Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster Summary

From the good folks at NRDC.

This afternoon’s summary
There’s just a little more confusion to add some spice to your day. A BP executive testified Thursday before the commission investigating the oil spill that relief wells may not be the final solution to finally kill off the gushing well. He didn’t explain, and it appeared to contradict National Incident Commander Thad Allen who has said the relief wells are the ultimate end game to kill the well. Testimony also disclosed that the pipes were connected incorrectly in the well and might have contributed to the explosion. There are even more questions about how BP was operating the well with the disclosure by one workman who testified that workers got bonuses for working quickly and completing the job under the wire. We’re still waiting for a roadmap to recovery from former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus who’s in charge of developing plans to restore the Gulf coast. And we’re holding our breathes at the progress or lack thereof that claims administration Kenneth Feinberg may be making in distributing BP’s $20 billion escrow account to Gulf victims. All this as the temporary fix remains on the oil well waiting for a final act to kill the well for good.

Quotable Quote
“My task is to develop a road map for recovery once the oil spill is contained and cleaned up once and for all,” said former Mississippi governor and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in charge of restoring the Gulf coast for the administration. “On behalf of Gulf residents, I will deliver that framework for our path forward to the president within the coming few weeks.”

National News

AP: BP exec avoids questions on relief well completion
Here we go again. A senior BP executive is again avoiding committing the oil giant to using relief wells to permanently seal he Gulf of Mexico well that blew out in April. Senior Vice President Kent Wells on Thursday skirted questions by federal investigators on whether the oil giant will proceed with the relief wells. He told the investigators probing the April 20 explosion that killed 11 people that there are “multiple options” to stop the oil. He says the relief wells are “the ultimate backup if everything else fails.” Say what? So what’s the plan?

Read more:

Daily Finance: Where’s Transocean in this daily blame game?
So far, BP has taken the brunt of the blame and public wrath over the explosion and the oil spill that followed, but the investigation is now focusing on Transocean’s maintenance of the rig. A key instrument failed during Macondo well blowout, causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Read more:

AP: BP’s Hayward tells Senate committee ‘No Thanks’ to invite to testify
Outgoing BP CEO Tony Hayward has refused the Senate Foreign Relation Committee’s request to appear at a hearing next month on the release of the man convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Hayward says he’s too busy. We’ll see what the Senate committee member Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has to say about this. He’s the one who invited Hayward to sit in the hot seat in the first place.

Read more: Pipes connected wrong; workers got bonuses for working fast
The devil is in the details, and the details are just beginning to come out. The Houston hearing investigating the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion is beginning to get some answers. The safety valve that failed to prevent the Deepwater Horizon rig exploding in the Gulf of Mexico was wrongly plumbed, according to Harry Thierens, vice president for drilling and completions at BP. “It would mean that the pipe rams could not be closed,” Thierens testified Wednesday. said. “I was frankly astonished that this could have happened.” Meanwhile, one of the survivors of BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion admitted to the hearing that his bonus was in part based on how quickly repairs were carried out. The investigators want answers, and they may just be getting them.

Read more:

Business Spill’s impact lingers for entrepreneurs
It’s not over yet for the small shops and businesses in the Gulf region. Untold amounts of oil are still in the Gulf, the offshore drilling moratorium is still in place and scientists have yet to completely understand or predict the long-term effects. The flow of black oil has put many businesses in the red and, for many the end of the story has yet to be written.

Read more by Craig Guillot:

Daily Finance: BP gets shy about bidding for a lease in Greenland
It may be the drudging of the last four months in the Gulf of Mexico. It could be the deep pockets are shrinking because of all the damages that BP will have to pay out for the Gulf oil disaster. Whatever the reason, BP has decided not to bid for a license to drill for gas off the coast of Greenland.

Read more:


Times-Picayune: Oil spill won’t cause insurance rates to rise
It’s just a little bit of good news, but we’ll take it. The Deepwater Horzion-BP oil disaster in the Gulf should not have a significant impact on the insurance industry or rates Louisiana policyholders pay, insurance regulators and industry officials told a legislative committee his week. “There doesn’t seem to be any impact on insurance to Louisiana residents,” Chief Deputy Insurance Commissioner Al Ater said. Most of the large oil companies with rigs operating or exploring the Gulf waters are self-insured, he said.

Read more:

Wall Street Journal: Key players in the Deepwater Horizon disaster
The Wall Street Journal put together a list of key players in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. These are names that you haven’t heard of whose roles remained important as investigators look for the reasons behind the April 20 disaster.

Read more:

WSMV TV: Vince Gill to lend voice to victims of Gulf oil spill
Vince Gill will headline a free outdoor “Back to the Beach” concert on Saturday, Sept. 25. The goal of the event is to bring tourists back to the beaches along the Gulf Coast. The concert will be in Walton County, Fla.

Read more

PRLog: Capstone produces children’s book, proceeds to benefit Gulf mammal program
Capstone imprint Capstone Press, a children’s publisher, is developing a new book to help kids understand the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Partial proceeds from the book will be donated to the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program.

Read more

New York Times: New study documents symptoms of cleanup workers in 2002 spill off Spanish Coast
A new study, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine shows what may happen to the cleanup workers in the Gulf oil spill. It found a higher incidence of respiratory problems and chromosomal changes to white blood cells among fishermen who helped clean up a 2002 oil spill off the Spanish coast.

Read more from Elana Schor

The Daily News: Hollywood producer: BP oil spill just like Avatar
“The BP mess is a classic example of how our energy policies, or lack thereof, are going to hurt us,” Hollywood producer James Cameron says. He likens it to his blockbuster Avatar which is being rereleased Friday with nine additional shocking minutes.

Read more


MSNBC: Why you can’t kill New Orleans
Despite Katrina, the recession and the oil spill — “New Orleans is rebounding and, in some ways, beginning to rebound better than before,” says Amy Liu, a senior fellow at the nonprofit Brookings Institution, who co-directed a massive five-year overview of the Katrina recovery for the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.

Read more by Alex Johnson:



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