Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disastor Summary

This is from the good folks at NRDC.

Today’s summary
BP came out fighting on Wednesday, issuing its own version of events about what caused the April 20 explosion that has become the worst environmental disaster in US history. The problem for many critics today is that it sounds more like a defense brief than an impartial report on what happened. Sure, BP took some of the blame, but not all over it, igniting another debate among its oil rig partners – rig owner Transocean, and cement contractor Halliburton over who is responsible. It is likely that this report is the first glimpse into BP’s legal strategy as it faces hundreds, possibly thousands, of lawsuits arising out of the oil spill. Critics didn’t like BP’s version of events one bit. Neither did Transocean and Halliburton. Meanwhile, we’re hearing new details about the ‘final kill’ amid indications from National Incident Commander Thad Allen that it might be a two-step process before the well is finally declared dead. On Tuesday, $17 million in oil spill checks were cashed in just one day amid promises from claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg that the process will be speeded up. To date, $71 million in checks have been issued.

Quotable Quote
“This report is not BP’s mea culpa,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., a member of a congressional panel investigating the spill. “Of their own eight key findings, they only explicitly take responsibility for half of one. BP is happy to slice up blame as long as they get the smallest piece.”

And this one, too
“If they believe painting the rigs yellow would make them safer, stop delaying, give us a bucket of paint and let us get started,” said Billy Nungesser, president of oil-soaked Plaquemines Parish.

National News

Washington Post: BP’s report on Gulf oil spill gets a ‘D’
Criticism is rolling in over BP’s own report about what happened on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs noted “there is an active investigation into what went wrong” and said the administration’s job is to find out what happened and hold those responsible accountable. Federal prosecutors are among those investigating. Robert Gordon, an attorney for fishermen, hotels and restaurants affected by the spill, put it another way: “BP blaming others for the Gulf oil disaster is like Bernie Madoff blaming his accountant.”

Read more

Check this one out, too
Wall Street Journal: Questioning BP’s methodology on its spill report

Wall Street Journal: BP report targets Halliburton, too
Don’t forget about Halliburton’s role in the Gulf oil disaster. BP PLC’s internal investigation didn’t. It puts considerable blame on the Halliburton Co., which developed and pumped the special cement supposed to seal the bottom of the well that ended up spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. BP concluded that the cement failed to do one of its main jobs: preventing natural gas from flowing into the well. This was the first in a chain of failures that led to the April 20 disaster.

Read more:

Wall Street Journal: Drilling regulatory agency gets another black eye
We’ve known for a while that the federal agency, now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, was dysfunctional – a kind way to describe how it handled oversight of oil drilling. But BP’s own internal investigation into what happened in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill found even more alarming trends.

Read more

New York Times: BP report hints at likely legal defense
BP is is trying to contain the legal and financial fallout from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon with its new report, many critics say. They believe the report is the first a preview of BP’s legal argument as it prepares to defend itself against possible criminal or civil charges, federal penalties and hundreds of pending lawsuits. The report faults BP for its role in some smaller decisions that led to the explosion, but lays plenty of blame on Transocean, the owner of the rig.

Read more by Ian Urbina

Houston Chronicle: Allen: 2-step process possible in ‘final kill’
The final step in securing BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico could be a two-phase project, according to National Incident Commander Thad Allen. Depending on the results diagnoses now under way, step one would be to add cement to that of the earlier “top kill” and then to intercept the hole with the relief well and cement from the bottom.

Read more

NPR: Allen: Lessons learned from the Gulf oil spill
In an interview with NPR, National Incident Coordinator Thad Allen talks about the lessons learned from the worst environmental disaster in US history. With the removal of the failed blowout preventer from the seafloor, and its replacement with a new one, there is no possibility of the leak starting again, he said. The cleanup effort continues, he said, but only in Louisiana. The boom and skimmers have been removed from Florida, Mississippi and Alabama.

Read more

Check out this one, too

Fortune: Has the Mariner explosion been forgotten?
The Mariner explosion didn’t grab the headlines. It was not as catastrophic as the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and nobody died. Nevertheless, the Obama administration may be using it as the justification to tighten the moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf, or to extend it to include rigs in shallow water. With top administration officials largely silent on Mariner, that’s not likely to happen.

Read more:


Press-Register: $17 m in oil spill checks cashed Tuesday
About $17 million in oil spill claims checks were cashed Tuesday, raising the amount paid to individuals and businesses to about $71 million since BP PLC handed the reins over to an independent operation on Aug. 23.

Read more Oil spill sent Fla. visitors to east coast
Florida’s west coast tourists found a new resting spot this year driven by the Gulf oil spill. New hotel business statistics back up what local tourism officials have been hearing on the grapevine: many detoured to beach destinations on the east coast of Florida and nearby states.

Read more

Check this one out, too


Times-Picayune: Speed up payments to oil spill victims
Kenneth Feinberg vowed that his Gulf Coast Claims Facility would issue emergency payments for up to six months of losses to individuals in 48 hours and to businesses within a week. Two weeks later, he’s failed to meet those goals, the Times-Picayune writes.

Read more


> AP video on BP’s oil spill report



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