Survey to wellhead completed; no info released. Louisiana will be a major player in BP litigation. Shell considers BP bid. BP sell chunk of North Sea field. Lawsuit to challenge plans for offshore leases. The truth could land you in jail. Fish are showing more problems that can be directly related to traces of oil.
You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe AUV #602. AUV #601 is here.
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After several reports earlier this year of oil sheen in the areas around the Macondo wellhead, the Coast Guard confirmed that sheen was apparently from oil with the Macondo "fingerprint" and planned a subsea survey.
The Coast Guard's Capt. Duke Walker, coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon response, said the "only" place oil could be was in the containment dome, or other wreckage from the blowout.
Walker says that thousands of barrels of oil - each barrel containing 42 gallons - could be trapped in wreckage and equipment from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The places of "high suspicion" include the containment dome and the so-called riser pipe.U.S. Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Henry Waxman, D-Calif., members of House energy committees, have called on BP, the Coast Guard and other concerned parties to disclose what they've learned about the latest incidents, and to be more open about the findings.
"There is no statute of limitations or protections for a crime against the environment, and BP should immediately hand over any and all information related to this new chapter in their oil spill disaster," Markey said in a statement.Markey also pointed out that the ROV used to survey the site had to be brought in "from overseas" and the mission had to be delayed for a week due to weather, and that did not inspire confidence in BP's ability to handle another spill.
Okay. Can we have an ROV go and check every so often then? With an open, unedited, real-time feed we can watch? Can Ed and Henry put some more pressure on to keep them going back and checking...and checking....and checking...
In a settlement or in a trial, the price that the state of Louisiana may demand from BP could potentially be more that the oil giant can afford. Or, at least that is the contention of some observers.
Louisiana officials contend that the cost of restoring the state’s beaches, wetlands and other natural resources will far exceed widely reported estimates that BP will pay $15 billion to $20 billion to settle federal and state civil claims.One bone of contention is the amount of oil that came out of the blown Macondo wellhead. The US government contends the well spewed at least 4.9 million barrels (approximately 200 million gallons) of crude. BP disputes the claim, but has not settled on an actual amount released, which is the key factor in an assessment of damages - a dollar figure is attached to each uncontained gallon.
BP officials say, however, that they are ready to defend the company's position in court.
“BP will vigorously defend against those claims, which must be tethered to reality and based on actual environmental and economic damages,” said Scott Dean, a company spokesman.Additional damages to natural resources would be added to the fines under the Clean Water Act, with a higher price tag assessed if gross negligence is found. (I would think that any incident that has already accrued criminal charges could be considered "gross negligence", right?)
The 4.9 billion barrel estimate could yield additional fines under the Clean Water Act of $5 to $20 billion.
But David Uhlmann, a former head of the Justice Department’s environmental-crimes section, says the dollar amount may not reach the levels Louisiana officials demand.
“The natural resources damage claim is likely to be in the single-digit billions, not the double-digit billions,” Uhlmann said. “BP is a very wealthy company but they do not have unlimited resources, and it’s not realistic to expect BP to agree to pay anywhere close to $20 billion for natural resource damages. You can’t extract in settlement negotiations sums of money that a court would never award if the case went to trial and BP lost on every claim.”One of the drawbacks, as in the Exxon Valdez spill, is that the scope of the total environmental impact may take years to develop. Numerous environmental studies have been undertaken to measure the spill’s effect on animals from microorganisms to whales, and on air and water quality, which would be used to calculate the cost to restore Louisiana's coast. The state is also demanding a “re-opener” agreement, which would give them the right to ask for more money at a later date if additional money is needed for restoration.
In addition to potential environmental impact settlement monies, Louisiana is also making punitive damage claims based on maritime laws, and alleging it lost more than $1 billion in tax revenue as a result of diminished economic activity.
While these claims could add up to a startling total, LeCesne said the individual components all have a strong legal basis, and probably are complicating efforts at negotiating a global settlement between BP and federal and state governments.Well, if you go into negotiations asking for way more than you expect to get, you might come out with more that you'd hoped for.
Wonder what plans Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida might have in the works?
Well, one of those plans might be to just sell everything you've got, or maybe just cease to exist altogether...or at least morph out of your present form.
While buying your biggest rival might have advantages, don't you think twice if your rival has enough heavy baggage to sink the Titanic twice?
That might not be enough to stop Shell from shelling out to buy BP. Shell executive Peter Voser has told a German newspaper that the company was interested in purchasing BP in the past, but declined comment as to whether that deal could still be done.
"I can't imagine that there was anyone in our industry that didn't have a look at it. At the end of the day we're all business people," Voser is quoted as saying.BP continues to sell off some of the company's global assets in preparation for the cost of fines and litigation...
Well, it's not quite Filene's basement on wedding-dress-sale-day, but still...and Filene's didn't survive in the end either.
British oil giant BP is selling its 50 percent stake in a gas field in the North Sea off the United Kingdom for $288 million in cash as part of a plan to divest certain non-operated assets.Let's see...$288 million...
Sort of in the drop in the bucket region, is it not? I guess BP is going on with the "a little here, a little there" plan.
Lawyers with New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity plans to file a lawsuit in the United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the Santa Fe, N.M.-based Center for Sustainable Economy to ask the Court to require the US Department of the Interior to abandon the current structure for selling offshore oil leases, and to revise said program.
The legal challenge takes direct aim at the Interior Department’s plan to hold more than a dozen offshore drilling lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and waters around Alaska before June 30, 2017.The Center for Sustainable Economy is maintaining that the costs of deep-water drilling disasters, government subsidies, and carbon emissions tied to production and combustion of the fossil fuels should be taken into account before more leases are granted.
“The balancing of cost and benefits is more than just an academic exercise,” said Mike LeVine, the Pacific senior counsel for the conservation group Oceana, which is not a party to the lawsuit. “For places like the Arctic where the risks are great and the costs are high, a fair evaluation can have a very significant impact in the water.”The Department of the Interior has stated that rigorous analyses have been done in the areas subject to new leases, with safeguards to ecosystems and coastal communities at the highest level, citing that the new leases would be for targeted and regulated areas, and not for wide swaths of acreage and ocean floor as had been the norm.
Loren Steffy says not only will the truth not set you free, you might have to do hard time for it...
If the government has its way, Kurt Mix will go to jail for telling the truth.The rest is here... and it is definitely worth the read.
Research led by scientists with the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science and a study by Smith University scientists has shown that even small amounts of oil contamination at embryonic stages of fish development resulted in changes.
“We found that in more sensitive species the photo-enhanced toxicity could account for up to a 20-fold higher sensitivity,” said Dr. Martin Grosell, professor and associate dean of graduate studies for the Rosenstiel School. “This is an important part of the equation because it means that traditional toxicity testing performed under laboratory conditions will tend to underestimate the toxicity that might have occurred in the natural environment under the influence of sunlight,” he added.Wonderful... Can I hope the Maya calendar does mean the world ends Friday?
Thank you, Yasuragi, for being ever-vigilant in sending stories for these compilations.
I think it is safe to state here that we will be taking a holiday break, and will be back in January, where we will prepare for litigation intrigue and hijinks from all of the usual suspects...
Thanks to all of you for sticking with this oil-slicked and Corexit-soaked bunch.