Posts Tagged ‘oil spill’

Today’s Flickr photo:

Flickr photo from BP America

If you read one thing today…

Dave Barry’s annual year in review is out. How did 2010 measure up? It wasn’t pretty. From the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico to Toyota’s runaway cars, 2010 was a rough year.

On the BP oil spill:

The perfect symbol for the awfulness of 2010 was the BP oil spill, which oozed up from the depths and spread, totally out of control, like some kind of hideous uncontrollable metaphor. The scariest thing about the spill was, nobody in charge seemed to know what to do about it. Time and again, top political leaders personally flew down to the Gulf of Mexico to look at the situation first-hand and hold press availabilities. And yet somehow, despite these efforts, the oil continued to leak. This forced us to face the disturbing truth that even top policy thinkers with postgraduate degrees from Harvard University — Harvard University! — could not stop it…

…the Deepwater Horizon oil spill officially becomes, according to the news media, the worst thing that has ever happened, with environmental experts reporting that tar balls have been sighted on the surface of the moon. Just when all appears to be lost, BP announces that it has stopped the leak, using a 75-ton cap and what a company spokesperson describes as “a truly heroic manatee named Wendell.” Although oil is no longer leaking, much damage has been done, so this important story remains the focus of the nation’s attention for nearly 45 minutes, after which the nation’s attention shifts to Lindsay Lohan.
If you have a better attention span than that, feel free to check out Public Citizen’s work on the BP oil spill from throughout the year.
At the very least, Barry can make you laugh, shake your head, and then hope that 2011 will bring us some better news. Let’s see what the new Congress and the Obama administration have in store for us this year…

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With today’s announcement that a large swath of the Gulf of Mexico will be closed to drilling for the foreseeable future, the White House reverses a bad decision it made six months ago to open a huge, environmentally sensitive area – the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic seaboard – to offshore oil drilling and exploration. A mere three weeks later, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history occurred when BP’s oil rig exploded in the Gulf. 

We applaud the Obama administration for this commonsense decision and its long-awaited recognition of the fact that the BP disaster was indeed a game changer for offshore oil drilling. By maintaining the moratorium on drilling in these areas for at least the next five years, the administration takes its first official step in acknowledging that offshore drilling is too hazardous to be part of the solution to America’s energy challenges.

 The announcement comes just a day before the president-appointed oil spill commission convenes for the final time before releasing its report on Jan. 11. We hope that the commission’s recommendations are consistent with the administration’s reconsideration of U.S. oil drilling policy. Among the recommendations we would like to see is the establishment of Regional Citizens’Advisory Councils – that will give Gulf Coast communities a real voice in the energy industry decisions that affect their lives and homes.

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Today’s Flickr Picture:

Flickr photo by Rebecca_M.

If you read one thing today…

BP is on the offense.

The company is one of more than half a dozen polluters named by Climate Action Network Europe as pouring money into U.S. candidates who oppose climate change legislation. In a new report, CAN Europe says the support “is all the more galling because the same companies argue that additional emissions reductions in Europe cannot be pursued until the United States takes action.”

Last year, BP and the other polluters CAN Europe studied emitted 130 million tones of greenhouse gases – equivalent to the annual emissions of Belgium. Apparently they don’t want to have to reduce it even a little bit, because making money apparently is more important then saving the planet.

Speaking of BP, the new head honcho, Bob Dudley, told attendees today at a conference that the media and competitors rushed to judgment after the initial explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf. They were guilty of “scaremongering,” he complained.

Let’s see now. We had the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. It killed 11 workers, wiped out tourism in coastal areas in five states, coated beaches in five states with oil and did untold damage to marine life in the Gulf.

But in BP’s world, those mean reporters were scaremongering. Unbelievable.

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The Obama administration’s plan to allow oil companies to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is misguided and reckless.

We still have no way to address a catastrophic blowout in deep water, either by stemming the flow of oil or fixing the broken blowout preventer. Without technology in hand to stop millions of gallons of oil from spewing from the bottom of the ocean, we are simply gambling with our environment. We can’t afford to count on luck to keep the oceans, beaches and tourism industries safe.

It is laudable that the administration has reformed safety rules in the wake of the BP disaster, but accidents and mistakes still happen. The BP disaster claimed 11 lives, dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf – doing untold damage – and soiled beaches in five states. We cannot afford to risk a repeat. We have no way of stopping another BP gusher.


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We knew the aftermath of the oil spill in the Gulf was going to be devastating. We knew the environment was compromised and that plants, animals and other wildlife would be affected by the millions and millions of gallons of oil inundating the area.

Now another ailment to add to the list: potential cancer. As reported by Kate Sheppard with Mother Jones, researchers at Oregon State University are finding elevated concentrations of carcinogenic chemicals in the Gulf in increasing amounts each month.

Sheppard writes:

This is a concern not only for those who are living or working in the region, but for anyone who eats Gulf seafood as well. As a recent piece published in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted, “Although vertebrate marine life can clear PAHs from their system, these chemicals accumulate for years in invertebrates.” This of course raises concerns about the long-term safety of seafood—specifically, shrimp, oysters, crabs, and other invertebrates.

Sheppard puts it well when she states, “Still more evidence that, just because you can’t see the oil in the Gulf, that doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

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Five months after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and a little more than a week after the well was officially “killed,” the work is not over. As the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling meets in Washington, D.C., this week, Public Citizen energy organizer Allison Fisher will urge the commission to clarify the government’s role and authority during an oil spill, investigate why BP was allowed to control information around the spill and its cleanup operations, and recommend passage of legislation that specifically responds to the oil spill disaster.

To tell the commission what you’re thinking, click here.

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Sometimes when we can’t think of things to blog about we just turn to the Google and look to see what trouble those crazy guys at BP are up to. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Spencer Swartz in the Wall Street Journal reveals that BP’s supposedly “independent” internal investigation of what caused the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico (that report released this week that put a lot of blame on Transocean and Haliburton) was vetted by BP’s lawyers before it was released to the public. Swartz writes:

The disclosure raises questions about the extent of the independence of BP’s report, which was released Wednesday and assigned much of the blame for the accident to BP’s contractors, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. The U.K. oil giant has said its four-month investigation on the causes of the accident, which killed 11 workers, was carried out without interference from senior management.

Flickr photo by kk+.

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Today marks the start of rallies across the country organized by the oil and gas industry to block Congress from passing much-needed measures to address problems that came to light during the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), which is organizing the events in Texas, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico and Colorado, claims to speak not only for industry workers but for “countless consumers” who are concerned about the proposals.

Don’t be fooled. This is phony grassroots. Americans were aghast at the BP oil disaster and what they learned subsequently: that the government exercises little oversight over offshore oil drilling, that there is a ridiculously low (more…)

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If anything shows the great potential power of the media, it is this video. It is a really horrific look at the damage in the Gulf of Mexico. After you watch the video, share it. It is important that this nation confront the dangers we pose to ourselves and to our land by continuing our addiction to oil.

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Julia Whitty presents an in-depth look at the DeepWater Horizon disaster this week in Mother Jones. It’s a well-written primer on the worst oil spill in history and its tragic impact on the Gulf of Mexico. Whitty explains the complex biology of the Gulf and how BP has done just about everything wrong.  Carl Safina, co-founder of the Blue Ocean Institute, tells Whitty that it’s unconscionable that BP continued to use the dispersant Corexit even after it was told to stop:

. . . untreated oil quickly rises to the surface, where it can be skimmed with relative ease. But treated with dispersant, it becomes a submerged plume, unlikely to ever float to the surface, and destined to migrate through underwater currents to the entire Gulf basin and eventually the North Atlantic. “Oil is toxic to most life,” says Steiner. “And Corexit is toxic to most life. But the most toxic of all is oil that’s been treated with Corexit. Plus, dispersants may well kill the ocean’s first line of defense against oil: the natural microbes that break oil down for other microbes to eat.”

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