Gulf Oil Spill Disastor Update

This morning’s summary

Again, from the good folks at NRDC,
With Russian Spies coming in from the cold and LeBron James calling Miami his new home, the Gulf oil spill was hardly the focus of national news Friday. However, the Obama administration is continuing the fight to restore a moratorium on Gulf oil drilling for at least six months. A federal appeals court Thursday turned down the government’s plea to restore the oil drilling moratorium. The government argued unpersuasively that the moratorium was necessary because of the uncertainty about the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Now, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to issue a new moratorium, possibly as soon as today. Rest assured, oil companies will keep going back to court to try to block it. But the good news right now is that no oil company is willing to start deepwater drilling in the Gulf with so much uncertainty at stake. Meanwhile, BP is still planning to change the cap on the gushing oil well and the relief well is just a football field away from its target. However, it’s precision time, and it may take until mid-August to reach the target and cut off the gushing oil.

Quotable Quote:
“People are being put out of jobs … Rigs are leaving the Gulf, and going to foreign waters.” said Carl D. Rosenblum, a lawyer opposing the oil drilling moratorium.

National News

CNN: Federal appeals panel rejects government bid to reimpose drilling ban

A federal appeals panel on Thursday upheld a district judge’s order to lift the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more from David Mattingly

Also see Los Angeles Times: Gulf oil spill: drilling moratorium rejected again

Also check this out

Reuters: Court refuses stay in deepwater drilling case

Times Picayune: Relief well less than football field away from target

BP is seven to ten days away from being in a position to intercept the ruptured well, but Incident Commander Thad Allen says the work is too precise to rush and the mid-August timetable stands.

Read more from

Washington Post: BP prepares to change the well’s cap
With a window of calm weather forecast for the next week or so, BP has accelerated its plans to change caps on the gusher, a tricky task that could greatly improve the ability to capture the oil or perhaps even shut down the well. It would permit oil to flow unabated during the switch. And it’s just another maneuver to take as the relief wells continue plowing toward their goal. Meanwhile, the Obama administration gave BP 24 hours to explain where it stands on the rescue efforts and their backup plans.

Read more:

See this one, too:

AP: Kevin Costner’s oil skimmer goes to work in fouled Gulf

If you build it, they will come. So Kevin Costner built his skimmer, the Ella G in ten days and put it to work Thursday off the coast of Louisiana – and plenty of people came to see. And with a Hollywood flourish he told them: “”I know a lot of times you have been down on the ground and stayed down,” Costner told workers and visitors who had come to see the latest in the fight against the oil spill.”But the machine I once dreamed of is here to help you.”

Read more

AP: EPA: Moderate health concerns over Gulf air quality

After a growing number of complaints from cleanup workers with respiratory problems, the EPA issued a tentatively-worded warning about air quality Thursday. The EPA says recent air sampling shows a moderate health risk in Venice and Grand Isle, two Louisiana towns about 50 miles from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site.

Read more from Cain Burdeau

CBSNews: Long-term health risks concern for spill workers

In view of the soft-peddling report from the EPA, the media continues to interview cleanup workers from the Exxon Valdez spill struggling with their health 20 years later. In this account, CBS meets up with a man who says the poisons from the oil literally took his breath away.

Read more from Jonathon LaPook, M.D.

McClatchy: Scientists urge U.S. to move quickly to study the Gulf oil spill

Scientists from the Marine Science Institute at the University of California at Santa Barbara have persistently called for study on what is happening in the Gulf and quickly before the runaway well is capped. They feel impeded by the government and BP and want to learn how crude oil and natural gas move through water and how the oil breaks down into toxic components.

Read more from Renee Schoof


Times-Picayune: Congress gets into the act to prevent another oil spill
The number of spill-related bills in Congress is now at least at 72 and climbing. Among the most recent bills is a measure to require detailed plans on how oil companies would contain and clean up massive spills and another requiring “best available technology” for blowout preventers and emergency shutoff equipment. Some of the bills reflect anger at the oil industry, including measures to take away tax incentives for deepwater drilling, while others cite the industry’s economic benefits and the need for continued domestic drilling.

Read more by Bruce Alpert:

AP: Paul: Obama jabs at BP could harm spill cleanup

Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul said Thursday that harsh criticism of BP by President Obama’s administration could contribute to the oil giant’s demise and harm its ability to pay for cleanup of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Read more from Bruce Schreiner

Examiner: Bobby Jindal’s sitting pretty at top of Gulf oil spill political heap

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s political star is rising as he fights for his state during the oil spill, but this Louisiana commentator says Gulf coast residents needs to see more fight than politics.

Read more from Clifford Bryan


St. Petersburg Times: Crist issues a “rifle shot” in the oil spill war
Let’s not forget that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is running for the U.S. Senate or that his role fighting the oil spill has raised his profile in a very positive way. On Thursday, however, he took a very tough stand, calling for a special session of the legislature to ask lawmakers to let voters consider putting an offshore oil drilling ban in the state Constitution. He called it a “rifle shot.” We call it good political timing.

Read more by Steve Bousquiet:

Check out this one, too:

Examiner: More tar balls hit Texas, NOAA forecast, oil on Orange Beach

The Coast Guard confirmed that oil which washed ashore on McFaddin Beach, Texas, on Monday was connected to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama, were again hit by oil sheen, emulsified oil and tar balls this morning. It’s been an especially hard last three days for Orange Beach.

Read more from Marilyn Crain

USA Today: Gulf’s endangered sea turtles’ eggs relocated

It’s like a battle plan for a military incursion. On Friday, an army of wildlife experts, volunteers and FedEx will kick off an unprecedented plan to relocate more than 50,000 sea turtle eggs from the northwest coast of Florida and Alabama to the east coast of Florida, allowing the turtles a safer swim in the Atlantic Ocean. The eggs will be packed in coolers with sand, transported by FedEx in climate-controlled vehicles to a high-security facility at Kennedy Space Center on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where they’ll be monitored until they hatch in about 10 days.

Read more from Janice Lloyd

Times-Picayune: Catch-and-release policy reversed

Fishermen, commercial and recreational are frustrated. The government keeps opening and closing the waters to test for oil contamination. On Thursday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission reversed a decision made just Wednesday by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to allow catch-and-release fishing in areas that were closed to commercial fishing. But commercial fishermen and boaters argued that all fishing should be shut down in questionable areas to give the fish their best chance to survive.

Read more from Bob Marshall

New York Times: Anti-car crusade, fueled by oil spill, takes station hostage

The Gulf spill and the attention it has focused on US oil dependency is seen by some as an opportunity to push the environmental movement further — beyond merely green, mass transit first, or pro-cycling. For some, the mission now is anti-car. One gas station in San Francisco has become ground zero for all of the protests.

Read more from Scott James

Newsweek: CSI: Gulf of Mexico

Veterinary pathologists are now heading to the Gulf to determine whether the dead marine life washing up on the beaches on the Gulf coast were actually killed by the oil spill.

Read more


MSNBC: The top guns of seafood sniffing

Truth is stranger than fiction, and in this story, we learn that NOAA has 18 expert “sniffers” – people who can sniff out one part per million of contaminants in fish. They took a special class to learn how to sniff out contaminants from the Gulf oil spill.

Read more


Daily Beast: 13 Energy saboteurs

More than 80 days after the BP oil spill, the Daily Beast dissects the political idiocy that prevents a coherent energy policy. Plus, the 13 politicians who keep us addicted to crude.

Read more from John Avlon


Environmental impacts of the oil spill on the Gulf


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