tagged w/ BP oil spill
With plans for expanded offshore drilling in dispute, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are backing away from a compromise on the climate change bill.
May 10, 2010, at 10:15 AM
The oil slick has reached the Louisiana coast, where dozens of dead sea turtles are washing ashore.
Everyone agrees the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an environmental disaster. But the fall-out doesn't stop there. The devastating spill could also wreck Obama's plans for comprehensive climate change legislation this year. Democrats had previously been willing to accept expanded offshore drilling in exchange for a big push for solar, wind, and other forms of green energy. But now leading Senate Democrats are demanding "tough new regulations for offshore drilling", with green lobbyists pressing for a complete ban. Republicans counter that any curtailment of offshore drilling would be a deal-breaker. Has the BP spill dashed the chances of finding a compromise?
This climate change bill is washed up: How's this for irony, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly.
A disaster that should have made reforming our energy policies "a no-brainer" has actually killed a potential bill off. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not close to having enough votes to push it through, and the parties are further away from consensus than ever. This bill is dead in the water.
"The spill, the Congress, and the climate bill"
It's the environmentalists' fault: The spill was a tragic accident, says Thomas J. Pyle in National Journal, but environmentalists are exploiting it to unravel a deal that would have boosted our domestic oil production. "Oil is a spectacular resource that we are blessed with," and any deal must recognise that. The green lobby's "political witch hunting" is what is killing this bill.
See Pyle's article: "Focus on cleanup, not politics"
Obama can resurrect this bill: "This oil spill is to the environment what the subprime mortgage mess was to the markets," says Thomas Friedman at the New York Times. "A wake up call and an opportunity." The time for compromise is over. If Obama "gets behind [the bill] with all his power, mobilizes the public and rounds up the votes," then the bill can still pass. But it's still unsure how much he wants to "rise to this occasion."
See Friedman's article: "No fooling Mother Nature"With plans for expanded offshore drilling in dispute, lawmakers on both sides of the... more
TALLAHASSEE -- With the Gulf oil spill beginning to reach land, political tensions in Florida rose Thursday as Gov. Charlie Crist said he may call a special legislative session to put a drilling ban on the November ballot.
``It would seem to me, at a minimum, giving the people a voice on this issue would be helpful,'' Crist told the Herald/Times after a meeting in Pensacola with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. ``What I need to do is evaluate if a special session is needed but it is something I am considering.''
The idea of a special session for a constitutional amendment came from Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Democratic lawmakers who say voters should decide whether they want to permanently end efforts to open Florida's near-shore waters to oil and gas exploration.
But the top two proponents of the drilling proposal, incoming legislative leaders Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos, said they don't see the need for a special session. They took an aerial tour of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and said later that they will halt all drilling talk -- for now.
``At the very minimum, we are going to permanently table this issue,'' said Haridopolos, R-Indialantic, the incoming Senate president. ``This is a game-changer. Something like this has never happened in my lifetime. We're not focused on politics, like some people are.''
Haridopolos described the oozing oil spill as ``an orangish, pinkish sheen'' that was ``just sobering. . . . We learned the hard way that whether it be in Florida water or anywhere in the Gulf, it can affect Florida.''
Cannon, the next House speaker, said that although he has spent the last year developing legislation that would open Florida waters to oil and gas exploration three to 10 miles out, he is prepared to put the idea on hold. But he does not think that a special session and constitutional amendment are needed.
``There is no need for a special session because there is an exacting ban in place and it's not going to change,'' Cannon said, referring to the federal moratorium on oil drilling within 125 miles of Florida shores. ``Our resources are better spent addressing the problem.''
Democrats, however, have seized the crisis as a chance to pounce. Standing before pristine beach views in Miami Beach and St. Petersburg, Sen. Dan Gelber, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, and Reps. Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg and Keith Fitzgerald of Sarasota, both Democrats, argued that an amendment is needed to protect Florida from future Legislatures.
``We're proposing to drive a stake through the heart of this particularly bad idea, and end it once and for all,'' said Fitzgerald.
The amendment would impose a permanent ban on exploration, drilling, oil extraction and production under Florida waters, which stretch out 10 miles from shore.
``I believe there are millions of Floridians who, as they watch the horror unfolding in the Gulf, want the state government to say, `Stop it, we don't want it here, we don't want it anymore,' '' Gelber said. ``We shouldn't have to resort to prayers.''
Sink echoed their call: ``If you see it, as I did, all you can think about is what if we had been drilling three miles out and this happened? It would be a disaster of enormous proportions.''
House Deputy Majority Leader Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, chided Democrats for ``looking to score political points off what may be an environmental and economic blow to our state.''
Cannon noted there are other lessons from the spill, including lack of state control over drilling.
``This incident occurred in federal water under a lease that Florida has no say in and has no control over,'' he said, adding Florida should work with the federal government to make sure energy exploration in Cuban and Bahamian waters is safe.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/06/1617377/drill-ban-amendment-now-considered.html#ixzz0nYuiSnQz
Gulf Oil Spill Could Reach East Coast Beaches
Loop current could carry oil around Florida's tip, experts say.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/05/100504-science-environment-gulf-oil-spill-loop-current-florida/TALLAHASSEE -- With the Gulf oil spill beginning to reach land, political tensions in... more
Although every aspect of this tragedy is newsworthy, the use of dispersants by BP has somehow eluded scrutiny. The linked article claims "...more than 315,000 gallons of dispersants since the spill response began." Exactly what are these dispersants and what are their impacts to our health and the environment?
The two in question are Corexit 9500 (known as "dispersant type 1") and Corexit EC9527A (known as “dispersant type 2”). The company that manufactures Corexit, NALCO, has conveniently uploaded factsheets for the two dispersants here (http://bit.ly/99fejp) and here (http://bit.ly/9DOk1C).
According to the fact sheets:
For Corexit 9500:
"Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing. Do not take internally. Avoid breathing vapor. Use with adequate ventilation. In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice. After contact with skin, wash immediately with plenty of soap and water."
"Component substances have a potential to bioconcentrate."
"No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product."
"If this product becomes a waste, it could meet the criteria of a hazardous waste as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act"
"Our hazard evaluation has found this product to be hazardous."
For Corexit EC9527A:
"Eye and skin irritant. Repeated or excessive exposure to butoxyethanol may cause injury to red blood cells (hemolysis), kidney or the liver. Harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed. Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing. Do not take internally. Use with adequate ventilation. Wear suitable protective clothing. Keep container tightly closed. Flush affected area with water."
"Harmful if absorbed through skin"
"Repeated or prolonged exposure may irritate the respiratory tract"
"Excessive exposure may cause central nervous system effects, nausea, vomiting, anesthetic or narcotic effects"
"No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product."
"Based on our hazard characterization, the potential human hazard is: High"
"Our hazard evaluation has found this product to be hazardous"
Does it sound like we should be releasing these chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico by the hundreds of thousands of gallons? Is trading an oil spill for a chemical spill somehow a beneficial trade-off? Not to mention, semantically, why would we want to "disperse" the oil? Don't we want to consolidate it so that it's easier to clean up? Or is this just a cosmetic ploy to make the slick less visible?
The icing on the cake? For the first time ever, BP isn't just dumping these dispersants on the surface of the Gulf, but also injecting it deep underwater near the source of the leak, adding another unknown variable to the equation...
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d407/d348/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpgAlthough every aspect of this tragedy is newsworthy, the use of dispersants by BP has... more
Undaunted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Chevron Canada started drilling today on Canada’s deepest offshore well in the ominously named Orphan Basin, about 270 miles northeast of the coast of Newfoundland. At an ocean depth of 1.5 miles, the Big Oil subsidiary boasts on its website that the project "will set a new record for offshore wells drilled in Canada.”
http://looncanada.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/chevron-green-lights-orphan-basin-drilling/Undaunted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Chevron Canada... more
Investigators delving into the causes of the massive gulf oil spill are examining the role of Houston-based Halliburton, the giant energy services company that was responsible for cementing the deepwater drill hole, as well as the possible failure of equipment leased to British Petroleum.Investigators delving into the causes of the massive gulf oil spill are examining the... more
BP has been at the center of several of the nation's worst oil and gas–related disasters in the last five years.BP has been at the center of several of the nation's worst oil and... more