Skip to main content

Topics: AGs Claim BP Given Pass to 'Distort' & 'Subvert', BP Spill Fund Administrator Tells U.S. Judge to Stay Out of Claims Process, Scott urged to sue BP over oil spill, Did BP claims czar snub Senate Ag committee?, Ken Feinberg reaches deal to pay subsistence claims for commercial fishermen who consume a portion of their catch, Former Congressman Anh 'Joseph' Cao terminated by oil spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg, Longtime oil industry champion now calls BP liars, almost a year after oil spill, One year after the BP spill: A fishing business struggles, Has BP really cleaned up the Gulf oil spill?, BP Spill's Next Major Phase: Wrangling Over Toll on Gulf, US govt weighing more drilling contractor oversight, Big US funds join list voting against BP at AGM, TNK-BP plans to sue BP, seeks $10 bln in damages

You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #502. ROV #501 is here.

Follow the Gulf Watchers tag by going clicking on the heart next to the Gulf Watchers tag at the bottom of this diary. Follow the Gulf Watchers Group by going here and clicking on the heart next to where it says "Follow" in the Gulf Watchers Group profile on the right. You will have to scroll down a little to see the profile. Bookmark this link to find the latest Gulf Watchers diaries.

Gulf Watchers Diary Schedule
Monday - evening drive time
Wednesday - morning
Friday - morning
Friday Block Party - evening
Sunday - morning

Part one of the digest of diaries is here and part two is here.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.

Mississippi and Alabama AG's remain monumentally unimpressed with Feinberg's performance. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood went to court again to update the complaint against BP, Feinberg and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).

BP and Feinberg have financially desperate claimants between a rock and a hard place. The longer that BP and Feinberg make them wait the more likely it is that victims will settle for much, much less than their losses. Any money left over in the $20 billion fund will be pocketed by BP.

AGs Claim BP Given Pass to 'Distort' & 'Subvert'

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Attorneys general across the Gulf Coast have renewed their criticism of BP's claims payment process, saying BP uses "economic duress to manipulate financially desperate claimants into providing BP ... with an improperly broad release of claims and legal rights in exchange for inadequate consideration."
"This distortion of the truth is emblematic of the media campaign launched by Mr. Feinberg, acting on BP's behalf, to mislead the public regarding the GCCF [Gulf Coast Claims Facility] and to conceal the repeated violations of OPA [the Oil Pollution Act] by BP, through the GCCF claims process," Hood wrote in his 13-page federal filing.
Hood says the efficiency of the claims process has deteriorated since February, when U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled that court intervention in the claims process was unnecessary.

Hood says: "A breaking point in the health and economic vitality of our coastal citizens and communities has now been reached as the result of the failure of the claims process to timely and fully compensate claimants with legitimate claims for the losses."

Hood adds that BP, through the GCCF, uses "economic duress to manipulate financially desperate claimants into providing BP, and other responsible parties, with an improperly broad release of claims and legal rights in exchange for inadequate consideration."

Hood says the need for court supervision of the GCCF is dire.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said that of the GCCF claims that have been paid, "almost all - 98.9 percent (96,417 out of 97,423) are of express-line quick-pay option requiring no processing by the GCCF, and disturbingly, that the claimant was required to forfeit any and all other legal recourse for compensation."

Strange's statement added that "officials also are troubled that the GCCF continues to rearrange data in a way that hinders true transparency. ... a multimillion dollar public relations campaign has been used to distort the truth."

In his March 21 letter to Feinberg, Strange asked: "Why doesn't the GCCF release the data that would reflect the ratio of what is being paid versus what is being claimed? Paying $3.5 billion when claimed losses are many billions more is hardly a reason to claim success. Providing the complete picture of claims versus payment is essential for an accurate and fair evaluation of the GCCF process."

The average quick-claim payment has been $12,000.

When taking a quick-claim payment, claimants must sign away their right to future payments from BP or any other oil spill defendants.
BP announced on March 25 that it had increased Feinberg's pay from $850,000 a month to $1.25 million a month, retroactive to Jan. 15.

Hood's document states that Feinberg's raise "speaks volumes about what services that BP requires Mr. Feinberg to perform, if BP believes that his performance to date merits more than a 47% increase in compensation retroactive to January 15. In the absence of swift, firm and decisive judicial intervention and the imposition of Court-mandated and Court-controlled supervision of the claims process provided by BP, the remedial purposes of OPA will continue to be subverted by BP, through the improper denial or delayed payment of legitimate interim, short-term damage claims."

If Kenneth Feinberg were doing an honest and fair job he would welcome an independent audit of his work. Claiming that an independent auditor would chill his work seems a confession that Feinberg's real work is to cheat victims out of as much money as possible.

Feinberg's lawyer probably has a point about Judge Barbier's authority. However, let's hope that he can manage to find a legally solid method of bringing some accountability to the process that is an ongoing nightmare for so many victims.

BP Spill Fund Administrator Tells U.S. Judge to Stay Out of Claims Process

Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of BP Plc (BP/)’s $20 billion spill-claims fund, told the U.S. judge in charge of hundreds of oil spill damages lawsuits that he shouldn’t -- and legally can’t -- take charge of the claims- payment process.

The attorneys general of four Gulf Coast states had asked U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans to monitor Feinberg to ensure fair and prompt payment of thousands of oil spill damage claims, as required by law. On April 7, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood asked Barbier to intervene, conduct an independent audit of Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility and hold public hearings on the findings.

“The court does not have the power under the Oil Pollution Act to impose upon the GCCF the monitoring sought by the attorney general,’’ David Pitofsky, Feinberg’s lawyer, said in court papers filed today.

“Even if it did’’ have legal authority, imposing the court’s supervision over Feinberg’s fund would divert resources and “chill the ability of GCCF personnel to work expeditiously without fear of running afoul of an independent auditor and a court-imposed evidentiary hearing,’’ Pitofsky said.

Hood said he analyzed recent claims-payment data and accused Feinberg of using “economic duress to manipulate financially desperate claimants’’ into accepting quick, inadequate settlements that would prevent them from later suing BP for damages.

‘Barely 3 Percent’

Hood claimed Feinberg’s fund has paid “barely 3 percent of interim business claims and 9 percent of individual interim claims’’ for economic damages resulting from the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. He said the claims facility imposed “unreasonable’’ documentation requirements and then used claimants’ inability to provide the records as grounds for denying legitimate claims.
The case is In Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

Rick Scott seems to be going out of his way to prove how willing he is to be a snuggle bunny to big oil. The legal groundwork has already been done but Scott won't pull the lawsuit trigger to benefit the taxpayers of Florida.

Scott urged to sue BP over oil spill

Gov. Rick Scott says he wants to work with oil giant BP and not end up fighting in court over the Gulf oil spill.

The rosy scene bothered Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid.

There was Gov. Rick Scott on Monday, happily announcing a $30 million marketing and tourism grant from BP for seven Panhandle counties, thanking a BP senior executive at his side for “stepping up.”

Yerrid, appointed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist last year to serve as Florida’s special counsel on the oil spill, says the grant is “chump change” compared to at least $1 billion the state could get from filing a claim against the oil giant.

“The fact that we haven’t filed a claim, and [Scott’s] been in office since January, to me cannot be adequately explained,” Yerrid said. “It’s not like Florida doesn’t need the money.”
“My goal is to try to work with BP and make sure we don’t end up in litigation,” Scott told reporters.

I guess Feinberg thinks that his and BP's warm and fuzzy relationship with Florida's governor means he can blow off a Florida legislative committee.

Did BP claims czar snub Senate Ag committee?

BP claims czar Ken Feinberg didn’t show up at a Senate Agriculture Committee this afternoon, although he was scheduled (sort of) to be there.

Feinberg’s last appearance before state lawmakers was in March, when he took heat for continued complaints about delays paying Panhandle claims. Feinberg, in charge of BP’s $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility, also met then with Attorney General Pam Bondi and dined with Gov. Rick Scott at the mansion.

Senate Ag chairman Gary Siplin said he’s been e-mailing Feinberg for weeks trying to get him to testify but was unsuccessful.

Instead, Feinberg sent a letter, which Siplin had staff read into the record, saying he’s booked up and won’t be back in the Sunshine State until May.

Scott’s reluctance irks a cast of Floridians who want the state to receive the same legal consideration as Louisiana and Alabama, which have already joined a federal case that could be worth tens of billions of dollars. Time is running out, they say.
Crist appointed Yerrid as special oil spill counsel shortly after the explosion. Before his term expired Dec. 31, Yerrid spent eight months researching Florida’s lost tax revenues and preparing the state’s case with a team of lawyers.

Yerrid sent Scott three letters after the election offering up his data. He said he heard nothing back.

After nearly a year Feinberg is just getting around to coming up with a formula for compensating subsistence commercial fishers. I notice that they aren't stupid enough to be holding their collective breaths and plan to defer to the courts for final adjudication.

Ken Feinberg reaches deal to pay subsistence claims for commercial fishermen who consume a portion of their catch

Commercial fishers and American Indians -- but not recreational anglers -- can finally be compensated for expenses they incurred when last year's oil spill took away their ability to feed themselves and their families using the seafood they would have caught in fouled Gulf waters.
So-called "loss of subsistence" claims have befuddled Kenneth Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility since he took charge of BP's $20 billion oil spill damages fund last August. In that time, the operation has paid more than 170,000 claimants for loss of income or profits due to the spill, but just 23 of the more than 16,000 subsistence claims filed.
Subsistence claims are specifically allowed under the Oil Pollution Act, which governs oil spill damage compensation, but Feinberg's operation had trouble calculating losses for something that isn't generally well documented.
The impasse was broken when GCCF said it would use scholarly studies to determine the amounts typically consumed by different groups of commercial fishers and by so-called "true subsistence fishermen," namely affected Indian tribes like the United Houma Nation.

Kenneth Feinberg, manager of the Gulf oil spill relief fund, talks to the crowd at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center in Houma, La., in September.
After initially planning to pay the wholesale, or dock, price of the subsistence portion of a claimant's catch, GCCF also agreed to pay for the pre-spill retail costs of replacing that seafood. For those claiming losses for seafood they bartered, however, the price at the dock will be used.
Mark Moreau, whose Southeast Louisiana Legal Services participated in the negotiations, said he hopes the first payments will be made in the coming weeks.
"The GCCF Revised Subsistence Methodology is vague and, depending on how they interpret some of the key concepts, could either be promising or problematic for proper interim compensation," said May Nguyen, an adviser for Mary Queen of Viet Nam Community Development Corp. "Importantly, we defer to the court(s) for final adjudication of subsistence claims."

Unsurprisingly, being "hands on" is frowned upon by BP's lapdog. Heaven forbid that someone is actually reaching out to BP's victims.

Former Congressman Anh 'Joseph' Cao terminated by oil spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg

Former U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao has been fired by oil spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg from his position as a liaison to the Vietnamese and coastal fishing communities.

Cao, the first Vietnamese-American member of Congress, was hired by Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility shortly after his one term in the U.S. House ended in January. He was asked to reach out to the sizable number of Vietnamese fishers who had filed claims for lost earnings, business profits and use of gulf resources for subsistence.
Cao said Feinberg called him in early March and told him he was being too "hands-on" and that his services were no longer needed.
He said the 2008 season was interrupted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and that many shrimpers refrained from harvesting during parts of the 2009 season as a part of an organized protest against low-priced Asian imports being dumped on the U.S. market.

"Those are the kinds of decision-making processes I don't believe they have in place to really understand how the fishing community really lives," Cao said.
"In the beginning my role was very clear, reaching out to the Vietnamese community and clarifying the program. But subsequently my role was diminished. I was asked to stop doing town halls, to stop doing other things besides confine ourselves to the local claims offices. And that's when I began to question why we need an added layer to do this."

It's sad that it took such a horrendous event for Mr. Lambert to recognize big oil's horse manure PR for what it is but we welcome his decision to swap his ignorance for an environmental white hat. Lambert is also another of Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility's victims. He is down $904,000 in lost income and is hiring a lawyer to sue rather than continue to fight a futile battle with the GCCF.

Longtime oil industry champion now calls BP liars, almost a year after oil spill

A year after the Deepwater Horizon exploded 60 miles south of his Buras hunting and fishing lodge, Ryan Lambert can distill his opinion of BP and the oil industry down to one word: Liars.

Adventures Lodge, one of the state's largest is furious with BP for not paying out claims. For his peak spring-summer season, business was down 94 percent from his average, a drop he says eventually cost him $1.1 million. To help hedge his bets, he has gone into partnership in Willowdale Country Club in Luling, trying to bring it back from the brink, and looks over the fairways and ponds Thursday, April 7, 2011.

It's an opinion he never thought he'd have.

"The fishing industry has always lived side-by-side with the oil industry down here in Plaquemines Parish, and they've always told us that if anything happened, they would take care of the problem -- they would repair the damages and they would make us whole -- and I believed them," said Lambert, whose Cajun Fishing Adventures Lodge is one of the state's largest.

"Well, they lied. About everything. They didn't take care of the problem, and they're not taking care of us. Guys in my business weren't made whole. A lot of them are starving. And now that the national media is gone, BP couldn't care less."

"I'm sick of it, and I'm telling the whole country about it -- on national TV, in magazines and in front of Congress."
But two changes occurred he never saw coming.

First, the help BP said was on the way to repair damages inflicted on businesses and the environment never came, he said.

A trust turned upside-down

That event led to a second unanticipated change: His long trust in the oil industry and skepticism of environmental groups was turned upside-down. He has become a willing volunteer for national green groups, among them the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ducks Unlimited, The Green Group and the Izaak Walton league.

In fact, on Sunday he leaves on his second trip to Washington as a guest of the Natural Resources Defense Council to tell his personal story of loss and disappointment.
Lambert, vice president of the Louisiana Charter Boat Association, said his anger deepens when he thinks about the estimated 600 other charter captains in the state. He said the only members who have settled up with BP are those who took a flat $25,000 "quick payment" from claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg.

"The only ones who took that were guys who had no other choice because of their situation," he said. "They had house notes or boat notes or medical expenses and no business coming in. Well, now that money is gone, and they still don't have any business -- and they're just screwed.

"I don't know of any of the guys who have been made whole like they promised."
"And what people in this state should ask themselves is: If a giant like BP isn't making us whole, what do they think is going to happen when the smaller fish in that business have an accident?"

More BP and Feinberg victims. It took a call from Money for the Boggs to get information about whether or not they are due more money from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Even if they do get some money to compensate them for their remaining $1,263,400 in losses, the Boggs will still be forced to gamble that future business will be enough to keep them afloat.

One year after the BP spill: A fishing business struggles

Randy Boggs met the enemy up close for the first time last June when he pulled his 65-foot fishing boat, Reel Surprise, out of the marina in Orange Beach, Ala., and into the Gulf of Mexico.

There it was, lapping against the hull, a vast oil slick as far as the eye could see -- "heavy and thick, like asphalt in a parking lot," says Randy, who runs a tourist fishing business with his wife, Susan.
The economic impact was devastating, especially along the tourist-dependent Alabama coast: The number of visitors to Baldwin County, where the Boggses live and work, dropped by 1 million compared to 2009, real estate values sank by up to 65%, retail sales fell by half. And when the gulf was closed for fishing in early June, business for charter operations, like the Boggses', collapsed.
Yet anything less than a complete turnaround this year could spell disaster for the Boggses. Reel Surprise Charters, their fishing-boat operation, has only enough money in the bank to prep the boats for the peak summer season, when the couple normally earn 80% of their income.
The emotional toll was nearly as devastating as the environmental and economic effects. Later, studies showed high levels of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and anger among people living in the area, particularly those who worked in the fishing industry or had otherwise suffered financial harm; the amount of oil that reached an area mattered less, the surveys showed, than the degree of financial loss.
Then, in November, the couple got a check for $336,600 from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), the $20 billion fund set up by BP to compensate local residents and business owners for losses related to the spill. That money has enabled them to cover their losses and set aside a modest amount ($85,000) to prep for the coming fishing season.

While that may seem like a lot of money, it's just a fraction of the $1.6 million that Susan estimated the business had lost from the oil spill in her claim to BP. The check arrived with no letter of explanation, so the Boggses didn't know why the amount was so much less than what they'd asked for or whether it was the only payment they'd get or just the first installment.

They were not alone in their confusion. GCCF head Kenneth Feinberg, who also presided over the Sept. 11 victims fund, has been criticized for being slow to settle claims (only 34% of claimants had been paid as of early March) and for presiding over a befuddling process.

The rules have been changed several times but now come down to two choices. Anyone who can prove financial harm from the spill can file periodic "interim claims" for documented losses through 2012 and retain the right to sue BP. Or victims can ask for a "final settlement" of past and projected future losses through 2012, but give up the right to sue.
The dozens of dead dolphins that washed up on shore in February and March only added to the unease. Even Randy admits to some trepidation over the long-term effects of the spill.

"I do not let my daughter eat fish more than once or twice a month," he says. And he advises his customers to do the same, suggesting that they catch fish, eat some occasionally, and throw some back -- even if such honesty isn't always best for business.
"Look at Alaska -- after 22 years, the fishing industry still hasn't recovered from the Exxon Valdez," says Susan, so it may make sense to retain their right to sue. "It's a gamble either way."

Dr. Joye, undeterred by the brickbats wielded against her by the powerful who want the BP catastrophe to magically disappear, is refusing to don rose colored glasses to sing from the Nothing to See Here hymnal. Joye continues her top notch, independent scientific work in the Gulf where she has had no trouble finding No Oil At All's (NOAA) magically disappearing oil.

The reporter has wandered very far down the apples and oranges path when alluding to independent scientists having differing conclusions than Joye but is right about the blasting she took from NOAA. Joye's findings have proven to be correct and NOAA have made themselves a laughingstock when it comes to the issue of scientific claims.

We are very blessed that a handful of independent scientists like Joye have managed to scrape up funding to carry on their critically important work.

Has BP really cleaned up the Gulf oil spill?

The view from her [Dr. Samantha Joye, University of Georgia scientist]submarine is different, and her attachment is almost personal. On her descent to a location 10 miles from BP's well in December, Joye landed on an ocean floor coated with dark brown muck about 4cm deep. Thick ropes of slime draped across coral like cobwebs in a haunted house. The few creatures that remained alive, such as the crabs, were too listless to flee. "Most of the time when you go at them with a submarine, they just run," she says. "They weren't running, they were just sitting there, dazed and stupefied. They certainly weren't behaving as normal." Her conclusion? "I think it is not beyond the imagination that 50% of the oil is still floating around out there."

At a time when the White House, Congress, government officials and oil companies are trying to put the oil disaster behind them, that is not the message from the deep that people are waiting to hear. Joye's data – and an outspoken manner for a scientist – have pitted her against the Obama adminstration's scientists as well as other independent scientists who have come to different conclusions about the state of the Gulf. She is consumed by the idea that she – and other colleagues – are not really being heard."It's insanely frustrating," Joye says.
In the past year, Joye – as well as other independent scientists – has repeatedly challenged the official version of the oil disaster put forward by the White House and other administration officials. Last May, her research team was the first to detect the presence of a vast plume of oil droplets swirling at high speed through the deep waters of the Gulf. The discovery – initially disputed by government scientists – suggested that far more oil and gas had entered the sea than they had originally estimated.

In December, Joye's team knocked down another White House claim – that the vast majority of the oil was gone – when she discovered a thick coating of oil, dead starfish and other organisms on the bottom of the ocean, over an area of 2,900 square miles.

It remains to be seen whether Joye can prove the deniers wrong. She has a new scientific paper coming out, and a return research voyage to the Gulf this week, with several more follow-up voyages scheduled this summer to areas within range of the BP well. Can she convince her fellow scientists that the majority of BP's oil is still stuck on the bottom of the ocean? How long will it remain there, and what effect will it have in the future?
Government scientists have not gone so far. A spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) said there was "no basis to conclude that the Gulf recovery will be complete by 2012", and warned that some of the consequences of the spill may not be known for decades. The spokesman went on to note that about 60 miles of the coastline remain oiled. Tar mats continue to wash up on beaches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. And although Gulf waters have reopened to fishing, many oyster beds were wiped out when state authorities flushed fresh water into the Gulf in the hopes of rolling back the oil. At a public meeting last month in Biloxi, Mississippi, fishermen said they were hauling up nets full of oil with their shrimp.

So how could the disaster possibly be over, asks Joye. "You talk to people who live around the Gulf of Mexico, who live on the coast, who have family members who work on oil rigs. It's not OK down there. The system is not fine. Things are not normal. There are a lot of very strange things going on – the turtles washing up on beaches, dolphins washing up on beaches, the crabs. It is just bizarre. How can that just be random consequence?"
But Joye was unfazed. In her lab, technicians have been running experiments for months to learn more about how the oil could be broken down once it sank into the ocean floor. "The micro-organisms are not happy. They are not metabolising this stuff," she says. "They should be having a picnic and feasting, and they are not. Why is that? I have no idea, but we are trying a lot of different combinations to try to find out what is regulating their activity."
Independent scientists were clamouring for access to data. Joye, by a stroke of good luck, already had a research trip scheduled; the scientists simply re-purposed the cruise to check for traces of oil from BP's well. They found the cloud of droplets suspended in the water and immediately posted an update to the research mission's website, complete with measurements. The response came as a shock.

Tony Hayward, then chief executive of BP, simply denied there could be any oil at depth. "The oil is on the surface," he told reporters during a quick trip to the cleanup command centre in Louisiana. "There aren't any plumes."

The government reaction was arguably even more discouraging. Jane Lubchenco, the head of NOAA and herself an ocean scientist, said publicly it wasn't at all clear there was any oil in the depths. "We need to make sure that we are not jumping to conclusions," she told PBS television.

Off-camera, Joye and other scientists were bombarded with phone calls from furious officials, from NOAA and other government agencies. "I felt like I was in third grade and my teacher came up to me with a ruler and smacked my hand and said: 'You've just spoken out of turn.' They were very upset," Joye says.

Surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal, has a lengthy article about some possible environmental impacts from BP's black monster. Scientists who have sold their souls to BP will be presenting their case that only an itsy bit of all that nasty oil on the bottom of the ocean didn't come from BP.

BP Spill's Next Major Phase: Wrangling Over Toll on Gulf

A year after the worst oil spill to strike U.S. waters, oyster beds are struggling along the Gulf of Mexico, the dolphin population is experiencing what the federal government calls an "unusual mortality event," and red snapper with rotting fins are showing up on fishing lines.

But scientists say it's far too soon to make definitive conclusions about the scale and scope of the marine disturbances. This uncertainty, which may not be resolved for years, is paving the way for the next phase of the Deepwater Horizon disaster: an intense debate over the actual damage caused by the spill and who, if anyone, should pay.

In some instances, the cause of the damage is clear. Spots along the Gulf Coast still have oil from BP PLC's well lodged in tar-like "mats" under the water and buried in the sand on beaches, the federal government says.
The scientific effort to understand the spill's impact is one of the largest research projects of its kind ever. It is tackling questions of liability that might not be answered for years.
"Dead animals floating in the water are not the biggest predictor" of a spill's ecological toll, says Andrew Whitehead, a Louisiana State University biologist. The focus now, he says, is on identifying long-term problems that "have big-time impacts."
Early results show the complexities involved. On some beaches in multiple states, BP oil is buried more than six inches below the sand that sits above the high-tide level; trying to clean it could do more harm than good, a federal study said in February. Tests show that more than 86% of certain oil components linked to cancer have dissipated, and computer models predict most of the rest will be gone within five years, it said. But in some places, those components "are predicted to persist substantially longer," the report said.

The buried oil is particularly dangerous for sea turtles, the report said. Five of the world's seven sea-turtle species nest along the Gulf Coast, and all five are deemed either endangered or threatened. One concern is that the oil could coat the turtles' eggs, which are buried in the sand, says the report, which called for more study.

In addition, in some shallow waters, mats of tar-like BP oil mixed with sand are trapped between sand bars, the February report said. It's unclear how many such mats exist because rough waters make it hard for divers to locate them.
Other impacts are proving tougher to gauge. Far out in the Gulf, BP oil has lodged in sediment on the sea floor in spots within about two miles of the blown-out well, another federal study found. That sediment contains enough BP oil to pose a danger to marine life, the study says.
In a paper to be presented at a scientific conference this month, BP-funded scientists plan to report test results indicating that oil in sediment beyond about two miles from the wellhead doesn't match oil from BP's well, said Laura Folse of BP's Gulf Coast restoration effort.
Another sign of stress in the ecosystem without proven ties to the spill is appearing in the population of red snapper, a staple of Cajun cuisine. In recent weeks there has been a rising incidence of fish caught in Gulf waters between eastern Louisiana and western Florida with dark lesions and rotting fins, says James Cowan, an oceanographer at Louisiana State University. BP Spill's Next Major Phase: Wrangling Over Toll on Gulf he says.
"The jury's still out" about whether the oil sickened people, says Donald Boesch, a University of Maryland oceanographer who served on a presidential commission that investigated the spill. The long-term study, he says, "should tell us an awful lot about whether there's any substance to those claims."

I don't think any of us should be fooled into thinking that this is anything more than lipstick on a pig until we see what actually gets done. Noticeably absent from this comment is any mention of blowout preventers that have a 45% failure rate or untested containment systems.

US govt weighing more drilling contractor oversight

The U.S. Interior Department is weighing expanding its oversight of rig contractors after last year's massive BP (BP.L) oil spill, Interior official Michael Bromwich said on Tuesday.

Some large stockholders plan to express their displeasure with BP's Gulf catastrophe at the annual general meeting.

Big US funds join list voting against BP at AGM

Two of the world's biggest pension funds have added their names to a growing list of BP (BP.L) investors planning to vote against management at its annual general meeting (AGM) this week over anger at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Calpers, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, and the Florida State Board of Administration (SBA) said they will oppose the approval of the company's annual report and the re-election of Bill Castell, non-executive director and head of the safety, ethics and environment assurance committee.

Calpers, which manages California state employees' pensions, and SBA, Florida's equivalent, together own almost 83 million shares, or 0.4 percent of BP's total stock.

Several small U.S. and European church and ethical funds including the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church and the Ethos Foundation have also said they will vote against Castell's reappointment and the annual report.
Investor advisory groups the Association British Insurers and PIRC have also flagged concerns about two executive directors receiving bonuses in spite of the spill, which halved the BP share price and prompted a suspension of the dividend.

Here's hoping this will be a very nasty, long, drawn-out lawsuit that will keep the Russian oligarchs and BP busy enough to keep them out of the Russian Arctic drilling business.

TNK-BP plans to sue BP, seeks $10 bln in damages

The management of TNK-BP is planning to sue BP, claiming BP breached the joint venture's shareholder agreement, the Financial Times said on Tuesday.

Citing unidentified sources close to TNK-BP , the newspaper said TNK-BP's management will seek damages of up to $10 billion, claiming it lost an opportunity to explore in the Russian Arctic because of BP's actions.
BP suffered another setback last Friday to its efforts to partner with Rosneft, the state-controlled Russian oil major, when arbitrators upheld an interim injunction against a proposed $16 billion share-swap.

PLEASE visit Pam LaPier's diary to find out how you can help the Gulf now and in the future. We don't have to be idle! And thanks to Crashing Vor and Pam LaPier for working on this!

Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:

4-11-11 05:42 PM Gulf Watchers Monday-BP Money Paid for That? - BP Catastrophe AUV #501 shanesnana
4-10-11 11:57 AM Gulf Watchers Sunday - Why did BP buy a beach? - BP Catastrophe AUV #500 Lorinda Pike
4-08-11 06:25 PM Gulf Watchers Block Party-One Word Edition+ Phil S 33
4-08-11 09:07 AM Gulf Watchers Friday - Blackmail and Dolphin Death - BP Catastrophe AUV #499 Lorinda Pike
The last Mothership has links to reference material.

Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.

Again, to keep bandwidth down, please do not post images or videos.

Originally posted to Gulf Watchers Group on Wed Apr 13, 2011 at 03:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by E-V Guide.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site