You are hereEnvironment
Thad Allen Tells BP Seabed "Seeping" and Demands More Monitoring
By Georgianne Nienaber
Adm. Thad Allen released a letter to BP Chief Managing Director Bob Dudley tonight in which he demands that BP provide more monitoring information, citing "a detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head."
And read this:
Emergency Committee to Stop Gulf Oil Disaster
THE WELL MAY – OR MAY NOT – BE CAPPED...BUT THE OIL CATASTROPHE CONTINUES!
Headlines may be reading “BP oil gusher capped,” but according to the Emergency Committee to Stop the Gulf Oil Disaster, the crisis spawned by the blowout of BP’s Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico is far from over, and the need to for “all hands on deck” to stop this catastrophe – in all its dimensions – is more needed than ever. This is underscored by late-breaking Sunday news of "a detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head." (Washington Post)
"To call the oil spill cap the end of this crisis is akin to calling the killing of Saddam Hussein the end of the war in Iraq,” Emergency Committee Steering Committee member Dan Thelen. “Just as the war still ravages on in Iraq worse than ever, the effects of millions of gallons of oil and dispersants on our precious Gulf and the surrounding communities, not to mention the hundreds of rigs poised to meet the same demise, signal to me that the public must not be deceived. Rather, we must be more organized and vigilant than ever in sending across the resounding message that our Gulf and indeed our world is still in crisis over this oil spill.”
This came through in a DoD e-mailing covering updated news. Showing how serious the Pentagon and Military are taking the 'Global Warming Research' going on, this isn't the first.
Don Perovich on the Ice. (Photo: Haley Smith Kingsland)
July 16, 2010 “This is the best ice floe ever,” remarked Don Perovich (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory), leader of ICESCAPE’s sea ice team. It looks like a normal floe to me, but to Don, each new floe he samples is the best floe ever. Ice floes are big slabs of frozen ocean, and the ice team is trying to understand why they are melting so fast and what the consequences for the Arctic marine ecosystem might be.
By Dave Lindorff
The Coast Guard is conceding this afternoon that the pressure is not building up as hoped in the blown-out BP Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico, raising concerns that the pipe that runs from the surface down through the bore to the oil reservoir 13,000 feet below the sea bottom has lost its integrity, and is allowing oil under high pressure to leak out into the surrounding concrete and rock outside the pipe, where it can and likely will make its way to the waters above.
By Dave Lindorff
What the hell are they thinking in Washington, and down at the “Unified Command” in New Orleans, letting BP try to close off the oil volcano spewing out the top of the damaged Blowout Preventer (BOP) stack?
And what the hell is the mainstream press doing not asking about the clear evidence of oil or gas spewing out under pressure from cracks in the seafloor around the base of the BOP? (See the image of oil spewing from the sea floor here.)
Sure the initial partial closing of the valves is working, but they haven’t built up much pressure yet, and a lot could go wrong. seriously wrong, and there’s good reason to think it will.
14 July 2010 I just spent four hours on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico with fellow veterans and two retired Generals, touring the damage that the oil spill has had on the coast and the economy here in Louisiana. As a Gulf native, I know how much this will hurt the people here, and across America, who depend on the region for their livelihoods. But I also came as a veteran to see just how bad it would be if oil platforms were attacked by terrorist groups.
July 13: Corey Hebert, WDSU medical editor, talks with Keith Olbermann about attention being paid to Gulf Coast residents whose health is affected by the BP oil disaster.
Translation: "We will not tolerate wrongdoing by small fry (just forget Bush/Cheney, etc., etc., etc.)."
By Jeremy Pelofsky
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Six more New Orleans police officers have been indicted in connection with the shooting deaths of two people and the wounding of four others who were walking on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.
U.S. prosecutors unsealed a 27-count indictment that charged three current officers and one former officer with the killing, and subsequent cover-up, of James Brissette, a 17-year-old city resident, and Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man who suffered disabilities and was shot in the back.
July 20th - On the 3-Month Anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster - Join us to kick-off a week of actions that support people and the planet over corporate polluters like BP.
The BP blowout disaster began with an explosion that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. This disaster has since devastated livelihoods and the future for people in the Gulf, as well as the ecosystem of fish, birds and other wildlife in this wounded region of the U.S.
July 20th also represents the 41st anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.
Two historic events, one an example of American aspiration and ingenuity, and the other of corporate polluters' undermining our economy, environment and democracy.
By Dave Lindorff
The Obama administration and BP have clearly been conspiring to hide the magnitude of the Gulf oil catastrophe from the public. One way they're doing this is by threatening jail terms and $40,000 fines against those who go to document the fiasco.
That is ridiculous. There is not a conceivable justification for banning the media from fully covering this environmental disaster.
July 8, 2010 Aided by federal and state tax breaks, solar energy will be cheaper than building new nuclear power plants, according to a North Carolina study released today.
Dr. John Blackburn, the emeritus chair of economics and former chancellor of Duke University, said the costs of new nuclear plants continues to rise while electricity generated from solar voltaic panels is only half the cost of 12 years ago. Continued with More Coming Tomorrow
At least as to this short report that a more in-depth report to be publish tomorrow.
By Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service
NEW ORLEANS, Jul 7, 2010 (IPS) - Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard, working in concert with oil giant BP, instituted new restrictions across the U.S. Gulf Coast that prevent the media from coming within 20 metres of booms or response vessels on beaches or water. But the insidiousness of the restrictions runs even deeper.
"You can't come in here," Don, the security guard hired by BP, told IPS at the Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Fort Jackson, Louisiana.
Inside, the International Bird Rescue Research Center, one of the companies hired by BP to clean wildlife, works to wash oiled birds before returning them to the wild.
By James Ridgeway
The way the Washington Post reported the story, Congress has finally pushed through “tougher” off-shore drilling regulations for oil companies.
Two key Senate committees approved legislation before the July 4 holiday that purport to change the way the federal government regulates offshore oil drilling and that penalize companies for oil spills. Both measures passed on bipartisan voice votes. One approved by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee would raise the civil and criminal penalties for a spill, require more safety equipment redundancies, boost the number of federal safety inspectors and demand additional precautions for deep-water drilling. The other, passed by the Environment and Public Works Committee, would remove a $75 million limit on oil company liability and would retroactively remove the liability cap for BP and the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Judge refuses to jail activist who hung banner in Senate building, over objection of US Attorney
US Attorney wanted jail sentence of 40 days, three years suspended sentence
By Allen D. McDuffee | Raw Story
Environmentalist Ted Glick narrowly escaped a jail sentence today for misdemeanor convictions related to hanging banners in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building.
"I'm overwhelmingly surprised," Glick told Raw Story. "I fully expected to go to jail." Read more.
Obama warns corruption erodes faith in government: Hillary Clinton Blasts Steel Vise of Government Crushing Dissent
By Dave Lindorff
Finally, a politician has stood up and boldly denounced the creeping fascism that is gradually crushing democracy and political activism.
Not mincing her words, or trying to justify the jackboot, Secretary of State and 2008 presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton roundly condemned government actions that she said are “closing in the walls” on unions, rights advocates and organizations that press for social change or that shine a light on government shortcomings.
“Democracies don’t fear their own people,” she declared in ringing tones. “They recognize that citizens must be free to come together to advocate and agitate.”
Clinton even got the normally taciturn President Obama to join her, releasing a statement in which he said he was concerned about “the spread of restrictions on civil society, the growing use of law to curb rather than enhance freedom, and wide-spread corruption that is undermining the faith of citizens in their government.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal rejected a bill last Friday ( June 25), that would have required him to make public and preserve all his office’s documents involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
He wrote in his veto letter that, “This bill would allow BP and other parties with potential liability to the state to obtain information retained by any state agency responding to this tragic event.” He is concerned that the access could jeopardize the state’s position in seeking legal remedy for the spill’s damage....
Jindal has said he wants BP to open its claims database to the state to help with payments to those affected by the spill. It is amazing that Jindal is pushing BP to open some of its records when he refuses to open his. Read more.
It's not just BP's oil in the Gulf that threatens world's oceans
By Les Blumenthal | McClatchy Newspapers
A sobering new report warns that the oceans face a "fundamental and irreversible ecological transformation" not seen in millions of years as greenhouse gases and climate change already have affected temperature, acidity, sea and oxygen levels, the food chain and possibly major currents that could alter global weather.
The report, in Science magazine, brings together dozens of studies that collectively paint a dismal picture of deteriorating ocean health.
"This is further evidence we are well on our way to the next great extinction event," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia and a co-author of the report. Read more.
The other companies, however, do not necessarily see their responsibilities the same way BP does. Anadarko has suggested that BP engaged in “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct” — terms that, if proved in arbitration or court, could allow it to slip the bonds of liability under its joint operating agreement with BP. A spokesman for Anadarko, John Christiansen, said he would not comment beyond the company’s previous statement, adding, “We are still assessing our contractual remedies.”
BP has said repeatedly that it will pay for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But its actions show that it does not intend to go it alone.
Newly released documents show that on June 2, BP sent out demands for nearly $400 million to its partners in the well, the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and the Mitsui Oil Exploration Company of Japan, or roughly 40 percent of the $1 billion BP spent in May.
The amounts demanded by BP — $272 million from Anadarko and $111 million from Mitsui — reflect the provisions of each company’s joint operating agreement with BP, which gives a share of liability equal to each company’s share of ownership. Read more.
BP admits failing to use industry risk test at any of its deepwater wells in the US
BP was facing fresh criticism over its approach to safety on Saturday night after critics said it did not use an industry standard process to asses risk ahead of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
By Rowena Mason | Telegraph.co.UK
The procedure, known as a safety case, was developed in Britain after the catastrophic Piper Alpha oil rig explosion of 1988 in which 167 people lost their lives.
Royal Dutch Shell confirmed that it always develops safety cases – a lengthy written document – on each of its thousands of wells in the world, even though they are only mandatory in some countries.
However, BP admitted to The Sunday Telegraph that it does not use safety cases on any of its US wells, including the high-pressure deep water Macondo well from which up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day are still leaking in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is now 75 days since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, killing 11 men and triggering the catastrophic spill.
The US Government wants to make the safety case process a legal requirement for floating offshore drilling – one of five recommendations to change processes in the Gulf. Read more.
His face wracked by age and his voice rasping after decades of chain-smoking coarse tobacco, the former longtime Russian minister of nuclear energy and veteran Soviet physicist Viktor Mikhailov knows just how to fix BP's oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
"A nuclear explosion over the leak," he says, nonchalantly puffing a cigarette as he sits in a conference room at the Institute of Strategic Stability, where he is a director. "I don't know what BP is waiting for, they are wasting their time. Only about 10 kilotons of nuclear explosion capacity and the problem is solved."
A nuclear fix to the leaking well has been touted online and in the occasional newspaper op-ed for weeks now. Washington has repeatedly dismissed the idea, and BP executives say they are not considering an explosion--nuclear or otherwise. But as a series of efforts to plug the 60,000 barrels of oil a day gushing from the sea floor have failed, talk of an extreme solution refuses to die.
For some, blasting the problem seems the most logical answer in the world. Mikhailov has had a distinguished career in the nuclear field, helping to close a Soviet Union program that used nuclear explosions to seal gas leaks. Ordinarily he's an opponent of nuclear blasts, but he says an underwater explosion in the Gulf of Mexico would not be harmful and could cost no more than $10 million. That compares with the $2.35 billion BP has paid out in cleanup and compensation costs so far. "This option is worth the money," he says. Read more.
This is devastating. The working poor of New Orleans must feel like they have a target on their backs. Katrina, the Gulf disaster... now this? Apparently Habitat for Humanity is so worried about legal exposure, they've been stonewalling the residents:
NEW ORLEANS — For more than a year, the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity has insisted there were no defects in the Chinese drywall it used to build nearly 200 houses for victims of Hurricane Katrina, including many in its heavily publicized “Musicians’ Village’’ development in the Upper Ninth Ward.
But a house-by-house canvas of Musicians’ Village by reporters from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and ProPublica found several homeowners who reported serious problems and one who said she had complained to Habitat for more than a year about corrosion and electronics failures believed to be related to her drywall.
The reporters’ interviews with dozens of residents also turned up a second potentially significant problem: Some of the homes that Habitat officials believed had been built with American-made drywall actually contain a Chinese product instead. Read more.
Florida Oil Spill Law points us to a press release issued by Representative Markey questioning BP on the integrity of the BP Gulf Oil Spill well bore and the leaks in the the surrounding sea floor.
The Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee Rep. Ed Markey is now questioning not only if oil and gas are seeping out of the damaged casing into the seabed and surrounding rock, but whether oil and gas may be rushing IN to the casing after BP drilled into oil formations above the target reservoir.
WASHINGTON (June 23, 2010) – In an extensive inquiry letter sent to BP today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) asked the company about the progress and design of the relief wells, which are now being drilled to shut down the still-spewing BP Macondo well. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s briefing by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, where he said alternatives to the relief wells are being considered.
“The relief wells are still our best chance to end this spill,” said Rep. Markey, who chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We need to know that these efforts are being conducted with the utmost of caution and competence, so that this gushing geyser of oil is safely shut off.” Read more.
BP and Government Misleading Public About Safety Of Florida Beaches
By Alexander Higgins | Alexander Higgins' Blog
As a tide of tarballs from the BP Gulf Oil Spill assaults the Florida coast line local Florida residents, businesses and county officials are demanding action from BP, State, and Federal Government officials in charge of monitoring and responding to the spill.
Local residents in Walton County, Florida demanded a Town Hall meeting to discuss the lack of response to the oil assaulting the coast line.
They are also demanding answers to other questions like why local beaches have been declared safe and remain open even though tarballs have been washing ashore for weeks in Florida and the DEP hasn’t tested the waters for hydrocarbons since May 1st.
Ed Berry, a local businessmen, urged the commissioners to make sure the appropriate parties are being held accountable.
In his testimony he said “The children were in the water swimming. They were coming out of the water with tarballs on their face; they were wiping their face and having tar in their eyes and on their mouth.” Read more, watch startling videos.
US House Approves Bill Increasing Compensation for Oil Spill Victims
By Sarah Miley | Jurist via Truthout
The US House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would increase compensation for injured workers and victims' families that have filed claims against BP as a result of the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill [JURIST news archive] in the Gulf of Mexico. The bill marks the first piece of legislation passed by the House in response to the oil spill. The Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability (SPILL) Act would change several laws applying to legal liability on the high seas. The jurisdiction of the 1920 Death on the High Seas Act, which allows families of decedents to bring a civil action in federal court, would be extended from three to 12 miles from the US coastline. The amendment would also allow the families of workers who died in the BP oil rig explosion to file a claim for both compensatory and punitive damages, including pain and suffering and loss of companionship. SPILL also amends the 1920 Jones Act to allow recovery for loss of care, comfort and companionship by a individual injured in the course of employment at sea. Representative John Conyers (D-MI) sponsored the bill, calling the previous legislation "ancient" and "outdated." Some Republicans argued that the bill was too broad because it covers all companies operating on the high seas but did not act to block its passage. Representatives from both parties did agree on at least one issue—that companies directly responsible for the Gulf oil spill should not be allowed to limit damages under outdated laws. The House passed the bill on a voice vote, and was therefore not recorded. The bill will now go before the US Senate. Read more.
It's the largest environmental disaster in U.S. - and possibly world history.
But do you know exactly where it is? Could you point to a map and show where the oil rig sank?
Do you know what the topography of the surrounding area is?
Hint: If you think it's flat seafloor - as implied by BPs drawings - you'd be wrong (the spill site is actually located within a giant canyon system, rather than on flat ground).
This essay will provide some basic orientation as to ground zero for the oil spill. Read more.
The BP Environmental Catastrophe: Living on a Dying Delta
By Dahr Jamail | Global Research
Our first full day in Louisiana finds us venturing south from New Orleans to Houma, a town about an hours drive to the southwest. It is from here we are to take a flight over the marsh to inspect the damage, thus far, caused by the ongoing BP oil catastrophe.
Walking into the office of Butler Aviation Services at the airport, the downtrodden mood, and accompanying anger, are palpable. Of course this is not assisted by the fact that Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Louisiana today.
“What would you tell Joe if he walked into your office,” Robbie Butler, with the flight service of his name, asks me. He then adds, “Hey Joe, lead, follow, or get out of the way. That’s what I’d tell him.”
At approximately the same time Butler is telling me of these three excellent suggestions, Biden is in downtown New Orleans inside the “command center” meeting with more than 100 BP, government and military officials inside a cavernous office dubbed “the bullpen.” In case anyone wasn’t clear about the priorities of the US government, included in Biden’s entourage are BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. It was Jindal who, on June 2nd, sent an urgent letter to President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar regarding his grave concerns at the time of the administration’s decision to place a moratorium on deepwater drilling.
The lead paragraph in that letter made it very clear how Jindal’s concern is not with the ongoing catastrophic loss of ecosystems, or even the fisherpersons of his state, but with placating big oil. His letter begins: Read more.