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Admiral Paul Zukunft gave a briefing yesterday. Unsurprisingly, none of the press showed the slightest curiosity about the "dead" well that continues to seep oil from the mud line at the base of the well head. Zukunft also sticks to the party line that the oil has nothing to do with the Louisiana fish kills even though oil was visible in the last kill and no necropsies testing for oil were performed.

We have approximately 588 miles of oiled shore line.  Some of that more severe than others and so we have those 20,600 people focused on where some of the more heavy oiling occurred.  For example, in some of the marsh areas of Louisiana we have teams of up to 600 working in some of the oiled marshes.
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Aaron Cooper:      Thanks much for taking the question.  Can we talk about animals for a little bit?  I know there was a fish kill a couple of weeks ago that people were speculating might have been linked to this.  Have you seen any fish kills or any recent I guess substantial deaths of animals that might be linked to the small amount of oil that you still are seeing in the water column?

Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft:        No, Aaron we have not.  We've had three fish kills and we worked – all of those were in Louisiana.  We worked closely with the State of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, in fact, they sent teams out.

And each one of those there is a condition – a phemenom here known as hypoxia where we've had very high water temperatures and then in low water conditions the oxygen dissolves out of there and there is actually some very sensitive fish species, menhaden in particular.  But it almost sets off – they're almost a catalyst but once you have an initial fish kill as they decompose it causes even greater oxygen depletion.

But hypoxia is a naturally occurring event especially in Louisiana and the numbers we've looked at to date are below the trend line in terms of hypoxia events in the state of Louisiana.  But it's one that we paid very close attention to.

Senate Republicans block subpoena powers for National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), in a letter Wednesday that blames Republicans for Senate inaction, note that BP and other companies involved in the spill have "failed to provide accurate and timely information to investigators regarding a number of critical issues."
...
But their 11th-hour request is unlikely to be granted. A spokesman for Reid noted earlier today that Republicans have objected to the legislation in the past. The Senate is slated to adjourn tonight until after the mid-term elections.

"By blocking the commission subpoena power, Republican obstructionists in the Senate are shielding BP from investigators tasked with getting to the bottom of this crime," Markey said in a prepared statement.

BP holds a stake in Shell's planned Mars B Gulf deepwater project

The moratorium has affected Shell’s five floating rigs and four platforms and curbed output by about 8,000 barrels a day through the year, it said in the presentation. Shell yesterday approved Mars B platform development, which will pump about 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day after 2014, it said.

BP also holds a stake in Mars B in the Gulf, which accounts for more than 10 percent of the London-based company’s output. A probe into the oil spill by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may lead to the suspension of BP’s operating licenses, while U.S. lawmakers have threatened to bar the company from new offshore leases because of its safety record.

Officials unable to perform necropsy on Plaquemines fish kill The lack of necropsies is deeply disturbing as oil was visible in the last fish kill unlike the two previous large kills.

The cause of recent fish kills in the waters of Louisiana is due to low levels of oxygen after tests were conducted on the water, since a necropsy couldn't be performed on the fish, according to officials from Wildlife and Fisheries.
"Although we tried, we were unable to secure viable samples for necropsy from the most recent fish kill,"
said an e-mail from Olivia Watkins, a spokesperson from Wildlife and Fisheries.
...
"In fact, in all of the fish kills we have seen in the last month, the fish were several days old by the time we were notified," said Watkins.

Dudley tosses head of BP's Exploration and Production overboard, then rearranges the deck chairs. Bly has yet to provide a meaningful answer about the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and headed up the legal finger-pointing BP "investigation". The fact that a serious look at how financial incentives affect safety at BP has not yet even been started says about as much as one needs to know how seriously BP plans to take safety.

Exploration and Production division head Andy Inglis will leave the company as part of a broad restructuring designed to improve safety and rebuild confidence after the disastrous Gulf of Mexico blowout and oil spill, BP said Wednesday.

BP will also create a new Safety and Operational Risk division, with staff assigned to every business unit who will have the power to intervene if safety standards are breached, the company said in a statement. The new unit will be headed by Mark Bly, who led BP's internal investigation into the causes of the Macondo well blowout.
...
...The market reacted positively to the changes, with BP shares rising as much as 4%.
...
BP said it will also review how its business incentives affect safety and risk management.

The Chairman of the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman, has accused BP of having a corporate culture that "short-changed safety." Members of his committee repeatedly accused BP staff of ignoring danger signs in the Macondo well because of considerations of time and money. BP has consistently denied these charges.

Senior oil exec criticizes BP's lack of accountability. Bly's job would seem to be covering BP's legal backside rather than improving safety.

Earlier this week, a senior executive from another major oil company, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his business relationships, criticized BP for its lack of "accountability." He said that "it is shocking to see the way BP is playing this out." And he criticized Bly's report for focusing solely on mechanical issues and being "devoid of the human factor."

The human factor played a key role, experts and oil executives say, because senior people on the rig, including BP and Transocean employees, failed to respond to multiple signs that oil and gas was leaking into the well after it was supposed to have been sealed.

Bly will report directly to Dudley, and his safety division will have employees embedded in all of BP's operations, the company said.

BP's $500 million Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) will not be independently administered.

HOUSTON, TEXAS (BNO NEWS) – BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance on Wednesday announced plans for the implementation of BP's $500 million Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) to analyze the aftermath of the oil spill.

The $500 million will be used to study the effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the potential associated impact on the environment as well as public health. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance will manage the GRI with the ability to execute contracts and provide the required program management support.
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The GRI will be managed by a board of scientists from academic institutions with recognized credentials. BP and the Gulf of Mexico alliance will contribute an equal number of members to such boards.

Ken Feinberg sits down with The Times-Picayune editorial board. Feinberg says that, currently, no eligible claim should be more than four days away from approval. There are 36,000 claims in the queue, 25,000 of which have either no or woefully inadequate documentation. About a thousand claims could be turned over to the Justice Department for fraud investigation.

Feinberg also said that they now have a toll free number for people to ask questions about their claims. In two to three weeks he will send out local ombudsmen into the communities.

Nearly 75,000 applications have been filed already. And as Feinberg and his staff of 1,500 claims adjusters and about 25 final reviewers weed their way through them, Feinberg says he's fighting distrust, a misperception that he's acting in BP's interest and efforts by plaintiffs' lawyers to steer claimants away from his process and into litigation.

"I want to bring claimants around to the view that I am not an adversary. I am not BP," Feinberg said.

The injury assessment and restoration planning phase of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) has begun.

The Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the co-trustees for natural resources affected by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill announced today they have started the injury assessment and restoration planning phase of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, a legal process to determine the type and amount of restoration needed to compensate the public for harm to natural resources and their human uses as a result of the spill.

This is the second phase of the NRDA process. Much of the initial "preassessment" phase has already occurred — and trustees have already received $45 million in payments from responsible parties to conduct important preassessment activities including the collection of time-critical data in the field. During that phase, trustees collected time-sensitive data, reviewed scientific literature about the oil and its impact on coastal resources, and made initial determinations that resources have been injured and that those injuries can be addressed by appropriate restoration actions. During the injury assessment and restoration planning phase, trustees will assess the nature and amount of injuries and develop a restoration plan. Consistent with OPA, the trustees’ goals are to recover from responsible parties damages equal to what is necessary to return the environment to the conditions that would have existed if the oil spill had not occurred (known as "baseline conditions") and to recover compensation on behalf of the public for the diminished value of the injured resources from the time of the injury until restoration is achieved. By regulation, these two phases will be followed by a "restoration" phase, during which the trustees will work with the public to implement, and monitor restoration projects.
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Federal regulations, under the Oil Pollution Act, require that the responsible parties be invited to participate in the NRDA process. The trustees will seek damages to implement the final restoration plan from the parties identified as being responsible for the spill.

==== ROV Feeds =====
20876/21507  - Development Driller II's ROV 1
32900/49178  - Development Driller II's ROV 2

41434/41436 - Olympic Challenger's ROV 1
40788/40789 - Olympic Challenger's ROV 2

47146/47147 - Development Driller III's ROV 1
43698/43699 - Development Driller III's ROV 2

==Multiple stream feeds (hard on browser/bandwidth)==

BP videos All the available directly feeds from BP.

Bobo's lightweight ROV Multi-feed: is the only additional up to date multiple feed site.

See this thread for more info on using video feeds and on linking to video feeds.

Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:
Gulf Watchers Morning Edition - BP Catastrophe AUV #397 - Gulf Watchers/peraspera
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers Morning Edition - BP Catastrophe AUV #396 - Gulf Watchers/peraspera
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #395 - Condition: transition - BP's Gulf Castastrophe - David PA
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #394 - Transitions - BP's Gulf Castastrophe - Lorinda Pike
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #393 - BP's Gulf Catastrophe - Lorinda Pike
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #392 - BP's Gulf Catastrophe - When Can we Share a Soda? - khowell
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #391 - BP's Gulf Catastrophe - Talking about Change - khowell
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #390 - Drips Redux - Lorinda Pike
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #389 - Night of the Living Drips - Lorinda Pike
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #388 - Sittin' Up With the Dead - khowell
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #387 - Time for a Wake? - khowell
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #386 - The Coroner Won't Pronounce - BP's Gulf Catastrophe - Yasuragi
Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #385 - Is it Dead? - BP's Gulf Catastrophe - Lorinda Pike
The last Mothership has links to reference material.
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.

Again, to keep bandwidth down, please do not post images or videos.

Originally posted to Gulf Watchers on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 03:00 AM PDT.

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