Gulf Coast Oil Spill Update

This afternoon’s summary

I am personally interested in how the disaterous Gulf Oil Spill is affectig wildlife and this blog covers that facet of the spill, but each day I get an oil spill uo-pdate and I get that from the environmental advocacy group the NRDC and it is a good a comprehensive update on the Gulf disaster national press. Here is the update.

Until now, BP held the microphone for information on the Gulf oil spill. But that changed dramatically this week when the federal government decided to no longer share the information platform with the oil giant. Instead, Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander in the Gulf, began holding his own daily briefings, and Wednesday detailed exactly what the federal government is doing to deal with the spill. And it is plenty. Allen also disclosed that BP’s latest rescue effort had hit a snag – that one sheer cut was made overnight to the riser pipe, but the diamond blade got stuck during an attempt at a second cut. And keeping with the administration’s transparency drive, he talked about a myriad of other issues being handled by the government. All this disclosure may make the public feel good. However, the public will be getting hopping mad when they find out that a federal agency – the widely discredited Minerals Management Service – just approved an offshore drilling site off the coast of Louisiana. Never mind that it’s a shallow drilling site and not deep water. It’s still offshore drilling in the Gulf where thousands of gallons of oil continue to spew into the waterway with no end in sight.

Quotable quote:

“The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future … it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development” – President Obama

National News

CBS News: Stuck saw stalls latest spill rescue
Stuck again. The latest effort to cap the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico hit another snag on Wednesday. A saw being used to cut a pipe as part of the maneuver to place a cap over the leak got stuck. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the spill, said the goal was to free the saw and finish the cut. This is the latest attempt to contain — not plug — the gusher; the best chance at stopping the leak is a relief well, which is at least two months from completion.

Read more:

Check this out, too:

And see this: coast/19499847

Speech: Obama looks for a different energy future
President Obama gave a wide-ranging speech Wednesday at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he talked about the economy and drew a picture of a future not dependent on fossil fuels. The Gulf disaster, he said, “may prove to be the result of human error — or corporations taking dangerous short cuts that compromised safety,” but the nation “must acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth, risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes.”

Read more:

AP: Feds approve shallow Gulf oil well off Louisiana
There’s a crisis in the Gulf of Mexico over an out-of-control oil spill. President Obama has banned deep-water drilling. The Minerals Management Service is under investigation, and yes, the questionable MMS agency just granted a new drilling permit for a site in shallow water. Hey, what gives?

Read more by Mike Baker:

Businessweek: BP slides for 2nd day on London markets
It’s not looking very good these days for BP in the financial markets. Shares in BP PLC fell for a second day on Wednesday, falling again in London trading after the U.S. government announced a criminal investigation into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. There is mounting speculation about London-based BP’s future as it struggles to contain the spill and after its revelation that its spill costs are nearing $1 billion.

Read more:

Bloomberg: Hard to find federal judges to hear oil spill lawsuits
The oil culture runs so deep even in the federal judiciary in the Gulf coast region that it may be hard to find an impartial judge to hear oil-spill cases likely to be filed. Bloomberg reports that judges in the region are withdrawing from oil spill cases being filed as a result of the Gulf spill, citing conflicts of interest. Six of 12 active judges in the federal judicial district based in New Orleans have removed themselves from spill-damage cases because of conflicts tied to oil investments or personal relationships with lawyers or companies involved. And it’s likely the court system will have to recruit judges outside the New Orleans district to hear these cases.

Read more by Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Jef Feeley

Seattle Times: Seattle NOAA develops website to track the Gulf spill
Scientists at Seattle’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office have developed a new website that will help the public and officials monitor progress and damage as the oil continues to spread. A version of is being tested. The official version will be unveiled next week, said Amy Merten, chief of the spatial data team at NOAA’s Seattle-based Emergency Response Division.

Read more:


LA Times: Oil slick is spoiling the Gulf Coast’s comeback year
It was the year New Orleans won the Superbowl and when the tourists were finally coming back in force after not only Katrina in 2005 but Ivan in 2004. This all wasn’t supposed to happen in the comeback year for the Gulf.

Read more from Tina Susman,0,2613416.story

Times Picayune: Parishes struggle to cover local emergency costs
The squeeze is on. BP is giving money to the Gulf coast states, which are strapped, but even worse off are the parishes, which are scrambling to fight the spill on the frontlines, with no cash.

Read more from Robert Travis Scott

Politico: Drilling delay fuels reaction
While the moratorium on offshore drilling announced by the President draws relief from environmentalists, it is creating anxiety for proponents of drilling, specifically the Alaska congressional delegation. It puts a Shell Oil plan for exploration on hold during the crucial Alaskan summer months.

Read more from Dianna Heitz

MSNBC: Rare sawfish could be spill casualty
The smalltooth sawfish used to live in waters from New York to Texas, but now only off the coast of Florida where the loop current threatens to pull the oil slick into the gulfstream. The fish could be a victim of the spill along with corals, pelicans and whales.

Read more


New York Times: Justice Department seeks evidence of crimes in Gulf
The expression by the US Attorney General that he will aggressively seek justice in the Gulf oil spill is long overdue.

Read more from Andrew Revkin

Wall Street Journal: The Gulf spill and Alaska
For residents of Alaska, watching the Gulf oil spill is a case of déjà vu, and for those who support oil exploration in Alaska, it is more worrisome as the President puts all offshore drilling on hold.

Read more from Sean Parnell


New York Times: The man who walked on water is now ensnarled under water
The Gulf of Mexico is not the only victim of the oil spill. So is the Obama presidency, which is looking increasingly like it has met its Waterloo. As Maureen Dowd writes: “The oil won’t stop flowing, but the magic has.”

Read more by Maureen Dowd

USA Today: Is Obama too low-key about the Gulf catastrophe?
White House aides are being forced to defend Obama’s demeanor in an odd sort of way. Yes, he does get enraged by the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, they say.

Read more by David Jackson:

CNN: Will the oil spill punt Jindal into the presidential sweepstakes?
There was a time when Barack Obama looked like the cool, smart one and Bobby Jindal looked like the not-ready-for-prime-time hope for the Republican Party. Now, since the Gulf oil disaster the country sees Jindal in a new light, the tenacious governor of Louisiana standing up to Big Oil and the White House.

Read more by Ruben Navarrette Jr.:

Reuters: White House pledges to get rid of Feds too tight with oil
The White House pledged on Wednesday to “clean house” if government officials were found to be too close to the oil industry in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more:

The Daily Beast: Don’t let Obama fail

This is a time, argues Tunku Varadarajan, for level heads, not hot-heads and for a true bipartisanship-of-crisis is a very real disaster.

Read more from Tunku Varadarajan:


New York Times: Volunteers record beach sights before devastation
Preservationists along the Gulf coast are turning to volunteers to help them document what the coast looks like now before the oil hits and what they’re going to look like in the not-to-distant future. “You guys are our first line of defense,” Casi Callaway, executive director of Mobile Baykeeper, a preservation group, told about 50 volunteers.

Read more by John LeLand:


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