tagged w/ BP disaster
An investigation by the Associated Press has revealed that the Gulf of Mexico is packed with abandoned oil wells from a host of companies, including BP. The AP describes the area as "an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades." There are more than 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico, of which 600 belonged to BP.An investigation by the Associated Press has revealed that the Gulf of Mexico is... more
At the start of this month, the United States Coast Guard put new restrictions in place across the Gulf Coast that prevent the public - including news photographers and reporters covering the BP oil gusher - from coming within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the water or on beaches. According to the Unified Command, violation of the "safety zone" rules can result in a civil penalty of up to $40,000, and could be classified as a Class D felony.At the start of this month, the United States Coast Guard put new restrictions in... more
In the 80 plus days since oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon began to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has skimmed or burned about 60 percent of the amount it promised regulators it could remove in a single day.In the 80 plus days since oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon began to gush into... more
BP gas station franchises across the United States are anxious to distance themselves from the British oil multinational as the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe has led to a spike in vandalism, a drop in business and sometimes hate from customers.BP gas station franchises across the United States are anxious to distance themselves... more
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the 120,000 or so trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to people who had lost their homes became a symbol of the government’s inept response to that disaster.
The trailers were discovered to have such high levels of formaldehyde that the government banned them from ever being used for long-term housing again.
But the New York Times reports that some of those trailers are now getting a second life amid the latest disaster to hit the Gulf states— as living quarters for workers involved with the cleanup of BP’s oil spill.In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the 120,000 or so trailers provided by the Federal... more
A report released last week by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concluded: “The lack of equipment at the scene of the spill is shocking, and appears to reflect what some describe as a strategy of cleaning up oil once it comes ashore versus containing the spill and cleaning it up in the ocean.”A report released last week by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government... more
New Orleans chef Susan Spicer has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of local restaurant owners against BP for damages related to the oil spill. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks with Spicer and famed chef Jose Andres about the lasting effects on restaurants and the future of the Gulf Coast seafood industry.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128299804New Orleans chef Susan Spicer has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of local... more
The federal judge who presided over a challenge to the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling simultaneously owned stock in an oil company affected by the ban, according to a recently released financial disclosure statement.The federal judge who presided over a challenge to the Obama administration's... more
Conservationists and wildlife experts have accused BP of indiscriminately burning alive endangered sea turtles and other marine creatures in 500 sq mile "burn fields", as it tries to dispose of oil from its leak in the Gulf of Mexico.Conservationists and wildlife experts have accused BP of indiscriminately burning... more
Rachel Maddow explains why internet rumors that oil is evaporating into rain clouds and showering the land are false.Rachel Maddow explains why internet rumors that oil is evaporating into rain clouds... more
Anadarko blames Gulf oil disaster on 'reckless' BP
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 18, 2010 7:58 p.m. EDT
(CNN) -- The chief of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation said Friday that the oil spill in the Gulf was the "the direct result of BP's reckless decisions and actions" and, as such, BP should continue to pay all legitimate claims.
BP was the company's partner in the drilling of the well that has been spewing oil and gas into the gulf since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 men.
Anadarko Chairman and CEO Jim Hackett added in a statement that "BP's behavior and actions likely represent gross negligence or willful misconduct and thus affect the obligations of the parties under the operating agreement."
The statement said that the joint operating agreement provides that BP is responsible to its co-owners for damages caused by its gross negligence or willful misconduct.
"We recognize that ultimately we have obligations under federal law related to the oil spill, but will look to BP to continue to pay all legitimate claims as they have repeatedly stated that they will do," Hackett said.
In response, BP said it "strongly disagrees with these allegations" and reiterated its pledge to clean up the Gulf and pay all legitimate claims related to the spill.
"These allegations will neither distract the company's focus on stopping the leak nor alter our commitment to restore the Gulf coast," said BP's Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward. "Other parties besides BP may be responsible for costs and liabilities arising from the oil spill, and we expect those parties to live up to their obligations. But how the costs and liabilities are eventually allocated between various parties will not affect our unwavering pledge to step forward in the first instance to clean up the spill and pay all legitimate claims in an efficient and fair manner."Anadarko blames Gulf oil disaster on 'reckless' BP
By the CNN Wire Staff... more
BP is being accused of trying to manipulate the search results on sites like Google and Yahoo, in an attempt to improve its image after oil began gushing from its damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico.BP is being accused of trying to manipulate the search results on sites like Google... more
BP's plan to protect workers fighting the massive oil spill in the Gulf, which the Coast Guard approved on May 25, exposes them to higher levels of toxic chemicals than generally accepted practices permit.BP's plan to protect workers fighting the massive oil spill in the Gulf, which... more
Federal regulators have approved the first new Gulf of Mexico oil well since President Barack Obama lifted a brief ban on drilling in shallow water, even while deepwater projects remain frozen after the massive BP spill.Federal regulators have approved the first new Gulf of Mexico oil well since President... more
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 16, 2010 9:55 a.m. EDT
Photo: The nesting grounds of brown pelicans and other birds have been affected, the Plaquemines Parish president says.
Venice, Louisiana (CNN) -- Crews cleaning up the oil in one Louisiana parish have trampled the nests and eggs of birds including the brown pelican, which came off the endangered species list last year, the head of the parish said Wednesday.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said the parish doesn't want to turn away contractors, but he called for more care when crews work in the sensitive wetlands.
He said officials recently found broken eggs and crushed chicks on Queen Bess Island, near Grand Isle.
Plastic bags containing snare boom were "recklessly placed" around the island without consideration for wildlife. In one picture released by the parish, a plastic bag was on top of a nest containing broken speckled eggs.
Dozens of people, including experienced veterinarians, have been going to the area from all over the country to help with the affected wildlife, the parish said.
Nungesser met with the Humane Society of the United States and asked it to work with contractors who are cleaning the birds to come up with a better way to enlist the help of volunteers, the parish said.
"We want to improve our comfort level of knowing someone is out there looking for these birds and other animals -- doing all they can to save them," Nungesser said on the parish website.
"The people BP sent out to clean up oil trampled the nesting grounds of brown pelicans and other birds," he said. "Pelicans just came off the endangered species list in November of last year. They already have the oil affecting their population during their reproduction time, now we have the so-called clean up crews stomping eggs.
"The lack of urgency and general disregard for Louisiana's wetlands and wildlife is enough to make you sick," he said.By the CNN Wire Staff
June 16, 2010 9:55 a.m. EDT
Photo: The nesting grounds of... more
Brown pelican long a symbol of survival
By Wayne Drash, CNN
June 15, 2010 11:51 a.m. EDT
Photo: Oiled pelicans await treatment at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Buras, Louisiana.
(CNN) -- Long before the brown pelican came to symbolize the tragedy of the Gulf oil spill, the giant bird stood for something much greater: survival against all odds.
The state bird of Louisiana was nearly wiped out by pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s. Yet after decades of conservation efforts, the brown pelican just last year was removed from the endangered species list.
"At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened, we once in a while have an opportunity to celebrate an amazing success story," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declared on November 11. "Today is such a day. The brown pelican is back."
Now, eight months later, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stands on the deck of a boat near Pelican Island off the Louisiana coast. He's surveying efforts to protect the state's wetlands. He's ordered the National Guard to begin building barriers in the ocean to try to stop the oil from reaching shore.
Yet Jindal pauses to talk about the brown pelican. The recent images of pelicans, coated in BP oil like grotesque statues, have taken on the symbolism of the spill. Louisiana has long been known as the "Pelican State," with the bird gracing the state flag.
"Here's what's really sad," Jindal said. "For every one of those mother adult pelicans you're saving, there are many more back there that you can't get to. And for every mother pelican you're saving, there may be a nest, there may be eggs that can't be saved.
"And that's the tragedy in this: That for every animal we see, what's this oil doing to their young? What's this oil doing to their life cycles?"
The recovery of the pelicans, before the spill, was largely attributed to the ban of the toxic chemical DDT in 1972. The pesticide traveled down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Three species were most affected: the brown pelican, the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. A component of DDT accumulated in each of those birds and, as a result, it affected the strength of the eggs they laid.
"The result was that you had thinner egg shells in the nest. During incubation, all the species had the tendency to break the eggs more easily," said Dr. Doug Inkey, a senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation. "This resulted in a huge population decline in all three species."
The bald eagle, peregrine falcon and brown pelican were all listed on the endangered species list. In the case of the brown pelican, wildlife officials in Louisiana and Florida teamed up to help save the bird over a 13-year period. A total of 1,276 young pelicans were captured in Florida and then released at three sites in southeastern Louisiana, according to the Interior Department.
"When their populations were low, we brought in those brown pelicans from Florida," Jindal said. "Now, when we capture them oiled, clean them up and rehabilitate them, we have to release them back in Florida to get away from this oil."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has deployed more than 450 people across the Gulf to respond to the nation's worst environmental disaster. As of Monday, the oil threatened 36 National Wildlife Refuges. Nearly 1,200 birds have been saved, including 728 in Louisiana.
Ron Britton of the Fish and Wildlife Service gave a CNN crew a tour of the marsh islands near Grand Isle, Louisiana, a prime breeding ground where oiled pelicans have been spotted.
"What you're trying to do is get in and get those as quick as you can," Britton told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "But the ones you're missing have less chance each night you can't get back. And the ones we don't get back, we're pretty sure are going somewhere and not surviving."
Oil affects pelicans in various ways. The birds' feathers interlock in a way that helps regulate cooling and, when oil soaks their feathers, the birds lose the ability to do that, biologists say.
"Brown pelicans dive into the water for fish. As they break the water, that's one of the ways they contact the oil. Then, once it's on their feathers, the birds preen daily," said Jennifer Coulson, president of the Orleans Audubon Society.
"When they're preening, they ingest all the BP oil. And so, that's another way they get sick and die."
Inkey of the National Wildlife Federation added, "When they get back to their nests, then they rub some of the oil from their chests to their eggs -- and oil on eggs is not a good mix. It's usually deadly for the developing embryo."
Inkey recently visited a brown pelican-nesting habitat along the Louisiana coast. Hundreds of the birds lived together in nests about 6 feet high in mangrove trees along the shore. There were two layers of protective booms surrounding the island that were "close to being worthless."
"We saw more oil inside the booms than we saw outside the booms," he said. "It was surrounded by a bathtub ring of oil."
His first thought: What's going to happen to the pelicans this year?
What's this oil doing to their young? What's this oil doing to their life cycles?
--Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
"This is the worst-case scenario: It's during breeding season," he said. "We're likely to lose a whole generation of young of many different species. ... It only takes once for a bird to really get messed up in oil for it to have an effect on the nesting success."
He and other biologists said it's far too early to know the full effect of the oil spill on the larger population of brown pelicans -- and whether the bird would ever make it back to the endangered species list. "It would be premature to suggest that," Inkey said.
Biologists said the pelican -- known for its long beak with a hooked tip and its 6-foot wingspan -- is better equipped to survive than smaller birds that ingest oil in greater proportion to their size. In addition, there are five species of sea turtles in the Gulf, and all are endangered or threatened.
"A sea turtle hatchling does not stand a chance," Inkey said.
Regardless, it's a dire situation for all types of wildlife in the region, biologists said.
Yet it was the images of the oil-soaked pelicans that brought home the scope of the disaster -- and its potential devastating consequences. The birds survived DDT, the constant erosion of Louisiana wetlands and Hurricane Katrina.
Inkey already had returned from his visit when the photos first appeared. "I got sick in my stomach," he said. "I had seen oiled pelicans, but not like that. The ones I saw were simply gray. These were just heartbreaking."
He paused. "How do you explain a picture like that to young children and get them to understand that this is something, although unintentional, that man caused?"
CNN's Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd contributed to this report.Brown pelican long a symbol of survival
By Wayne Drash, CNN
June 15, 2010 11:51 a.m.... more
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 15, 2010 5:40 p.m. EDT
President Obama addresses the nation live Tuesday night at 8 ET with the latest on the BP oil disaster. Watch it live on CNN, CNN.com/Live and the CNN iPhone app.
(CNN) -- Government officials Tuesday increased the estimate of oil flowing into the Gulf to between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels (1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons) per day, up to 50 percent more than previously estimated.
The government's previous estimate, issued last week, was 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day. The change was "based on updated information and scientific assessments," and was reached by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Chair of the National Incident Command's Flow Rate Technical Group Marcia McNutt, the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center said.
"The improved estimate is based on more and better data that is now available and that helps increase the scientific confidence in the accuracy of the estimate," it said.
Lawmakers hammered oil companies Tuesday as President Obama toured the Florida coast to reassure Americans that the government had firm command over the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
At Pensacola Naval Air Station, Obama declared war on the massive slick, as though it were an enemy lurking offshore.
"This is an unprecedented environmental disaster," Obama told a crowd of soldiers, Marines and sailors. "This is an assault in our nation's shore, and we're going to fight back with everything we've got."
The tough talk on soft sand preceded Obama's first-ever national address from the Oval Office, slated for Tuesday night. In the symbolically important speech, Obama will lay out a game plan for dealing with the worst oil spill in U.S. history, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNN.
Gibbs said Obama will outline containment and cleanup plans and address America's need to reduce dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels.
Americans, frustrated with the incessant undersea gusher and also what some perceive as a lack of White House leadership, are sure to be listening, especially to what the president has to say regarding claims. The process has become a sore subject for those whose livelihoods have been stung by sheets of oil drifting in the Gulf and washing ashore.
Health threats from the Gulf oil disaster could last for years, and officials lack knowledge on how long chemicals in the spilled oil and dispersants will remain toxic, a health expert told a Senate committee Tuesday.
A Food and Drug Administration official told a Senate committee Tuesday that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico available to consumers in stores and restaurants is safe. "We are confident that Gulf of Mexico seafood that is in the market today is safe to eat," said Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner of the FDA.
Also Tuesday, BP said it suspended the operation to siphon oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico after a fire aboard a drill ship Tuesday morning.
Siphoning resumed Tuesday afternoon, BP said.
The fire was likely caused by a lightning strike, and siphoning was suspended as a precaution, BP said. There were no reported injuries.
The spill now dwarfs the 11 million gallons that were dumped into Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989 when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, and oil in varying amounts and consistencies has hit the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
BP has been siphoning oil from a containment cap placed on the ruptured well but had to suspend oil collection Tuesday after a fire aboard the drilling ship Discover Enterprise.
A statement from the company attributed the fire to lightning. It said operations would restart Tuesday afternoon.
Obama is scheduled to meet with top BP officials in a highly anticipated meeting Wednesday. Speedy claims processing will be high on the agenda.
David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, has said a new claims plan would call for an independent third party to handle the process, and a White House spokesman said the administration is confident that it has the legal authority to force BP to set up an escrow account for the purpose of paying damages.
BP announced Tuesday that it accelerated commercial large-loss claims and has approved 337 checks for $16 million to businesses that have filed claims in excess of $5,000. Initial payments began over the weekend and will be completed this week, the British energy giant said.
In Washington, senior Democrats launched a blistering attack on oil companies at a key House subcommittee hearing.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said that four of the five largest oil firms have produced disaster response plans that discuss how to protect walruses, even though there are no walruses in the Gulf.
These are "cookie-cutter plans" that, in reality, are little more than "just paper exercises," he said.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, blasted the heads of ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell Oil for producing disaster response plans that are "virtually identical."
They all tout "ineffective identical equipment" and often use "the exact same words" in their plans, he said. They have spent "zero time and money" in developing adequate response blueprints, he asserted.
Meanwhile Tuesday, federal authorities announced guidelines to speed up maritime waivers that would allow more foreign ships -- in addition to the 15 already in the Gulf of Mexico -- to assist in oil cleanup efforts.
"Should any waivers be needed, we are prepared to process them as quickly as possible to allow vital spill response activities being undertaken by foreign-flagged vessels to continue without delay," said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's response manager.
The Jones Act, which regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters, requires that goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships that have been constructed in the United States and are American-owned. The law was intended to support the U.S. merchant marine industry but now limits foreign vessels from participating in the oil response.
Allen also announced Tuesday the establishment of three positions for deputy incident commanders, who will help oversee operations from the coast. The three will join a response team that already involves roughly 27,000 people.
CNN's Dana Bash, Anderson Cooper and Ed Henry contributed to this report.
http://www.evworld.com/press/greenpeace_northerngannet_bp.jpgBy the CNN Wire Staff
June 15, 2010 5:40 p.m. EDT
President Obama addresses the... more
(CNN) -- The BP oil spill has brought into the public's eye the tragedy of oiled wildlife. The pictures last week of pelicans completely covered in oil were horrific and rightly produced an outcry of rage from the public.
Should these birds, and other oiled wildlife, be saved? Much like the struggle to contain the oil itself, there are no quick fixes or easy answers.
First, we need to emphasize that rescue and rehabilitation of oiled wildlife must be performed by trained wildlife professionals and volunteers. Without proper training, would-be rescuers can inadvertently harm or further stress oiled wildlife or be harmed themselves, either by struggling animals or the oil itself. Rescuers must go through a weeklong training on the handling of hazardous materials as well as proper wildlife rescue techniques.(CNN) -- The BP oil spill has brought into the public's eye the tragedy of oiled... more
2 years ago
The Associated Press analyzed judicial financial disclosure reports shows and discovered that more than half of the federal judges in districts where the bulk of Gulf oil spill-related lawsuits are pending have financial connections to the oil and gas industry, complicating the task of finding judges without conflicts to hear the cases.The Associated Press analyzed judicial financial disclosure reports shows and... more
As BP made and failed in its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, news photographers have complained that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials—working with BP—who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible.As BP made and failed in its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, news... more