Federal Government Becoming More Involved With Oil Leak; Escambia Officials Meet, Prepare

April 29, 2010


(Updated 11:40 a.m.) The Gulf of Mexico oil leak is much worse that originally thought, and now the federal government — including perhaps the nation’s military — will become involved.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a matter of “national significance” Thursday morning, freeing up additional federal aid. Officials announced during a morning news conference that the oil could reach the Mississippi coast by Friday; it is currently less than 20 miles offshore.

The Coast Guard said  that the oil spill is growing at the rate of 5,000 barrels a day — five times the original estimate. Some of the thicker oil was set on fire by the Coast Guard Wednesday in an attempt to slow the oil flow.

The Escambia County Commission held a special emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon to make plans just in case a Gulf of Mexico oil slick reaches the county’s shores. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard announced Wednesday night that the site is leaking five times more oil per day than first estimated.

“Devastating to this community” is how Escambia Commissioner Grover Robinson described oil reaching the county’s shores.

Any offshore response will be federal, not local, if oil approaches the county’s shores, with BP expected to take financial responsibility. BP leased the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded 41 miles from the Louisiana shore on April 20.

The commission stopped short of declaring a state of emergency, but commissioners said the county will be proactive and monitor the situation. In the event the oil does reach Escambia County, officials said that beach clean up would actually be fairly easy — just remove the top layer of sand.

However, the oil would create major financial hardships for businesses that rely on the Gulf, such as tourist related businesses and the seafood industry.

Pictured above: Oil flow in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA photo, click to enlarge. Pictured below: The current oil flow forecast for Friday.



16 Responses to “Federal Government Becoming More Involved With Oil Leak; Escambia Officials Meet, Prepare”

  1. David Huie Green on April 30th, 2010 6:25 pm

    ” find it hard to believe that hundreds of oil platforms are in the Gulf of Mexico without a safety valve to shut off the flow of the oil.”

    Every production well has production tubing with a subsurface shut-off valve to shut it in in case of problem.

    When drilling, primary well control is achieved with densified fluid known as drilling mud and scondary well control with blow out preventers, large valves set up to shut off the flow of fluid in the case of a kick, an influx of fluids.

    The blow out preventers consist of pipe rams which close over the drill pipe to stop flow without hurting the pipe, annular preventers which close over everything like a human sphincter and blind rams which shut the well in even though they will cut the drill pipe in the process.

    David still wondering why they weren’t used

  2. David Huie Green on April 30th, 2010 6:21 pm

    nothing involving humans is safe because humans don’t always do what they—we—should.

    some things are safer.
    some people are safer because they are more careful.

    I still don’t understand why they didn’t shut in the blow out preventers way before the explosions and fires. One of the workers on the rig from Pensacola said it had been bubbling all day.

    When that happens, you shut in the well, take pressure readings, weight up the mud exactly enough to balance the formation pressure, circulate the mud, then raise the mud to a safe overpressure.

    One thing you don’t do is let the kick continue.

    Well, at least we’ll have a chance to see what the sheen does to the beaches and ecosystem.

    David for functional subsurface blow out preventers
    and using them when necessary

  3. RSB on April 30th, 2010 8:44 am

    I find it hard to believe that hundreds of oil platforms are in the Gulf of Mexico without a safety valve to shut off the flow of the oil. If so, it would be a terrorist’s dream. Blow up several of them – instead of Gulf Waters you have a gigantic oil field – set it on fire and the United States is finished.

  4. Darryl on April 29th, 2010 2:54 pm

    from visit pensacola site: Pensacola Bay Area Winter 2010

    Pensacola, Fla. – Dec. 3, 2009 –

    CVB News

    * Strong tourism numbers. Despite a slow economy, tourism numbers in the Pensacola Bay Area were the second-highest in history. From Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009, overnight visitors to the area generated $133 million in lodging revenue. 2007-08 was a record year for the Pensacola Bay Area tourism industry with lodging revenue exceeding $138 million.
    * Attendance up at attractions. Area attractions saw a major increase in visitors in 2009. Visitation increased at Historic Pensacola Village by 41.3 percent and at the National Naval Aviation Museum by 15.2 percent. Additionally, more than 1 million visitors have gone through Fort Pickens since re-opening in May.

  5. Darryl on April 29th, 2010 2:51 pm

    “He noted that prime spawning season for many species is approaching and “a lot of organisms that support our commercial and recreational fishing are going to be killed. You can make predictions about [how many] but you really don’t know until the harvest the following year.”

    Where the spill is heading right now, Wilson added, “is a very productive area for shrimp, crab and fish and will also have an impact on the oyster beds.”

  6. huh on April 29th, 2010 1:36 pm

    This is not good for our beaches, sad for the people that died during the accident, This is why we should not be drilling by the coasts.

    This is going to really hurt florida that has an economy based on beach goers. Also the fishing industry

  7. Darryl on April 29th, 2010 11:10 am

    U S Military joining efforts:


  8. NOTE on April 29th, 2010 11:03 am

    The oil leak is surely “devastating.” But if I’m not mistaken, eleven lives were lost as a result of this explosion. Now that’s devastating.

  9. Darryl on April 29th, 2010 10:52 am
  10. danny gregory on April 29th, 2010 10:21 am

    Well, some procedure or person failed. Such is life when we depend on our enemies for oil. We have oil all over land base sites. Alaska ring a bell. How about those Rocky Mt states our Executive Branch closed with Executive order. Wake up America, we have oil everywhere , yet, we pick the high risk areas to drill. Such is life, we have kept our head in the sand for so long, trusting our leaders and we are like Cattle headed to the butcher shop.
    Now, this has happened, it is the price of doing business off shore. Stop drilling period? No Drill where we know there is oil on land and lets start using Coal like crazy. We are so ignorant as a people. What do we do? Let us follow all these govt officals that have never held a real job. GIVE ME A BREAK. Vote for people that have actually worked.

  11. Diddleysquat on April 29th, 2010 10:06 am

    It was sabotage and we’ll find out it was George Bush just as soon as they can plot a motive for it.

  12. No, to drilling in the Gulf on April 29th, 2010 9:48 am

    I’ve worked for a major oil company and now retired.

    I know for a fact that it is not safe!

  13. Christopher Maloney on April 29th, 2010 9:34 am

    This is the cost of our country being energy independent. Nobody that I work with offshore in the oil industry has ever said that this would “never” happen. They have all said its highly unlikely. Congress is going to slaughter BP & Transocean with fines and then put out new regulations for drilling. You better get used to hearing about the oil industry b/c its coming to Florida to give people better jobs and a better lifestyle. It’ll be great to see the poverty rate in our state drop. I know its going to take many years and will require some people from out of state to move in and take some jobs. In the long run the locals will get good jobs and be supporting their families better then than they are now.

  14. yip on April 29th, 2010 9:32 am

    better gitcher horse out Hoss cause yer gonna need it and better sell that suv and that big ol pickin-up truck.

  15. No, to drilling in the Gulf on April 29th, 2010 8:33 am

    They said it couldn’t happen, with all the safety checks in place! BUT IT DID!!!

    There is just NO totally safe way to drill in the Gulf !

    We now have to ask ourselves, do we want to continue to allow this risk? Can the state of Florida afford the cost of oil to come on shore, can we afford it to harm our fish and wildlife?

  16. Darryl on April 29th, 2010 8:18 am

    Wow, that looks bad; here’s hoping someone comes up with some viable way to get this under control sooner rather than later. The thought of the damage this is doing and what it could do to the coast is sickening.

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