The Oil Slick From Hell - Why isn't this an Immediate Federal Direct Jobs Program?

As the oil spill from hell looks to coat all of the Gulf coast and kill every breathing thing that cannot run or fly away, why isn't the Federal Government immediately setting up a direct jobs program to clean up and deal with the disaster?

Some jobs are appearing:

Hundreds stood in a line that wrapped around Workforce Escarosa in Pensacola this morning to apply for positions on a cleanup crew for the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

Brittany Bailey, business services outreach representative, said Escarosa is recruiting 300 to 500 Gulf Coast workers for a Texas-based workforce development company called Advanced Employment Solutions.

"They need the manpower immediately," she said.

Fishermen in Louisiana are being contracted by BP to help with the mess:

Several fishermen expressed anger and frustration with BP and their government supervisors. Some clearly didn't trust the company and asked whether they would lose their chance at jobs if they had their lawyers review the documents. They were assured that they wouldn't. But the company also made it clear that signing the contract didn't guarantee work. The contracts specify a day rate for the jobs, and the crowd seemed to think the rate was fair.

But many were concerned about how quickly they would be reimbursed for expenses, like fuel. It costs hundreds of dollars to fuel their vessels, and several told us they couldn't afford to carry those expenses for very long.

But the jobs are not immediate.

Even worse, if they do not stop the flow, the wetlands vegetation will be killed.



The oil slick as tripled in size, to 3850 square miles, the size of Puerto Rico.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster, by comparison, employed 11,000 people and covered 1,300 square miles. Obviously we need an army down there to immediately try to contain the damage, be trained, save wildlife as best they can.

Wildlife rescue teams are moving in, but recall this is nesting season. This is what happened, in the Exxon Valdez disaster, which occurred in March, before the nesting season in Alaska:

Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 100,000 to as many as 250,000 seabirds, at least 2,800 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 247 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, as well as the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs.[4][12] The effects of the spill continue to be felt today. Overall reductions in population have been seen in various ocean animals, including stunted growth in pink salmon populations.[14] Sea otters and ducks also showed higher death rates in following years, partially because they ingested prey from contaminated soil and from ingestion of oil residues on hair due to grooming.

This is breeding season in the Gulf coast, with thousands of endangered species, nests, eggs in grave danger.

Surely one can deploy a rapid training and hiring program immediately to try to contain the damage. This is an apocalyptic disaster. We have millions of unemployed and why the Federal Government isn't pulling out all of the stops immediately is beyond me.

Normally the phrase is kill two birds with one stone for such a situation. In this case the phrase might be re-coined to save two birds with one action.

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This is just bringing me to tears

I'm all upset about the imminent death of wildlife at the moment. I am an animal/wildlife freak and it just pisses me off to no end that this was allowed to happen and on top of it, the response...well, they have to be f**king kidding me at the lame response in comparison to what's happening right now!

If Iran blew up a nuclear test missile, they'd be all over that like flies on s**t, yet when a toxic lake the size of Puetro Rico (which is a pretty damn big area!) is about to engulf the gulf...

This is a national emergency, a national and international disaster so why are they not doing rapid deployment and logistics. It's going to require the management of a military operation and require speed, training, immediate training to deal with coordinating the effort required here..

"Manpower" jobs, are they kidding me? Those Fishermen are going to know what to do, they should be out on the water pronto, not playing legal games to screw with 'em or deal with delayed payment. Give 'em all a retainer check and MOVE BP!

Unreal "contract negotiations", stupid Legal dept., while you argue liability clauses 150k animals are gonna die.

We need a miracle.

This has all the makings of a massive international disaster. You might want to add some of these graphical representations to your article. It really brings home the point of the technological difficulties faced in containing this gusher.

This event is growing exponentially and it looks like the best case scenario is that it will last for months!!! I've read some estimates from oceanographic experts that the slick could arrive in the Florida keys by Tuesday of next week. So that will take care of the largest coral reefs in the Northern Hemisphere. From there it will be carried by the Gulf Stream up the Eastern Seaboard by the end of next week.


I'll just leave the link, since capping that well is more advanced technology expertise, whereas I'm referring to moving birds, corralling sea turtles and somehow moving nests (which I am sure the animals will abandon because of human interference).

Building barriers, good old fashioned washing with dawn, etc. stuff which is super labor intensive and requires training but that training can be learned fairly quickly.

Although the fisherman, the locals, they should be hired immediately and they should stop diddle dicking around is what the post implies. They are arguing over contracts and crap instead of getting those guys out on their boats. They should have been deployed 4 days ago.

I live by the sea and believe me, it is only the ones who go out every damn day who know all of the twists, turns, depths of harbors, wave patterns, all of that. There is no way someone not from the area is going to know exactly where that oil is going to go, even with a detailed simulation mapping algorithm, I think like a local would.

It's like the government, my fav (cough, cough), Napolitano, as well as the Obama administration really don't get the magnitude happening here.

But trying to cap the well, I think it's 5 miles deep(?), I imagine requires such advanced equipment and expertise at best that's a global effort with possibly the navy involved.

They might be able to build up a larger "ring" of some sort to contain the oil around the leak, but capping the well is the bottom line. maybe they could drain off the leak with another drill but I imagine that would take months.

But in terms of mobilizing the fisherman and the locals, well as longer term hiring planning to do clean up, but right now it's prevention plans, to me they are slow as molasses in terms of what's happening, going to happen.

Who here thinks we need to go to all electric cars immediately. I mean even gas, I don't think it's possible to have such calamity as with oil. Even coal, yes people die, it's filthy but does it add up to this kind of damage? The only thing I can think of that's worse is a nuclear accident.

"Nobody wants no oily shrimp".

Here is more from HuffPo regarding the situation and confirming what I had read earlier today from other sources.

"Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer for exploration and production, said it was impossible to know just how much oil was gushing from the well, but said the company and federal officials were preparing for the worst-case scenario.

In an exploration plan and environmental impact analysis filed with the federal government in February 2009, BP said it had the capability to handle a "worst-case scenario" at the Deepwater Horizon site, which the document described as a leak of 162,000 barrels per day from an uncontrolled blowout – 6.8 million gallons each day.".

Hmmm, what was that saying about the best laid plans of mice and men?

the arrogance of man

never ceases to amaze me. Take any pharmaceutical company. Look at their statistics on "sudden death". They claim it's "rare". Well, "rare" might be defined as 1 out of 1000 people or 1 out of 100 people! "rare" events, they see a 0.0001% chance of scenario X occurring. Well, that's 1 in 10000. So, in the case of a drug, while "quote unquote" a random event, every time a person takes that pill, that is there odds. One can claim that's an independent event but eventually, over 10k people, eventually it will happen.

I'm just horrified because this is going to poison so much wildlife.

I wish to God, modern economies and societies were not built on this toxic gooey crap.

Gov. Jindal, "Hire Local"

Surprise, surprise what can happen when the conservative stops politickin' and plain moving.

Jindal is proposing a Hire Local, using immediate Federal Funds.

Very wise idea to use the people who know those wetlands, coastal areas and how the water even flows, and so on.

This is in essence also a "direct jobs" program, and of course first they should be hiring everybody in the local area because they know the land, the issues.

Efforts to Cap Have Failed

From what I have read they have failed to cap this manually after sending submersibles down there. Visibility can't be any good and the two emergency shut offs that were installed both failed.

There is a Times article about a third shut off (the primary and deadman switch valves being 1 & 2) that is mandated in 2 countries and used worldwide by a few oil drillers regardless of local regulations but not by BP and of course the US does not mandate whats called an acoustic switch.

Acoustic Switch

This whole episode begs the question 'Where are the drill baby drill' chants now from McCain and Palin and that crowd?

Acoustic Switch

The cost $500,000. Thats from the link you provided. My God the freking BP exec says it might not have worked anyway. So I guess the important thing is BP saved half a million. Bunch of fools.

BP spent how much on the media campaign?

How much did BP spend running commercials and other media on how green they are and especially on how deep sea offshore oil drilling was now safe due to advances in technology? (or was that Exxon?)

Man, $500k. Unbelievable. What's the latest with the cap attempts. If they cannot get this capped, we're looking at a global disaster of epic proportions.

Also, I have thought an economic double dip, that's a second recession, or a continuing of this one, the probability has increased dramatically due to this oil spill.

I'll try to dig out more on this but, just like Katrina, this will depress the economies of the entire gulf coast most likely.

Fishing Industry Devastation in the Gulf

People that work in that industry and those that own boats will have to relocate to continue working.

I have some friends that fish commercially out of New Bedford MA and for them it will be a bit of a boom because prices will rise somewhat but its shrimp that comes from the Gulf and they aren't everywhere.

If enough oil is spilled the Gulf could take decades to recover.

chemical farm shrimp from Thailand & China

It's even more reason to hire the fisherman for clean up. It will take decades, that's what happened in Prince William Sound and this is bigger, and a more fragile ecosystem.

Watch the cancer maps too after this frankly.

Does this remind you...

Of the Markets that will self-police because all participants are rational and act in their self-interest? Of course, we only measure what is obvious -- any variable we don't measure (like corporate dishonesty or calculated risk-taking at someone else's expense) are of no interest. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say, "So it goes."
Here in Florida, our unemployment rate is about 12.5% -- so much for the recovery as we wait for the impact of oil on tourism and fishing. We may be forced to implement a WPA type of program just to reduce the disruption.
Frank T.

Frank T.


They are "dillie dicking" around on purpose becaues this whole event was planned. The oil rig was most like torpedod and some kind of foul play was done underneath by a sub that has cause this out of control gusher of oil. It all happened on the pagan eve of "Earth Day" one of the high "holy" days of the witches who run our government. Just like the coal mine explosion that occured one week prior, this whole thing reeks of an "eco" version of 9-11. They could have stopped it by now if they really wanted to. Notice how the media has downplayed the whole thing for the past two weeks. First, there was "no leaking", then it was only 5,000 gallons a day. Then they were saying it would take until June for it to compare to the Exxon Valdez disaster. NOW they are saying it will be next SATURDAY! Can't you people see the pattern? And the reason Obama acts as though this is no big deal is because he is part of it. It's all for the furtherance of the New World Order police state and our enslavement. Every disaster and act of "terrorism" that occurs results in the further loss of our freedoms. Why does hardly anyone make the connection? WAKE UP

Take your Medication please

I let this through because it's classic CT paranoia. You're out of your mind thinking anyone would sabotage anything to enact environmental laws. Right, people who want to save the planet will destroy the planet with probably the biggest man made disaster coming from at us to date.

That's not even a semi-logical conspiracy theory. There is no "upside".

Seriously, your post implies you have mental illness, specifically paranoia.

The medications are better today and I hope you can find one that works for you.

Containment & Relief Well(s)

The last article gives a pretty good explanation of what happened and why maybe this ended up being an economic decision by workers there at the time.

Apollo 13 Effort Underway

“Absolutely, it’s a possibility that every day the efforts we’re making will stop the flow today,” Salvin said. “But we don’t know that. So what we’re doing is making sure we work the containment system. That will be ready to be deployed in about six to 10 days. That’s our backup position.”

The challenge with drilling a relief well, Salvin said, is that the process could take up to three months. But if they can contain the oil with their three containment systems – 40-feet tall “small buildings,” as Salvin described them, that would stand over the three oil release points – that at least that would prevent more oil from reaching the surface of the sea.

Repairig the Blowout Preventer

Powerful hydraulic rams inside the BOP should automatically have shut off the oil flow up a mile-long, 21in “riser” pipe at the flick of a switch in a control room on the rig. Not only did every failsafe system malfunction, but efforts to reactivate the BOP since then have been hugely complicated because a bundle of power and communication cables between the rig and the BOP, known as the “mudline”, was severed when the rig sank.

The result is a desperate race to jump-start the BOP without the use of the umbilical cord that once connected it to the surface. “We have nine remotely operated submersibles on the scene. The BOP was not designed to be operated by them, but we are trying to intervene,” Mr Chapman said.

Containment Structures

BP PLC will place huge containment boxes over the well as the next available short-term strategy in fighting the Gulf oil spill.

What Happened & Why

Something else to consider: it's been said that the workers were in the final stages of casing and cementing the hole and that within a couple days the Deepwater Horizon was to leave that spot to go drill a new prospect. My deepwater engineer source explains that the closer a rig gets to the end of a job like this, the more pressure there would be (from supervisors, etc) to not take a drastic step like engaging the BOP's shear ram. If they had suddenly disconnected the rig from the well at that point in the cementing process, "they might have lost the whole thing." On a well that cost BP and its partners $100 million to drill, none of the nine ill-fated Transocean and two Smith International employees on the rig floor would want to make that call.

Ugh, but good information

I'm not sure what the Forbes article even means in terms of "the engineers wouldn't want to make that call", but the technical aspects on this make me sweat. I would hate to be one of those working on trying to fix/cap the pipes for the pressure might be intense.

but that sure doesn't sound "fail safe" to have a cutter which every 30 ft cannot cut due to the joints. That's one of those "odds" where the error rate may come down to 1/1000, i.e. the places where it cannot cut through the pipe....but thinking that would never happen is obvious...
uh, you probably need to design a cutter that can cut through any part of the pipe, or two of them which also reposition below the last joint.

Anywho, I wish they would deploy like this is a nuclear bomb on the sea floor waiting to go off (because that's what this is).

The "containment" boxes sound practical, or something.

One Has to Wonder

Why these cap structures are just being fabricated now rather than something that is already built and standing by.

There does not appear to be any prep down ahead of time for this type of disaster at all.

My own take is that the relief well and cementing process is probably the only real hope they have here and that will take 3-4 months apparently. I would think that if the well head does blow (the oil flow is eating away at the pipes by the minute) that the hole may just be so large that capping it will be a problem also with cement even with the pressure reduced by drilling in elsewhere.

beyond my pay grade

I can read about the details, understand them but when it comes to engineering underwater deep sea drilling rigs, uh, I'll wait for the commission (they should have hearings on this one!) before the House Science committee.

All I'm getting out of this is they didn't have enough safety features, doing cost cutting. Which I find amazing since that's Hurricane alley.

Containment Boxes.

From what I have read, three of these huge, heavy steel "boxes" are being fabricated at a Mississippi shipyard. Only one has been completed so far. As I understand it, these boxes will lowered somewhere over the leaks on the seabed and will trap most of the leaking oil which will allow it to be pumped up to processing ships on the surface. This is proven technology for shallow water wells, but they have never been tried at these depths. Whether or not it can be made to work, at least as I understand it, the drilling of the relief well is the ultimate solution.

Relief Well

Just applying what I know to what I am reading.

The relief well will ease the outward pressure from existing release points allowing them to be sealed with cement apparently.

However if the wellhead blows (because the metal pipe is being eaten away right now by flowrates it was not designed to handle)the path of least resistence may remain where it is making it difficult to cap.

The three caps will be ineffective in the event of a wellhead blowing also since they are going to be used over three leaks or release points. Once that opens up those will be near useless.

This is why the time they take to start drilling a relief well is imperative. They should be shutting down the nearest rigs and moving them there right now. These things are not the fastest moving vessels in the ocean and then setup and actually drilling takes some time also.

They have a real problem on their hands here.

The worst ecological disaster in US history. Louisiana certainly did not need this.


Relief wells for blowouts on two somewhat similar incidents.

This process went rather smoothly in Australia not that long ago.

Montara Relief Well

But it took 9 months to do the same thing in the Gulf in 1979. This incident is eerily similar to todays predicament.

On June 3, 1979, the 2 mile deep exploratory well, IXTOC I, blew out in the Bahia de Campeche, 600 miles south of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. The IXTOC I was being drilled by the SEDCO 135, a semi-submersible platform on lease to Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). A loss of drilling mud circulation caused the blowout to occur. The oil and gas blowing out of the well ignited, causing the platform to catch fire. The burning platform collapsed into the wellhead area hindering any immediate attempts to control the blowout. PEMEX hired blowout control experts and other spill control experts including Red Adair, Martech International of Houston, and the Mexican diving company, Daivaz. The Martech response included 50 personnel on site, the remotely operated vehicle TREC, and the submersible Pioneer I. The TREC attempted to find a safe approach to the Blowout Preventer (BOP). The approach was complicated by poor visibility and debris on the seafloor including derrick wreckage and 3000 meters of drilling pipe. Divers were eventually able to reach and activate the BOP, but the pressure of the oil and gas caused the valves to begin rupturing. The BOP was reopened to prevent destroying it. Two relief wells were drilled to relieve pressure from the well to allow response personnel to cap it. Norwegian experts were contracted to bring in skimming equipment and containment booms, and to begin cleanup of the spilled oil. The IXTOC I well continued to spill oil at a rate of 10,000 - 30,000 barrels per day until it was finally capped on March 23, 1980.

Jim Donahue, if you would like

Just try to keep the focus on the economics of it, you could write up an Instapopulist or even a blog post on the Gulf Oil Spill.

Environmental disaster is economic. But we're going to see oil shoot through the roof, the oil will decimate the regional economies of the gulf. Never mind the absolute tragedy and crime of all of the life this will kill.

You're clearly deep into tracking what's happening so I'm sure EP readers would appreciate a post overviewing the latest if you are off a mind.

Dylan Ratigan is doing a piece on it today. If you want to use video, it should be simply copy and paste the embed code into the body box, rich text editor off.