Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Requests Data from BP on Long-Term Effects of Sub-Sea Dispersant
BATON ROUGE (May 18, 2010) - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham today requested data from BP about the use of sub-sea dispersants to combat the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and their long term effects on Louisiana's coast.
The full text of the letter is below:
May 18, 2010
Dr. David I. Rainey
Vice President, Gulf of Mexico Exploration
BP America, Inc.
Post Office Box 3092
Houston, TX 77253-3092
Dear Dr. Rainey:
The use of sub-sea dispersants to combat the effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on our coast is an action that I am not able to give my support to. While I understand the importance of mitigating the effects of this oil on our fragile wetlands to date, little or no substantive data has been provided to the state of Louisiana concerning the efficacy and risks associated with deep injection of dispersants.
While we do appreciate the enormity of this situation and acknowledge the need to minimize the impacts of this oil on our coast, we will require additional information on these chemicals and the effects they may leave on our coast.
In a meeting with NOAA and EPA officials May 13, 2010, our scientists were not satisfied with the information presented. Offers were made to share data and expertise and in that spirit please see attached document requesting detailed information. At this time, this encompasses our request for additional data, but it may be necessary to request additional information.
We look forward to your prompt response.
Robert J. Barham
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries - Data Request
1. Re Failure of R/V Brooks McCall Sampling Program. Obviously the prediction clearly stated in the EPA Monitoring Summary that deep sampling and equipment would be a problem came true. EPA and NOAA assessments of success varied widely. NOAA acknowledged few (if any) useful samples, gear failure, vessel problems, etc. EPA thought that the cruise was successful and that data now in a LSU lab would prove the efficacy of the application. NOAA countered that the ongoing hydrocarbon analyses were not the type of data to provide such evidence.
1.1. A copy of any cruise sampling plan for past and planned detailing objectives, device, and analyses.
1.2. For past cruises include an assessment of task success and failure.
1.3. Any analytical data obtained along with interpretation.
2. Re Verbal Claim that the surface slick shrunk during deep dispersant application then doubled in size following shutdown. Conclusions on un-replicated studies are dubious at best and should not be used as a justification for approval.
2.1. Provide time-series data giving amount and rate of injection at depth and
2.2. time-series data of quantitative effect on slick size at the surface.
2.3. Expected lag-time estimates between bottom activity and surface manifestation.
2.4. All confounding activities and conditions at the surface during the trial that might have altered the slick appearance.
3. Towards a better understanding of the system. Although often characterized as an offshore system somehow apart from coastal Louisiana, The Mississippi Delta spans the shelf and is poised right at the edge of the deep system. The deep-shallow dichotomy simply does not apply here. Therefore, we need to quickly move to a position of better understanding.
3.1. Local topography - gridded high resolution bathymetry of MC 252 and adjacent lease blocks. Acceptable formats include ARC and Fledermaus.
3.2. Regional topography - gridded medium resolution bathymetry for the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and slope of a higher spatial resolution than the NOAA Coastal Ocean Model.
3.3. Regional Current Fields - Assuming that NOAA is using a surface-to-bottom current model based on the Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers on rigs off the Louisiana coast, the daily output of such models will be provided along with interpretation.
4. Towards a More Effective Scientific Approach - While deep-sea research is difficult, it is now commonplace around the world. The industry capabilities pioneered in and off Louisiana are truly revolutionary. Therefore the ill-equipped, ineffective and ill-prepared monitor program undertaken by EPA and NOAA reflect very poorly on those agencies. Louisiana would like to be provided of the following assurances.
4.1. NOAA will direct its best vessel and equipment assets to this effort.
4.2. NOAA will increase the priority given to US EEZ deepwater especially those areas like coastal Louisiana that are critical to the energy needs of the country.
4.3. EPA will familiarize the agency with the nature of and concerns about the deep ocean especially when coastal-deep linkages are highly likely to exist.
4.4. BP and the offshore industry will provide vessel and equipment assistance to sampling and monitoring. Highest industry standards will be applie! d for station holding capability and on bottom navigation.
5. Oceaneering's standard operating procedure is to record video directly to disk at such a low resolution that 4 hours fit on a single DVD. The quality is poor.
To that end we request:
5.1. Continuous video will be recorded
5.2. Video recorded to disk should have no more compression than 1 hour per disk.
5.3. Ideally, video should be stored on a suitable external drive with a 1 terabyte capacity at full Digital Video resolution or High Definition Digital TV.
5.4. Video must be made available to the state of Louisiana.
6. LDWF must be provided with the chemical profiles for (1) dispersed oil, (2) un-dispersed oil and (3) all BP-applied dispersants to date.
6.1. The rationale for the selection of these molecular markers must be provided.