Tag Archives | Gulf Coast Oil Spill

And So It Begins: Mysterious Illnesses Appearing Along the Gulf Coast

Map of the northern Gulf of Mexico showing the nearly 4,000 active oil and gas platforms.. Source: NOAA

Map of the northern Gulf of Mexico showing the nearly 4,000 active oil and gas platforms.. Source: NOAA

Dahr Jamail reports for Al Jazeera:

Injected with at least 4.9 million barrels of oil during the BP oil disaster of last summer, the Gulf has suffered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of widely banned toxic dispersants, which according to chemist Bob Naman, create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. And dispersed, weathered oil continues to flow ashore daily.

Naman, who works at the Analytical Chemical Testing Lab in Mobile, Alabama, has been carrying out studies to search for the chemical markers of the dispersants BP used to both sink and break up its oil.

According to Naman, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from this toxic mix are making people sick. PAHs contain compounds that have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic.

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White House ‘Muzzled Own Scientists Over Oil Spill Fears’

Oil Spill PicThe Independent reported on Oct. 8:

The White House was facing allegations yesterday that it had muzzled its own scientists in the early days and weeks of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill so that the public would be ignorant of the potential scale of the environmental disaster that was unfolding.

A paper written for the National Commission established by President Barack Obama to investigate what happened suggests that officials at the White House stood in the way of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) when they were preparing to release details of a worst-case scenario for the blow-out including a top-end estimate of the rate of flow of oil into the sea.

In a second report also written for the Commission, investigators say that “for the first 10 days of the spill, it appears that a sense of over-optimism affected responders”.

As the spill worsened BP came under wide criticism for allegedly attempting to downplay the scale of the leak.

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How the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill Mirrors the 2008 Financial Crisis

Interesting article from Neil King Jr. and Keith Johnson in the Wall Street Journal:

Congress was still convulsed over the Exxon-Valdez oil spill on Dec. 6, 1989, when Shell Oil flashed an announcement that would revolutionize American energy policy: The Anglo-Dutch giant had hit oil — a lot of oil — nearly 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

OilandMoney

The bulletin on the Auger Field discovery marked the start of a rush into the Gulf’s deep waters. At the time it looked as if the Gulf might be a magic-bullet solution to America’s energy and national-security needs.

It made nearly everyone giddy. Politicians in both parties offered incentives to boost offshore production. Regulators — especially under President Bill Clinton — eased rules to support the boom. And oil companies, deploying ever more complex drilling technology, barreled ahead, leaving four administrations scrambling to keep pace.

While environmentalists fought fiercely to prevent offshore oil drilling in places like California—where crude was still being found in shallow waters — they decided to tolerate drilling in the Gulf.

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Obama White House Blocked Worst-Case Gulf Coast Oil Spill Figures

Obama NopeDina Cappiello writes on the AP via Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON — The White House blocked efforts by federal scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could have been, according to a panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission’s staff reveals that in late April or early May the White House budget office denied a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make public the worst-case discharge from the blown-out well. The Unified Command — the government team in charge of the spill response — also was discussing the possibility of making the numbers public, the report says, citing interviews with government officials.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Jerry Miller, head of the White House science office’s ocean subcommittee, told The Associated Press in an interview at a St.

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Building Sandcastles Illegal On Florida Beaches

Put your plastic spade and bucket away if you're heading to the beach in Florida. No digging means no sandcastle building. The Raw Story reports:
Ever go to the beach and not think of slapping together a sand castle? And who doesn't enjoy the feeling of wet, warm sand between her toes? According to federal authorities who recently intercepted an oil-hunting reporter on a Florida beach, those activities have been deemed "illegal." The officers' legal revelation (which is not actually true) came as something of a surprise to Dan Thomas, reporter for WEAR ABC 3 in Pensacola, Florida, who was visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore for a special report.
Continues at The Raw Story ...
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How BP Could Trigger Another Economic Meltdown

bpMatt Taibbi says the worst may yet be to come from BP’s unacceptable antics in the Gulf, in Rolling Stone:

It was sickening enough when British oil giant BP set new standards for corporate scumbaggery in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, turning the Gulf of Mexico into its own personal toilet and imperiling entire species of wildlife in an attempt to save a few nickels. But with the Gulf geyser finally capped, there’s still a way for BP to cause an even more unthinkable disaster: an AIG-style, derivative-fueled financial shitstorm. If the company decides to declare bankruptcy — a very real possibility with these bastards — it could trigger chaos in our casino system of finance, underscoring the insane levels of leverage and systemic risk we have left in place, even after the global economic crash of 2008.

The first serious whiff of trouble came on June 15th, when Barack Obama manned up and went on national TV to tell the nation that he wasn’t going to let BP worm its way out of this one.

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BP Warns Congress About Ban On Offshore Drilling

BP’s executive vice president, David Nagel, stated “If we are unable to keep those fields going, that is going to have a substantial impact on our cash flow.” BP is trying to lift their ban on offshore drilling in order to maintain enough money to clean up the spill AND donate to charity programs surrounding the April explosion. The New York Times reports”

BP is warning Congress that if lawmakers pass legislation that bars the company from getting new offshore drilling permits, it may not have the money to pay for all the damages caused by its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company says a ban would also imperil the ambitious Gulf Coast restoration efforts that officials want the company to voluntarily support.

BP executives insist that they have not backed away from their commitment to the White House to set aside $20 billion in an escrow fund over the next four years to pay damage claims and government penalties stemming from the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

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Is Gulf of Mexico Seafood Safe, As Government Claims?

Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

I’m certainly not planning on eating any Gulf shrimp, that’s for sure, despite the assurances of various government agencies that Gulf seafood is safe. Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey is skeptical too, and has started hearings to question the government scientists, as reported by NPR:

…He also questioned officials from NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration about whether seafood being caught in the Gulf now is safe to eat. The government has opened some 31,000 square miles of waters to fishing that were closed immediately after the oil from the Deepwater Horizon well started gushing.

NOAA’s Lehr says every shrimp, crab and other fish tested by the government so far has been found to be safe.

“To date every seafood sample from reopened waters or outside of the closed area has passed sentry and chemical testing for contamination of oil dispersant,” he said.

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Matt Simmons “Apparently” Drowned At His Home Sunday Night

[Notice the word "apparently" in the title] Matt Simmons “apparently” drowned at his home Sunday night

NORTH HAVEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The Knox County Sheriff's Department says Matthew Simmons, the founder of the Ocean Energy Institute, drowned at his house on North Haven late Sunday night.

Simmons was a leading investment banker for the energy industry and had recently retired to work full time on the new Ocean Energy Institute.

He was a leading proponent of offshore wind power and had started raising money to develop and build offshore turbines.

The news release fails to mention Simmons was the leading proponent of sending a small nuclear bomb down the BP leaking well
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