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  #11  
Old 05-03-2010, 03:59 AM
JessE
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May 1, 2010
Venice, Louisiana (CNN) -- Gulf coast residents braced Saturday for the arrival of a massive oil slick creeping toward shore as nearly a million feet of boom were deployed in an effort to protect precious estuaries and wildlife -- even as thousands of barrels of crude continued gushing into the water.


Landfall along the Mississippi River Delta and other Gulf areas was expected as early as Saturday.


"I'm pretty much on pause right now ... it's just a big waiting game," said David Boola, a fisherman who leads boat trips for tourists out of Venice, Louisiana.


But even as officials and residents wait for the oil to reach land, the slick has already taken a dramatic toll on life all along the Gulf Coast, bringing fishing and tourism to a halt in many places and threatening to cripple those industries for weeks to come.


"I'm extremely worried because I have customers that [have] already canceled trips," Boola told CNN Saturday. "I should be out taking people fishing today and I'm not. I'm not making money today. Or tomorrow. I'm worried about the now factor, you know?"


Government leaders echoed those fears.


"The oil that is leaking offshore, the oil that is coming onto our coast threatens more than just our wildlife, our fisheries, our coast," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said at a Saturday press conference. "This oil literally threatens our way of life."


The oil company BP -- which operated the rig whose sinking caused the underwater oil gusher -- partnered with government officials to hold town hall meetings throughout the region Saturday to respond to concern about the spill's consequences.


But frustration was growing Saturday in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. At a town hall meeting in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, Mayor Stan Wright warned fishermen in the audience that outbursts would be met with arrest. The fishermen were told that they were not allowed to ask questions.


Jindal suggested the response to the oil slick has so far been inadequate, saying "we continue to be concerned with BP's ability to respond to this incident."


Jindal said he has been working with local officials to develop cleanup contingency plans, but needs funding approval from BP and authorization from the U.S. Coast Guard's incident commander to move forward.
"We need to empower our locals on the ground," he said.


"Now they're saying we are seeing sheens," hitting the coast, Jindal said Saturday, citing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "But they expect the heavier oil to be coming by tomorrow and Monday."


U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen -- who the Obama administration designated Saturday to lead response to the oil slick -- said that oil is likely to reach shorelines in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
"The real question is when," he said.






Allen said Saturday that the government and BP's top priority is trying to stop the oil leak, but offered no timetable for when that goal might be achieved.


"We don't know how many days the discharge will continue to occur," he said.


Such reports darkened forecasts about the spill's environmental impact.
"This has the potential of being truly devastating," Tom McKenzie, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told CNN.


Environmentalist Richard Charter of the Defenders of Wildlife organization said the magnitude of the oil leak could cause damage that would last decades.


"This event is a self-feeding fire," Charter told CNN. "It is so big and expanding so fast that it's pretty much beyond human response that can be effective. ... You're looking at a long-term poisoning of the area. Ultimately, this will have a multi-decade impact."


President Obama announced he will visit the oil spill area Sunday morning.
The oil spill started April 20, after an explosion on the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven oil rig workers remain missing and are presumed dead.


The rig sank April 22 about 50 miles (80 km) off the southeast coast of Louisiana, and the untapped wellhead is gushing about 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, according to BP and government estimates. Some environmentalists say the amount could be much larger.
About 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled since the explosion, the Coast Guard said.


BP said two Louisiana communities -- Venice and Port Fourchon -- will be the first places likely hit by the oil slick.


Nearly 2,000 personnel have joined the response effort, which includes 68 vessels, among them skimmers, tugs, barges and oil-recovery ships, officials said.


Crews worked through Friday night to dispense 3,000 gallons of sub-surface dispersant, officials said. The Coast Guard's Allen said that an initial test of dispersant released near the wellhead suggested the method could "significantly mitigate the amount [of oil] that makes it to the surface."


Such tests have never been done before, BP spokeswoman Marti Powers said. She said that the dispersants attach themselves to underwater concentrations of oil, causing the oil to sink to the bottom and dissipate.
While the dispersants can help dissipate oil slicks and help birds and other land-based or water-surface wildlife, the chemicals can hurt fish and other underwater species, environmentalist Charter said.


"The scale of the event and the likely duration of the event ... really leaves responders with no good options," Charter said. "While [dispersants] can protect terrestial wildlife ... out in the ocean they make toxic biocomponents available to the marine food chain."


Rapid response teams are staged to deploy to shorelines affected by the oil, federal officials said Saturday. The teams will evaluate and determine an appropriate clean-up effort to minimize impact on the environment.
In addition, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has approved Jindal's request to mobilize 6,000 National Guard troops.


Meanwhile, the Minerals Management Service has been in contact with all oil and gas operators in the oil spill area, officials said. Two platforms have stopped production and one has been evacuated as a safety measure, federal officials said in a release Saturday morning.


Federal officials have urged BP to beef up its response.


"We'll continue to urge BP to leverage additional assets," Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Friday as she toured the area. "It is time for BP to supplement their current mobilization as the slick of oil moves toward shore."


Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP, said the company has had three priorities: stop the flow of oil, minimize its impact and keep the public informed.


"We've so far mounted the largest response effort ever done in the world," Suttles said. "We've utilized every technology available, we've applied every resource request. ... We welcome every new idea and every offer of support."


BP said it has been trying to stop the flow by using remote-controlled submarines to activate a valve atop the well. But the valve is not working, the energy company said.


As concerns about the spill's toll mount -- particularly in the commercial fishing industry, a critical $2.4 billion economic engine for the region -- Obama promised steps to prevent a similar disaster in the future.


The president asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar "to conduct a thorough review of this incident and report back to me in 30 days on what, if any, additional precautions and technologies should be required to prevent accidents like this from happening again."


Federal officials, including the president, emphasized that BP is legally responsible for paying the costs of the response to and cleanup of the spill.


The cause of the blast on the Deepwater Horizon remains unknown.
Seventeen of the 126 people on the rig were injured in the blast, three of them critically. One person remained hospitalized Saturday, federal officials said.The House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/01/lou...ill/index.html
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2010, 04:02 AM
JessE
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U.S. curtails fishing in stricken Gulf

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 2, 2010 8:14 p.m. EDT


Workers place oil booms in the water to protect the coast line from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.




(CNN) -- Federal officials closed a portion of the northern Gulf of Mexico to fishing Sunday, curtailing a billion-dollar business as high winds and choppy seas hampered efforts to corral a rapidly growing oil spill.
The spill cast a pall over the annual Blessing of the Fleet in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, one of many towns that make their living from the Gulf. In Venice, Louisiana, a rain-spattered President Obama told reporters his administration has launched a "relentless response" to the spill, but said the problem might not be solved for "many days."


A ruptured undersea well off Louisiana is spewing about 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico, and efforts to shut off the flow have been unsuccessful since the late April explosion that sank the drill rig Deepwater Horizon.



To the east, a heavy smell of oil hung over the Mississippi beaches, and the leading edge of the slick grew closer to the coast of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.


Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, told CNN's "State of the Union" that the slick was still nine miles off the Louisiana coast, but seas of 6 to 10 feet have made deploying booms to fend the spill off the coast "somewhat problematic." Oil giant BP, which owns the well at the heart of the problem, said it had prepared massive boxes to be lowered over the leak points, but deploying them would take about a week.





The minimum 10-day fishing restriction imposed Sunday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration covers an area between the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana to the waters off Florida's Pensacola Bay.


"Balancing economic and health concerns, this order closes just those areas that are affected by oil," NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said in a statement announcing the decision. "There should be no health risk in seafood currently in the marketplace."


The Gulf Coast's commercial fishing industry brings in about $2.4 billion to the region. Thomas Rodi, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Mobile, officiated at Sunday's event in Bayou La Batre and said the spill could have "widespread effects" on the area -- "not only the livelihood of people, but an entire way of life."


Among those taking part in the blessing was Maurice Ryan, who told CNN, "You have to put your trust in someone."


"I really feel like, with the church and the bishop, I've got my life in good hands," Ryan said. "BP certainly isn't helping me."






The oil spill started April 20, after an explosion on BP contractor Transocean Ltd.'s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform that left 11 men presumed dead. About 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled since the explosion, the Coast Guard said.


"This event is a self-feeding fire," said Richard Charter, of the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife. "It is so big and expanding so fast that it's pretty much beyond human response that can be effective." The spill will have "a multidecade impact" -- a "long-term poisoning" of the area, he said.


Booms were strung across the mouths of delta estuaries in Louisiana and inlets along the Mississippi coast. In Alabama, National Guard troops helped lay them out off Dauphin Island, at the southern end of Mobile Bay.


In Pascagoula, Mississippi, a steady stream of customers stocked up on bags of freshly boiled crawfish, oysters and shrimp. The weekend trade was good, but owner Keith Delcambre said he was worried about the future if the oil slick hits the coast.


"All I know is seafood," he said while sorting crawfish in small workroom behind the kitchen. "I don't know what we'll do if this hits. It feels like a hurricane is coming, but what can you do to stop oil?"

The cause of the blast on the Deepwater Horizon remains unknown. BP says a device known as a "blowout preventer" failed and has not responded to repeated attempts to activate it using remotely operated submarines.


Frustration with BP was growing across the Gulf states, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Saturday that the company's response has been inadequate. But BP America's president, Lamar McKay, told ABC's "This Week" that its focus "is dealing with the source of the oil, dealing with it on the surface, and dealing with it on the beach or the marsh if it occurs."
McKay said the company has built a containment system to prevent the leaking oil from spreading. But it may take another six to eight days to deploy that system, which is made up primarily of massive boxes designed to capture the crude.


BP spokeswoman Marti Powers said the company is still trying to use remote-controlled submarines to shut off the well at the ocean floor, about 5,000 feet below the surface, and spreading dispersants on and under the water to break up the slick. The company has put out about 300,000 feet -- roughly 60 miles -- of floating booms to keep the oil away from ecologically sensitive shorelines, she said. But she said efforts to skim oil off the surface were put off because of bad weather.


"We're hampered because the weather is so bad. Some of the vessels can't get out," she said. "So that slows us down a little bit. But they are still making the effort. We did get some photos back this morning that showed quite a bit of success."
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/02/gul...ex.html?hpt=C1
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2010, 04:08 AM
JessE
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May 1st, 2010

WASHINGTON — The federal government has a large rainy day fund on hand to help mitigate the expanding damage on the Gulf Coast, generated by a tax on oil for use in cases like the Deepwater Horizon spill.




Up to $1 billion of the $1.6 billion reserve could be used to compensate for losses from the accident, as much as half of it for what is sometimes a major category of costs: damage to natural resources like fisheries and other wildlife habitats.



Under the law that established the reserve, called the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, the operators of the offshore rig face no more than $75 million in liability for the damages that might be claimed by individuals, companies or the government, although they are responsible for the cost of containing and cleaning up the spill.



The fund was set up by Congress in 1986 but not financed until after the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska in 1989. In exchange for the limits on liability, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 imposed a tax on oil companies, currently 8 cents for every barrel they produce in this country or import.

The tax adds roughly one tenth of a percent to the price of oil. Another source of revenue is fines and civil penalties from companies that spill oil.

The result is a rainy-day fund, which over the years has been used mostly for spills that exceed the liability caps by relatively small amounts. But the trust fund managers have warned that a single big spill could make a sizable dent in the reserve.


The money is also used to prepare for spills, including anticipatory measures like stockpiling oil containment booms. And Congress can use money from the fund to reimburse the Coast Guard and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration for their spill-related expenses.

“The idea behind creating it was that we wouldn’t have to wait on money to clean up an oil spill,” said Michael C. LeVine, the Pacific senior counsel for Oceana, an environmental group.

A federal supervisor at the scene of a spill can authorize states to spend up to a quarter-million dollars on the spot.


The president can authorize up to $50 million a year without Congressional approval.


When a rich and well-insured company like BP is responsible for the spill, the government will seek reimbursement of what it spends on cleanup from the company and its insurers.



Experts say the fund is invaluable in spills involving smaller companies, which may not have money for cleanup, or in cases where the identity of the responsible party is not instantly clear.
But damages in oil spills can run to big money.

“One billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, but it really might not be,” said Mr. LeVine, who is based in Juneau, Alaska.

Companies that lose business — fishermen who cannot fish, or hotel owners who cannot rent out rooms — can seek damages. So can governments that see tax revenues decline.

A count made by the Department of Homeland Security last August found that since 1991, there had been 51 instances in which liability exceeded caps.

In most years it was a handful; in 1999 there were 11, because of a typhoon in American Samoa that wrecked eight fishing vessels that spilled oil.

Numerically, cargo vessels and fishing vessels are the biggest culprits, but oil tankers and barges cause the most dollar damage.

The fund’s single largest expense so far came after a tanker in the Delaware River, the Athos I, spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil in 2004.

Money can be sought by the states for expenses like restoration of a damaged wetland or compensation for loss of use of a resource.
Payments are limited by the amount actually on hand in the fund; if this spill depletes the trust fund, it might take time to replenish it for future use.

The balance was projected to rise to about $1.9 billion from the current $1.6 billion — but that was before the spill.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/us/02liability.html

Last edited by JessE; 05-03-2010 at 04:23 AM.
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2010, 04:49 AM
JessE
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Hi all,
Certainly an interesting time line unfolding in front of us. Initial reports of the seriousness of the situation were minimal at first, but as time has passed the magnitude of the situation is becoming more and more apparent. Interesting to note the rig that exploded, sank and which is at the heart of this disaster is owned by a company named Transocean.

Transocean was leasing the rig to BP, who (BP) is ultimately legally responsible (key word legally). Despite the fact it appears as if former Vice President Dick Cheneys old company, Halliburton, may very well be ultimately responsible. BP is pointing the finger at Transocean, Transocean is keeping quiet and the LA times is reporting the focus is increasingly shifting on Halliburton. Also interesting to note is how little mention Halliburton is receiving from CNN in all of this.

An expert was recently featured on CNN who mentioned the chemical dispersant's they are planning on putting into the water is every bit, if not more dangerous than the oil itself. In the same interview this Professor mentioned the fact these chemical dispersants are purchased by the oil companies from themselves. Thats right they purchase the companies that manufacture these dispersant's. And then right off their purchases on their taxes! With there being no other contengency plan in place to fight these types of disasters but these dispersant'. With Halliburtons recent acquirement of Boots and Coots, a company founded by two oil well fire fighters just before the explosion occurred on 4/20 none of this information comes to me as a surprise really.

Last edited by JessE; 06-29-2010 at 04:12 PM.
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2010, 09:36 AM
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Well well, that is interesting cause the news today says obama is furiously demanding BP take responsability and clean it up. Now its starting to look a little like BP got suckered and yet again there are shady links to american politicians. I wonder how long its going to be before the other side of the story makes it to UK news.
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  #16  
Old 05-03-2010, 10:17 AM
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Call me cynical, but by the time B.P or whoever can't wriggle out of the blame has to go to court, they will have done enough lobbying that they'll be passed to a court that has favourable judges and will either quash or greatly reduce the compensation they have to pay, similar to the Exxon Valdez compensation, money talks.

Peace GG
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2010, 02:11 PM
JessE
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(CNN) -- BP will "absolutely be paying for the cleanup operation" of the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, chief executive Tony Hayward said Monday. "There's no doubt about that."


"It is indeed BP's responsibility to deal with this and we're dealing with it," Hayward told NPR's "Morning Edition."


And, he added, "where legitimate claims [of damages] are made, we will be good for them," according to NPR's website.


The ruptured undersea well off Louisiana is spewing about 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico. And efforts to corral the rapidly growing oil spill have so far been unsuccessful.


The slick was still nine miles off the Louisiana coast early Monday, but seas of six to 10 feet have made deploying booms to keep the spill off the coast "somewhat problematic," Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, has said.
Fishing has been banned by federal officials for at least the next 10 days in a portion of the northern Gulf of Mexico that includes the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The Gulf Coast's commercial fishing industry brings in about $2.4 billion a year to the region.


Officials are fighting the spill on three fronts, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday.


"One is to cap the well" that is leaking the oil, she said. "Efforts to do that have not succeeded to date."


Authorities are also fighting the slick at sea before it reaches land, and preparing to clean it up immediately if it does make landfall, she said on CNN's "American Morning."





The spill cast a pall over the annual boat blessing ceremony in St. Bernard, Louisiana, where fishermen have observed the tradition for decades to usher in the shrimping season.


It also overshadowed the inauguration of a new mayor in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is still digging itself out from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina five years ago
Democrat Mitch Landrieu, who will be sworn in on Monday, took part last week in a flyover of the spill for a firsthand look.


"As this situation becomes clearer, there are obvious environmental and health concerns, especially as it relates to Lake Pontchartrain, our coast, and our air quality," he said Thursday. "But there is also an economic component of the utmost importance including the impact on our fisheries and port traffic."
WDSU: Rush to save Lake Pontchartrain


In Venice, Louisiana, a rain-spattered President Obama on Sunday told reporters his administration has launched a "relentless response" to the spill, but said the problem might not be solved for "many days."


BP said it had prepared massive boxes to be lowered over the leak points, but deploying them would take about a week.


Officials warn of possible catastrophe


Meanwhile, for residents along the coast of Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, the game of watch-and-wait continued Monday.
Five years ago, a 28-foot storm surge from Hurricane Katrina flattened Ben Stone's house and almost wiped out his hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi.
Now, if the spill comes ashore -- as many expect -- Stone will be able to see it from the front porch of his newly built house.
"You can get mad about this," he said. "I'm very disturbed about it."
Already a heavy smell of oil hung over the Mississippi beaches.


"This could not have happened at a worse time in our history," said John Kelly, Gulfport's chief administrative officer.


The city has undertaken half a billion dollars in new construction since Katrina. Of that, $30 million is being spent on developing the harbor -- the third largest container port on the Gulf Coast.


"Well, if it threatens the commercial sea lanes, that's a concern because if ships don't come in and ships aren't able to go out, that stops commerce," said Donald Allee, the CEO of Mississippi State Port Authority.


Equipment operator Daniel Schepens knows all too well what that will mean.
After Katrina, he was out of work for a month. He is worried the fallout from the spill could be worse.


"No ships, the warehouses are empty, no trucks, no imports, no exports," he said.
The oil spill started April 20, after an explosion on BP contractor Transocean Ltd.'s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform that left 11 men presumed dead. About 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled since the explosion, the Coast Guard said.
"This event is a self-feeding fire," said Richard Charter of the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife. "It is so big and expanding so fast that it's pretty much beyond human response that can be effective."


The spill will have "a multidecade impact" -- a "long-term poisoning" of the area, he said.


Booms were strung across the mouths of delta estuaries in Louisiana and inlets along the Mississippi coast.


In Alabama, National Guard troops helped lay them out off Dauphin Island, at the southern end of Mobile Bay.


In Pascagoula, Mississippi, a steady stream of customers stocked up on bags of freshly boiled crawfish, oysters and shrimp.


The weekend trade was good, but Keith Delcambre -- owner of seafood market Bozo's -- said he was worried about the future if the oil slick hits the coast.
"All I know is seafood," he said, while sorting crawfish in a small workroom behind the kitchen. "I don't know what we'll do if this hits. It feels like a hurricane is coming, but what can you do to stop oil?"


The cause of the blast on the Deepwater Horizon remains unknown.
BP says a device known as a "blowout preventer" failed and has not responded to repeated attempts to activate it using remotely operated submarines.
Frustration with BP was growing across the Gulf states, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said the company's response has been inadequate.
But BP America's president, Lamar McKay, told ABC's "This Week" that its focus "is dealing with the source of the oil, dealing with it on the surface, and dealing with it on the beach or the marsh if it occurs."


McKay said the company has built a containment system to prevent the leaking oil from spreading. But it may take another six to eight days to deploy that system, which is made up primarily of massive boxes designed to capture the crude.
BP spokeswoman Marti Powers said the company is trying to use remote-controlled submarines to shut off the well at the ocean floor, about 5,000 feet below the surface, and spreading dispersants on and under the water to break up the slick.
The company has put out about 300,000 feet -- roughly 60 miles -- of floating booms to keep the oil away from ecologically sensitive shorelines, she said. But she said efforts to skim oil off the surface were put off because of bad weather.
"We're hampered because the weather is so bad. Some of the vessels can't get out," she said. "So that slows us down a little bit. But they are still making the effort. We did get some photos back this morning that showed quite a bit of success."
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/03/gul...#disqus_thread
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  #18  
Old 05-03-2010, 02:24 PM
JessE
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Originally Posted by jaybutta View Post
You had me at Halliburton...jay


Interesting to see CNN and even the President skirt around information relevant to the case. A glimpse of true influence in the world perhaps.

Quote:
By Ashley Powers and Jim Tankersly, Los Angeles Times May 3, 2010



Reporting from Venice, La., and Washington


With the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico tripling in size in 48 hours, President Obama visited New Orleans on Sunday and promised to "do everything in our power" to mitigate a looming environmental disaster.

Storms briefly grounded Coast Guard planes, but reports of oil hitting land began flowing in, along with confirmed sightings of dead sea turtles, crabs and birds washing ashore in Pass Christian, Miss.

Capricious winds and waves in remote areas confounded efforts to establish exactly when the oil might hit, and Coast Guard officials still had no confirmation late Sunday of landfall.

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The coast from Louisiana to Florida braced for the gooey mess to hit barrier islands of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the sandy beaches and casino enclaves crucial to the region's tourism industry.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a 10-day restriction on commercial and recreational fishing from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Florida's Pensacola Bay. In Alabama, National Guard troops arrived on Dauphin Island to build a berm of sand containers.

BP, the London-based oil company financially responsible for the deep-sea well rupture 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, was put on the defensive as criticism mounted that too little was done too late to stop the slick.

BP Chairman Lamar McKay, speaking on ABC's "This Week," called the accident unforeseeable. He said BP engineers continued to believe that a broken "blowout preventer"— a valve that ensures the well is shut tight in case of an accident — had malfunctioned.

The break has allowed a fountain of oil — officially estimated at 5,000 barrels a day — to gush unchecked from the ocean floor, nearly a mile deep, out of reach of divers and all but the most specialized equipment. McKay compared the company's efforts to shut the ruptured well to "doing open- heart surgery at 5,000 feet in the dark, with robot-controlled submarines."

But there were signs that patience with BP's efforts was growing strained. A day earlier, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal questioned whether BP had sufficient resources to respond to the crisis and declared that Louisiana officials were moving ahead with their own contingency plans.

"We are past the point of waiting," the statement said.

Obama on Sunday used his most forceful language yet, pledging the full resources of the federal government for as long as it took to fight the massive oil leak that threatened the environment and economy of the Gulf of Mexico region.

"We're going to do everything in our power to protect our natural resources to compensate those who have been harmed," Obama said, "to rebuild what has been damaged and help this region persevere like it has done so many times before."

Obama's visit coincided with other White House efforts to blunt questions about the federal response. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar were dispatched to Sunday television talk shows, promising an aggressive response to the spill.

Gulf Coast fishing accounts for 75% of U.S. shrimp production and 20% of U.S. seafood stocks. Obama called the spill a threat to "the heartbeat of the region's economic life."

An April 20 explosion and fire later sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. under contract to BP, and left 11 workers missing and presumed dead. Since then, engineers have been working around the clock trying to figure out how to stop what for all practical purposes may be a limitless undersea volcano of oil belching into the deep waters of the gulf.

Pilots operating robotic subs from a nearby ship have failed to fix the broken blowout preventer. A simultaneous effort to drill under the sea floor into the oil well shaft to try to plug it with cement could take three months.

BP offered a glimpse of hope Sunday, suggesting that within six to eight days it could lower huge steel boxes constructed to contain the churning column of oil.

Meanwhile, storms and seas of 7 to 10 feet kept some boats in port and hampered surface efforts as a storm system that had passed through the Los Angeles area several days ago wreaked havoc on the Southeast.

The result was swiftly changing winds, warm bursts of rain and rough water. The unpredictable winds, combined with a dearth of reports from the air, were making it difficult for officials to predict the slick's growth and movement.

"There's not a whole lot to do in this weather," said David Jones, 53, of Mobile, Ala., a supervisor at Oil Recovery Co., which is helping with the spill cleanup.

"When [the oil's] coming to you and you got it boomed off, you can contain it. The wind is so rough out there, it's blowing water out of the boom," he said. Gusts have also made it harder to fly over the spill and determine its size and shape, he said.

Jones, who's worked in the industry for more than two decades, described the crude as hard to scoop out of the water because it's so thin. Some sunshine, he said, might evaporate a good portion of it.

The amount of oil spilled so far continued to be debated. BP, which revised its estimates upward after a watchdog group quibbled with its earlier statements, said it had no working flow meters near the sea bottom to measure the flow. Coast Guard officials Saturday said it was difficult to know how much oil has spewed forth since the April 20 blast. But experts say the spill may grow to exceed the 11 million gallons that the Exxon Valdez spilled in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989.

The Obama administration has said no new offshore oil drilling leases will be issued unless rigs have safeguards to prevent a repeat of the explosion. But in a television appearance Sunday on "This Week," Salazar rejected calls to shut any of the remaining 30,000 drilling rigs in the gulf.

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"For us to turn off those spigots would have a very huge impact on America's economy right now," Salazar said. "This is an industry that can operate safely."

Obama, accompanied by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, domestic security and counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan and energy advisor Carol Browner, referenced Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 disaster that killed almost 2,000 people and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. The slow federal response to Katrina helped erode the George W. Bush administration's political standing.

"I've heard already that people are understandably frustrated and frightened, especially because the people in this region have been through worse disasters than anybody should have to bear," Obama said.

He promised federal assistance, but also fingered BP.

"Let me be clear: BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill.
But as president of the United States, I'm going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues," he said. "And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused."
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics...4.story?page=1

Last edited by JessE; 05-03-2010 at 02:34 PM.
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  #19  
Old 05-03-2010, 02:46 PM
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I'm afraid you have a point again Jesse

nice thread - too bad the news in it sucks and shows that political lobbies rule the world... Brazil has better laws concerning security on those platforms than the USA!

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Old 05-04-2010, 09:30 AM
JessE
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Senator: 'BP says it'll pay for this mess. Baloney.




March 4, 2010

(CNN) -- Lawmakers will meet with environmental groups Tuesday to gauge the impact from an explosion aboard a BP oil rig that uncorked a gusher of oil off the coast of Louisiana.
Democratic senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey along with Bill Nelson of Florida will talk to officials from the Sierra Club and Environment America to discuss courses of action as the impact of a potential disaster continues to unfold.
On Monday, the lawmakers introduced legislation to do away with an existing $75 million cap on oil companies for damages resulting from spills, such as loss of tourism revenue.
The senators want to raise the cap to $10 billion.
"BP says it'll pay for this mess. Baloney," said Nelson, referring to the oil giant that owns the well at the heart of the problem.
"They're not going to want to pay any more than what the law says they have to, which is why we can't let them off the hook."
BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, has vowed that company would "absolutely be paying for the clean-up operation" of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Where legitimate claims are made, we will be good for them," he told NPR's "Morning Edition."
But the feds were leaving little to chance.





Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that Justice Department employees were in the Gulf region "to ensure that BP is held liable."
Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and incident commander, told CNN that BP "is the responsible party" and "will bear all the costs" of the cleanup.
Still, the promises failed to quell the fears.
"I hope we can weather the storm," said Keith Delcambre, owner of seafood market Bozo's in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
He said the nature of the current disaster could exact more of a toll than did Hurricane Katrina that savaged the Gulf coast in 2005.
"We weathered Katrina, but shrimp after Katrina was good," he said. "Seafood after Katrina was good. With all the oil out there, I don't know what to expect. This is brand new."
Though the widening pool of oil remained offshore Monday, it was already a presence for some coastal areas.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday extended a state of emergency to 13 coastal counties in his state and said he might extend it to two more on Tuesday.
"In the event that the oil does come to our shores, I want us to be ahead of it as much as humanly possible," he told reporters.
Preparations continue on strategies to stop the leak, though each plan has drawbacks.
The initial plan is to lower a dome over the wellhead next week to capture the spewing oil, said Florida Secretary of Environmental Protection Michael Sole.
"That would stop the flow -- if successful," he said. "Unfortunately, it's never been tried at 5,000 feet below the surface of the water."
If that effort proves unsuccessful, BP would then drill a relief well that would allow the leak to be plugged and provide a pathway for the leaking petroleum to be recovered, he said.
"Unfortunately, that's a two- to three-month operation," he said.
How the oil spill crisis could affect BP
The developments came as BP's ruptured undersea well continued to spew about 210,000 gallons -- or 5,000 barrels -- of crude per day into the Gulf of Mexico. Efforts to contain or even curtail the spill have been unsuccessful.
The sheen extends up to 60 miles across and threatens the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as the Florida Panhandle, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
That's an area nearly as large as the state of Delaware. The slick was still nine miles off the Louisiana coast Monday, Allen said.
Federal officials have banned fishing at least until May 12 in the northern Gulf of Mexico from the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana to waters off Florida's Pensacola Bay.
The Gulf Coast's commercial fishing industry brings in about $2.4 billion to the region.
Officials are fighting the spill on three fronts, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday.
"One is to cap the well" that is leaking the oil, she said.
Authorities are also fighting the slick at sea before it reaches land, and preparing to clean it up immediately if it does make landfall, she told CNN.
The oil spill started April 20, after an explosion on BP contractor Transocean Ltd.'s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform left 11 men presumed dead.
The cause of the blast remains unknown.
BP says a device known as a "blowout preventer" failed and has not responded to repeated attempts to activate it using remotely operated submarines.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/04/us....mment-48317184

Last edited by JessE; 05-04-2010 at 11:55 AM.
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