Summary Of the Disastorous Oil Spill On the Gulf Coast

From the good folks at NRDC.
Matt
Today’s summary
The drums aren’t rolling yet. There is no crescendo. No applause or victory lap. But the latest word is that BP may be able to permanently plug its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico before the end of this month. BP said that the company planned to restart work on the bottom kill over the weekend. (No word yet on what happened). And they would continue to finish the relief well in the next four days. Does this suddenly seem like warp speed? Just remember, every optimistic declaration from National Incident Commander Thad Allen has had to be modified. Maybe this time, the predictions will come true. After all, BP and government rescuers ducked hurricanes and tried band-aids for more than four months. And now it finally looks like they are on the trajectory to an ending. Meanwhile, BP’s report from last week buried an interesting fact – that rig workers had a chance to gain control before the April 20 explosion that caused the worst environmental disaster in US history. And the blowout preventer was working. The credibility of this report continues to be challenged. The only comfort is understanding that BP’s report is not the last word on what happened.

Quotable Quote
“We’re going to pull out all of our firemen and paramedics because BP won’t pay their bills. We have a multibillion-dollar, multi-national corporation having a town of 5,000 people in Alabama front the money for their emergency medical response, and I’m tired of it. We’re not going to do it anymore” – Orange Beach, Ala., Mayor Tony Kennon

National News

Bloomberg: BP may start final kill sooner than planned
BP may be able to permanently plug its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico before the end of the month, sooner than was expected just two days ago, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said on Friday. A BP press statement late Friday said that the company would restart work on the bottom kill this weekend. A relief well has been drilled to within 50 feet of the planned intersection point on the original well; it should take crews about four days to finish boring through the rock. Just remember: every estimate of when the final kill will start and end has been overly optimistic so far.

Read more
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-10/bp-ordered-to-check-seals-on-gulf-macondo-well-allen-says.html

Check this one out, too
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-20100911,0,1431525.story

AP: Blowout preventer arrives at NASA facility
The 300-ton device that failed to stop the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill after a rig exploded has arrived at a NASA facility in Louisiana where it will be analyzed to determine why it failed.

Read more
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/nation/coast-guard-failed-blowout-preventer-from-gulf-spill-arrives-at-nasa-facility-for-analysis-102701519.html

USA Today: Allen orders a new cement sleeve over well
The blown-out Gulf well will get a new locking ring at the top of its pipe casing that will expedite its permanent cementing, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said Friday. It will allow the well to withstand any pressure that comes from pouring cement into its bottom. Allen said the sleeve, which will sit below the newly replaced blowout preventer, will obviate the need to pump any more cement through the well’s top and will expedite its permanent sealing.

Read more:
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/09/allen-gulf-wells-cementing-to-be-expedited-with-new-sleeve/1

Washington Post: Credibility of BP oil spill study challenged
Now we’re getting down to the question of whether BP sliced and diced the facts to come up with its conclusion last week that, Yes, the company does take some responsibility for the Gulf oil spill but not all of it. In a statement after BP released its results, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the energy and commerce committee, said the report “glosses over the role and responsibility of BP” and “regrettably does not address the corporate culture at BP that shortchanged safety and caused so much harm to the Gulf and the Deepwater Horizon workers.”

Read more
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/11/AR2010091104579_2.html

Wall Street Journal: Rig workers had chance to regain control before explosion
The details of what happened on the April 20 oil rig disaster are just beginning to come out. Workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig briefly regained control of BP PLC’s ruptured oil well on the night of April 20 and may have come far closer than previously believed to averting the disastrous explosion. These finding are somewhat buried in an internal investigation report issued by BP last week. Turns out the crew managed to activate the blowout preventer and it worked. Unfortunately, workers only triggered it after gas had blown past its valves.

Read more:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704505804575484053238831866.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us

ABC News: Where’s the oil? At the bottom of the sea
There’s been plenty of debate over what happened to 4.9 million barrels of oil from the Gulf oil spill. The dispersants did their job. It evaporated. Oil-eating bacteria got to it. But now a new study finds oil from the BP spill has not been completely cleared, but miles of it is sitting at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a study currently under way. “We’re finding it everywhere that we’ve looked. The oil is not gone,” said Professor Samantha Joye of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia. “It’s in places where nobody has looked for it.”

Read more
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/oil-bp-spill-found-bottom-gulf/story?id=11618039

Al.com: Claims coming in faster than Feinberg can pay them out
Oil spill claims payments to individuals and businesses from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility topped $100 million Friday, but the number of open claims grew to nearly 38,000, as new submissions are coming in faster than workers could process them.

Read more
http://blog.al.com/live/2010/09/oil_spill_claims_coming_faster.html

AP: Future of oil moratorium depends on industry
A key U.S. government official said Friday the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling likely won’t be extended past Nov. 30, but whether it is cut short will be entirely up to the industry.

Read more
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9I573FO5

Wall Street Journal: Legal system begins to organize 300 lawsuits against BP
On Thursday, New Orleans federal judge Carl Barbier will set the tone for how the oil-spill case will proceed at the first hearing since the more than 300 suits were consolidated. The suits, originally filed in federal courts across the Gulf region, blame BP for economic losses, injuries or wrongful deaths.

Read more
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703897204575487970239591754.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsTop

Reuters: BP: Gulf claims won’t exceed $20 billion
BP believes compensation claims related to its Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be less than the $20 billion the oil giant has put into an independent claims fund, analysts at Citigroup said. The analysts met with BP’s incoming CEO Bob Dudley who assessed the numbers for the group.

Read more
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=11620270

AP: Government pays for media monitoring services in Gulf
The Associated Press took a look at how the government is spending money in the Gulf and came up with some remarkable items. The Coast Guard, for example paid $18,000 for two months to John Brooks Rice of New Orleans, an on-call worker for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, under a no-bid contract to monitor media coverage from late May through July. Other contracts looked more in line with the mission: at least $5.8 million for helicopter services, $3.2 million for hotel rooms, $1.4 million for boat charters, $25,087 for toilets and $109,735 for refrigerators and freezers.

Read more
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g7V3wYAmDmisGd5IOLM4xY31_QngD9I6TKK82

Regional

Press-Register: Orange Beach, Ala., mayor orders town services to leave BP work sites
Tired of waiting for millions in lost tax revenue and expense claims, Orange Beach, Ala., officials are packing up staff and medical equipment and moving out of BP PLC contractor work sites. EMS staff is walking away from sites in Orange Beach under orders from Mayor Tony Kennon because BP has paid only about one-third of the $3 million in claims from the city’s oil claims.

Read more
http://blog.al.com/live/2010/09/orange_beach_pulling_ems_staff.html

Times-Picayune: Hardship grants available for rig workers
There’s money available for oil rig workers. Those who suffered financial hardship because of the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill can apply for a hardship grant offered by the Gulf Coast Restoration and Protection Foundation until Sept. 30. BP is making the money available under a $100 million loan. The program is limited to people who were working aboard 33 deepwater rigs May 6, when the moratorium began

Read more:
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/09/moratorium-affected_oil_rig_wo.html

Press-Register: La. and Fla. lead Ala. in oil claims paid
Alabama trails both Louisiana and Florida in oil-spill claims approved and dollars paid by Ken Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility, according to data released late Friday. The disclosure prompted

Read more
http://blog.al.com/live/2010/09/louisiana_and_florida_lead_ala.html

Editorial

Bulletin: Lessons learned from the oil spill
Among lessons learned: When a company or industry lobbies for seemingly altruistic legislation, keep a close eye on your wallet, writes the Philadelphia Bulletin.

Read more
http://thebulletin.us/articles/2010/09/11/commentary/op-eds/doc4c8bab0156d39898408598.txt

Press-Register: Easing the pain of mental illness from oil spill
Easing the pain of oil spill victims with claims checks is only the beginning of giving them the help they need. Every disaster — hurricane, earthquake, oil spill — brings with it a mental aftershock that can debilitate victims just as thoroughly as any physical injury can, the Press-Register writes.

Read more
http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-opinion/2010/09/editorial_getting_help_for_mental_illness_is_critical_1.html

Feature

Time: The oil spill end game
The relief well will be finished – one of these days. The bigger question is what’s happening to the millions of barrels of oil that may still lay beneath the surface of the Gulf, in some form or another. As National Incident Commander Thad Allen knows: whatever can go wrong, may go wrong.

Read more
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2017640,00.html

Graphics:

Video: Feinberg interview with the Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/video/the-big-interview-with-ken-feinberg/E4391CBF-3F5D-4C1F-A89F-5D0761280E90.html

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