The trial in connection with the BP spill will be in three stages, beginning in February, 2012. Shell Oil deals with a leak in the North Sea. Bomb removed from pipeline in Oklahoma. Falling oil prices limit new Canadian oil sands projects. API upset over fracking regulations. Shrimpers vs. turtles; turtles losing.
You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #546. ROV #545 is here.
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U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier said Friday that the trial over liability in the Deepwater Horizon blowout and subsequent spill will be held in three stages next year, beginning on February 27, 2012.
Although Barbier has not stated how long the beginning phase should last, principals in the litigation estimate that the initial stage will take several months.
The initial "incident phase" of the trial will examine the role of the various defendants in the loss of well control, the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the initiation of the flow of oil.
Barbier's court will hear testimony related to 549 cases. 108,000 individuals have filed claims asserting that irregularities and alleged negligence and disregard for safety on the part of BP and its partners have caused them harm.
Approximately 176 depositions have been taken over the past six months, including deposing officials from BP. Another 31 depositions aimed at establishing the facts in the case have been scheduled.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs and defense are also examining the controversial Vessels of Opportunity program, where fishermen who were put out of work by the spill, and other private boat owners were hired to assist in cleanup operations. Boat owners say in a lawsuit that they were underpaid and that their vessels weren't decontaminated as promised.
Barbier says he may appoint someone to handle the disputes stemming from the VOO program, which involved thousands of boats. Boat owners have filed lawsuits contending that they were underpaid and that their vessels were not decontaminated as promised.
"This could expand," Barbier said. "I'm not sure how many of these Vessels of Opportunity cases could be out there."
This could go on until the next spill...and the next...
Speaking of the next spill...
Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it is trying to stop oil leaking from a flow line at one of its drilling platforms in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland.
The Oklahoma City division of the FBI said on Friday that Daniel Wells Herriman, 40, of Konawa, Oklahoma, called Seminole County 911 emergency response on Wednesday and said he had made the device at his home.
Okay. Let's get rolling on Keystone XL, why don't we? Not only will we have to deal with regular leaks, we'll have to deal with nutjobs trying to blow the damn thing up...
Oil sands are dirty energy, and very expensive to produce, both in terms of not much bang for your bucks, and absolutely horrendous in terms of the environmental costs.
So, in the sort-of-good-news category...but not for long.
The falling per-barrel price of crude is putting a damper on the push for production of Canadian oil sands. Some projects are expected to be put on hold until prices rise again. With the average price below $80 a barrel, the higher production price tag for oil sands crude is prohibitively expensive.
Experts disagree on where prices should be before production again becomes lucrative. Bob Dunbar, head of a Calgary, Alberta, consulting firm says prices should be firmly in the $90-$100 a barrel range before any new projects in the Alberta oil sands are considered.
Though he said it is "probably a little bit premature" to say the recent drop in crude will halt the industry's growth, Dunbar expects some projects to be halted eventually.
Economic sense... you rat bastards. And you don't have any qualms at all about running the Keystone XL pipeline through the American heartland to transport your dirty, expensive, environmentally devastating crap to the Gulf, where it will be loaded on ships and sold elsewhere, where prices are higher.
You get to fill your pockets with environmental blood money. You win. The US and Canada lose.
These are the people who have been tasked with the regulation of "safety" in the US oil industry...and they don't like any regulation. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Nothing should stand in their way when it comes to making money... (And in case you've forgotten, API is the American Petroleum Institute. I wish I believed in hell, so I could hope for a very special place to put these folks for all eternity...
API President and CEO Jack Gerard has had his fee-fees hurt that the Department of Energy thinks that hydrofracking should be regulated for human and environmental safety.
"The committee's recommendations are deficient in large part because the committee failed to adequately acknowledge existing programs and rules. It called for new air emission standards when comprehensive EPA rules already are in place or are being revised. It recommended reduction in use of diesel engines, oblivious or dismissive of the practical and economic considerations that require their use. And it ignored consideration of the potential benefits and costs of new rules, an omission that could cause harm to consumers, jobs and the economy. The shortcomings may in part be due to the fact that none of its members are from the industry or have direct experience in natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations.
In a letter to DOE secretary Stephen Chu, scientists express concerns that the "regulatory entities" have much too cozy ties to the oil and gas industry. Well, duh...
As scientists from 22 universities and institutions in 13 states, we are writing to express our concern over the lack of impartiality on the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board that is studying ways to make hydraulic fracturing safer. We urge you to modify the panel’s membership so that the panel can make recommendations on hydraulic fracturing that are unbiased and scientifically sound.
Take money out of the regulatory process? Eliminate conflict of interest? If wishes were horses...or unicorns...
This pisses me off. Really pisses me off. I understand that the shrimpers and fishermen have been devastated after the spill, but damn...so were the turtles...
The federal government has decided not to place emergency restrictions on Gulf of Mexico shrimpers to protect endangered and threatened sea turtles from shrimpers' nets.
Chris Pincetich of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project says the government has "wimped out" in trying to protect the turtles.
Shrimpers, however, are vehemently disputing that they are causing turtle deaths.
"These environmental groups are attempting to hold thousands of hardworking shrimpers accountable for the deaths of sea turtles that occurred when the fishery was not active," said John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, an industry group. He said environmentalists were wasting regulators' time and resources with their petitions for emergency measures.
Look, I know shrimpers need to make a living. But come on guys...let the turtles live too, dammit...
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:
|8-12-11 06:33 PM||Gulf Watchers Block Party - Mono no aware, and a tribute to Beaker Street||Lorinda Pike|
|8-10-11 04:00 PM||Gulf Watchers Wednesday - Boat owners charge BP with fraud - BP Catastrophe AUV #545||peraspera|
|8-07-11 12:18 PM||Gulf Watchers Sunday - Wetlands, Dead Birds, and Protests, Oh My - BP Catastrophe #544||Lorinda Pike|
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.
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