Damage that Could Last for Decades

By Greg Hunter’s


President Obama finally took ownership of the oil gusher in the Gulf yesterday.  A National Commission on the BP oil spill has been formed by the White House and will be headed by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly.   In prepared remarks, the President said the ongoing calamity off the coast of Louisiana, “. . .is now the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history.  Their job, along with the other members of the commission, will be to thoroughly examine the spill and its causes, so that we never face such a catastrophe again.”  (Click here for the complete remarks from the President.)   

There is no telling when the mile deep broken well will be capped.  The “top-kill” method failed that was tried over the Memorial Day weekend.   Now, it looks like the well might not be brought under control until August.  Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has launched criminal and civil probes into the spewing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.  The AG said, “If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response,” Holder said. “We have already instructed all relevant parties to preserve any documents that may shed light on the facts surrounding this disaster. As our review expands in the days ahead, we will be meticulous, we will be comprehensive, and we will be aggressive. We will not rest until justice is done.”  (Click here for the complete Holder story.)   

The spill is already the biggest in U.S. history.  Now, the only question is how big will it get?  Government estimates say there could be as much as 43 million gallons of oil already spilled into the Gulf.  Private estimates are much higher; and, remember, oil could belch out of the broken well until August.  I talked about that in a recent post called “Freeze BP’s Assets Now.”

If this catastrophe is the biggest, it will undoubtedly be the most expensive in terms of cleanup and damages.  On CNBC yesterday, they were talking about the possibility of bankruptcy for BP.  The anchors were contemplating the company selling assets to pay for things such as dividends and expenses.  To BP’s credit, it is spending $40 million a day on the spill.  One analyst quoted in the Christian Science Monitor is currently projecting BP will spend more than $5 billion this year alone.  (Click here for more on that story.)  That figure will certainly grow as the disaster spreads around the Gulf.  So far, 125 miles of Louisiana coastline has been hit with sludge from the busted well.

According to a recent CNN story, The four biggest industries in the Gulf of Mexico are oil, tourism, fishing and shipping, and they account for some $234 billion in economic activity each year, according to a 2007 study done by regional scholars and published by Texas A&M University Press.  Two thirds of that amount is in the United States, with the other third in Mexico.”  (Click here for the CNN story.)   Keep in mind that is for just one year.  The President said yesterday, “Untold damage is being done to the environment — damage that could last for decades.” 

If you add up the cost of criminal and civil litigation, the damage to beaches and wetlands, lost revenue from tourism and fishing far into the future, the actual damages that the company might pay could run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.  Not even a company the size and strength of BP can take that kind of financial hit and stay in business.  BP’s share price has been nearly cut in half since the spill happened just six weeks ago.  If BP does go under, then the taxpayer will, once again, have to pick up the tab.

This could not have come at a worse time because America has already bailed out everything from banks, hedge funds, car companies and even part of Europe. Not even a world power the size and strength of America can take that kind of hit and not suffer serious consequences.  This gusher will guarantee a financial downturn this year.  I just hope BP will stay in business long enough to at least partially compensate the people whose lives will be destroyed by this enormous mess.

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  1. Elihu E. O'Dowd

    Hi Greg,

    Just more darkness descending upon the globe; except this time, the U.S. is also going to feel the pain. I’m now waiting to see the “I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws” to bring Russia into the fray. We know the ending…we just don’t know the timing.


    • Greg

      I hope you and the rest of the readers have a flashlight. (If you know what I mean.) Thank you for the comment.

      • Elihu E. O'Dowd

        Hi Greg,

        Yep, the ‘flashlight’ you referred to comes in 66 Books!


        • Greg

          The Bible has plenty of good economic advice! No kidding. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. John Bernard

    I am not sure how bad the environmental disaster will be. I seems really bad now but we have recovered from worse around the world. Nature is great at self healing. BP is another story they have a sordid history of quality failures frankly if the senior management is not replaced the shareholders deserve what they get.

    I often wonder about the oil that flooded the oceans during WWII. Where did it go? In fact some of it is still leaking after 60 years.

    We shouldn’t take environmental groups word on anything at face value.

    • Greg

      I hope you are right. Now if only the economy can survive. Thank you my friend.

  3. George

    Have no fear, Obama was here from “Day One” to save the Gulf

    • Greg

      I am still scared.

  4. Tom

    What an utter unmitigated disaster – and what an utterly useless, incompetent Federal administration. The thing that really galls my a$$ about this is that if this had happened three years ago the level of vitriolic haranguing coming from the partisan leftist hacks in the MSM directed at Bush/Cheney/Halliburton would have been non-stop and way beyond volcanic. The Kenyan gets a pass.

    • Greg

      The spill is not Obama’s fault but the slow response time is unforgivable. Thank you for weighing in.

  5. Gary

    Yet another failed plug effort. Considering the complete takeover of the US govt. by (as Max Keiser calls it), “kleptocracy”, we need to at least be open to the possibility that this spill was a planned event. This was talked about even on main stream media (CNBC) who had
    a discussion with oil spill experts on live TV. You can view this at:

    video.godlikeproductions.com/video/Oil Experts Multiple Leaks 210000 gallons a day

    Then we might ask: Why would an adminisration that appoints a Monsanto executive as head of FDA act any differently toward oil companies that provided so much money for it’s election campaign?
    We need to spread this info far and wide if we are ever going to save this country and this planet.

    • Greg

      Good point and good fight!

  6. ronnie_reeferseed

    So-called president, so-called Barack Obama, i.e. Barry Soetoro, is only following-orders from his Bilderberger-based bankster-driven illegal-drug warlords, who eagerly want to destroy our sacred US Constitution by bankrupting both Mexico and the USA ASAP!

    • Greg

      Thank you Ronnie.

  7. dpaner

    I’m glad this story didn’t take a political bent on whether the fault here is at the Democrat’s or Republican’s feet. And though I would be one to agree that drilling on land (ANWAR) instead of 60 miles off the coast would have made this a non-issue, it still remains that this is a private company disaster.

    I suspect BP didn’t invest enough in prevention/management of a completely uncontrolled breach because it was so remote a possibility that it didn’t warrant the spend. Now they’re spending $40m a day.

    I’m very concerned how this will affect our country economically. I suspect that we will hit that double-dip recession that some speak of and this chain of events makes that reality all the more likely. Perhaps this is the impetus we need to change.

    Wind, solar, and natural gas will not meet our needs, even with incredible infrastructure investments and improved technology. We will need to rely on oil for some time to come. So, let’s get good at processing our own oil on our own land. While we’re doing this we can research, analyze, and experiment with alternative fuels. We will find the answer eventually. That’s what America is all about.

    • Greg

      Thank you Dpaner for the comment and kind words!

  8. Kenny G

    Seize the moment and try and enjoy the present moment you’re in because these are going to become the good old days…….this oil spill is just the beginning of more calamity coming our way.

    • Greg

      Thank you Kenny.

  9. BillinMO

    I commented on the “Freeze BP Assets” Blog. Here is Further !

    Consider all the methods of capping the leak have been in such a way as to pump the oil to the Surface and load it in a tanker.. Even the Mud could be removed if it worked by reopening it with High Pressure water after installing a proper cap.

    Remember at one point they were talking of useing concrete to fill the pipe and “THEN IT WAS PASSED OVER FOR MUD OR OTHER REMOVABLE
    FILLERS”.. I wonder why ?

    Because they are now drilling one or two relief wells to control the pressure but give them access to the oil reservior the broken pipe is in. Had they used Concrete or some other perminate material and stopped the leak the Government would have stopped the Relief well drilling and they would have had to walk away for all that oil below the surface of the ocean floor.. They need the time to complete the
    relief well heads or Cap with a Valve (Reopenable) of the damaged
    well head so they will be able to continue pumping oil..

    They are stalling for time to find a way to save the Permit and License for that reservior and its BOUNTY of MONEY !

    If you had a hole in the ground that paid you millions of dollars
    and just keep feeding you money would to want to do anything that might cause you to loose it ? They need to cap it with a Valve that
    can be reopened when all the BAD PRESS goes away..This would have already been done but for the ability to work as such deep depths in the ocean. Obama and the Government Know this.It a PR Game, and if they suddenly are able to do this (Cap the Well Head and stop the Leak, reopenable) it will insure future contributions that will go somewhere from BP. And the Government can say “See there”, We had our BOOT on their Neck and made them do it ! All is well except for the wildlife and marshes ! Public will soon let it quiet down and move to
    the next major screw up our government is making.

    I Wonder Where all the Political Contributions will go ?


    • Greg

      Good stuff!

  10. OldSchool

    Hey Greg! 🙂
    Great article. I see the PTB have appointed each other and their friends to all gather into little groups and discuss this, while not physically doing anything to stop it. It’s pretty sad indeed.
    I’ve been doing some calculations on the potential extents of these ‘total spilled’ scenarios, and it’s pretty frightening. Here is a clip from one of my articles:

    The media companies, BP, and our own government estimate the flow to be less than 5,000 barrels (43 gallons of oil in a barrel) a day, whereas independent scientists have estimates it between 50,000 – 100,000 barrels a day (I go with 70,000 as a general number).
    Govt Story:
    “It is only leaking 5000 barrels a day”. That’s only about 215,000 gallons a day (at that rate it would take 3 days to fill an Olympic size pool – approx 650,000 gallons). So they’re looking at a displacement of about 13 Olympic size pools (about 8.6 million gallons) of total oil to date (after 40 days). And on the low end, that 1,000 barrel per day scenario only leaks 43,000 gallons a day (less than a gas tanker at the gas station). So for 1,000 barrels a day, that’s less than 1.8 million gallons total spill ( it would take over 2 weeks to fill an Olympic pool at 1,000 barrels per day ), and they dump another 900,000 gallons of dispersant on it? That’s 1 gallon of dispersant for every 2 gallons of oil!! AND CorExit 9500 IS TOXIC AT 2.6 ppm? . So if the well is leaking 5,000 barrels a day, and they have sprayed 900,000 gallons of dispersant, that calculates to about 500 barrels (nearly 21,000 gallons) of dispersant per day being dumped in the gulf. In their scenario, they have used 1 gallon of dispersant for every ten gallons of oil.
    And with NOAA and other institutions saying there are multiple masses well over 20 miles long, over 10 miles wide, and 300 feet thick (some masses are 4 or 5 layers thick). Somehow the math doesn’t equal the picture.

    The ‘Theorist’ Story:
    Now, if the well is leaking 70,000 barrels per day, that gives a figure of about 3,000,000 gallons per day (5 Olympic pools), and the dispersant ratio would be 1 gallon of dispersant for every 143 gallons of oil. It also indicates a total spill so far of over 120,000,000 (million) gallons (that’s an equivalent of about 100 full Tankers all spilling at one time). The largest ship is a supertanker which can carry up to 2,000,000 gallons of oil (so 60 of them). So 120,000,000 gallons of Gulf sea water has beed displaced (more than likely now filling the Sigsbee Abyss, a 300+ mile trough 3 miles deep off the shores of NE Yucatan). The Mexican and American continental shelves will funnel oil flow into Cuba and around the tip of florida, where it will run into the North Atlantic Current.
    Even on a conservative point of view, a 50,000 barrel per day spill is still 2,150,000 gallons per day with a total displacement of sea water at 92,450,000 gallons (or 142 Olympic pools) with another 900,000 gallons of dispersant (dispersants alone is almost enough to fill 2 Olympic size pools).
    The horrifying part of this ‘theory’ is that over 3,000,000 gallons of Gulf Water is being displaced by oil and dispersants each day. That is about 5 Olympic swimming pools per day. It is scientifically impossible to have streams of oil 20 miles long and 10 miles wide and 300 feet thick from 5,000 barrels per day, so who is lying? The ‘Theorists’ or the corporatists and government? You’ve seen the pictures!
    Something else not covered in the media is what happens to all of the evaporation of corexit (kerosene cocktail) and oil from the warming of the gulf? It gets caught up in the jetstream or prevailing wind and goes airborne. Remember now, we’re in hurricane season, and they’ve predicted an unusually active season. I won’t mention the word firestorm if you don’t. Too many governmental actions have ended up in a scorched earth policy.

    I hope this helps to clarify any questions about the impacts of different quantities of spewage. Have a great day Greg!

    • Greg

      Old School,
      Thank you for taking the time to write this comment. It was very good analysis!

  11. Tom H

    Greg, the economy had no chance of surviving before the oil spill happened, never mind after. Why? Because there are so many including the POTUS intent on destroying it. You and I both know that every fiat money system in the history of the world has collapsed, and the only reason the dollar has not collapsed is because of its reserve status. Guns, gold, silver, food, seeds, love in your heart and a smile on your face are the only way to survive the impending and intentional catastrophe. I sure hope Americans smarten up soon and stop with the democrat vs. Republican distraction. The fight needs to be the people vs. the government or our republic is doomed, not just our currency and economy. Our gov’t is being run by a criminal mob on both sides of the aisle.

    • Greg

      Thank you Tom.

  12. dpaner


    Just found this quote from an article via Yahoo http://preview.tinyurl.com/2aec5dw

    “BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told The Financial Times it was “an entirely fair criticism” to say the company had not been fully prepared for a deepwater oil leak. Hayward called it “low-probability, high-impact” accident.”


    • Greg

      I don’t know who is a bigger jerk, Hayward or Blankfein? Thank you for the comment.

  13. KPete

    If only Al Gore could take some time away from his personal problems. He’d know what to do. Surely the man who invented the internet could come up with something.

    • Greg

      You are too funny!

  14. R - Nieruchomości Warmińsko - Mazurskie

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