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ScienceDaily (Aug. 12, 2010) — According to 16 social science researchers from across the country, a renewed federal effort to fix the nation's stalled nuclear waste program is focusing so much on technological issues that it fails to address the public mistrust hampering storage and disposal efforts.
Writing in the latest issue of the journal Science, experts including Sharon M. Friedman of Lehigh University say that President Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future is not focusing enough on the social and political acceptability of possible solutions. "While scientific and technical analyses are essential, they will not and arguably should not carry the day unless they address, substantively and procedurally, the issues that concern the public," the experts write.
By Dave Lindorff
Prof. Bob Bea, of UC Berkeley, a civil engineer with years of expertise in marine oil drilling, says he is concerned that during the current crisis of BP’s blown-out well deep under the Gulf of Mexico, government scientists may not be getting all the information they need from the secretive oil company in order to make intelligent decisions about shutting down the gusher.
“Certainly we independent investigators are not getting information about the condition of the well or about the leaks in the surrounding sea floor,” says Prof. Bea, who is a member of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group at UC Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, where he is co-director, “And I don’t think the expert investigators at the Department of Energy are getting it either.”
Mike Papantonio, host of Ring of Fire Radio, joined us once again on GRITtv to tell us about the BP Damage Fund -- will it really compensate victims of the oil spill?
ScienceDaily (July 21, 2010) — U.S. military operations to protect oil imports coming from the Middle East are creating larger amounts of greenhouse gas emissions than once thought, new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows.
Regulators do not currently attribute these emissions to U.S. gasoline use -- but they should, the authors say.
UNL researchers Adam Liska and Richard Perrin estimate that emissions of heat-trapping gases resulting from military protection of supertankers in the Persian Gulf amount to 34.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year. In addition, the war in Iraq releases another 43.3 million metric tons of CO2 annually.
Jacquelyn Martin / The Associated PressPink shrimp, right, and other specimens collected from the Gulf of Mexico are seen at the Smithsonian Museum Support Center in Suitland, Md. on Tuesday. The museum complex holds a complete set of the invertebrate species that live in the Gulf of Mexico.
July 21, 2010 Scientists are beginning to determine the full impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and help guide its recovery. And they will need to know about all the creatures that lived in the water before the oil began gushing -- from the commercial shrimp to rarely seen giant squid and microorganisms.
From Senator Bernie Sanders:
WASHINGTON, July 21 – The Senate energy committee today approved, 13 to 10, a bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to encourage the installation over 10 years of 10 million solar systems in American homes and businesses.
As part of a broader effort to transform the energy system in the United States, the measure would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It would authorize $250 million for competitive grants in 2012 and additional funding through 2021.
Along with existing incentives, the program could meet and exceed the goal of installing 10 million solar systems over a 10-year period, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The legislation would help finance the installation of up to 40,000 megawatts of new solar energy. In the process, the cost of generating solar power would fall and the United States would become the world’s leading market for electricity generated from the sun.
July 21, 2010 "Wings and a Prayer," a mythical journey of Louisiana's endangered state bird, the brown pelican, is told in art and music. Continued
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.
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 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.
But don't buy into the presidentialism. Take your legislative demands to the legislative branch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Move over Hawaii -- there's a new vacation destination forming in the Pacific, and its name is "Recycled Island."
A Netherlands-based architecture company, WHIM, plans to contstruct the island from 97 million pounds of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean, turning it into a fully sustainable island with enough space for half a million inhabitants, according to WHIM's Ramon Knoester.
Although plastic, the island will be green in both appearance and environmental impact. Knoester said he plans to recycle the plastic and construct the island on site, sparing the environment of long shipments across the ocean. The island will also be powered by wave and solar energy, and residents will be able to use seaweed as bio fuel and fertilizer. Read more.
Allegations Emerge BP Is Dumping Sand To Cover Oil
By Allison Kilkenny | Huffington Post
Yesterday, I contacted a friend of mine, C.S. Muncy, who is a photojournalist currently raising all kinds of hell down in southern Louisiana.
C.S.'s original goal was to gain access to some of the areas being guarded by BP contractors and deemed "off limits" to reporters, but yesterday he, along with Save Our Shores's Judson Parker, made an unexpected discovery.
They believe that BP has been dumping sand on the beaches in order to cover up oil. You can view some video Judson shot of the beach over here. Read more.