IDNR Cancels Hearing In Effingham – Day 7 of comments released here

The weather outside is frightful. Especially in Southern Illinois. So now you have all the time in the world to post comments to IDNR’s website.


Effingham, December 5, Holiday Inn 6:30 PM – CANCELED
• Decatur, IL December 17, Decatur Civic Center 6:30 PM
• Carbondale, December 19, SIUC Student Center 6:00 PM

Today is Day 7 of the 45 day Comment period on fracking in Illinois.  You’ve made it to the end of your first week.  Thank you for your comments!
Today’s comment is on the lack of provisions to address fracking in a tornado-ridden state.
Here’s what to do to make your comment today:
Comment:  Number of draft regulations proposed by Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources describing safety measures regarding tornado strikes on fracking sites: ZERO.  Number of tornados in Illinois in the last 10 years: 674.
Historically, the number and intensity of tornadoes in IL is very high.  “In fact, Illinois has experienced some of the worst tornados in US history.” Dr. Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist.
Every county in Illinois has had multiple tornados as demonstrated by the maps in the following links:
A big swath of Washington IL was flattened by a tornado on Sunday, 11/17/13. What would have happened if this tornado had hit an area of the state covered in fracking sites?  Debris from the tornado has been found over 150 miles away.  Imagine if that debris had included “temporarily” stored flowback water or tanks filled with frack fluid or produced water?
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altGo there and comment. More later.


Bristle Cone Pines – The oldest things on Earth

The more things change the more they stay the same. This Blog for instance will change at the beginning of the year. I am going to seek full time employment after working on Community Energy Systems for 6 years. I do not really know what that means. It could mean as little as 1 post a week. In an emergency like Katrina or the Gulf Oil Spew it could mean daily for awhile. Today I leave you with something I have seen up close and personal, the ancient Bristle Cone Pine tree.

Read My Rings: The Oldest Living Tree Tells All

November 13th, 2012

By Hunter Oatman-Stanford

n 1964, a geologist in the Nevada wilderness discovered the oldest living thing on earth, after he killed it. The young man was Donald Rusk Currey, a graduate student studying ice-age glaciology in Eastern Nevada; the tree he cut down was of the Pinus longaevaspecies, also known as the Great Basin bristlecone pine. Working on a grant from the National Science Foundation, Currey was compiling the ages of ancient bristlecone trees to develop a glacial timeline for the region.

“Bristlecones are slow-growing and conservative, not the grow-fast, die-young types.”

Currey’s ring count for this particular tree reached backward from the present, past the founding of the United States, the Great Crusades, and even the Greek and Roman Empires, to the time of the ancient Egyptians. Sheltered in an unremarkable grove near Wheeler Peak, the bristlecone he cut down was found to be nearly 5,000 years old, taking root only a few hundred years after human history was first recorded. How could a half-dead pine barely 20 feet tall outdo the skyscraper-height sequoias, commonly thought to be the oldest trees alive?

The longevity of Great Basin bristlecones was first recognized in the 1950s by Dr. Edward Schulman, who shocked a scientific community that believed in a correlation between long lifespan and great size. Schulman systematically sampled Great Basin bristlecones in California and Nevada, and published his findings in a 1958 National Geographic article, which revealed several of the trees to be more than 4,000 years old. Schulman’s analysis supported the idea that “adversity begets longevity,” or that the severe conditions in which the bristlecone pine evolved actually helped extend its lifespan.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Corporate Colonialism – They are carving up Africa again

When are the poor countries of the world going to catch a break. First they are conquered by the countries of Europe. Then they are handed over to corrupt and inept “local” leadership. Finally they are bought and paid for by the new corporate elites. This is just to0 nasty for words. But this is humans finest hour.

Africa: The New Land Grab in Africa – An Alarming Scramble for the Continent Is On

Agazit Abate

3 November 2011

Multinational corporations are buying enormous tracts of land in Africa to the detriment of local communities. Agazit Abate warns that the land grab puts countries on the path to increased food insecurity, environmental degradation, increased reliance on aid and marginalisation of farming and pastoralist communities.

The recent phenomenon of land grab, as outlined in the extensive research of the Oakland Institute, has resulted in the sale of enormous portions of land throughout Africa. In 2009 alone, nearly 60 million hectares of land were purchased or leased throughout the continent for the production and export of food, cut flowers and agrofuel crops.

Land grab was in part spurred by the food and financial crisis of 2008 when international bodies, corporations, investment funds, wealthy individuals, and governments began to re-focus their attention on agriculture and food as a profitable commodity. As outlined in the reports, the consequences of land grab include increased food insecurity, environmental degradation, community repression and displacement, and increased reliance on aid.


While media coverage has focused on the role of countries like India and China in land deals, the Oakland Institute’s investigation reveals the role of Western firms, wealthy US and European individuals, and investment funds with ties to major banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Investors include alternative investment firms like the London-based Emergent that works to attract speculators, and various universities like Harvard, Spelman and Vanderbilt.

Several Texas-based interests are associated with a major 600,000 hectares South Sudan deal which involves Kinyeti Development LLC, an Austin, Texas-based ‘global business development partnership and holding company’ managed by Howard Eugene Douglas, a former United States Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs. A key player in the largest land deal in Tanzania is Iowa agribusiness entrepreneur and Republican Party stalwart, Bruce Rastetter.

US companies are often below the radar, using subsidiaries registered in other countries, like Petrotech-ffn Agro Mali which is a subsidiary of Petrotech-ffn USA. Many European countries are also involved, often with support provided by their governments and embassies in African countries. For instance, Swedish and German firms have interests in the production of biofuels in Tanzanian. Addax Bioenergy from Switzerland and Quifel International Holdings (QIH) from Portugal are major investors in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone Agriculture (SLA) is actually a subsidiary of the UK based Crad-1 (CAPARO Renewable Agriculture Developments Ltd.), associated with the Tony Blair African Governance Initiative.


I just wanted to post the villains. For the rest of the analysis, go there and read that. More tomorrow.


Animals And Other Forms Of Related Transportation

This post was really difficult for me. Riding animals has been a human practice for thousands of years and still is in use in many parts of the world. From dog sleds in the north to camels in the south and horses all inbetween many hundreds of animals have been used to haul humans and freight. In some places humans even haul people in what Americans usually refer to as rickshaws. I contemplated making this a multiple post but the biggest question for me is how this move back to animals as a major form of transportation would restructure our world. How would we feed them all? How quickly would it happen? How many people would have to give way for all of the offset food? Anyway there are so many ways I could have diced this pie that a simple post will have to do. Please try not to think about how much manure this would generate.


Some animals are used due to sheer physical strength in tasks such as ploughing or logging. Such animals are grouped as a draught or draft animal. Others may be used as pack animals, for animal-powered transport, the movement of people and goods. People ride some animals directly as mounts, use them as harness one or a team to pull vehicles.

Riding animals or mounts

They include equines such as horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules; elephants; yaks; and camels. Dromedary camels in arid areas of Australia, North Africa and the Middle East; the less common Bactrian camel inhabits central and East Asia; both are used as working animals. On occasion, reindeer, though usually driven, may be ridden.

Certain wild animals have been tamed and used for riding, usually for novelty purposes, including the zebra and the ostrich. Some mythical creatures are believed to act as divine mounts, such as garuda in Hinduism and the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology.

Pack animals


A pack llama

Main article: Pack animal

Pack animals may be of the same species as mounts or harness animals, though animals such as horses, mules, donkeys, reindeer and both types or camel may have individual bloodlines or breeds that have been selectively bred for packing. Additional species are only used to carry loads, including llamas in the Andes.

Domesticated oxen, bullocks, and yaks are also used as pack animals. Other species used to carry cargo include dogs and pack goats.

Homing pigeons transport material, usually messages on small pieces of paper, by air.

Harness animals


Mule used to pull a wheeled vehicle in Morocco

An intermediate use is to harness animals, singly or in teams, to pull (or haul) sleds, wheeled vehicles or plough.

  • Oxen are slow but strong, and have been used in a yoke since ancient times: the earliest surviving vehicle, Puabi’s Sumerian sledge, was ox-drawn; an acre was originally defined as the area a span of oxen could plow in a day. The Water buffalo and Carabao, domesticated water buffalo, pull wagons and ploughs in Southeast Asia and the Philippines.
  • Draught or Draft horses are commonly used in harness for heavy work. Several breeds of medium-weight horses are used to pull lighter wheeled carts, carriages and buggies when a certain amount of speed or style is desirable.
  • Mules are considered to be very tough and strong, with harness capacity dependent on the type of horse mare used to produce the mule foal. Because they are a hybrid animal and usually are infertile, separate breeding programs must also be maintained.
  • Ponies and donkeys are often used to pull carts and small wagons, historically, ponies were commonly used in mining to pull ore carts.
  • Dogs are used for pulling light carts or, particularly, sleds. (e.g. sled dogs such as Huskies) for both recreation and working purposes.
  • Goats also can perform light harness work in front of carts
  • Reindeer are used in the Arctic and sub-Arctic Nordic countries and Siberia.
  • Elephants are still used for logging in South-east Asia.
  • Less often, camels and llamas have been trained to harness. According to Juan Ignacio Molina the Dutch captain Joris van Spilbergen observed the use of chiliquenes (a llama type) by native Mapuches of Mocha Island as plough animals in 1614.[1]

Assorted wild animals have, on occasion, been tamed and trained to harness, including zebras and even moose.

See also: Driving (horse)


More tomorrow.


Gas Flares At Garbage Dumps – Humans just throw resources away

In 1000s of landfills across the nation natural gas (primarily methane) is being allowed to drift into the atmosphere or worse yet “flared”. They should be at least using this to generate electricity. Like this landfill in Brevard County.

Your Guide to the Central Disposal Facility

click for larger image

The Central Disposal Facility (CDF) is located on Adamson Road in Cocoa. The property was first used for solid waste disposal in the 1960’s. Since then the County has continued to make improvements operationally and environmentally. For example, the 192-acre permitted landfill area is lined by a clay slurry wall, groundwater monitoring wells have been installed, and a methane gas collection and flare system is in place.

The site originally consisted of 285 acres. CDF now totals 957 acres. Portions of the landfill have been closed by capping it with a liner, two feet of cover dirt, and sod. It is estimated Brevard County will have enough landfill capacity to handle the disposal needs for the county until 2014.

In addition to the landfill area itself, there are many other areas within the landfill which emphasize waste reduction and environmental protection.

Yard waste is banned from Florida landfills but is used for daily cover material in the landfill after it’s mulched.

Tens of thousands of pounds of mulch is sent to a facility in Auburndale to be converted to Green Energy.

The mulch is available FREE to all Brevard County residents,
call (321) 633-1888 for more information.

click for larger image

Landfill Gas Conversion to Green Energy
click for larger image
The gas produced by the Landfill (methane) is extracted through a vacuum system run by LES (Brevard Energy LLC) which in turn is connected to a power grid at the FP&L Facility
(Oleander Plant) and converted to Green Energy.
Anaerobic bacteria break down the garbage in the landfill which produces methane gas. These Flares were burning off the methane to reduce build-up in the landfill.

Now that the Landfill Gas Plant is up and running the Flare Station will be utilized only when necessary.


Seems like we waste energy even when we throw it away. More tomorrow.


Morris and Gann On Energy Policy – Obama bad McCain good

What a difference the evaporation of 5 $$$ gasoline and 2 years makes. Obama is President and one of the greenest Presidents we have ever had. McCain is not. Gasoline, though rising, is at 3.25 $$$ a gallon. Electric cars have just rolled out of two car companies, one of which Obama saved through a bailout. The electrics are popular and have waiting lists. The new normal for cars is 40 miles to the gallon. Of course I have the advantage of hindsight but I was pointing out that Obama had the superior energy policy back then so I can crow alittle.

June 19, 2008

McCain Scores With Offshore Drilling Proposal

By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

John McCain has drawn first blood in the political debate following Barack Obama’s victory in the primaries. His call yesterday for offshore oil drilling — and Bush’s decision to press the issue in Congress – puts the Democrats in the position of advocating the wear-your-sweater policies that made Jimmy Carter unpopular.

With gas prices nearing $5, all of the previous shibboleths need to be discarded. Where once voters in swing states like Florida opposed offshore drilling, the high gas prices are prompting them to reconsider. McCain’s argument that even hurricane Katrina did not cause any oil spills from the offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico certainly will go far to allay the fears of the average voter.

For decades, Americans have dragged their feet when it comes to switching their cars, leaving their SUVs at home, and backing alternative energy development and new oil drilling. But the recent shock of a massive surge in oil and gasoline prices has awakened the nation from its complaisance. The soaring prices are the equivalent of Pearl Harbor in jolting us out of our trance when it comes to energy.

Suddenly, everything is on the table. Offshore drilling, Alaska drilling, nuclear power, wind, solar, flex-fuel cars, plug-in cars are all increasingly attractive options and John McCain seems alive to the need to go there while Obama is strangely passive. During the Democratic primary, he opposed a gas tax holiday and continues to be against offshore and Alaska drilling and squishy on nuclear power. That leaves turning down your thermostat and walking to work as the Democratic policies.

McCain has also been ratcheting up his attacks on oil speculators. With the total value of trades in oil futures soaring from $13 billion in 2003 to $260 billion today, it is increasingly clear that it is not the supply and demand for oil which is, alone, driving up the price, but it is the supply and demand for oil futures which is stoking the upward movement.

The Saudis have made a fatal mistake in not forcing down the price of oil. We could have gone for decades as their hostage, letting their control over our oil supplies choke us while enriching them. But they got greedy and let the price skyrocket.


Just so we are clear here, the Greedy Saudi’s had nothing to do with the gasoline prices, speculators and greedy refinery owners did. But then they are these guys friends so they couldn’t possibly see that. More tomorrow.


Berms In The Gulf Part 2 – Bobby Jindal believes in running around like a chicken with his head cut off

See Booby Jindal and Billy “the blimp” Nungasser believe that if you run around acting like you’re in charge and “doing something” then voters will think you are an effective leader. But what the “near miss hurricane” showed is that they and their sand barriers are full of crap. Even worse, by insisting that BP hire local unemployed workers as clean up people, the tox results from previous oil spills show that they are also going to lead to people’s deaths. Way to go you two.

An Honest Discussion Of Louisiana’s Berm Plan
Part 2
Construction work in the Chandeleur Islands by Kyle Douglas Jeffery Photography:
Restoration Work on the Chandeleur Islands

The shut down on June 23 of part of the state’s dredging operations for construction of offshore sand berms was treated by Governor Jindal as a sudden and arbitrary action by federal agencies. (1) But the reality is somewhat different.

While some media stories conveyed the impression that the state’s entire sand berm plan was approved by the Corps of Engineers in late May, only six sections of the original proposal were given a permit. Two sections to the east of the river, on the upper end of the Chandeleur Island chain, and four sections west of the river were authorized by the Corps, which described them as “critical locations where greater immediate benefit is likely to be achieved with minimal adverse disruption of coastal circulation patterns.” (2)

The Corps Permit specified the source areas for sand/sediment: Ship Shoal, South Pelto, the Mississippi River Offshore Disposal Site, and Pass a Loutre for the western sites, and St. Bernard shoal and Hewes Point for the sites to the east. The location of borrow and dredge sites at the northern end of the Chandeleur Islands has been one of the areas of greatest concern. NOAA and other agencies had pointed out that creating borrow pits or dredging in close proximity to the islands could cause accelerated erosion and even compromise their stability, so using a source site a couple of miles away was a condition of the permit.

Soon after receiving its permit, however, the state began to voice its intention to source near to the islands after all, due to a lack of pipe for pumping sand and mud from a distance. The state said it would replace sand from the dredged site within a few weeks, but federal agencies agreed to this change with a much shorter time limit because of the possible effects on the island.

Despite the Governor’s repeated claims that “we don’t have a day to wait,” the state was not ready for the approved level of dredging even after it was approved. Federal officials said that “the state has been unprepared since the beginning, has caused further delay because it did not have the proper pipe available and has continued to asked for time to shift to the offshore site. According to the Interior Department, it gave the state permission for more than a week to use the closer source of sand while locating the pipe, but that allowing the state to continue dredging could have negative effects on existing barrier islands.” (3)

An official with the Department of Interior noted that if the department had allowed the state to continue digging where it was digging, they feared approaching a “tipping point” with an “impact on that island chain that may never be restored.”(4) The Governor’s reaction was to completely ignore these considerations and instead attack the federal agencies: “We haven’t heard from them before today about any concern about these islands or this area. All of a sudden now that we’re building new land to protect our coast, they’re worried about a hypothetical consequence?” (5)

The Governor may not have heard or read the federal agencies concerns in their response to the state’s permit application, or have seen the U.S. Geological Survey report last year about the status of the Chandeleur Islands and how they could be actually restored in ways that minimize adverse impacts ( He could have read the comments of his own Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which pointed out in its letter to the Corps the need to “determine whether or not borrow area excavation will increase wave energy and subsequent shoreline erosion, alter littoral currents, or otherwise impact depositional processes, in a way that undermines the sustainability of inland islands, marsh, and shorelines, most importantly the Chandeleur Islands.” (6)

For views of the sand berm and other spill related issues from the perspective of a coastal scientist  please visit the Louisiana Coast Post by Len Bahr, Ph.D. Dr. Bahr is a former LSU marine sciences faculty member who served 18 years as a coastal policy advisor to Louisiana governors from Roemer to Jindal. Dr. Bahr gives the sand berm plan an official “thumbs down” here.

(1) C. Kirkham, Times-Picayune, “Louisiana officials urge feds to let dredging continue on berm to fight Gulf oil spill,” 6/24/10,

(2) Documents related to the plan and the state’s permit request to the Corps of Engineers have been posted at

(3) C. Kirkham, J. Tilove, Times-Picayune, “State halts dredging of sand for berms,” 6/23/10.

(4) Times-Picayune, 6/24/10.

(5) Times-Picayune, 6/24/10.

(6) Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, letter of 5/13/10,

SaveOurGulf.orgVisit to get more information about the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster from Waterkeeper organizations across the Gulf Coast and donate to Save Our Gulf!


BP, Exxon And Chevron Have Bogs, I Mean Blogs – Holy mother of god

I know. At one level this seems preposterous. Don’t they understand how naked they look. Or is naked their only option?

New Exxon Blog Targets BP Fallout

— By Josh Harkinson

| Mon Jun. 14, 2010 5:16 PM PDT

Breaking news: You need not worry about the safety of offshore oil drilling. How do I know this? Well, let’s just say a hat tip is in order for Exxon’s new blog, Perspectives, which launched today with a post about the Deepwater Horizon disaster. “This devastating chain of events is far from the industry norm,” proclaims Exxon blogger Ken Cohen, who’s also the oil giant’s vice president of public and government affairs. “We all need to understand what occurred on this occasion that did not occur on the 14,000 other deepwater wells that have been successfully drilled around the world.”

Translated into the kind of language that actual bloggers use, Cohen’s missive appears to be saying that Exxon and the world’s other upstanding oil outfits shouldn’t be punished for BP’s bad behavior. “Energy consumers around the world need the energy and natural gas resources found in offshore and deepwater regions,” he concludes, “but they expect it to be done safely and in an environmentally sensitive way.


What happened at the Deepwater Horizon rig is a tragedy on many levels – from the terrible loss of life involved, to the ongoing impact of the spill on the environment, communities and businesses of the Gulf Coast.  Everyone at ExxonMobil shares in the concern over the accident and spill, and we have contributed personnel and equipment to help with the response.

The Presidential Commission’s investigation and others underway will help us determine what happened and what needs to be done going forward.  This devastating chain of events is far from the industry norm.  We all need to understand what occurred on this occasion that did not occur at the 14,000 other deepwater wells that have been successfully drilled around the world.


Latest news:

Subsea operational update – 14 June. Preparations for additional planned enhancements to the LMRP cap containment system continue to progress. The first planned addition, to operate in addition to the LMRP cap system, will take oil and gas from the choke line of the failed Deepwater Horizon blow-out preventer (BOP) through a separate riser to the Q4000 vessel on the surface. Both the oil and gas captured by this additional system are expected to be flared through a specialised clean-burning system. This system is intended to increase the amount of oil and gas that can be captured from the well and is currently anticipated to begin operations in the next few days.


Don Campbell by Don Campbell

Don  Campbell

Don Campbell

Manager, External Communications

Don Campbell is manager of external communications for Chevron Corporation. A native of Canada, he earned bachelor’s degrees in art and journalism from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Campbell has more than 25 years experience in journalism and public affairs. He worked as a political reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press. At the Calgary Herald, he covered energy and served as city editor. He also served as manager of investor relations and external communications for Husky Energy Inc. and as vice president of communications for the Calgary Health Region (Chevron Photo)

IFEMA-Feria de Madrid Convention CenterThe World Petroleum Congress takes place June 29 through July 3 at the IFEMA-Feria de Madrid convention center. The sprawling complex is in one of Madrid’s new business areas, just minutes by car or underground from the city’s Barajas International Airport. (Chevron Photo)
IFEMA-Feria de Madrid Convention CenterThe World Petroleum Congress takes place June 29 through July 3 at the IFEMA-Feria de Madrid convention center. The sprawling complex is in one of Madrid’s new business areas, just minutes by car or underground from the city’s Barajas International Airport. (Chevron Photo)

Energy prices have become a profoundly important issue to consumers, governments and the oil and gas industry today.

The problem is formidable: under pressure from worldwide demand growth and reduced spare supply, how does the industry continue to meet the needs of consumers in an affordable and environmentally responsible way?

As thousands of delegates from 61 member countries gather in Madrid from June 29 through July 3 for the World Petroleum Congress, this event blog will report on ways technology and new ideas are addressing these challenges and shaping the oil and gas industry.

Chevron participants to the Congress, which is held every three years, will share how they see the industry responding to this dynamic marketplace. The era of easy access to cheap oil is clearly over. The industry has already begun developing new technologies to deliver the energy that current and future generations will need to support their economies and prosper. The Congress will highlight some of this activity.


I feel so unclean.


Boycott BP – At this very moment they are pumping mud into the blowout preventer

How could you possibly continue to call that thing a Blowout Preventer? It is just too sick to contemplate.  Drilling mud is pretty toxic so here is hoping very little of it has to be pumped in to the Gulf itself.


BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Causes “Summer Of Tears” For Louisiana Bayoukeeper
We would like to share with you a reflection on the personal impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster written by our colleague and friend Mike Roberts of Louisiana Bayoukeeper. Mike has made a life for himself and his family fishing the waters of the Louisiana coast. Now BP’s disaster is threatening an entire way of life.
Mike Roberts
Summer Of Tears
by Mike Roberts

The boat ride, out, from Lafitte, Louisiana, Sunday, May 23, 2010, to our fishing grounds was not unlike any other I have taken in my life, as a commercial fisherman from this area. I have made the trip thousands of times in my 35 plus years shrimping and crabbing. A warm breeze in my face, it is a typical Louisiana summer day. 3 people were with me, my wife Tracy, Ian Wren, and our grandson, Scottie. I was soon to find out, how untypical this day would become for me, not unlike a death in the family. This was going to be a very bad day for me.

As we neared Barataria Bay, the smell of crude oil in the air was getting thicker and thicker. An event that always brought joy to me all of my life, the approach of the fishing grounds, was slowly turning into a nightmare. As we entered Grand Lake, the name we fishermen call Barataria Bay, I started to see a weird, glassy look to the water and soon it became evident to me, there was oil sheen as far as I could see. Soon, we were running past patches of red oil floating on top of the water. As we headed farther south, we saw at least a dozen boats, in the distance, which appeared to be shrimping. We soon realized that shrimping was not what they were doing at all, but instead they were towing oil booms in a desperate attempt to corral oil that was pouring into our fishing grounds. We stopped to talk to one of the fishermen, towing a boom, a young fisherman from Lafitte. What he told me floored me. He said, “What we are seeing in the lake, the oil, was but a drop in the bucket of what was to come.” He had just come out of the Gulf of Mexico and he said, “It was unbelievable, the oil runs for miles and miles and was headed for shore and into our fishing grounds”. I thought, what I had already seen in the lake was enough for a lifetime. We talked a little while longer, gave the fisherman some protective respirators and were soon on our way. As we left the small fleet of boats, working feverishly, trying to corral the oil, I became overwhelmed with what I just saw.

I am not real emotional and consider myself a pretty tough guy.You have to be to survive as a fisherman. As I left that scene, tears flowed down my face and I cried. Something I have not done in a long time, but would do several more times that day. I tried not to let my grandson, Scottie, see me crying. I didn’t think he would understand, I was crying for his stolen future. None of this will be the same, for decades to come. The damage is going to be immense and I do not think our lives here in South Louisiana will ever be the same. He is too young to understand. He has an intense love for our way of life here. He wants to be a fisherman and a fishing guide when he gets older. It is what he is, it is in his soul, and it is his culture. How can I tell him that this may never come to pass now, now that everything he loves in the outdoors may soon be destroyed by this massive oil spill? How do we tell this to a generation of young people, in south Louisiana who live and breathe this bayou life that they love so much, could soon be gone? How do we tell them? All this raced through my mind and I wept.

We continued farther south towards Grand Terre Island. We approached Bird Island. The real name is Queen Bess Island, but we call it Bird Island, because it is always full of birds. It is a rookery, a nesting island for thousands of birds, pelicans, terns, gulls etc. As we got closer, we saw that protective boom had been placed around about two thirds of the island. It was obvious to me, that oil had gone under the boom and was fouling the shore and had undoubtedly oil some birds. My God. We would see this scene again at Cat Island and other unnamed islands that day. We continued on to the east past Coup Abel Pass and more shrimp boats trying to contain some of the oil on the surface. We arrived at 4 Bayou Pass to see more boats working on the same thing. We beached the boat and decided to look at the beach between the passes.

The scene was one of horror to me. There was thick red oil on the entire stretch of beach, with oil continuing to wash ashore. The water looked to be infused with red oil, with billions of, what appeared to be, red pebbles of oil washing up on the beach with every wave. The red oil pebbles, at the high tide mark on the beach were melting into pools of red goo in the hot Louisiana sun. The damage was overwhelming. There was nobody there to clean it up. It would take an army to do it. Like so much of coastal Louisiana, it was accessible only by boat. Will it ever be cleaned up? I don’t know. Tears again. We soon left that beach and started to head home.

We took a little different route home, staying a little farther to the east side of Barataria Bay. As we approached the northern end of the bay, we ran into another raft of oil that appeared to be covering many square miles. It was only a mile from the interior bayous on the north side of Barataria Bay. My God. No boats were towing boom in this area. I do not think anyone even knew it was there. A little bet farther north, we saw some shrimp boats with boom, on anchor, waiting to try and protect Bayou St. Dennis from the oil. I alerted them of the approaching oil. I hope they were able to control it before it reached the bayou. We left them and started to head in.

My heart never felt so heavy, as on that ride in. I thought to myself, this is the most I’ve cried since I was a baby. In fact I am sure it was. This will be a summer of tears for a lot of us in south Louisiana.

Michael Roberts
Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Inc

You can find Notes From The Louisiana Bayoukeeper here:

SaveOurGulf.orgVisit to get more information about the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster from Waterkeeper organizations across the Gulf Coast and donate to Save Our Gulf!

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