Archive for June, 2010

News Summary of Gulf Coast Disaster

June 30, 2010

This afternoon’s summary:
From the good folks at NRDC. This summary is the best one I have seen.

Vice President Joe Biden was on the Gulf coast Tuesday for his first visit since the oil spill occurred on April 20. He spent time at the command center in New Orleans and talking with local people about the impact of the oil spill. But he may not have seen the most devastating effects of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The coastline is being destroyed. New reports every day show the expanding Gulf spill hitting the beaches and marine and wildlife. Fishermen are being idled and the spill is hurting the restaurant industry. BP and the Coast Guard sent oil-scooping skimming ships in the Gulf of Mexico back to shore Tuesday because nasty weather from Tropical Storm Alex churned up rough seas and powerful winds. BP has met its July 1 deadline to pay the U.S. government for the initial costs of responding to the Gulf oil spill, forking over $71 million. The story is still expanding and there is no end game yet.

Quotable quote:
We believe we have compromised significantly, and we’re prepared to compromise further – Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) on proposed climate change legislation after a meeting with President Obama.

National News

MSNBC: Spill skimmers sent back to shore due to storm

Tropical storm Alex is blowing over the Gulf Tuesday with 25 mph winds and waves up to 12 feet and that has sent the oil skimmers back to shore and disrupted cleanup efforts along the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

Read more

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37998056/ns/disaster_in_the_gulf/

Times Picayune: Biden makes an oil spill visit
Vice President Joe Biden arrived in New Orleans Tuesday morning ahead of the worst of the bad weather forecast to meet with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Incident Commander Thad Allen.

Read more from Paul Rioux

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/06/vice_president_biden_arrives_i.html

Also see

CNN:Vice President to assess oil spill efforts in Gulf area

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/29/gulf.oil.disaster/index.html?hpt=T2

CBS/AP: Alex looms over Gulf spill but may actually help

The tropical storm plowing across the Gulf of Mexico is sending oil skimmers back to port and make containment booms useless, even from far away. But the rough weather also might give nature a hand in breaking down crude from the massive oil spill and the winds could help the oil evaporate faster.

Read more

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/29/national/main6629464.shtml?tag=stack

ABC News: Tropical Storm Alex could slow cleanup

With so much unknown yet about Tropical Storm Alex, the big worry is that the damage it could cause is to push the oil further into the delicate coastal marshlands near Louisiana and Mississippi.

Read more from Ray Sanchez

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/tropical-storm-disrupt-bp-oil-spill-disaster-cleanup/story?id=11041573

Also see

AP: Hurricane 2010: Storm could slow cleanup or help with spill

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/29/gulf-oil-spill-alex-could_n_628856.html

Propublica: Scientists predict larger dead zones in Gulf this year

Federally-funded scientists predicted a “larger than average” dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico this year, but said it’s unclear what the oil spill’s effects on the dead zone will be. Dead zones are underwater areas where oxygen levels are so depleted that they’re inhospitable to most marine life

Read more from Marian Wang
http://www.propublica

Propublica: Gulf cleanup, foreign assistance and Jones Act confusion

Propublica answers readers’ questions about the Jones Act and whether it is blocking foreign assistance in the cleanup of the Gulf oil spill. So far it is not. A few foreign vessels are helping, because the spill zone falls three miles outside state waters, but most countries have been offering to sell supplies, not help cleanup for free.

Read more

http://www.propublica.org/

Huffington Post: A giant supertanker arrives to help out
It’s a case of sending in the Calvary, A massive, newly-retooled supertanker that its owner claims could skim millions of gallons of oily water a day is now in the Gulf of Mexico. The 10-story tall, 372-yard long Taiwanese-owned behemoth may be the answer to all the smaller skimmers now sent back to port because of the weather in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more by Dan Froomkin:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/oil-spill-response

Politics

Politico: Democrats, Obama willing to scale back energy, climate change bill

During a White House meeting Tuesday with President Obama and skeptical Republicans, key Senate Democrats offered to scale back their ambitious plans to cap greenhouse gases across multiple sectors of the economy. Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman told reporters after the 90-minute West Wing meeting that Obama held firm in his calls for a price on greenhouse gases. But they said the president acknowledged that he could agree to a more limited climate and energy bill than the senators had previously drafted.

Read more from Darren Samuelson

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/39165.html

Business

Bloomberg: Gulf oil spill may be damaging U.S. consumer confidence
The worst oil spill in U.S. history may have played a role in the unexpectedly large drop in consumer confidence last month, according to John Ryding chief economist at RDQ Economics LLC in New York.

Read more from Carlos Torres

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-29/gulf-oil-spill-may-be-damaging-u-s-consumer-confidence-chart-of-the-day.html

Regional

CNN: As oil creeps into Mississippi, frustration flows from coastal mayor

Connie Moran, mayor of Ocean Springs, Miss., is mad at both federal and state officials. They promised skimmers and vessels to meet the oil at the pass because they could see it coming toward the coast. So far – no boats. She says Gov. Haley Barbour should have shown “a greater sense of urgency” before the oil arrived on the Mississippi coast.

Read more from Ethan Harp

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/28/mississippi.oil.mayor/index.html

Propublica: Relief wells getting close, but could take a few tries

Even though the effort to drill a relief well is within 20 feet of the rupture well in the Gulf, it could take several attempts to hit the mark. In fact, relief wells rarely work on the first try, industry experts say.

Read more

http://www.propublica.org/

CNN: Gulf Coast beaches update

A roundup on the status of beaches along the Gulf coast states.

Read more

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/06/29/oil.spill.beaches/index.html

Business

AP: BP meeting deadline for payments to government for oil spill response

BP has met its July 1 deadline to pay the federal government for the initial costs of responding to the Gulf oil spill–BP paid two bills totaling about $71 million earlier this month. The administration says the oil company is still reviewing a third bill for $51.4 million.

Read more
http://www.startribune.com/politics/97395509.html

MSN: Forensic accountant crucial in Gulf oil spill

The lawyers had already landed. Now here come the accountants, especially forensic accountants who are going to have to untangle the money and liability mess about who owes what to whom as the spill and the damage continue.

Read more

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/news/article.aspx?feed=PR&Date=20100629&ID=11651185

ABC News: BP Station owners to get financial relief

BP has stepped up with limited aid to help gas station owners hardest hit by the consumer boycotts. Distributors will get a break on prices, and, in turn, will have discretion to give discounts to individual station owners.

Read more

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/bp-oil-spill-backlash-worsens-oil-company-promises/story?id=11037675

Regional

AOL News: Who decides how safe is safe?

This is new territory. It is very unclear who should decide if the seafood is safe, and how it is tested. Everyone has an agenda. BP wants to limit liability. The fishing industry wants to go about its business. The regulators are unclear. After a two-week investigation, AOL tells the buyer to beware.

Read more from Andrew Schneider

http://www.aolnews.com/gulf-oil-spill/article/gulf-seafood-after-the-oil-spill-who-decides-how-safe-is-safe/19534995

Feature

Los Angeles Times: Tough-talking Parish president has become face of frustration for Gulf Oil Spill

Everybody in America knows Billy Nungesser now. The president of Plaquemines Parish has been wall-to-wall on the news media as the one true regular-guy voice of the victims in this disaster. For example: “When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration missed the mark predicting where oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill would go, he didn’t hide his anger. The agency “should know when a snail farts with all the crap they have in Washington,” he bellowed.

Read more from Holbrooke Mohr

http://www.latimes.com/business/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-us-oil-spill-voice-of-the-coast,0,7665703.story

Editorial

Arizona Republic: ASU experts say oil spill shows need for new approaches
The problem is that science works slowly, so even if everyone says an oil spill like the one in the Gulf should never happen again, that doesn’t help, according to Arizona State cosmologist Professor Lawrence Krauss. The dollars have to go into research now before another disaster.

Read more from Derek Quizon

http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/2010/06/22/20100622asu-tempe-oil-spill.html

Graphic

MSNBC: Hurricane tracker

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37998056/ns/disaster_in_the_gulf/

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Brown Sends A Letter to Obama That Deals With Part of the Solution In the Gulf

June 29, 2010

Sharod Brown, one of the 2 Senators from Ohio, has got it right. I only hope Obama gets it right after he reads Brown’s letter.

In the letter the author’s ask the president to start a government service project by putting unemployed workers to work cleaning up the Gulf Coast.

What a great, common sense idea…and BP can pay the piper!!!!!!
Matt

Political Frusterations; I Am; and Helpless I feel

June 29, 2010

This is way off of message but I am frusterated to know end about this, that is the lack of action, on most fronts, by the US Senate. I had high hopes for them, Senators and Represenatives, but they seem way out of touch with us (Their constituancies)…Now they are going on vacation as our country falters as they sit by and watch. I know how to get rid of the political losers but unfortunately the alternitives are worse…your “dammed if you do and dammed if you do not” throw the cowardly, highly polarized rascals out. It is frustrating to watch the fools in the Senate not act or do the wrong thing as our country slips, into oblivia.
Matt

General Wildlife Adventures Continue

June 29, 2010

I like the birds of Santa Cruz, California, then I do like the mammals of the area also. The scenery is otherworldly also.

I live in a pretty part of the world so I do know about pretty scenery and nearby are some of the greatest forms of wildlife.

My area has 2 bear species, the gray wolf, coyotes, mountain lion, wolverine, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and so on.

In birds in summer we have the Western Tanager, Swainson’s hawk and Sandhill Crane. In winter we have Merlins, Bohemian Waxwings, Rough-legged Hawk and so forth.

At Santa Cruz, last week, I saw Sea otter, California Sea Lion, Harbor Seals and Beecheys Ground Squirrel, amongst other wildlife. I saw these wildlife at Point Lobos State Park.

On the bird front I saw Acorn Woodpecker, Pigeon Guillemot, Ana’s, Allen and Rufous hummingbirds, Black-shouldered Kite, California Jay and California Towhee, Chestnut backed Chickadee, Brandt’s Comorant, Western Gull and more; a wide variety of birds.

I feel I must give a shoutout to the birds of the South Carolina Coast. I saw a lot of special birds there, but many of those birds were already very familiar to me.

On the scenery level Big Sur, California is defenitely the best, but it now lacks the golden bear (a brown bear), but what a great looking place where non-forested mountains meet the coast.

I also saw some neat birds in Washington State and Nevada…honorable mentions for sure.
Matt

Gulf Oil Spill Disastor Summary

June 29, 2010

This afternoon’s summary:

Update on the oil spill in the gulf from NRDC.
Matt
Alex won’t become a hurricane or target the Gulf around the oil spill area. The region remains on edge as experts warn that strong swells and winds could nonetheless reach the slick area, disrupting clean-up efforts and pushing oil deeper into fragile coastal wetlands. But BP and the federal government should consider the events of the past three days a dry run for the next wave of bad weather. The prediction is that this could be the worst hurricane season in years. Nevertheless, the London stock market had a positive reaction when the Gulf apparently escaped the first hurricane prediction. Crude oil fell from a seven-week high. It would have gone up if the weather turned bad. Meanwhile the social and economic fallout continues from the oil spill. It’s questionable whether waitresses will be able to make up for lost tips from BP’s $20 billion escrow account to pay victims of the spill. But a New Orleans chef isn’t waiting for escrow money. She sued BP for damages restaurants are experiencing. And experts are predicting that BP CEO won’t be getting any Golden parachute if he leaves BP. Fancy that?

Quotable Quote:
We’ve been spared very much up until this point. We are spared no longer – Governor Haley Barbour’s press secretary Dan Turner on tar balls reaching Mississippi’s beaches

National News:

CNN: Hayward unlikely to get a Golden parachute
While there are plenty of rumors about the fate of BP CEO Tony Hayward, financial experts are clear about one thing: There’s no Golden Parachute in the wings for him. His performance during the first two months of the Gulf oil spill was a disaster, they say, and he’s unlikely to even get a bonus and stock awards on his $1.5 million salary if he walks out the door. Meanwhile, BP denied reports that he’s resigning.

Read more:
http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/25/news/companies/Hayward_pay/index.htm

Check this one out, too:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i-szbN5k3qn5pRPEa_RMUZJtmBEw

Dow Jones: BP: Rough seas may delay third oil containment rig by week
Tropical Storm Alex may delay BP PLC’s plans to increase the amount of oil collected from a leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico by a week, a company official said Monday. The storm’s winds are expected to stay far to the west of the spill, but high seas are likely to become an issue this week.

Read more by Brian Baskin
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100628-707656.html

Bloomberg: No hurricane? Crude oil falls from 7-week high
The price of oil is all about supply and demand. When the going gets rough – like a hurricane, the price of oil goes up. But Monday, crude oil fell from a seven-week high on speculation that production in the Gulf of Mexico will be unaffected by a tropical storm in the region.

Read more by Margot Habiby:
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-06-28/oil-falls-from-seven-week-high-as-tropical-storm-concern-eases.html

New York Times: Moratorium won’t reduce drilling risks
A simple six-month drilling moratorium. It sounds like such a sensible, obvious, uncontroversial thing to do in the wake of the worst environmental disaster in this nation’s history, doesn’t it? Turns out, it’s anything but, according to this account of the risks, the economics and the real safety record of deepwater drilling and the real effect of a moratorium.

Read more from Joe Nocera
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/business/26nocera.html

New York Times: Seeking answers on oil spill as questions mount
The editors of the New York Times answer questions from readers about the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the ongoing status of the oil leak.

Read more
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26primerWEB.html?hpw

Politics Daily: BP on track for mid-August finish of relief oil well in Gulf
The Vice President will visit the Gulf again on Tuesday as BP reports it is on track with the drilling of the relief well, expecting a mid-August start-up.

Read more from Tom Diemer
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/06/25/bp-on-track-for-mid-august-finish-of-relief-oil-well-in-gulf/

Wall Street Journal: When it comes to spills, size counts, but is often elusive
Even after BP’s broken well under the Gulf of Mexico stops spewing, we might never know how much oil spilled. Oil companies don’t have much incentive to measure spills accurately, and government officials haven’t always needed to get a reliable count.

Read more from Carl Bialik
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704911704575327091631299342.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

Los Angeles Times: Tropical storm worries cleanup workers
It all hangs heavy for the cleanup workers. Even if Tropical Storm Alex bypasses the oil spill, any weather might push the oil into the wetlands and bayous—or stop the efforts and create standby days for workers, which they cannot afford.

Read more from Molly Hennessey-Fiske and Margot Roosevelt
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/06/gulf-oil-spill-tropical-storm-alex-may-hit-gulf-region.html

Politics Daily: Falling out of love with oil: The quest for clean energy
The one good thing about the oil spill is the anger that is driving Americans to fall in love with clean energy.

Read more from Judy Howard Ellis
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/06/27/falling-out-of-love-with-oil-the-quest-for-clean-energy/

Feature:

New York Times: Oil spill brings the good times in one coastal town
There’s an ironic twist in Bayou La Bratre, Ala., where the Gulf oil spill has definitely changed lives. There is more money in this small, hardscrabble fishing town than there has been in decades. There are more high-paying workdays, more traffic accidents, more reports of domestic violence, more drug and alcohol use, more resentment, more rumors, more hunger, more worry.

Read more:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/us/27bayou.html?hp

Regional

USA Today: Will BP compensate waitresses for lost tips?
Gulf Coast groups representing low-income workers say they want to make sure BP’s claims process doesn’t overlook them. That includes maids, bartenders, hotel clerks, souvenir vendors and other workers dependent on the tourism industry.

Read more:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2010-06-26-oil-spill-low-income-workers_N.htm

AP: Barbour presses for more resources to fight oil
Now that oil has reached the beaches and barrier islands of Mississippi on Sunday, Gov. Haley Barbour is pressing BP and feds for more resources to fight the oil.

Read more
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/27/national/main6625161.shtml?tag=stack

Bloomberg: Chef sues BP for damages to restaurants
Oysters are definitely off the table at restaurants along the Gulf coast. And shrimp may be gone soon, too. Chef Susan Spicer, of the Bayona restaurant in New Orleans and a judge on “Top Chef,” isn’t taking the Gulf oil disaster sitting down. She’s sued BP Plc for damages to restaurants that can’t access their customary supplies of fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more by Laurel Brubaker Calkins:
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-06-26/chef-sues-bp-over-damages-to-restaurants-selling-gulf-seafood.html

Los Angeles Times: Calif. Dems seek new tax on oil production
As crude oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, many California Democrats are hoping to seize on the public mood created by the crisis to push through a new tax on oil production to help balance the state’s beleaguered budget.

Read more by Shane Goldmacher:
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-me-oil-tax-20100628,0,7905777.story

Times Picayune: Alaska’s present, after 1989 Exxon Valdez, may be Gulf Coast’s future
This reporter traveled from New Orleans to Alaska and found grim prospects for the folks on the Gulf. “In some ways, Alaska and Louisiana could not be more different…. But no two states are as dependent on the uneasy marriage of fisheries and Big Oil.Twenty-one years later, Exxon Valdez survivors are like maritime Cassandras, foreseeing the long and bitter journey in store for the Gulf Coast residents they have never met but whose plight they have been following from afar.”

Read more from Cindy Chang
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/06/alaskas_present_after_1989_exxon_valdez_oil_spill_might_be_gulf_coast_future.html

Orlando Sentinel: In Florida, the scallops are in, oil-free
This area’s economy depends on an early summer frenzy of snorkelers going out into the Gulf to catch scallops. Officials opened the season early and that had locals alarmed that it would be too early, But one happy ending – the scallops are in and the oil isn’t.

Read more from Kevin Spear
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-hometown-steinhatchee-20100627,0,4093186.story

New York Times: Holding hands against offshore oil drilling
In a testament to a terrible tragedy, thousands of people worldwide stood hand in hand on Saturday, mainly through connections made through Facebook, at 820 events in all 50 states and in 34 countries — to protest drilling and to demand cleaner energy.

Read more:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/us/27sand.html

Sunherald.com: Spill forces cancellation of Gulf Coast Billfish classic
The 14th Annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic has been canceled because of the oil spill in the Gulf. It’s one of the largest bluewater fishing tournaments in the northern Gulf and will not take place Aug. 11-15.

Read more:
http://www.sunherald.com/2010/06/25/2289150/oil-spill-forces-cancellation.html#ixzz0s5VAiYc3

Huffington Post: Surfers lament oil spill
Surfers are just as devastated as fishermen and others who make the Gulf the center of their lives. “I really don’t know if in my lifetime I’ll ever be able to surf a Gulf Coast beach ever again,” one surfer said.

Read more:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zach-weisberg/surfers-lament-the-larges_b_625044.html

Reuters: Thick Oil Soils Mississippi Shore
Large patches of thick oil from BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill washed ashore in Mississippi for the first time on Sunday.

Read more:
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/06/27/news/news-us-oil-spill-1.html?_r=1&hp

Palm Beach Post: Florida braces for spillover from Tropical Storm Alex
Florida emergency leaders say Tropical Storm Alex should pass the state, but waves from the storm could push more oil and tar from the massive BP spill onto Panhandle beaches.

Read more:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/nation/southeast/florida-braces-for-oil-shift-from-tropical-storm-772462.html

New Orleans law firm fishes for oil spill clients
Your family does not have to suffer because some foreign company wanted to profit at your expense and ignored common sense safety rules. A lawsuit is your fundamental American right. BP is ruining lives and families in five states. I’ll take your outrage and get what you deserve, an ad from Jim S. Adler & Co. says.

Read more:
http://www.attorneymarketingdirectory.com/attorneydirectory/bp-oil-spill-lawsuits-can-come-from-gulf-coast-law-firm-jim-s.-adler-associates/

Graphic

Ø Gulf oil spill time-lapse video from NASA is haunting
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/26/gulf-oil-spill-time-lapse_n_626600.html

Ø Map: USA Today map of spill’s environmental impact
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/oil-spill-environment-recreation-map.htm

Ø Chart storm season 2010
http://graphicsweb.wsj.com/documents/HURRICANES/info-HURRICANES2010.php

Ø Jack Williams Weather report

http://www.weatherjackwilliams.com/

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A Guest Opinion Piece on Global Warming

June 28, 2010

Guest opinion: Clean energy and climate bill needed now
Story Discussion Submitted by 12 Montana conservation groups | Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2010 12:00 am |

As oil washes ashore on our magnificent wildlife refuges in one of our most productive fisheries, unemployed workers across the country look for scarce jobs and the science of global warming becomes more compelling by the day, polls show a majority of Americans want climate change addressed and for polluters to pay their fair share.

We, the undersigned organizations, representing thousands of members throughout Montana, are part of this majority who want action now. We are united in our belief that there remains a window of opportunity to reduce the emissions that cause global warming before the costs of doing nothing overwhelm us. We call for the U.S. Senate to pass — and President Obama to sign — strong climate and clean energy legislation this year. The longer Congress waits, the more difficult it will be to reduce the “overflow” of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; doing the job will then become more abrupt, more painful, and more expensive.

Relative to the rest of the country, Montana suffers disproportionately from the climate crisis. We have an economy built around our stunning vistas, abundant wildlife, healthy farms and ranches, high mountains and creeks, rivers and lakes fed by snowmelt. Already we know that our springtime snow pack has declined as much as 40 percent in the last half century. A 2009 aerial survey showed that 60 percent of the Helena National Forest is infested with mountain pine beetles spurred on by warmer winter temperatures. Scientists have reported a link between global warming and the severity and frequency of wildfires in the American West, especially the Northern Rockies.

Given those facts, we need action now. The U.S. House of Representatives passed climate legislation last year. Currently there are a number of bills in the U.S. Senate, and now is the time to pull together the very best ideas and create a bill that does the job for our country and beyond.

We cannot wait. Without a nationwide declining pollution cap in place, we are left with sporadic, uneven, and unpredictable state efforts. Action by the federal government can produce the framework necessary to help clean energy alternatives become more affordable and attract further private investment. This will allow us to transition away from fossil fuels and protect consumers in the process.

Throughout Montana citizens from disparate walks of life are adding their voices of concern about the impact of global climate change on our economy and way of life:

* Farmers are concerned about warmer temperatures, the resulting dry conditions and increased range of insects and diseases affecting crops and animals;

* Solar, wind, and energy efficiency companies in Montana are ready to further expand their businesses, and federal action would spur on their critical job-creating activities;

* Montana veterans are concerned about oil money flowing into the coffers of unfriendly nations, pointing to growing Pentagon concern about climate-linked political instability;

* Youth graduating from high schools, colleges and universities are eager for new employment opportunities in the clean energy economy;

* Native people are concerned about the impact climate change-induced drought will have on arid reservations and tribal lands, and

* Medical professionals are speaking out about the threat from rising temperatures, cited by a leading medical journal as the top threat to public health in the 21st century.

There isn’t a day to waste. We are calling on Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester to lead the efforts to support prompt development and passage of clean energy and climate legislation that will create thousands of new jobs in Montana, protect our environment, and enhance our national security. We need this now.

— Lead author Ryan Busse, chair of Montana Conservation Voters, may be reached at 197 Riverview Dr. in Kalispell. Other groups signing off on this piece are Montana Audubon, National Wildlife Federation, Montana chapter of Sierra Club, Montana Environmental Information Center, Alternative Energy Resources Organization, Montana Trout Unlimited, Montana chapter of Climate Solutions, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment Montana, Rural Votes and Repower Montana.

Posted in Columnists on Sunday, June 6, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 2:27 pm.

Gulf Coast Oil Spill Update

June 28, 2010

From the good folks at NRDC
Matt
This morning’s summary:
An armada of ships is working on the Gulf oil spill right now, trying to corral the spewing oil and keep an eagle eye on the weather. Right now, forecasters don’t think the tropical storm named Alex will take aim at the Gulf. But any system can quickly change course and send the cleanup efforts grinding to a halt. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the biggest oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico, are evacuating non-essential crews from some offshore platforms in the region as a safety precaution. Meanwhile, in the next two to three weeks, BP will make major changes at and above the well. It will bring in a host of new ships to replace those currently on site and radically change the underwater architecture that has captured 15,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil daily during much of the past month. The company will make it easier for ships to connect to and disconnect from its network of subsea pipes in the event of a hurricane. But the Gulf oil spill is still facing an ominous situation, and there are waves of anxiety over the weather in what is expected to be a very active hurricane season.
Quotable quote:

We think the storm is going to stay on a more southern track. That would be good news because it would avoid the area near the oil spill – Todd Kimberlain, National Hurricane Center.

National News
CNN: Alex enters Gulf, steering clear of oil spill
Tropical Storm Alex — temporarily weakened to a tropical depression — headed into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where it was expected to regain strength but to steer clear of oil-affected areas. Nevertheless, large waves from Alex’s path could hamper clean-up efforts from Louisiana to Florida from the spill.

Read more:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/27/gulf.oil.disaster/index.html?video=true&hpt=T2

Bloomberg: BP, Shell evacuate Gulf crews
BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the biggest oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico, are evacuating crews from some offshore platforms in the region as a safety precaution because of Tropical Storm Alex. BP removed non-essential workers from its Atlantis, Mad Dog and Holstein oil-production platforms in the western part of the Gulf, Shell evacuated 430 people and idled production from its Auger and Brutus platforms.

Read more from Katarzyna Klimasinska
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-06-27/bp-shell-evacuate-gulf-of-mexico-crews-on-storm-alex.html

Marketwatch: BP’s oil spill bill soars to $2.65 billion
BP’s oil spill tab just keeps getting bigger. On Monday, the oil giant said it has reached $2.65 billion for its efforts to try to stem the 10-week-old gushing oil.

Read more:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bps-oil-spill-costs-rise-to-265-billion-2010-06-28?reflink=MW_news_stmp

Los Angeles: Oil spill team frets
Even if Alex bypasses the oil spill area, there will be a number of other storms waiting in the wings in what is forecast as a very active hurricane season. Hurricanes feed on warm surface waters, and so far the Gulf waters are warmer than usual this year. The hurricane—and worry season – will last until November 30.

Read more
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-20100627,0,1365993.story

Christian Science Monitor: BP may be more ready for next hurricane scare
Alex may bypass the oil spill, but, in the meantime, BP and the Feds may be adopting some strategies to make it easier to cope with the next hurricane. First they are bringing in more ships and changing the undersea structure to allow for ships to connect to and disconnect from its network of subsea pipes in the event of a hurricane.

Read more from Mark Sappenfield
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/oil-leak-management-hurricane-scare-bp-coast-guard/story?id=11027572

Bloomberg: BP sticks to August relief well schedule, may finish early
The first of two relief wells aiming to intercept and plug the leak has reached more than 90 percent of its target depth and detected the metal casing of the Macondo wellbore. The company is keeping to its announced August timeline, but might finish earlier.

Read more from Katarzyna Klimasinska
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-27/bp-sticks-to-august-target-for-plugging-leak-may-finish-ahead-of-schedule.html

CBS News: Local Fisherman: Shut Out of Clean-Up
Across the Gulf, BP says it’s hired 3,200 private vessels, their captains and crew to help protect and clean the Gulf. The boat owner makes anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000 a day depending on boat size, plus $200 for every person onboard. Yet captains from Louisiana to Alabama complain out of state opportunists are swooping in while local captains sit on the dock waiting for a phone call.

Read more from Kelly Cobiella
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/27/eveningnews/main6624670.shtml?tag=stack

Washington Post: More on Judge Feldman’s oil stock holdings
The details about U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman’s oil stock holdings gets worse every day. He’s the judge who ruled last week that the Obama administration 6-month ban on offshore drilling in the Gulf could be lifted. It’s already come out that he owned oil stocks, including Transocean but sold them before the case began. Now it turns out he also held ExxonMobile stock, selling it less than 5 hours before his moratorium ruling. You be the judge: Should Feldman have recused himself from this sensitive case because of his stock portfolio?

Read more by Steven Mufson and Joe Stevens:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062504155.html?sub=AR

Physorg.com: Dealing with the impact of oil spill on health
As the clean-up effort stretches from weeks into months with no end in sight, experts at a conference in New Orleans last week warned that little is known about how long-term exposure to oil and fumes can affect human health.

Read more from Mary Caperton Morton
http://www.physorg.com/news196769297.htmla

New York Times: Misinformation: BP ‘reporter’ doesn’t mention oil slick
One of the new “reporters” sent to the Gulf by BP—aka public relations personnel – flew over the Gulf and posted a “news” blog without mentioning the spreading oil slick.

Read more from Andrew Revkin
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/bp-reporter-flies-over-gulf-without-noting-slick/?hp

Wall Street Journal: BP on track to double amount of oil collected this week
The good news is that BP might actually double the amount of oil it is sucking up from the well this week. The bad news—if a building tropical storms hits the area, it could interrupt the containment process for two weeks.

Read more
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100626-700910.html

USA Today: The IRS is waiting
Now comes the IRS. As hard as it is to get paid for lost wages, the fishermen and businesses have to contend with taxes.

Read more
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2010-06-25-oil-spill-irs_N.htm

Also check out this IRS bulletin:
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=224757,00.html?portlet=7

Christian Science Monitor: Preparing to shut down the well
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said he will suspend recovery efforts if winds reach a gale force of 40 knots or greater (46 miles an hour or more) and the storm is judged to be at least 120 hours away from hitting the base of operations at the well. A hurricane of any strength could wreak havoc on the fleet of 6,300 vessels that took two months to assemble to fight the oil spill.

Read more
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0625/Gulf-oil-spill-Will-a-hurricane-throw-off-efforts-at-the-well

Business

Dallas Morning News: Gulf Oil Spill
It’s a balancing act and a debate inside the BP corporation—how far to go to regain public trust which may mean admitting certain liabilities—and protecting its flanks legally. It is already exposed to more than 200 lawsuits and possibly billions in government fines.

Read more from Curt Anderson, Ramit Plushnick-Masti and David Koenig, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/industries/energy/stories/DN-bpmessage_27bus.ART0.State.Edition1.1aa666e.html

Times-Picayune: Frustrated station owners want BP help
As more Americans shun BP gasoline as a form of protest over Gulf oil spill, station owners are insisting BP do more to help them convince motorists that such boycotts mostly hurt independently owned businesses, not the British oil giant. To win back customers, they’d like the company’s help in reducing the price at the pump.

Read more
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/06/frustrated_by_boycott_protesti.html

Wall Street Journal: States weighing big claims against BP
Coast states are gearing up to follow shrimpers and hotel owners in seeking payouts from BP PLC for lost revenue and other damages stemming from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Gulf.The demands could far exceed the $305 million BP has already given the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida

Read more from Neil King, Jr, Dionne Searcey and Vannessa O’Connell
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870484600457533293297855908.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

Politics

Washington Post: Obama, British leader discuss strain in nations’ ties
President Obama and the new British Prime Minister David Cameron met privately during the G20 summit in Toronto this weekend to discuss, among other things, the strained relations between the two countries because of the BP oil spill.

Read more from Michael Wilson and Scott W. Savage
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/26/AR2010062602032.html?hpid=topnews

Los Angeles Times: Senate Democrats poised to start energy bill
With the gulf oil spill creating political opportunity, Senate Democrats will begin crafting a sweeping energy bill this week that could include a first-ever, though more modest, cap on global-warming pollution.

Read more from Lisa Mascaro and Richard Simon
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-energy-congress-20100627,0,4030045.story

Los Angeles Times: Gulf Oil Spill: Hands reach across the sand in protest
From Santa Monica to Pensacola Beach, Fla., to Washington, D.C., and even as far as London, protesters worried about the Gulf oil spill gathered Saturday to hold hands, in hundreds of Hands Across the Sand rallies. The goal, as organizers put it, was to “form symbolic barriers against spilling oil.”

Read more from Margot Roosevelt and Molly Hennessey-Fiske http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/06/gulf-oil-spill-hands-across-the-sand.html

Regional

McClatchy Newspapers: No skimmers in sight as oil floods Mississippi waters
In overflights during the weekend, the oil could be seen, in all directions, moving to the shores of Mississippi, but there were no skimmers in sight to stave it off.

Read more from Karen Nelson
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/26/96608/no-skimmers-in-sight-as-oil-floods.html

Editorial

Huffingtion Post: Shep Smith rages on Fox News colleague for defending BP
This is the way the exchange went Friday on Fox News when Fox News anchor Shep Smith called out his colleague Judge Andrew Napolitano who said the spill was the government’s fault because BP relied on faulty government models for contingency plans.”I’m getting kinda grossed out, Judge,” Smith shot back. “You’re blaming the government for this?'”I’m blaming the government for this,” Napolitano affirmed. Smith then went off on BP’s record of safety violations and mistakes, asking Napolitano, “And now you’re going to turn around and blame the government for these bumbling, fumbling, crazy people?”

Read more
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/25/shep-smith-rages-fox-news_n_625463.html

HomerNews: Sen. Murkowski’s Oil spill compensation act
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has introduced the Oil Spill Compensation Act — to assist spill victims and hold oil companies fully responsible. The legislation would establish an expedited and independent claims process to ensure that all who are harmed by the Gulf spill — particularly those who need immediate help — promptly receive the money owed to them. Lawyers’ fees would be limited to no more than 5 percent of settlements, Sen. Murkowski writes.

Read more by Murkowski:
http://homernews.com/stories/062310/oped_osc.shtml

###

Carp Found Near Lake Michigan Renews Call For Action

June 28, 2010

This invasive, excotic species of fish is most of the way to the Great Lakes!!!! This is from NRDC in the news.
Matt

June 24, 2010

By David Schaper

A 20-pound Asian carp has been caught just 6 miles from Lake Michigan — beyond an electric barrier designed to keep the huge, invasive fish out of the Great Lakes. Now some groups are calling for dire action, saying government efforts at containment have failed.

Commercial fishermen working on behalf of state and federal agencies netted the 35-inch-long bighead in Chicago’s Lake Calumet on Tuesday. It’s the first physical specimen found in the Chicago waterways above the electric barriers. But officials said it is too soon to know whether it means an Asian carp invasion of nearby Lake Michigan is imminent.

Scientists say if Asian carp — with their large size, voracious appetite and prolific reproduction — become established in the Great Lakes, they could starve and crowd out native species and decimate the region’s $7 billion fishing industry.

“We feel that we have to start to get some additional information about the significance of this population,” said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, in a conference call with reporters announcing the Asian carp finding Wednesday. “What we’re trying to determine now is, does this represent an individual fish in the lake or is it part of a larger population?”

‘A Highway For Invasive Species’

Rogner says officials have no way of knowing yet how this particular fish got into Lake Calumet, whether it was dumped there by someone or swam upstream to the lake on its own.

More bad weather on the Gulf…potential to make a bad-badder

June 26, 2010

The Gulf may be in for horrific weather about midweek which has potential to make worse things worser!!!!!!WE HOPEFULLY WILL NOT HAVE WORSE WEATHER, but we shall see.

Gulf Oil Spill Update

June 24, 2010

Disaster Still Going. From the good folks at NRDC.
Matt

This morning’s summary:
There’s plenty of drama on the high seas these days and in the courtroom, too, all of which are adding to the tensions in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. Late Wednesday, BP announced it reinstalled the containment cap after a sudden problem forced the oil company to remove the cap 11 hours earlier, caused thousands of gallons of oil to flow into the Gulf. The government signaled it would impose a more flexible ban on new deepwater drilling after a federal judge overturned an initial moratorium as too far-reaching. Oil companies, trying to stop the government from keeping the ban in place, swiftly returned to court to ask the judge to enforce his ruling, accusing the Obama administration of choosing to “ignore and disobey it.” Meanwhile, a new report says the federal government delayed by five weeks deploying high-tech sensors that could accurately measure how much oil was spewing out of the BP well because officials thought the well would be capped or shut down within a relatively short time span. With so many wrong moves, we may be doomed to failure in a sea of oil for a very long time.

Quotable Quote:

This is a war. Every hour, every day matters. Maybe they don’t see the oil from Washington [but] we see it every day on our coast – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

National News

MSNBC: Containment cap again collecting oil
The containment cap was back on the gushing oil well at the bottom of the Gulf Wednesday night, but it was off for 11 hours after being bumped by an undersea robot.

Read more

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37841204/ns/disaster_in_the_gulf/

And check this out

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/06/bp-confirms-the-cap-has-been-replaced-on-the-gushing-gulf-oil-well.html

See this one, too:
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/23/oil-gushing-gulf-undersea-robot-bumps-venting-cap/

Times Picayune: Oil lawyer: Drilling moratorium injunction defied
A standoff is developing between marine service companies in the Gulf and the Obama administration. While the White House asks a federal judge to “delay” his ruling overturning the drilling moratorium, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar indicated that he was working on a “pause” instead of a “ban” on drilling with some more refined safety procedures and some relaxed constraints. But drilling service companies were heading to court, claiming the White House was trying to make an end run around the judge’s ruling.

Read more

http://mobile.nola.com/advnola/db_/contentdetail.htm;jsessionid=DED20C09F23BC3F1E9785EF00157F588?contentguid=WIVb9pMU&full=true#display

Read this one, too
Politico: Obama accused of defying court on drilling ban

http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/0610/Obama_accused_of_defying_court_on_drilling_ban.html

Also see

Reuters: U.S. administration appeals decision blocking drilling ban

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65L4UI20100624

Nextgov.com: Government delayed measuring rate oil flow for weeks

An astonishing admission from the federal government: it did not measure the flow of oil gushing from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico for five weeks because officials believed the well would be capped or shut down very quickly.

Read more from Bob Brewin

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20100623_9080.php?oref=topstory

Propublica: Internal document contradicts BP’s claims on oil flow

Propublica reprints a document from BP showing at the outset that the company estimated the spill at up to 100,000 barrels a day if containment failed despite what it was telling the public.

Read more from Sasha Chavkin

http://www.propublica.org/feature/read-the-internal-bp-document-that-contradicts-its-claims-on-oil-flow

Wall Street Journal: BP relied on faulty U.S. data

In shades of what could be Big Oil’s defense, BP and other companies based their plans for responding to a big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on U.S. government projections that gave very low odds of oil hitting shore, even in the case of a spill much larger than the current one. The government models, which oil companies are required to use but have not been updated since 2004, assumed that most of the oil would rapidly evaporate or get broken up by waves or weather.

Read more from Neil King and Keith Johnson

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703900004575325131111637728.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

Huffington Post: BP halts watchdog lawsuit on technicality

A lawsuit filed by watchdog group Food & Water Watch against the U.S. Minerals Management Service alleging that BP’s Atlantis oil rig is unsafe has been suspended for 60 days on the basis of a technicality — the oil giant claimed it didn’t have enough notice to respond to the complaint.

Read more from Lucia Graves

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/23/bp-halts-watchdog-lawsuit_n_623288.html

NOAA: NOAA opens up more than 8,000 of fishing closed area in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA has opened more than 8,000 square miles of previously closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 78,000 square miles of the Gulf remain closed to fishing.

Read more

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100623_opening.html

Regional

Fox News.com: Mental health fallout spill just beginning

Two deaths in the Gulf Wednesday, one a cleanup worker from exposure to the heat and one a despondent boat captain who took his own life, show in very real terms the suffering and mental health issues rising from the disaster.

Read more from Karlie Pouliot

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,595202,00.html

Also see: Los Angeles Times: Gulf Oil Spill: Boat captain, despondent over spill, commits suicide

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/06/gulf-oil-spill-boat-captain-despondent-over-spill-commits-suicide.html

CNN: Jidal outraged at stop in dredging operations

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had harsh words for government authorities on Wednesday after sand-dredging operations to protect the state’s coastline from the BP oil disaster were halted due to environmental concerns.

Read more

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/23/louisiana.oil.dredging/index.html?hpt=T1

Also see:
Los Angeles Times: Gulf oil spill: barrier island berm plans run aground

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/06/gulf-oil-spill-barrier-island-berm-plan-runs-aground.html

YouTube: Raining Oil in Louisiana?

What goes up must come down. In this case, oil gushing from that pipe in the Gulf is evaporating into the air and coming down with the rain in Louisiana.

Watch

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/23/raining-oil-in-louisiana_n_622815.html?ref=email_share

Times Picayune: Gulf of Mexico oil spill health concerns take center stage
It was noisy and a bit unruly Wednesday as New Orleans residents met with local officials, Coast Guard and BP reps and asked questions—lots of them. And they wanted answers, about health, about the claims process and what will happen to their communities.

Read more from Michele Krupa

http://mobile.nola.com/advnola/db_/contentdetail.htm;jsessionid=66503D99A1082140357C01A36B9DDBA9?contentguid=HiGjgvsj&full=true#display

Oklahoma Daily: Researchers seek grants to study oil spill
As oil continues to spill into the Gulf of Mexico, Oklahoma University researchers are applying for grants to fund research into exposure to oil. They say the research could provide valuable information if oil contamination were to occur in Oklahoma. The National Institutes of Health is funding research relating to the impact of the oil spill.

Read more:
http://www.oudaily.com/news/2010/jun/24/professor-seeks-grant-study-health-impacts-oil-exp/

Politics

Fox News: Energy Secretary Chu looked to BP to help ‘save the world’ in 2007 video

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who was working at UC Berkeley, says in a 2007 video, “There’s been a lot of excitement that’s been growing over the last several years and now with partnering with BP we will have the resources to actually carry out some of the things we want to do in order to help save the world.”

Read more

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/23/energy-secretary-chu-looked-bp-save-world-video/

Editorial

Newsweek: Oil spill’s worst-case scenario?

As time goes on, it is almost impossible to comprehend, but the worst-case scenarios keep coming. Newsweek reports on this report that has caused enormous anxiety on the web: “It’s possible that hydrocarbons are leaking out the bottom or sides of the well. If so, they might erode surrounding sediments and undermine the foundation upon which the 450-ton blowout preventer sits. If such leaks aren’t sealed off in time, the entire structure could topple over…” causing a wide-open blowout.

Read more from Jeneen Interlandi

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/23/the-oil-spill-s-worst-case-scenario.html

New York Times: BP is pursuing Alaska drilling some call risky

Some environmentalists in Alaska are calling for the government to take another look at a BP project in Alaska that is scheduled to begin drilling in the fall. On that project, the feds allowed BP, instead of regulators, to write the environmental review. Critics are warning about a replay of the Gulf spill.

Read more from Ian Urbina

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/us/24rig.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Commercial-Appeal: Right decision on moratorium, better energy policy needed
A federal judge in Louisiana made the right decision this week to block a six-month moratorium on new oil drilling projects in the Gulf, the Commercial-Appeal writes.

Read more:
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/jun/24/editorial-safety-first-in-the-gulf/

AP: Gulf spill garbage mishandled from Mississippi to Florida
Just what are public officials to do about the growing mound of garbage from the Gulf oil spill – now estimated at 1,300 tons? An AP spot check finds that garbage is being mishandled, not disposed of in any sort of efficient way.

Read more:
http://mobile.nola.com/advnola/db_/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=P9vnXn2j&full=true#display

Palm Beach Post: The next tragedy: Dolphins
Wildlife researchers in Florida are bracing for the next tragedy: dolphins. The number of dolphins turning up dead or trapped in the Gulf of Mexico disaster is growing,

Read more from Christine Stapleton

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/oil-slick-from-deepwater-horizon-expected-to-take-765162.html

Feature

AP: Pelicans rehabbed from oil spill released in Texas

More than five dozen brown pelicans rehabilitated from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been released in Texas, the largest release since the oil spill disaster began.

Read more

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/nation/pelicans-rehabbed-from-oil-spill-released-in-texas-765006.html

Graphic

Ø Map showing where oil has washed ashore
http://connect.nola.com/user/dswenson/index.html

Ø Map showing spewing oil once containment cap removed
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/oil-spews-again-in-gulf-after-robot-bumps-763564.html