, Friday, and Saturday. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency amid the forecasts that parts of the oil slick may reach parts of the Louisiana coastline later Thursday.

Southeast winds expected through Tuesday and higher tides than normal are expected — both occurrences are bad news.

BP and the Federal Government have established hotlines for members of the public:

To report oiled or injured wildlife,
please call 1-866-557-1401.

To discuss spill related damage claims,
please call 1-800-440-0858.

To report oil on land, or for general Community and Volunteer Information,
please call 1-866-448-5816.

See also …

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1 Comment

  1. Safety Flash
    Reducing the Risk of Catastrophic Explosions

    Is Training the key to Improve Safety and Prevent the Loss of Life

    The recent catastrophic explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore, and other explosions over the past few years at various work site facilities onshore, has highlighted an urgent need for effective “Hazardous Area Management”. In the United States in particular, there appears to be a lack of understanding within the industry in general and with the regulators who are supposed to police and manage safety in the workplace, namely: OSHA, MMS and the US Coast Guard.
    While the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon is far from over, and the causes of the explosion are still to be determined, it appears that initial reports from the US Coast Guard and MMS, tend to focus purely on the BOP. While the BOP operations may indeed be the source of the initial problems, the source of ignition must nevertheless still need to be determined. For without a source of ignition, there cannot be an explosion.
    This source of ignition may have been due to a spark caused by friction when metal parts hit each other, or it may have been due to faulty operational equipment, or equipment running that should have not have been running.
    In all cases risk has to be managed correctly. To do this effectively, ALL possibilities must be considered and not simply the circumstances of an isolated incident. It is highly likely that the next time a problem occurs, there will be a completely different set of circumstances that cause an explosive environment, with the potential for an explosion. There is however, one thing that all explosions have in common, there has to be a source of Ignition. This can and has to be effectively managed.
    To date, Hazardous Area Management in the USA seems to be almost nonexistent, with the exception of several proactive organizations of which Transocean is one. Enforcement of effective Hazardous Area Management appears minimal as there is not a widespread understanding of the subject. If this was the case, then there would already be far stricter requirements in place.
    With Hazardous Area Management I am talking about electrical equipment that is fitted in areas called “Hazardous Zones” (Potential areas where Gas or Explosive atmospheres can occur).
    It is “ESSENTIAL” that equipment within these zones is approved, (equipment designed to prevent sparks in the atmosphere) and correctly “MAINTAINED”. Failure to do either of these has the potential to cause “Explosions” when an explosive environment is present, for example a gas. These explosions can be Catastrophic and the result could be similar to that of the Deepwater Horizon or Piper Alpha.
    The time is now for the Authorities and Legislators to enact enforcement for “Hazardous Area Management” to prevent further explosions and lost lives. Proper Hazardous Area Management includes:
    1. Training of all personnel that may have to work on this equipment to ensure they understand the dangers of incorrect equipment fitted or incorrect maintenance of this equipment.
    2. Suitable inspection and Audits to ensure that the equipment is fitted and maintained correctly.
    This is standard practice in many countries around the world, and has been made law to ensure that this equipment is managed correctly.
    Laws have been enacted in the UK & Europe since the Piper Alpha’s catastrophic explosion in the North Sea over 20 years ago where 167 people lost their lives.
    I ask myself when the Authorities are going to wake up here in the United States and introduce the same measures to mitigate the Risk of these incidents both onshore and Offshore. One would have assumed that lessons learnt from the Piper Alpha would have been put in place here in United States, sadly however this has not been the case which can only be said is tragic, (see the link below).
    It may take time for the Authorities to implement legislation in Hazardous Area Management, but it would be a step forward and I believe Corporate and Social responsibility for the major oil companies that are working within the jurisdiction of the United States to voluntarily implement these international safety standards to reduce risk.
    If there is anyone who would like to have further information on the “Risk Management of Hazardous Areas” or would like to assist in addressing these problems please let me know.

    Mark Tranfield
    Managing Director
    Offshore Commissioning Solutions
    [email protected]

    Cheryl Kae’ Parker
    Director of Business Development

    Mobile +1 713-542-5676
    Office: +1 281-579-1066
    Fax: +1 281-579-0084

    15330 Park Row Blvd.
    Houston, TX 77084

    Web: http://www.ocs-tech.com
    Offices: Australia-Singapore-China-Korea-UAE-India-UK-USA-Brazil
    CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED INFORMATION – The above email from Cheryl Kae’ Parker of Offshore Commissioning Solutions, (and any attached files) is from my out of office-site email address and may contain confidential and privileged information for the sole use of the intended recipient(s). ANY REVIEW, USE, DISTRIBUTION OR DISCLOSURE BY OTHERS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. If you are not the intended recipient (or authorised to receive information for the recipient), please contact the sender by reply email and delete all copies of this message. If you are the intended recipient, please do not disclose or forward this e-mail without my prior consent. THANK YOU

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