Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disastor Summary

From the good folks at NRDC.
Todays summary
The final kill is about to be final. For the first time, there are real words of optimism coming from the commander of the maneuver to kill the renegade well permanently. To a great sigh of relief, it could be this week. But that’s hardly the end of the problem that has polluted the seas, damaged marine and wildlife and devastated the livelihoods of so many people along the Gulf coast. Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg signaled for the first time that he would not be intractable when it comes to claims of those not located directly in the path of the oil spill. The oil spill claims payout has topped $141 million, and BP is now saying that it does not expect to reach the $20 billion deposited in an escrow account for victims. Meanwhile, the legal battles over the oil spill begin with victims and oil industry executives taking sides and already arguing about the availability of evidence in the many cases.

Quotable Quote
“If I say ‘No, you’re not eligible,’ what have I done but drive you into the court system? “So I want to take a look. I make no promises” – Kenneth Feinberg on who is eligible for BP oil spill victim checks

National News BP getting close to killing the well
The job is almost done! BP says it is getting closer to intercepting and finally killing the company’s damaged Gulf of Mexico oil well. In a statement Tuesday, the company said its relief well is now within six meters of the damaged oil well. Once the well is accessed, it will be sealed with mud and cement in what is known as the “bottom kill” procedure. National Incident Commander Thad Allen expects the bottom kill to completed this week.

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Washington Post: Feinberg eases requirements for claims
How close do you have to be to the oil spill to get a damage check? Not that close. Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg tells Florida hotel and restaurant owners he will not impose a “proximity” requirement on those seeking payments for lost business. Feinberg said he had changed his view on whether to set definite lines about how close to the oil spill a business must be to file a claim for damages. But businesses must still document damages.

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Check this one out, too -officials-call-for-faster-help-for-oil-spill-victims

Wall Street Journal: The legal battles over the oil spill begin
The legal battle is getting fired up. The kick-off hearing of the oil spill multidistrict litigation hearing is scheduled for Thursday in New Orleans. A bevy of motions have been filed that indicate the tenor of the case to come and it’s not going to be pretty. Plaintiffs are seeking evidence sooner rather than later. Defendants would rather produce it later than sooner.

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Reuters: Oil spill claims payout hits $141 million

The Gulf Claims Facility, created to compensate people and businesses for oil spill damages, has paid out $141 million in claims since it took over the organization from BP on Aug. 23.

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Bloomberg: End of drilling ban may prompt confusion
The end of a U.S. moratorium on deep-water oil drilling is likely be followed by confusion as drillers adjust to new rules, predicted Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the office that oversees offshore drilling. Some deep-water operators may already be prepared to comply with stricter safety and environmental rules. Others may not have all the information required and will need some “back and forth,” he said.

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Times-Picayune: Recommendation to end drill moratorium coming this month
Fresh off the last of eight public hearings on the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling is coming this month, the industry’s chief federal regulator said Tuesday that he is moving quickly to complete his recommendation on when to end the drilling ban. “We’re in an all-out sprint; maybe a marathon is a better metaphor,” said Michael Bromwich.

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AP: Oil and gas industry say doubling fees for offshore inspectors will cost jobs
There’s some immediate pushback taking place from the oil and gas industry that doesn’t like President Obama’s plan to double fees charged for inspections of offshore operations. American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard argues it could cost jobs. “This is not the time to go back and impose additional costs on industry,” Gerard said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters.

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AP: Hayward to testify to UK lawmakers on spill
Remember Tony Hayward? Well, the people on the Gulf coast sure do, and now the Brits want to question him about the Gulf oil spill, too. The outgoing BP CEO will come under scrutiny from British lawmakers Wednesday over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, months after he offered few explanations for the accident at a testy hearing in Washington. Hayward is scheduled to give evidence to a British parliamentary committee studying the fallout of the spill and the future of deep water drilling.

Read more Questionable govt oil spill contracts under fire
It had to happen sooner or later. In the rush to deal with the worst oil spill in US history, the awarding of federal contracts just got out of hand. An AP investigation finds these strange contracts: A New Orleans man was hired for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration. Then there is this one: The government also spent $10,000 for just over three minutes of video showing a routine offshore rig inspection for news organizations but couldn’t say whether any ran the footage. And it awarded a $216,625 no-bid contract for a survey of seabirds to an environmental group that has criticized what it calls the “extreme anti-conservation record” of Sarah Palin, a possible 2012 rival to President Obama.

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Times-Picayune: Huge fish kill in Plaquemines Parish
Plaquemines Parish officials have asked state wildlife officials to investigate what they said is a massive fish kill at Bayou Chaland on the west side of the Mississippi River. The fish were found in an area that has been impacted by the oil from the BP oil spill.

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Bloomberg: Assessing the damage
The media keeps trying to compare Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. But they couldn’t be more different, according to people who have experienced both. One oysterman describes the difference:

“Katrina was quick. The event, as horrific as it was, lasted a total of 14 days. We could get back, assess damages, and set a plan. The anxiety levels came down significantly at that point. With Deepwater Horizon, the anxiety level stayed at a high level for a long period of time, because you never knew when it would end. From an emotional standpoint it was a significant challenge. It was never clear where the oil would go, where the currents and wind would move the oil.”

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