May 13th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Making a mountain to stop the oil

See this island? It wasn't here yesterday.

The Louisiana National Guard poured in tons of sand and rock to fill a 700 foot gap in a barrier island to stop the oil from reaching the estuaries.

The gap was the result of hurricane damage in Elmer's Island, just across the bridge from Grand Isle.

Filled in, the island will now be a part of the last line of defense in Louisiana's scramble to protect it's ecologically sensitive coast. The area is also an important breeding ground for shrimp.

"It's ecologically and economically very important to the local community," Lt. Kyle Galloway told CNN.

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Valeriy

    gaetano marano, on the other hand, burning all that oil under water isn't a bad idea – we will be getting grilled shrimp directly from the water. We still need to figure out how to get creole seasoning to that depth.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TLH

    None of this ever should have happened. There should have been a dome or series of them to protect against evenst such as this. Just because you don't think it will happen doesn't mean it won't. Every well in the world that's under a body of water should have some kind of protective system such as a dome over it to prevent this loss – loss of ecology, economy, fuel... I can't believe anyone in the oil industry would think a simple pipe and valve is "good 'nuf". Idiots.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. beanne

    Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it...

    "The problems began on an offshore drilling rig operated by Union Oil called
    platform Alpha, where pipe was being extracted from a 3,500 foot deep well. The pressure
    difference created by the extraction of the pipe was not sufficiently compensated for by the
    pumping of drilling mud back down the well, which caused a disastrous pressure increase.
    As the pressure built up and started to strain the casing on the upper part of the well, an
    emergency attempt was made to cap it, but this action only succeeded in further increasing
    the pressure inside the well. The consequence was that under extreme pressure a burst of
    natural gas blew out all of the drilling mud, split the casing and caused cracks to form in the
    seafloor surrounding the well. A simple solution to the problem was now impossible; due to
    the immense pressure involved and the large volume of oil and natural gas being released a
    “blowout” occurred and the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill was under way."

    (Reference: Clarke, K. C. and Jeffrey J. Hemphill (2002) The Santa Barbabra Oil Spill, A Retrospective.
    Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Editor Darrick Danta, University of Hawai'i Press,
    vol. 64, pp. 157-162.)

    God help our earth... man will not.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gaetano marano

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    well... do you have a BETTER solution???????
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    May 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bill

    the obvios reason the leak hase not been capped is because B.P hase millions of dollers invested in this well and to just cover it up is not an option, I think they need to insert a cathiter like one used for an angioplasty(but larger) into the pipe , they can use an applicator simular to a tampon applicator to insert the cathiter without damaging it and then fill the bladder with salt water or methane gas (which ever works best at this depth)and then decide whether to cap it or continue retrieving oil.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. S

    Every one of the suggestions on here are mind numbingly ridiculous. I don't know what is more ridiculous though:

    1. The suggestions all which are apparently all written by people with no more than a 6th grade education and defy all levels of common sense.

    2. The fact that they really, actually think these are good ideas. And with these "good" ideas they have, they then blog them on a cnn message board.

    I would love to see these uneducated rednecks make the same suggestions to an expert or live forum of people ...oh man that would be entertainment.

    The fact that these people have the same voting power as me is SCARY.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cyrus Howell

    Why is it that the US Congress allowed BP to drill offshore without the technology to stop oil spills on drilling rigs drilling a mile deep?

    Oil companies should not be drilling offshore without the right technologies.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. inspiral

    All of the efforts so far have been hampered by the water pressure factor. At 5000 feet it would be around 2000 psi (pounds per square inch) if they could take that out of the equation they might have some success. A tube that was gas and water permeable (allowing flow of water and gas) would have equal pressure inside and outside, allowing the larger oil particles to be channeled away to the surface for collection.
    As for the tubing don't think steel think fabric, plenty of suitable material must be available or easily manufactured. There are plenty of company's who have expertise in this field, one springs to mind it is an anagram of ToreGex...
    To collect the oil an inverted fabric hopper at the bottom anchored above would allow the oil to flow upwards and any excess pressure build up would escape under the hopper.
    For anyone saying fabric will not be strong enough, fabric strops are made strong enough to lift a Humvee.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pet. E.

    @ Matt, #48. THANK YOU!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jason

    People, BP doesn't want to stop the flow of oil If you noticed all their plans have been to "cap" the well, or drill a relief well so they can still "control" the flow and fill up ships with it. They are trying to cut some of their losses by still collecting and keeping the oil that is leaking out. They are being greedy instead of responsible and for that I am not buying any BP gasoline for the rest of my life. Also, they keep pointing the finger at Transocean and Haliburton, they need to accept responsibility for this mess and shut off the well for good!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gaetano marano

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    but no better soultion from you "S" ...
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    May 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. krak-ow

    STEVE, you are right.
    Wait until a hurricane hits.
    Now THAT is going to be something nobody will want to see.
    There will be black droplets of oil
    carried inland for god knows how far.
    How could there not be?

    May 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gerante

    There is only one solution and it is what they are doing... drill a second well to relieve the pressure and divert the oil. Yes, it will take months, but swallow the lumps. If it works, it works. Just because everyone these days wants an instant solution is no excuse. Maybe a situation like this will teach you people a novel concept known as PATIENCE.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. incognito

    You know I'm surprised we don't just solve this like every other block buster movie. Nuke the son of a ******

    May 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MCW

    An explosive might work if you could get it down the pipe a bit and were able to sufficiently collapse the production casing/pipe and surrounding rock, but thet happening seems highly unlikely given the pressure of the opposing force (the oil coming up the pipe). If the explosion happened relatively close to the surface there would be no additional oil flow as the well is most likely producing from a reservoir thousands of feet below the oceans surface. Oil and gas wells produce from porous rock that may appear solid to the naked eye – it's not like sticking a straw into a glass of water.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
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