Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disastor
From the good folks at NRDC
This morning’s summary
The weather remains the biggest hang-up in the march toward killing the renegade oil well for good and repairing the Gulf coast. The relief drill has been delayed and cleanup work related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been put on hold because of a tropical weather system moving through the spill region. It could delay the job by 2-3 days. Incident Commander Thad Allen, who retired from the Coast Guard in the middle of this disaster and now leads the effort as a civilian, says he wants to turn over his job to someone else in September as long as the well is sealed and there is no oil on the water. The Obama administration defends its upbeat assessment of the Gulf recovery. Obama’s poll numbers are rising on his handling of the worst environmental disaster in US history. And the public is once again embracing the expansion of offshore drilling. Meanwhile, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a frequent critic of BP and the oil disaster, is criticizing the oil giant for “low-balling” just how much crude has been spilled into the Gulf in the last three months.
“The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is unprecedented. From the origin of the leak, to the amount of oil released into the environment, to the spill’s duration and ongoing nature, the Gulf oil spill poses unique challenges to human health.” The Institute of Medicine
VOA News.com: Storm puts oil spill cleanup on hold
Cleanup work, along with the drilling of relief well, has been suspended on the Gulf as officials wait for a tropical weather system to pass through. It could bring storm conditions and lightning but, in any case, it will delay work on the well for several days.
AP: Texas sues Obama administration for “unjustified” deepwater drilling moratorium
The Texas attorney general sued the Obama administration Wednesday over its new deep-water offshore drilling moratorium, claiming it is unjustified and federal officials did not contact the state before issuing the ban.
Read more from Sarah Portlock
CBS News: Thad Allen mulling Sept exit.
Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen says he would like to turn the job over to someone else by the end of September, but only if the well is sealed and there is no oil on the water for some time.
Times Picayune: Government releases fund agreement with BP on Gulf oil spill
The Obama administration Wednesday released a 40-page agreement with BP that requires the company to set aside revenue from its U.S. oil and natural gas production as collateral for a $20 billion fund to pay victims of the Gulf oil spill. The document makes it clear that the fines the administration plans to assess against BP can’t be paid from that account, only for claims to victims and to states for cleanup.
Read more from Bruce Alpert
Time: Oil spill: End of endgame, beginning of claims game
According to this account, “The first phase of the Gulf oil spill belonged to the engineers and environmentalists. The next one will belong to the lawyers.”
Read more from Bryan Walsh
Mercury News.com: Obama team defends upbeat Gulf oil spill report
Government officials are defending the credibility of a new report that much of the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico is gone. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco says the government used direct measurements and the best estimates available for the new report and has a high degree of confidence in them.
Huffington Post: Markey calls on BP to stop low-balling flow estimates
If BP really wants to “make things right” in the Gulf of Mexico, it should start by publicly accepting the latest federal estimate of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told the company in a letter on Wednesday. BP has been insisting in a major PR initiative that it is committed to cleaning up its mess. But a week after the government estimate of oil flow from the blown-out well shot up to nearly 5 million barrels – BP has been refusing to say whether or not it concurs with that number. Of course, for BP every barrel means more in fines.
Read more from Dan Froomkin
Wall Street Journal: WSJ/NBC Poll: Support for offshore drilling grows
Politically speaking, the Gulf oil spill is a fading memory. Half of Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance on the spill, while 38 percent disapprove. That’s a reversal from two months ago, when the gusher was still spewing crude into the Gulf. Moreover, 57 percent of Americans support an expansion of offshore drilling, compared with 53 percent who supported it in the midst of the spill in June.
Wall Street Journal: Neil Young and John Tyson to help Gulf coast residents
Music icon Neil Young and food tycoon John Tyson are teaming up to help fight hunger in Gulf coast communities affected by the oil spill. Tyson Foods plans to donate 100,000 pounds of chicken products in conjunction with special concerts Young has planned in late September along the Gulf coast. Concert-goers will be asked to bring non-perishable food items for local food banks.
AP: In La., signs of regrowth seen in oiled marshes
Some great news from the delicate marshes of Louisiana that are home to many species of coastal creatures. Shoots of grass and bushes of mangrove trees are starting to grow back in the bay where just months ago photographers shot startling images of dying pelicans coated in oil from the massive Gulf oil spill.
Read more from Cain Burdeau and Jeffrey Collins
Huffington Post: Seafood safety and politics don’t mix; opening of Gulf fisheries at odds with evidence of harm
Marine Toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor Rikki Ott says that she has been in the Gulf since May 3 and does not believe federal assurances that the worst is over. She says she is looking at a public health epidemic.
Read more from Rikki Ott
New York Times: Transocean charts the depths, heights, and ironies of drilling
Remember there were three companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon? In fact, one of the them, the owner of the rig, is the biggest offshore drilling company in the world. No news about Transocean has been good PR news for the company. The irony is Transocean has been drilling the relief wells in partnership with BP, but they are expected to duel in court on liability for the oil spill.
Read more from Mike Soraghan
Reuters: Gulf coast bank hopeful about new oil spill role
Whitney National Bank, a Gulf Coast bank whose bottom line has suffered because of the region’s massive oil spill, is hoping to benefit from its new role cashing checks for residents who have settled claims with BP.
Read more from Dave Clarke
Bloomberg: Apache completes $3 billion buy to purchase some of BP’s assets
Apache Corp. said Wednesday it has completed a $3.1 billion acquisition of oil and gas assets in west Texas and New Mexico from BP. The acquisition is part of BP’s broader agreement to sell Apache $7 billion worth of properties in the United States, Canada and Egypt to help pay for the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Baltimore Sun: Visit Florida coast, get $250 gift card
Some towns in Northwest Florida are offering tourists a $250 gift card if they book a trip between now and September 30.
Examiner: Matt Simmons: BP, CIA conspiracy theory suggested behind his unexpected death
Some very dark, John Grisham-thriller-like conspiracy theories are circulating about the unexpected death of oil industry expert Matt Simmons. According to Maryann Tobin of the Examiner “Simmons, 67, was found dead in his home in Maine on August 8, 2010. The medical examiner’s office is unclear about whether he drowned in his tub after suffering a heart attack, or died from a heart attack while drowning. Before his unexpected death, Simmons had become a whistle blower against BP and the US government. He used his oil industry and government connections to reveal information about the BP oil spill disaster that he claimed were deliberately hidden from the public.”
Huffington Post: The Jaws syndrome; life imitates art on the Gulf coast, crime of the century part II
Thirty-five years later, the disaster of the BP oil spill has been playing out like Jaws Redux. “BP’s disastrous oil spill at the Mississippi Canyon 252 site as the Great White Shark, the Obama Administration and the Federal, State, and Local Authorities as the Town of Amity, and the lone rational voice of Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungasser as Chief Brody.” But in this scenario, the good guy doesn’t win. “President Obama has shown himself to be a master media operative, a superior orator, but in the end just another politician answering to not the call of history but corporate interests,” writes Jerry Cope.
Read more from Jerry Cope