Opening Comment: The Author is responsibly and constructively offering this new solution to the Obama Administration. Mr. President, please read and embrace this article/solution, and feel free to unleash it and call it your own at today's Gulf Disaster news conference.
The permanent solution is the relief well, now being targeted for completion in the July/August 2010 timeframe. The Dome or Cap and now "Top Kill" are on the fly ad hoc interim solutions which have apparently all failed. This rolling the dice "Solution on the Fly" approach is simply not going to work. It's playing roulette with the Gulf and all (human and wildlife) that live on it, by it and in it.
The simple answer is an interim "massive mitigation" plus permanent solution. The permanent solution is the relief well and cementing the damaged one. The short or interim term "massive mitigation" solution is "Ring Fence and Harvest".
"Ring Fence" meaning encircle and ensnare the oil as it hits the surface. The oil rising some 5000 feet from the damaged blowout preventer on the seabedfloor, becomes an expanding, relatively predictable and observable plume (when completely unimpeded by toxic chemical dispersants to break it up), within a rather predictable sea current pattern. The 1100 ships (by the way, what the heck are they doing...fishing?) or so on the scene can see the footprint of this oil as it first bubbles to the surface.
Author's Note: Perhaps counter-intuitive, the objective is to "not" break up the oil with dispersants at the well head. Rather, let the oil rise unimpeded in concentrated form to achieve the smallest sea surface capture footprint area (i.e. minimize the area to encircle). The added benefit of course to this is not putting these toxic dispersant chemicals into the environment.
The interim "Massive Mitigation" solution proposed by this author then is two parts, the first being "Ring Fence" (encircle) that visible "bubbling surface area" with 100 foot deep or so (or more TBD to ensure full capture) oil booms. The oil will then be captured and build as water is forced out the bottom of the ringed area (oil lighter than water...at this point anyway...7-10 days later it starts to sink), basically this becoming a de-facto offshore oil catch basin or oil catch tank.
Think a huge several miles long circular net catching a school of sardines. None escape. The only difference here using solid impermeable boom material, not nets.
The second "Harvest" piece then becomes a ship/tanker which pulls alongside the ringed area and dips its suction pipes into the fenced area (oil catch basin) and pumps out the oil. As one ship fills, another takes its place. Yes, a few barrels won't be captured but of 12-19,000 barrels per day being released as reported by some media reports, the lion share will.
The result, the environment sees an end to this devastating (unsustainably defended) pollution onslaught, and precious time now given to complete the permanent solution relief well.
And at this point, that would be a HUGE win for the country and the environment. After 5 plus weeks of massive polluting and killing the planet, we need a big save the planet type of solution and win.
"Ring Fence and Harvest" provides that Big Win.
Note: Compounding the situation even further, hurricane season starts June 5. A hurricane will increase the land and marsh environmental damage and devastation tenfold.
Waddayasay President Obama? Do you agree?
If so, while you're visiting the Gulf region today, and if you are really in charge as you stated at yesterday's news conference, IMMEDIATELY embrace, implement and enforce a new "Ring Fence and Harvest" policy upon BP!