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Sylvia Earle to U.S. Congress: Cheap oil is costing the Earth

By David Braun

Just about everyone on the planet will be affected, one way or another, by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle told a U.S. Congress panel today.

Earle and other environmental experts were called to give testimony to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives on the impact of the oil spill on natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Sylvia Earle testifying on Capitol Hill today.

Other witnesses at the hearing included Lamar McKay, president of British Petroleum America, and Steven Newman, president of Transocean, Ltd., the offshore drilling contractor, who were grilled by committee members on events before and after their oil rig exploded and unleashed the disaster on the Gulf last month.

Introducing Earle to the hearing, Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar, Democrat-Minnesota, said he had read her testimony (published in full below) and found it to be “positively lyrical” and reminiscent of Lord Byron’s poetry about the ocean. “I am enthralled by your love of the ocean,” he said.

“I really come to speak for the ocean,” Earle said at the start of her remarks. “You are the only voice for the ocean that we will hear,” Oberstar said when she had read her statement, adding that her testimony was “moving and compelling.”

Earle focused much of her testimony on the toxic effect of chemicals being used to disperse the oil spill, which she said should not be used under the sea, where they could damage the small organisms so vital to the health of the ocean.

She also lamented the lack of technology to send Coast Guard, NOAA and other experts to the source of the oil gushing into the ocean, 5,000 feet beneath the surface. “How can we not know how much oil is being released,” she asked. “We are dealing from the surface with what is largely a subsea problem.”

Earle also said there was a need to establish a data baseline to find out what species were in the Gulf prior to the oil spill, to help monitor the current situation and assist recovery over many years.

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“The Gulf of Mexico is not, as some believe, an industrial wasteland, valuable primarily as a source of  petrochemicals and a few species of ocean wildlife that humans exploit for food, commodities, and recreational fishing. These are assets worth protecting as if our lives depend on them, because in no small measure, they do,” Earle said.

“The Gulf of Mexico is a living laboratory, America’s Mediterranean, a tri-national treasure better known for yielding hurricanes, petrochemicals, shrimp and, in recent years, notorious ‘dead zones,’ than for its vital role in generating oxygen, taking and holding carbon, distributing nutrients, stabilizing temperature, yielding freshwater to the skies that returns as rain–contributing to the ocean’s planetary role as Earth’s life support system,” Earle added.

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NASA’s Aqua Satellite captured this image of the Gulf oil slick on May 18, 2010. The image showed three bright areas of sunglint within the area of the spill.

Image credit: NASA Goddard / MODIS Rapid Response Team

Toxic dispersants also lethal

Not only is the flow of millions of gallons of oil an issue in the Gulf, Sylvia Earle told the Committee, but also the thousands of gallons of toxic dispersants that make the ocean look a little better on the surface–where most people are–but make circumstances a lot worse under the surface, where most of the life in the ocean actually is.

“The instructions for humans using Corexit, the dispersant approved by the EPA to make the ocean look better warn that it is an eye and skin irritant, is harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed, and may cause injury to red blood cells, kidney or the liver. People are warned not to take Corexit internally, but the fish, turtles, copepods and jellies have no choice. They are awash in a lethal brew of oil and butoxyethanol.”

Earle called for a halt on the subsurface use of dispersants, while limiting surface use to strategic sites where other methods cannot safeguard critically important coastal habitats.

She also urged an immediate deployment of subsurface technologies and sensors  “to evaluate the fate of the underwater plumes of oil, as well as the finely dispersed oil and chemicals and their impact on floating surface forests of Sargassum communities, life in the water column, and on the sea floor.”

These were among ten proposals Earle made to restore the ecosystems and ensure long-term viability of the Gulf of Mexico, including the creation of large marine sanctuaries and investment in safe energy alternatives.

Sylvia Earle’s prepared remarks:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you on behalf of the ocean and for people now and in the future who will be affected by the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. That includes just about everyone on the planet, one way or another.

For more than fifty years, I have had experience on, around, above and under the Gulf of Mexico as a marine scientist and explorer, founded and led engineering companies devoted to development of equipment for access to the deep sea, served as a member of various corporate and dozens of nonprofit boards and as a member of numerous state, federal and international committees concerning ocean policy.

From 1990 to 1992 I was the Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency with up close and personal experience with the Exxon Valdez and Mega Borg oil spills, as well as extensive involvement with evaluation of the environmental consequences of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf spill.

As I speak, I will be showing a video of the underwater realms in the Gulf of Mexico produced by Dr. David Guggenheim taken during the five-year Sustainable Seas Expeditions, a public-private partnership that I led involving the National Geographic, NOAA, the Goldman Foundation, and more than 50 industry, government, academic and other institutional partners–using manned submersibles and remotely operated vehicles as well as conventional and unconventional diving methods to document the nature of the coastal waters of this country and some of our neighbors to the south with special reference to areas designated for protection as National Marine Sanctuaries–and to explore other places that, if protected, could provide urgently needed safeguards against the rapid degradation taking place in our nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone owing to destructive fishing practices, pollution, climate change and other impacts.

Nowhere is this more critical than in the Gulf of Mexico, yet only the tiny Flower Garden Banks and small areas within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries is there modest sanctity for wildlife in the U.S. Gulf waters.

Dr. Larry McKinney, who has conducted research in the Gulf of Mexico for decades remarked recently that as the present oil spill spreads, the Gulf of Mexico, the ninth largest body of water in the world, 615,000 square miles of blue, seems to be shrinking before our eyes.

Threats include:

  • Stress on the nation’s valuable wetlands, 40 percent of such areas in the lower 48 states in Louisiana alone.
  • Stress for the Florida west coast and the extensive seagrass meadows and marshes–nursery areas for fish, shrimp and other organisms and, given the intricate flow of the Loop Current and its many spinoffs, threats to the wetland and offshore areas of Mississippi, Alabama ,Texas, Mexico, the Florida Keys, Cuba and via the Gulfstream, the eastern seaboard of the United States–and beyond.
  • Use of subsea dispersants injected at great depths, making it possible for deeper currents to move the oil’s potential reach even further, and enhancing the toxic effect of oil with the toxic effect of the chemicals used to break oil into smaller droplets.
  • Economic impacts, such as those assessed by scientists and economists at the Harte Research Institute  –a conservative figure of U.S.$1.6 Billion, taking into account losses including the production of ocean wildlife taken for food.

That does not measure threats to the billions of dollars in so-called free services provided by healthy reefs, marshes and seagrass meadows as natural filtration and shoreline protection systems. Nor does it account for impacts to the other priceless “free” services the living ocean renders to the nation’s overall economy, to health, to security and ultimately, to the existence of life itself.

You have seen plenty of bad news images relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. I want to illustrate here that the Gulf of Mexico is not, as some believe, an industrial wasteland, valuable primarily as a source of  petrochemicals and a few species of ocean wildlife that humans exploit for food, commodities, and recreational fishing. These are assets worth protecting as if our lives depend on them, because in no small measure, they do.

Gulf of Mexico’s 15,000 species

In 2009 Volume I of the 8-volume series on the Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters and Biota lists 15,419 species within 40 phyla–embracing most of the large categories of life on Earth–covered in 79 chapters by 140 authors from 80 institutions in 15 countries.

The idea for this was hatched by Drs. Wes Tunnell, Daryl Felder and myself during a conversation at the Harte Research Institute in Corpus Christi in 2001 while reflecting on the need to update the 1954 Fishery Bulletin 89, a classic reference that provides a benchmark concerning the biological, physical, chemical meterological and economic aspects of the Gulf.

Biological data from the new series will appear electronically on the Web in Gulfbase and OBIS–the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, an online, open access, globally distributed network of  systematic, ecological, and environmental data established in 1999 by the ten-year Census of Marine Life project. The Gulf of Mexico figures prominently in this year’s celebration of Biodiversity of Life on Earth.

The Gulf of Mexico is a living laboratory,  America’s Mediterranean, a tri-national treasure better known for yielding hurricanes, petrochemicals, shrimp and, in recent years, notorious “dead zones,” than for its vital role in generating oxygen, taking and holding carbon, distributing nutrients, stabilizing temperature, yielding freshwater to the skies that returns as rain–contributing to the ocean’s planetary role as Earth’s life support system.

As with the ocean as a whole, the most important values we derive from the Gulf of Mexico are those we take for granted. We have, because at one time, we could. But that is no longer true. We now understand there are limits to what we can put into or take  out of this or any other part of the ocean without unfavorable consequences back to us.

It once seemed that–as with the ocean as a whole–the Gulf was so big, so vast, so resilient, that nothing we could do could harm it. The benefits we believed would always be there, no matter how large the trawls, how long the nets, how numerous the hooks for catching ocean wildlife–or how many, how long or how deep the pipelines, drilling operations, seismic surveys or production rigs.

While yielding to the pressure to extract golden eggs from the golden Gulf, we have failed to take care of the Gulf itself.

While yielding to the pressure to extract golden eggs from the golden Gulf, we have failed to take care of the Gulf itself.

Destructive fishing pressure has depleted sharks, tunas, menhaden, groupers, snappers, tarpon, turtles, shrimp, crabs, lobsters. More than 80 percent of some species have been extracted  in 50 years, more than 90 percent of the sharks, swordfish, marlin  and most grouper species. Fewer than 10 percent of the bluefin tunas remain, and all of the monk seals that once abounded as far north as Galveston have been exterminated. Used for meat and oil, the last living one was seen in 1952.

The main excuse for killing seals and whales was for the extraction of oil to provide heat and light to enhance human societies. The shift to fossil fuels may have saved the whales and seals, but now we are killing mountains and downstream rivers and the sea beyond to extract coal.

Excess carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels–coal, oil, gas–is warming the planet and acidifying the ocean. Oil spills have become less frequent with the application of new technologies, but it doesn’t take many large ones, whether during the transport  or drilling, to remind us of the dire consequences of neglect.

Ironically, fossil fuels have powered civilization to new heights of understanding–including the awareness that the future of humankind depends on swiftly shifting to energy alternative that do not generate carbon dioxide and otherwise cause planet-threatening problems!

Fossil fuels took us to the moon and to the universe beyond, and made it possible for us to see ourselves in ways that no generation before this time could fathom. They have provided the backbone of the extraordinary progress we enjoyed in the 20th century and now into the 21st. We now know that those of us now alive have participated in the greatest era of discovery and technological achievement in the history of humankind, largely owing to the capacity to draw on what seemed to be a cheap but by no means endless  source of  energy.

At the same time we have learned more, we have lost more.

Cheap energy, it turns out, is costing the Earth…so to speak.

Despite the enormous advance in knowledge, the greatest problem facing us now with respect to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is ignorance, and with it, complacency.

Despite the enormous advance in knowledge, the greatest problem facing us now with respect to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is ignorance, and with it, complacency.

Despite the years of research by hundreds of scientists and institutions, knowledge about the nature of Gulf of Mexico is still primitive, partly because the methods used for exploring the ocean are still primitive.  Larry McKinney observes that we know more about the face of the moon than the bottom of the Gulf, and are better equipped to live and work in space than we are to explore the ocean on this planet.

We  should be looking for the possibility of life in what is believed to be an ocean on one of Jupiter’s moons, but why are we not at least as concerned about life in the ocean in this part of the solar system–the ocean that keeps us alive? Life in the sea, after all, supports the basic processes that we all take for granted–the water cycle, the oxygen cycle, the carbon cycle, and much more. With every breath we take, every drop of water we drink, we are dependent on the existence of Earth’s living ocean.

Most of the heavy lifting concerning these benefits is accomplished by microorganisms–bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton. Headlines lament oiled birds, turtles, dolphins and whales, as they should, but where is the constituency concerned about oiled copepods, poisoned coccolithophorids, proclorococcus, diatoms, jellies, pteropods, squid, larval urchins, the eggs and young of this year’s vital offspring of tuna, shrimp and menhaden?

Toxic Dispersants

Not only is the unruly flow of millions of gallons of oil an issue, but also the thousands of gallons of toxic dispersants that make the ocean look a little better on the surface–where most people are–but make circumstances a lot worse under the surface, where most of the life in the ocean actually is.

The instructions for humans using Corexit, the dispersant approved by the EPA to make the ocean look better warn that it is an eye and skin irritant, is harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed, and may cause injury to red blood cells, kidney or the liver. People are warned not to take Corexit internally, but the fish, turtles, copepods and jellies have no choice. They are awash in a lethal brew of oil and butoxyethanol.

The technologies for finding, extracting and transporting oil and gas from the sea are as sophisticated as those required to work hundreds of miles high in the sky, yet where is the comparable technology to safeguard the ocean when something goes wrong–such as when a blowout preventer malfunctions in 5,000 feet of water?

Precarious solutions

The technical expertise mustered to stop the flow of oil is the best in the world, but since those talented engineers were not required to focus on adequately dealing with such problems well in advance, the make-in-up-as-they-go-along solutions sound precarious, at best.  Jamming a metal top hat over the leak?  Threading a mile-long straw into a torrent of toxic fluid? Stuffing  garbage down the hole?

Human occupied, autonomous and remotely operated systems developed to support inspection, maintenance and repair have come a long way since offshore oil production began in the Gulf in 1947,  but why aren’t the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA provided with fleets of appropriate manned submersibles, ROVs, and AUVs to monitor and evaluate the oceans everyday, and be ready when needed to respond to emergencies such as the present one?

Billions have been invested for ships, aircraft and spacecraft to provide these functions on and above the surface of the sea,and it has paid off mightily. But we have neglected technologies to explore, monitor and safeguard what is under the surface, and it is costing us dearly.

This year in this city, several celebrations were held to honor U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh and Swiss explorer Jacques Piccard for their history-making descent seven miles down in the Mariana Trench, the deepest place in the sea. No one has been back since, and only two machines, the Japanese Kaiko, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Nereus, have made successful journies there. Seven miles in the sky, meanwhile, people watch movies, take naps, eat lunch.

No one has descended to the greatest depth in the Gulf of Mexico, about three miles down in the Sigsbee Deep near Yucatan.  In fact, no one knows for sure exactly where the deepest place in the Gulf is, or if they do, proving it has been an elusive goal.

Investment in new technologies to effectively explore, monitor and safeguard the ocean loom large on the short list of actions, coupled with the ongoing support to keep them in operation. The fleet of U. S. submersibles, ROVs and AUVs presently available for scientific research  and ocean care is more than pathetic. It is scandalous.

The Alvin, after more than 40 years of productive service, is soon to be retired and her replacement is far from complete. The two Johnson-sea-link submersibles that have yielded priceless information and insights about the nature of the Gulf and the ocean beyond are no longer being supported at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.

Only Japan, Russia, France, and now China have manned subs that can go to half the ocean’s depth, and the new Alvin is expected to go only two and a half miles.

Thoughts and Solutions

I could go on about the problems, but I have only a few minutes and would like to summarize with thoughts about solutions. While encouraging and supporting all-out efforts to stop the flow of oil, the following might be considered:

1.  Halt the subsurface use of dispersants and limit surface use to strategic sites where other methods cannot safeguard critically important coastal habitats.

2.  Immediately deploy subsurface technologies and sensors  to evaluate the fate of the underwater plumes of oil, as well as the finely dispersed oil and chemicals and their impact on floating surface forests of Sargassum communities, life in the water column, and on the sea floor.

3. Immediately gather baseline data, both broad and detailed,  to measure impacts and recovery.

4. Support operations to salvage and restore the 40 or so species of affected large wildlife species and their habitats.

5.  Support initiatives to create large reserves in the Gulf to facilitate recovery and ongoing health of  the thousands of less conspicuous species and marine ecosystems, from the deepest areas to shallow shores.

It is urgent that large areas of the Gulf of Mexico be designated for full protection from extractive activities. Protected areas are critically needed to safeguard important spawning areas for bluefin tuna, for grouper, snapper, sharks and even the wily species of shallow and deepwater shrimp. Aside from the importance of such areas for healthy ecosystems to survive, they  are essential if fishing is to continue as a way of life in the Gulf. (No fish, no fishermen.)

Implementing and expanding the Islands in the Stream concept long proposed by NOAA for a network of marine protection in the Gulf would be a good place to begin.

6.  Make substantial investments in human occupied, robotic and autonomous systems, sensors and stations for exploration, research, monitoring and safeguarding the living ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, the EPA and the USGS should have such resources available to complement ships, and air and spacecraft, and it is in the nation’s best interest to support development of such facilities for use by non-federal research institutions as well.

7.  Embark on expeditions to explore deep water in the Gulf of Mexico and establish permanent monitoring stations and protocols.

8.  Encourage tri-national collaboration among scientists and institutions around the Gulf.

9.  Mobilize good minds to address solutions such as the Gulf of Mexico Summit five years ago that helped launch  a regional governance body of U.S. and Mexican states. A new summit is being planned by the Harte Research Institute to take place later this year to address next steps to assure an economically and ecologically healthy Gulf of Mexico.

Cuba, a country that some have been worrying about with respect to the possibility of oil spills heading north as exploration and drilling are picking up in that country, now is faced with worries about the consequences of a major spill from the U.S. heading south.

10.  While investing in rapid expansion of safe energy alternatives, new standards of care need to be implemented for industries extracting oil and gas from the Gulf and elsewhere in US waters. Thorough documentation of the nature of the seafloor and surrounding region should be made public prior to operations such as drilling, establishing platforms and laying pipeline, and monitoring of changes to the environment measured and made publically available. Environmental issues need to be taken into account, and be the basis for excluding operations when necessary to protect vital environmental concerns. Transparency is vital.

Five minutes is time enough only to touch on a few major concerns, but I want to end by emphasizing the greatest threats, past, present and future  to the Gulf, to the ocean, and to the future of humankind. That would be ignorance, and its terrible twin, complacency.

The loss of human lives, the destruction of the life-giving Gulf cannot be justified as an acceptable cost of doing business, but if we really do go forward with a commitment to do things differently henceforth, we will have gained something of  enduring value. We must do  better about thinking like an ocean, and thinking on behalf of those who will benefit–or suffer–from the consequences of our actions.

Now,  maybe for the first time, we know what to do. We still have a chance to make peace with the ocean.

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Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer, Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, called  Her Deepness by the New Yorker and New York Times, a  Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and  first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine.  She has  years of experience as a field research scientist, expedition leader, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations including the Kerr McGee Corporation, Dresser Industries, Oryx Energy, the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, Ocean Conservancy, Ocean Futures, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. From  1980 to 1990 she served as Founder of Deep Ocean Engineering and from 1992 to 2007, she served as founder and chair of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER Marine) to further the development of new technologies for access to the sea.

In connection with her 2009 TED Prize, she founded Mission Blue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean exploration, research, and conservation aimed at developing networks of “Hope Spots,” protected areas large enough to secure and restore health to the “blue heart of the planet” (www.mission-blue.org).

Formerly Chief Scientist of NOAA, Dr. Earle chairs Advisory Councils for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies; the Ocean in Google Earth; the Marine Science and Technology Foundation and the Schmidt Research Vessel Institute.  She has a B.S. degree from Florida State University, M.S. and PhD. from Duke University, 19 honorary degrees and has authored more than 175 scientific, technical and popular publications, lectured in more than 80 countries, and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.  

Comments

  1. Dr Claude Windenberger
    May 29, 2010, 4:34 am

    Hello Dr Sylvia:
    I am Dr Claude Windenberger, from UnconditionalFreedom.com
    I am also a friend of Adria Brown and a supporter of her current mission to clean up the Gulf oil spill and save the ocean life.
    I did not see your live testimony, but the above transcript clearly conveys the thoughts of a great and passionate mind.
    Your list of accomplishments and number of publications is very impressive and humbling for me (I received my PhD in Quantum Physics from Maharishi International University in 1996 and my list of publications pales in comparison to your list of 175).
    I don’t feel a special connection to the ocean like you do, probably because I have never had the opportunity to experience it and learn about it. At best I have been impressed by the beauty of the undersea world as seen in TV documentaries. Yet if I had to vote for or against life in the ocean, I would vote for it. I am always for life.
    I have been very interested and engaged in exploring the one ocean that I know to be the true source of all life that I experience–the ocean of my own consciousness.
    Without consciousness there would be no life, since as far as I am concerned, there would be no possibility to even consider or think and talk about life without the ability of being conscious that is inherent in consciousness.
    I have been especially interested in how to keep this inner ocean of consciousness as clean and vibrant as possible, and I find that when I do that, my natural tendency is to think and act in ways that reflect that inner vibrancy in the outside world.
    You point out that we should be at least as concerned about life in the ocean in this part of the solar system as we are in looking for the possibility of life in what is believed to be an ocean on one of Jupiter’s moons for example.
    In the same way, I would like to suggest that each of us may want to be at least as concerned about life in the ocean of our own inner consciousness–which is really as close to HOME as it will ever get for anyone of us–as we are in looking for the possibility of maintaining life on our outer planet.
    In the last few years, I have realized through direct experience (and confirmed with other people’s similar experiences) that keeping my consciousness as clear and free from (foreign) negative thoughts and emotions as possible, is the fastest way to reduce the need for all those things that I used to consider as essential and absolutely needed–the very things that directly contribute to the dire situation of our outer world.
    I would like therefore to suggest that as we consider technologies for cleaning up and restoring our outer world (the planet including the ocean), we also devote some attention to researching and deploying technologies that help clean our minds from all the garbage we have accumulated over a life time, and technologies that help us fathom, explore and mine the depths of the unbounded ocean of consciousness.
    I will mention here those technologies of consciousness that I have personally researched and benefited from: Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhis program, Landmark Education’s transformational technologies, and the Unconditional Freedom Process–a simple but very powerful process I have developed in the past 12 years.
    I would be honored to support your mission with these consciousness-based approaches.

  2. AMW1
    May 22, 2010, 6:21 pm

    This incident is worse than 9/11 in many ways and our time spent in hunting down terrorists in Afghanistan might therefore be better spent in policing our own backyard.
    Terrorists could not have caused more harm to our country if they had tried.
    A pilot has to check that his landing gear functions before taking off, and we are not permitted to drive a car with faulty brakes, yet the oil well’s Blowout Preventer was never checked beforehand to see if it worked.
    This was not an accident – but it was an accident waiting to happen.

  3. rsaillant1
    May 22, 2010, 12:32 pm

    Good morning Sylvia,
    I had the good fortune to witness the live broadcast of your address to our Washington represenatives. Other than coming away with the thought that you were perhaps,”too
    smart for the room,” a descriptive showbiz remark, I thoroghly enjoyed the brief time you had on air.
    It was during this telecast when I had the moment to contact Adria Brown, of Recovery1 and alert her to your presence on TV, I later was informed that she had met you earlier in both your careers.
    Now, back to your speech and the transcript that I’ve just reviewed.
    You, like many who are in the public’s eye and have their attention, have analyzed the Gulf
    situation with amazing clarity.
    You, in the collective sense, have
    warned of all the pitfalls, placed the blame accurately, and enumerated where it all went wrong.
    My question is, in rebuttal of BP’s
    toxic dispersal methods, who will it be that comes forth and tells us what the clean-up method is going to be?….and why has a month elapsed with no sign of a clean-up? Are our movers and shakers in shock?
    There are several safe and effective methods readily available, one’s that won’t cause further harm to the environment, Why are they not being employed?
    Who has their foot on the brake of progress?

  4. stephanieneoke
    May 21, 2010, 3:26 am

    Dear Mr. President and All Those In Power, please, please- regardless of political, religious, economic, spiritual, or any other persuasion-please hear and act on this critical call to stop the destruction of our most valued and priceless resource..the one we all call home. We gleam what we can of history and past civilizations; be it from books, cave walls,or as evidenced by fossels. One day (hopfully) others will be learning about us- of our actions and our inactions. This is a turning point in human history. Everyone everywhere- from child to grandparent- knows the most important decisions should yeild life. Transition,though diffficult, is absolutly imperative. It is time to show strength and courage as modern pioneers – to become leaders in rebuilding and managing our invaluable enviroment. Only you,who hold the power,can write this history. Please, please tread carefully and most thoughtfully in making this a reality. Thankyou forever, Stephanieneoke

  5. adriamichele
    May 20, 2010, 10:15 pm

    Dear Sylvia,
    I am Adria Brown, President, & CEO of Recovery I, Incorporated. My company deals ONLY in natural technologies in oil spill combat, (whole dried cobs). Patent #5,160,629, May 7, 1993.
    Perhaps you will remember me. We met at an MTS Global Partnership Conference, October 19-21, 1992, in Washington, DC, held at the Washington Sheraton Hotel.
    I was just beginning my journey and challenges, with my love for the sea, the lakes and our streams, their incredible gifts, and the way in which we care for, and honor them.
    Our meetings during the conference, and conversations were as inspiring then, as your testimony was in Washington yesterday! You were impassioned, feisty, meaningful, and moving!
    Back in 1992, as I recall, you shared a business partnership with your ex-husband, Graham, at Deep Ocean Engineering. Your petite size was an asset in getting into the mini submarines, when exploring the ocean floors! We laughed together about our size, and shared that we both had “very tall minds”. (I’m a petite blonde as well).
    Senator Grassley, of Iowa, and his staff in Washington DC, has taken a special interest in trying to move our simple, affordable, and proven process forward, so as to allow us to be able to assist, in helping to save our oceans from this egregious spill. I would appreciate any help that you might afford me and my company, to that end.
    I would love to speak to you again, regardless of that outcome.
    When we said our good byes at the end of the conference, I agreed to come and visit you. Time and life have a way of flying quickly by. I didn’t want to miss THIS opportunity to connect with you, once again.
    You are truly a gift Sylvia. Your drive and purpose, and all that you believe in and have accomplished, has kept me determined to move forward, and to “stay the course”!
    With Warmest Regards,
    Adria Brown. Pres. CEO
    Recovery I, Incorporated,
    248 851 4849
    E-mail: adriamichele@msn.com
    Website: recoveryiinc.net
    PS
    Recent articles about Recovery I, Inc:
    Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rp-siegel/how-to-clean-up-the-oil-l_b_578748.html
    Triple Pundit: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/05/how-to-clean-up-the-oil/