Gulf Coast Oil Disastor Summary

Thank you.m From the good folks at NRDC.
Today’s summary
Now comes the hard part – writing the rules to make sure an offshore oil drill disaster never happens again. The federal government is sifting through the details of the disaster. But they still have a lot of unanswered questions, and they need to weigh the risks versus the benefits of future offshore oil drilling. This is no time to delay. The US thirst for oil continues to grow. The moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the Gulf will expire on Nov. 30. As hearings begin to unfold, one witness testifies that BP got too much power during the oil spill repair efforts and called the shots without talking to local officials. Interior Secretary Salazar is calling for developing better oil spill technology and Energy Secretary Chu concurs that better technology can prevent another oil blowout. Meanwhile, crews policing the Gulf shores are still finding oil washing ashore. The longterm effects of BP’s Macondo blowout and spill that sent close to 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Atlantic Ocean this summer are yet to be known.

Quotable Quote
“We need to understand this is always going to be a collaboration,” said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. “Industry needs to be there – they have the technology.”

And this one, too
“Our machines sat on a barge waiting to separate oil and water for days before some boats could even come,” said actor Kevin Costner. “It was a lack of coordination, it was a tangled mess.”

National News

Times-Picayune: Witnesses: Too much power handed to BP in oil spill rescue
As federal officials begin sorting through the details of the Gulf oil spill, a congressional committee started hearing criticism of what didn’t work. St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro told a congressional panel Wednesday that the federal response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico thwarted local efforts and, all too often, let BP call the shots. The failure resulted in adversarial relationships between the local agencies, the state and governor’s office, and BP and the United States Coast Guard, he testified.

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Times-Picayune: Oil exec: Spill response started too slowly
There are multiple venues right now focusing on the Gulf oil spill and what went wrong. At an Interior Department forum on Wednesday, Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said that initial efforts to stop the flow of oil from BP’s damaged Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico appeared to start with “low-risk” strategies that had little chance of success.

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Check this out, too
/SB10001424052748703860104575507861551230840.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5 Drilling oversight agency waiting for money
The new agency overseeing offshore oil drilling is in a state of limbo these days waiting for money from Congress. But Michael Bromwich, Interior’s top offshore drilling regulator and head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, plans to press ahead with its expanded oversight even as it awaits increased funding for the efforts. “We are going to do everything we can. We obviously need the money, but we are proceeding full speed ahead with the reorganization and we will certainly do what we can with all the resources that we have available. . . . We are making good progress,” he said.

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Washington Independent: Salazar calls for improved oil spill technology
We’re a long way from finished with the Gulf oil crisis or the critical issues it underscored in the deepwater drilling business. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Wednesday that it’s important to work closely with industry, scientists and other stakeholders to improve the technology used to respond to oil spills.

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Miami Herald: Chu: Better technology can prevent another oil blowout
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said Wednesday the BP oil spill exposed many flaws in the system but there are many practical steps that could be taken to prevent another blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Among the issues that need to be fixed: faulty industry response plans, the lack of government oversight and the difficulties of shutting off an oil and gas gusher at depths where no human can go. The question is how quickly will these problems be repaired to prevent another disaster.

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AFP: Costner pitches emergency oil spill legislation
It’s a pretty sad commentary when it takes a Hollywood actor to tell Congress what went wrong in the Gulf oil spill rescue efforts. But actor and activist Kevin Costner did just that on Wednesday when he told US lawmakers that clean-up operations during the BP oil disaster were a “tangled mess.” He urged Congress to adopt his $895million emergency response plan.

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Press-Register: Oil still washing ashore
The well may be dead, but oil is still rolling up on the shore, according to a federal team using shovels and snorkeling gear to survey the coastline for submerged oil. The team found tarballs washing ashore with every wave Wednesday morning in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama. And just off the beach, in about 3 feet of water, the team found bands of oil buried under 4 or 5 inches of clean sand.

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AP: Gulf coast tourism bets on red snapper
Tourists may be lured back to the Gulf this fall with the prospect of fishing for red snapper. In an unusual move, the federal government is allowing fall fishing of the popular schooling snapper, and that’s a good deal for anglers who missed nearly an entire summer of saltwater fishing because of the Gulf oil spill.

Read more SBA to close spill help centers in Monroe County, Fla.
The SBA is closing the Business Recovery Centers established in Monroe County, Fla., because of a decrease in activity. Friday is their last day.

Editorial Drill but do it safely
Americans seem to be ahead of the politicians, recognizing that while the summer oil spill was a disaster full of lessons for the future, the country still needs American oil from the gulf to sustain local jobs and the national economy. A recent poll shows despite the environmental damage and loss of nearly 5 million barrels of oil, most U.S. voters still support offshore and deepwater drilling, writes.

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NPR: The biggest oil spill in US was 100 years ago in California
The BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is being called the largest offshore oil spill in U.S history. But the biggest oil spill in the U.S. actually occurred 100 years ago in a small California town. It’s known as the Lakeview gusher. It happened in Taft, Calif., on March 15, 1910. The gusher shot some 200 feet in the air and rained down onto the surrounding hills for a year and a half, night and day.

Read more

Also see this report:
10 years of oil spills



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