The media blackout continues. The airspace over the coastal waters around the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill have been closed by the FAA.
Pursuant to 14 CFR section 91.137(a)(1) temporary flight restrictions are in effect for deepwater horizon/mississippi canyon (mc252) incident cleanup and reconstitution operations…All aircraft operations are prohibited except those flights authorized by ATC, routine flights supporting offshore oil operations; federal, state, local and military flight operations supporting oil spill recovery and reconstitution efforts; and air medical and law enforcement operations. http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_0_5100.html
The closing of airspace does occur from time to time for everything from a military air show, to the arrival of a VIP. Other recent airspace closures can be found at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html. Most recently, much of Europe airspace was closed and blamed on the often invisible ash cloud from the Iceland Volcano. We saw airspace closed in the entire U.S. immediately after the events of 9-11.
So why close the airspace over an oil spill?
We know the oil spill is huge, and we know that BP and the AirForce is spraying COREXIT, the dispersant. The release says, “For additional information on air operations within the deepwater horizon TFR see website: https://1afnorth.Region1.Ang.Af.Mil/deepwater_spill/default.Aspx This link is a military site that offers no public access. So much for taking a little plane ride over the area.
http://ahrcanum.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/bp-tells-epa-to-shove-it-oil-spill-cleanup/ we noted that the EPA had asked BP to find an alternative to COREXIT after nearly a month of aerial spraying.
April 30, 2010. WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Air Force planes have been sent to Mississippi and were awaiting orders to start dumping chemicals on the oil spill threatening the coast, as the government worked Friday to determine how large a role the military should play in the cleanup.
The C-130 Hercules cargo planes, specially designed for aerial spraying, were sent Thursday from the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Ohio, said a spokesman there, Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr. http://www.chem.info/News/2010/04/Environmental-Controls-Air-Force-Ready-to-Spray-Oil-Spill/
While we no longer have Posse Comitatus anymore with active U.S. Military Troops on U.S. soil, we now have BP hiring private security contractors to protect the oil spill, cleanup efforts and keep onlookers away.
“This wouldn’t be the first time a private security firm made an appearance in a Gulf disaster,” Wired’s Adam Rawnsley writes. “When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Department of Homeland Security and a number of private firms, fearful of reported widespread violence and chaos, turned to private security contractors like Blackwater and ArmorGroup International to protect their property.” via http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/06/bp-hires-mercs-to-block-oily-beaches/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
The BP oil fire is projected to cause severe damage to four shoreline states. Cause? Was it an accident? Possible sabotage? Other?…Re: Recent BP fire – result oil spill 2010.
Should the federal government demand and regulate all oil employees who work on the oil rigs? Should the federal government provide security on and around oil production rigs? It is my opinion that leasing oil production companies do not have the capacity to provide U.S. security. http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bio/userletter/?id=348&letter_id=5130467066
What this means to the non-GIS layperson:
1) The current configuration and process allow BP to limit or slow down the flow of information about the extent of the disaster to the government, the public and law enforcement, which I believe is against the spirit and letter of NIMS*.
2) The current process allows BP to treat GIS datasets as proprietary information. It is my understanding that public agencies, like The US Fish and Wildlife Service and The Louisiana National Guard, are literally submitting the only copy of agency field data directly to a BP GIS server behind the corporate firewall. Examples of these data are; dead bird and fish locations with photos, boom deployment and engineered construction, dates, along with other descriptive information and photos.
3) The GIS information is essential to the recovery of public resources, and some data belongs to US taxpayers, not BP. BP is paying for the hardware and collection of these GIS datasets, yet it is my understanding that the data belong to the people of the United States. BP must not be allowed to protect these data as if they were a proprietary product.
4) State Emergency Operation Center staff, Parish EOC staff, and other Emergency Responders and Recovery Specialists do not have access to these GIS datasets, contrary to all NIMS guidance, protocols and principles. The effort to slow down the flow of information is at the expense of the containment and cleanup effort of the responders and is in our opinion, suspect behavior by BP.
5) The Federal On Scene Coordinator at ICP Houma, US Coast Guard Captain Ed Stanton, standing with USCG Rear Admiral James Watson, approved the National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant design, and ordered the first database and server. That server was received by BP, and placed behind the BP firewall.
Conclusion–At the very least, per NIMS, there must be redundancy of GIS information managed jointly, and fully accessible to both the FOSC and the SOSC. Technology allows implementation of this design to occur instantaneously and automatically. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6593
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