Gulf Coast Disaster Summary

From the good folks at NRDC
This morning’s summary:
Is the Big Fix finally here? BP is trying its 8th attempt to fix the blown-out wellhead that has been fouling the Gulf of Mexico. Today, BP will be testing the strength of the new smaller, tighter cap that has been lowered over the leaking well. Officials hope it will stop the gushing by late Tuesday or early Wednesday. But it’s no time to rest easy yet. It is not a permanent fix. The relief wells, expected to be completed by the end of July or early August, are the only permanent solution to this devastation. But BP is already looking ahead to alternatives if that does not work either. In the meantime, the Interior Department imposed a new ban on deepwater offshore drilling in the Gulf, an order likely to be challenged in court quickly. BP’s shares continue to jump in the markets following reports that it’s looking for new sources of revenues. And complaints mount about how BP is failing to pay all of the pending claims against it from victims of the oil spill.

Quotable Quote:

“We’re at a game-changing point. Nobody should be happy that this happened. If there’s oil in the water, nobody should ever be happy with their response because all you’re doing is trying to make the best out of a bad situation.” National Incident Commander Thad Allen

National News

Los Angeles Times: Containment cap in place
The calamity and its effects on planet Earth are nowhere near over, but here is a sight the world has been watching for – the new containment cap lowered onto the broken well Monday. Whether it works is another issue.


Los Angeles Times: Pressure tests begin today on containment cap

It’s the moment of truth today. The new cap has been placed on the well, and according to Incident Commander Thad Allen, a “well integrity test” will be conducted. When that happens, systems that have been collecting the oil would have to shut off and valves on the cap would be closed.

Read more from Michael Muskal

Check this one out, too:

AP: BP affixes new cap on well, tests ahead

Wall Street Journal: New ban hits oil drillers

The White House is trying again with a new ban on deepwater drilling – although there are provisions for restarting drilling if safeguards are in place. It also takes a new approach. Instead of banning drilling in waters of 500 feet or more, drilling is now suspended at any wells using subsea blowout preventers or surface blowout preventers on a floating facility.

Read more from Siobhan Hughes and Stephen Power

McClatchy: New moratorium on drilling in Gulf

The Interior Department’s new run at a ban on deepwater drilling meets with resistance.

Read more

Also see:
Huffington Post: Obama wants to continue deepwater drilling if it’s proven safe: Gibbs


ABC News: Michelle Obama urges people to vacation on the Gulf, but Obamas head to Maine for their break
First Lady Michelle Obama made her first trip to the Gulf since the oil spill and encouraged American families to vacation on the beautiful beaches of the Gulf coast. However, she’s not following her own advice. The Obamas will now be heading to Maine for their vacation.

Read more from Karen Travers and Matt Gutman

McClatchy: BP’s paid less than half of claims

Since the Deepwater Horizon well exploded April 20, BP has paid fewer than half of the claims filed in six states. The company had received 103,013 claims as of Saturday and had paid 48,795 of them at a cost of nearly $163 million. BP blames paperwork delays from claimants.

Read more from Melissa M. Scallon

Los Angeles Times: BP resumes burning oil in Gulf
No one has ever burned oil in U.S. waters after a spill, so government agencies, oil companies and environmental groups are watching closely as BP burns an increasing amount of oil leaking after the large containment cap was lifted from the wellhead.

Read more by Bob Drogan:,0,371306.story

Suite Methane and arsenic: Ticking time bombs of the Gulf oil spill?

According to experts, the methane or natural gas released by the Gulf spill may continue to threaten sea life long after the oil has disappeared, and a recent paper by British scientists warns that oil-related arsenic may pose a similar threat.

Read more—-ticking-time-bombs-of-the-gulf-oil-spill

NPR: Reporters face security hurdles at Gulf spill areas

As long as reporters can’t cover the story, the stories will keep coming about how they are being blocked.

Read more from David Folkenflik

AP: Coast Guard lifts ban on coverage near oil spill boom

Perhaps, in reaction to the growing number of media reports about blackouts on coverage, Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen, said Monday night that new procedures permit credentialed news media free travel within the boom safety zones. Allen had issued similar notices the past three months so it remains to be seen how much movement reporters will be allowed.

Read more

Press Register: Buffett concert brought needed dollars to region
Jimmy Buffett’s free concert provided a needed boost to condo rentals, food and retail sales for the entire weekend, business officials said Monday.

Read more by Russ Henderson:


Los Angeles Times: BP stock jumps on plan to sell assets

Shares of BP jumped 8 percent, in part because of new hopes for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and because of reports that the company may be turning to Apache for $10 Billion in asset sales to raise money.
Read more,0,4495249.story


Miami Herald: Despite new toughness, Obama faces hurdles in oil spill

Even though the White House has been getting tough on BP and the oil spill, the jury is still out from the public on whether the President did too little, too late. The legacy of his presidency may hinge on the answer.

Read more from Margaret Talev and Marissa Taylor


New York Times: In BP’s record, a history of boldness and costly blunders

The Deepwater Horizon wasn’t the first disaster for BP, which rose to the top of the oil industry with an increasing record of cost cutting at the sacrifice of safety. According to this account, “Time and again, BP has insisted that it has learned how to balance risk and safety, efficiency and profit. Yet the evidence suggests that fundamental change has been elusive.”

Read more from Sarah Lyall


Times-Picayune: BP’s miserly ways hurt the Gulf people
BP should reconsider its rush to cut money to Gulf Coast residents and its stand on business costs. BP should be bending over backwards to help the people it has hurt. Instead, it seems more interested in protecting its own wallet, the Times-Picayune writes.

Read more:

USAToday: Why hasn’t historic Gulf spill helped push climate bill?

The gusher has been spewing nonstop, and so has the anger from the public. This editorial asks – Why hasn’t that given traction to the climate bill? The answer from researchers is that the anger is directed at BP and not at the general misuse of the natural world, USA Today writes.

Read more

Time: Same arrogance, whole new disaster

Bob Bea, a Berkeley engineering professor who is an expert on disasters and offshore drilling, is working with the Presidential commission on the oil spill. He categorizes disasters into four groups, and one of them is when organizations are just too arrogant to pay attention to warning signs.

Read more

The Village Voice: That oil spill in the Gulf isn’t helping anyone

Usually, according to this blog, in any disaster, there is some upside for someone. Not in this one, not unless the public takes the hint and turns to safer alternative forms of energy. That is, it doesn’t help anyone except for BP, whose shares are up 58percent.

Read more from Jen Doll

Young Americans: Reporting on the Gulf oil spill from the internet

The internet is increasingly coming alive with bloggers (and even National Geographic below—which refers to a photographic blackout) who are pushing back against almost three months of BP and governmental efforts to restrict coverage of the oil spill.

Read more from Erik Wong

Oil Spill News: Artist’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill protest

Gaudet, well known to New Orleans art lovers for elegant cast-glass sculptures sold in one of the city’s most respected art galleries, installed 53 oil drums on the grounds of a landmark public garden to make an artistic protest to the Gulf oil spill.

Take a look


Ø National Geographic photos of the oil spill


Ø NOAA oil spill trajectory through Friday



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