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Oil Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well

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Guest Buzbee Law Firm

Cementing:

 

Cementing is a process that is supposed to prevent oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor. Cement, pumped down the well from the drilling rig, is also used to plug wells after they have been abandoned or when drilling has finished but production hasn't begun.

 

In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement; the cement job was finished, and pressure testing occurred. Despite there being problems with the pressure testing, Transocean and BP chose to continue displacing the mud, as if the cement job had been successful. This was a grave error. For cementing to be effective, the right mix must be used, and the cement must have time to harden. Naturally, the decision to displace the cement is ultimately made by the company--in this case, BP. Because BP was paying $500,000 daily to lease the rig, naturally there is incentive to rush the job. If the cement mix was inadequate, or if insufficient time was given for it to harden, Halliburton (the company that performed the cementing) and BP (the company for whom Transocean was working) will have major liability.

 

Blow Out Preventor:

 

A blowout preventer (BOP) is a large valve that can seal off at the surface wellhead a well being drilled or worked over. During drilling or well interventions, the valve may be closed if pressure from an underground formation causes fluids such as oil or natural gas to enter the wellbore and threaten the rig. By closing this valve (usually operated remotely via hydraulic actuators), the drilling crew can prevent undesired fluid flow, thus regaining control of the wellbore. Once this is accomplished, often the drilling mud density within the hole can be increased until adequate fluid pressure is placed on the influx zone, and the BOP can be opened for operations to resume. In this case, we know that the blow out preventer failed to operate. We also know that the BOP had been altered, but BP instructed and paid for the modifications. Because this safety device failed, the manufacturer (Cameron out of Houston, Texas) will likely have major liability, as will BP.

 

Drilling Operations--Human Error:

 

The Deepwater Horizon was owned by Transocean, which is headquartered in Houston. The Deepwater Horizon is what is considered a "vessel" under admiralty law. All of the individuals aboard the Deepwater Horizon are considered Jones Act seaman, protected by federal law--meaning that Transocean owes a duty to maintain a safe workplace and a "seaworthy vessel," and other federal duties. According to eyewitnesses, prior to the pressure "kick," no alarms sounded. This lack of warning is likely one of the reasons individuals were not able to evacuate the rig floor prior to the ignition. Other anecdotal evidence is being investigated. Under admiralty law, a vessel that sinks is presumed unseaworthy, meaning the rig operator is liable for the injuries caused. Obviously, Transocean faces major liability for the explosion and ultimate sinking of the Deepwater Horizon. Transocean will also face liability for the resulting oil spill.

 

BP Exploration and Production:

 

BP leased the Deepwater Horizon from Transocean, and it was Transocean personnel who were drilling BP's field. BP as the "company" had ultimate control over the rig. Under federal law, BP is responsible for its own negligent decision made with regard to cementing, geologic information, and drilling, and, with regard to any pollution that occurs, is responsible regardless whether BP was negligent or not. In light of the human and environmental costs, BP will face major liability for the explosion. In light of BP's history of problems both offshore and in the refinery context, BP's conduct will be under the spotlight for some time to come.

 

Going forward:

 

Most blowouts that occur offshore historically are the result of a cementing issue, or a BOP failure. Unfortunately, because the Deepwater Horizon now is under the ocean, in 5,000 feet of water, proof in this case will require retention of the best experts, and expenditures of many hundreds of thousands of dollars. No doubt, this case will go on for a many years, and will require thousands of hours of attorney work. BP has almost unlimited resources, and can hire as many attorneys as it takes to fight the case. It is imperative that the firm you hire can match BP in both money, staff, and staying power. BP and the other Defendants already have an army of attorneys lined up to defend them. Now is not the time to hire a solo practitioner, or someone who you find in a phone book, or who cold called you. It is imperative that you look beyond the slick ads, and fancy websites, and hire someone who has gotten results time and again. Importantly, ask how many cases the attorney has tried, and what history he or she has with BP and Transocean. When you ask these hard questions, The Buzbee Law Firm is clearly the best choice.

 

Routinely, many days after a traumatic event such as this one, workers notice for the first time issues such as sore necks or backs, or other injuries not previously noticed due to the stress of the situation. When these problems manifest themselves, it is important to act quickly. Every day you wait to report an injury makes it that more difficult to prove. However, so long as it is a legitimate injury, it simply is never too late to seek treatment for your injuries and to seek compensation from the negligent parties who caused your injuries. If you need assistance choosing a doctor, The Buzbee Law Firm can provide referrals to some of the best doctors in the Gulf South and will work with you to make sure that the company, not you, pay the medical bills for this treatment.

 

The Buzbee Law Firm has already retained several experts to assist in collection of evidence and determination of the cause of the explosion. We want to help you. The first consultation with the firm is always free; further, the firm will represent you on a contingency basis--meaning if you don't get money from the liable parties, you owe the firm no fee. Finally, if the firm decides to take your case, and you are unable to work, the firm frequently provides advances for living expenses and other necessities during the pendency of the case. Call or email the firm today.

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Guest August

In August 1990, when President George H. W. Bush signed the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) into law and authorized use of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF), the Fund was already four years old. Congress created the Fund in 1986, but did not pass legislation to authorize the use of the money or the collection of revenue necessary for its maintenance. It was only after the Exxon Valdez grounding and the passage of OPA that authorization was granted.

 

http://www.uscg.mil/npfc/About_NPFC/opa.asp

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Guest Fishiest

This incident will be fought out in the courts for the next twenty years - the way the Exxon Valdez disaster was fought out. And. the only "winners" will be the lawyers, again, as usual.

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That is why we should put our energy to come up with ideas on how to fix this mess. Curlex Wood Fibers Remove Oil From Water in Seconds!

 

American Excelsior, Inc.

850 Avenue H East

Arlington, Texas 76011Ph. 800.777.7645

Fx. 817.649.7816

 

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One more thing...

Betty Nguyen spoke with British Petroleum C.E.O. Tony Hayward about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill clean-up efforts. Mr. Hayward stated that it is BP's responsibility to fix the problem and restitution for businesses that legitimate claims.

 

 

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Guest Tea Party Patriot

If our government had required BP to have an acoustic shutoff valve in place then there is a high probability that this is disaster could have been diverted. I blame the MMS for letting our governments cash cow slide down in embarrassment. $500,000 it would have cost for that acoustic valve that is required everywhere else. Now the estimates are 23 billion dollars. Let me state that so everyone can read.

 

MMS mismanagement will cost the American taxpayers 23 BILLION DOLLARS!!!!

 

Not only that. MMS has not been collecting royalty checks owed to the American people. That will be the next big story. WHO IS NOT PAYING US!!!!

 

I am so sick of reading about crooks all over our government. They are like cockroaches. Hopefully this next election we will be fumigating the corrupt ones out of office.

 

I look forward to seeing our new government leaders get the money back from BP. That should be a campaign promise.

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Guest HUMAN

Just wait till you read about "and it should be out there some where since I am the one who posted on it" The State Financial Shuffle.

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If our government had required BP to have an acoustic shutoff valve in place then there is a high probability that this is disaster could have been diverted. I blame the MMS for letting our governments cash cow slide down in embarrassment. $500,000 it would have cost for that acoustic valve that is required everywhere else. Now the estimates are 23 billion dollars. Let me state that so everyone can read.

 

MMS mismanagement will cost the American taxpayers 23 BILLION DOLLARS!!!!

 

Not only that. MMS has not been collecting royalty checks owed to the American people. That will be the next big story. WHO IS NOT PAYING US!!!!

 

I am so sick of reading about crooks all over our government. They are like cockroaches. Hopefully this next election we will be fumigating the corrupt ones out of office.

 

I look forward to seeing our new government leaders get the money back from BP. That should be a campaign promise.

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Guest Ron

Steve Werely,an associate professor at Purdue University, used a technique called particle image velocimetry, estimated the oil leak is spilling 56,000 to 84,000 barrels a day.

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Guest HUMAN

I love these type of politics.

When the Exxon Valdez spilled its oil, all the democrats were blaming the republicans, but when the deep oil spill in the gulf occurred what was the democrats’ reaction? SILENCE!!

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steve Werely,an associate professor at Purdue University, used a technique called particle image velocimetry, estimated the oil leak is spilling 56,000 to 84,000 barrels a day.

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Guest American For Progress

If the right policies are enacted, Big Oil could be made to pay the costs for its own disasters, and taxpayers would be spared another bailout. By increasing the cap on oil industry liability for disasters and ending wasteful taxpayer subsidies of the oil industry, oil companies like BP and ExxonMobil will finally have to pay their fair share for the "costs of the health, safety, and environmental damages they cause." The only thing that stands in the way are industry-friendly members of Congress who put the profits of Big Oil above the welfare of average Americans.

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Guest I like Chess

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Minerals Management Service

Outer Continental Shelf Civil Penalties

AGENCY: Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.

ACTION: Notice summarizing review of the maximum daily civil penalty assessment.

 

SUMMARY: The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act requires the MMS to review the maximum daily civil penalty assessment for violations of regulations governing oil and gas operations in the Outer Continental Shelf at least once every 3 years. This review ensures that the maximum penalty assessment reflects any increases in the Consumer Price Index as prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. After conducting the required review in August 2009, the MMS determined that no adjustment is necessary at this time.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

 

Joanne McCammon, Safety and Enforcement Branch at (703) 787–1292

or e-mail at Joanne.McCammon@mms.gov.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The goal of the MMS Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Civil Penalty Program is to ensure safe and clean operations on the OCS. By assessing and collecting civil penalties, the program is designed to encourage compliance with OCS statutes and regulations. Not all regulatory violations warrant a review to initiate civil penalty proceedings; however, violations that cause injury, death, or environmental damage, or pose a threat to human life or the environment, will trigger such review.

 

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) (Pub. L. 101–380) expanded and strengthened MMS's authority to impose penalties for violating regulations promulgated under the OCS Lands Act. Section 8201 of OPA 90, which amended section 24( b ) of the OCS Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1350( b ),

directs the Secretary of the Interior to adjust the maximum civil penalty amount at least once every 3 years to reflect any increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The purpose of this adjustment is to ensure that punitive assessments keep up with inflation. If an adjustment is necessary, MMS informs the public through publication in the Federal Register of the new maximum amount. The MMS uses Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines for determining how penalty amounts should be rounded.

 

The MMS published regulations adjusting the civil penalty assessment to $25,000 per violation per day on August 8, 1997 (62 FR 42667); to $30,000 on October 29, 2003 (68 FR 61622); and to $35,000 on February 28, 2007 (72 FR 8897). In August 2009, MMS performed computations to determine if it should increase the current maximum civil penalty amount of $35,000 per violation per day. After running the computations, the MMS determined that the CPI did not increase enough to warrant raising the maximum civil penalty amount at this time. The MMS will monitor the CPI, and when the computations justify raising the maximum civil penalty amount, the MMS will publish a Notice in the Federal Register to notify the public of the increase. per day. After running the computations, the MMS determined that the CPI did not increase enough to warrant raising the maximum civil penalty amount at this time. The MMS

will monitor the CPI, and when the computations justify raising the maximum civil penalty amount, the MMS will publish a Notice in the Federal Register to notify the public of the increase.

 

http://www.mms.gov/f...Fs/75FR1076.pdf

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Guest Bill, Baby, Bill!

With at least 4 million gallons of oil already poisoning the Gulf Coast and no end in sight for this environmental catastrophe, the alarm bell to end America's dependence on fossil fuels is ringing and has reached a deafening volume.

 

The American Power Act will transform our economy, set us on the path toward energy independence and improve the quality of the air we breathe. It will create millions of good jobs that cannot be shipped abroad and it will launch America into a position of leadership in the global clean energy economy.

 

Our approach sets an achievable national pollution reduction target and refunds the money raised right back to American consumers and American businesses. This is not a plan that enriches Wall Street speculators. And this is certainly not a plan to grow the government. It is a plan that creates jobs and sets us on a course toward energy independence and economic resurgence. It is time for Democrats, Republicans and Independents to come together to pass legislation that will create American jobs and achieve energy security, while reducing carbon pollution by 17 percent in 2020 and by over 80 percent in 2050.

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Guest DC Worker

A new round of Congressional hearings into the Gulf oil spill opened Monday, with testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. She says the estimated cost of the response from her department will 'not be an insignificant sum.'

 

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Guest FishFood

DRILLED BY BP: OIL DISASTER THREATENS GULF OF MEXICO AND COASTAL COMMUNITIES

 

How does one capture the drama of a slow-moving train wreck? We all want to look away from the mercurial unraveling of the Deep Water Horizon story, but as fingers of rainbow sheen and large tar balls begin washing up on the wetlands and in the passes of Louisiana from the Chandeluer Islands to Cocodrie Peninsula, we cant. Were riveted. We want answers. We want solutions. We want explanation.

 

Capt. Jon Brett, (Director of FishbuzzTV and Snook Foundation Florida Gulf Coast Director) and Capt. Brandon Shuler (Snook FOundation Texas Director) will be on the ground collecting the stories that interest of all gulf coast anglers and residents. We will tell the underrepresented side of the news. We will capture the devastation this spill will create as it encroaches and infuses into the delicate wetlands and marshes of Louisiana, and the rest of the vital GUlf coast nursery habitat for snook, grouper, tarpon, bonefish, snapper and hundreds of other species and wildlife.

 

These wetlands and nurseries are disappearing from the Louisiana coast and Mississippi River delta at the alarming rate of 500 square yards every 45 minutes and represent the breeding grounds which supply 25% of the nations seafood production.

 

We're hoping to capture the stories of the Gulf coast shrimper and fishermen as they watch their livelihoods attacked by another, yet this time man-made, disaster. We have witnessed and tried to unravel the frustrating rumors that run rampant through these little fishing communities who tie their entire financial well-being to the bounty of a healthy eco-system. Every glimmer of hope or shadow of doom sends the scuttlebutts roaring and emotions run raw and frightened to elated and hopeful.

 

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Guest The White House

Weekly Address: President Obama Establishes Bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling

 

Names Former Two-Term Florida Governor and Former Senator Bob Graham and Former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency William K. Reilly as Commission Co-Chairs

 

WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama announced that he has signed an executive order establishing the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling with former two-term Florida Governor and former Senator Bob Graham and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency William K. Reilly serving as co-chairs.

 

The bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling is tasked with providing recommendations on how we can prevent – and mitigate the impact of – any future spills that result from offshore drilling.

 

* The commission will be focused on the necessary environmental and safety precautions we must build into our regulatory framework in order to ensure an accident like this never happens again, taking into account the other investigations concerning the causes of the spill.

* The commission will have bipartisan co-chairs with a total membership of seven people. Membership will include broad and diverse representation of individuals with relevant expertise. No sitting government employees or elected officials will sit on the commission.

* The Commission’s work will be transparent and subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Commission will issue a report within six months of having been convened.

 

President Obama named the following individuals as Co-Chairs of National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling:

 

Senator Bob Graham is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years in the United States Senate. Senator Graham is recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from healthcare and environmental preservation to his ten years of service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — including eighteen months as chairman in 2001–2002. After retiring from public life in January 2005, Senator Graham served for a year as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. From May 2008 to February 2010, he served as Chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism whose mandate was to build on the work of the 9/11 Commission. Senator Graham was also appointed to serve as a Commissioner on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, established by Congress to examine the global and domestic causes of the recent financial crisis. The Commission will provide its findings and conclusions in a final report due to Congress on December 15, 2010. He also serves as a member of the CIA External Advisory Board and the chair of the Board of Overseers of the Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida. Senator Graham has been recognized by national and Florida organizations for his public service including The Woodrow Wilson Institute award for Public Service, The National Park Trust Public Service award and The Everglades Coalition Hall of Fame. Senator Graham earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida and an LLB from Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of public service from his alma mater, the University of Florida, and honorary doctorates from Pomona College and Nova Southeastern University.

 

William K. Reilly is a Founding Partner of Aqua International Partners, LP, a private equity fund dedicated to investing in companies engaged in water and renewable energy, and a Senior Advisor to TPG Capital, LP, an international investment partnership. Mr. Reilly served as the first Payne Visiting Professor at Stanford University (1993-1994), Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1989-1993), president of the World Wildlife Fund (1985-1989), president of The Conservation Foundation (1973-1989), and director of the Rockefeller Task Force on Land Use and Urban Growth from (1972-1973). He also served as the head of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Earth Summit at Rio in 1992. Mr. Reilly is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the World Wildlife Fund, Co-Chair of the National Commission on Energy Policy, Chairman of the Board of the ClimateWorks Foundation, Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, and a Director of the Packard Foundation and the National Geographic Society and a member of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force. He also serves on the Board of Directors of DuPont, ConocoPhillips, Royal Caribbean International and Energy Future Holdings, for which he serves as Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Advisory Board. In 2007 Mr. Reilly was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds a B.A. degree from Yale, J.D. from Harvard and M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

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Guest The White House

Remarks of President Barack Obama

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekly Address

Washington, DC

 

One month ago this week, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off Louisiana’s coast, killing 11 people and rupturing an underwater pipe. The resulting oil spill has not only dealt an economic blow to Americans across the Gulf Coast, it also represents an environmental disaster.

 

In response, we are drawing on America’s best minds and using the world’s best technology to stop the leak. We’ve deployed over 1,100 vessels, about 24,000 personnel, and more than 2 million total feet of boom to help contain it. And we’re doing all we can to assist struggling fishermen, and the small businesses and communities that depend on them.

 

Folks on the Gulf Coast – and across America – are rightly demanding swift action to clean up BP’s mess and end this ordeal. But they’re also demanding to know how this happened in the first place, and how we can make sure it never happens again. That’s what I’d like to spend a few minutes talking with you about.

 

First and foremost, what led to this disaster was a breakdown of responsibility on the part of BP and perhaps others, including Transocean and Halliburton. And we will continue to hold the relevant companies accountable not only for being forthcoming and transparent about the facts surrounding the leak, but for shutting it down, repairing the damage it does, and repaying Americans who’ve suffered a financial loss.

 

But even as we continue to hold BP accountable, we also need to hold Washington accountable. Now, this catastrophe is unprecedented in its nature, and it presents a host of new challenges we are working to address. But the question is what lessons we can learn from this disaster to make sure it never happens again.

 

If the laws on our books are inadequate to prevent such an oil spill, or if we didn’t enforce those laws – I want to know it. I want to know what worked and what didn’t work in our response to the disaster, and where oversight of the oil and gas industry broke down. We know, for example, that a cozy relationship between oil and gas companies and agencies that regulate them has long been a source of concern.

 

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has taken steps to address this problem; steps that build on reforms he has been implementing since he took office. But we need to do a lot more to protect the health and safety of our people; to safeguard the quality of our air and water; and to preserve the natural beauty and bounty of America.

 

In recent weeks, we’ve taken a number of immediate measures to prevent another spill. We’ve ordered inspections of all deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve announced that no permits for drilling new wells will go forward until the 30-day safety and environmental review I requested is complete. And I’ve called on Congress to pass a bill that would provide critical funds and tools to respond to this spill and better prepare us to confront any future spills.

 

But we also need to take a comprehensive look at how the oil and gas industry operates and how we regulate them. That is why, on Friday, I signed an executive order establishing the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. While there are a number of ongoing investigations, including an independent review by the National Academy of Engineering, the purpose of this Commission is to consider both the root causes of the disaster and offer options on what safety and environmental precautions we need to take to prevent a similar disaster from happening again. This Commission, I’d note, is similar to one proposed by Congresswoman Capps and Senator Whitehouse.

 

I’ve asked Democrat Bob Graham and Republican Bill Reilly to co-chair this Commission. Bob served two terms as Florida’s governor, and represented Florida as a United States Senator for almost two decades. During that time, he earned a reputation as a champion of the environment, leading the most extensive environmental protection effort in the state’s history.

 

Bill Reilly is chairman emeritus of the board of the World Wildlife Fund, and he is also deeply knowledgeable about the oil and gas industry. During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, Bill was Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and his tenure encompassed the Exxon Valdez disaster.

 

I can’t think of two people who will bring greater experience or better judgment to the task at hand. In the days to come, I’ll appoint 5 other distinguished Americans – including scientists, engineers, and environmental advocates – to join them on the Commission. And I’m directing them to report back in 6 months with recommendations on how we can prevent – and mitigate the impact of – any future spills that result from offshore drilling.

 

One of the reasons I ran for President was to put America on the path to energy independence, and I have not wavered from that commitment. To achieve that goal, we must pursue clean energy and energy efficiency, and we’ve taken significant steps to do so. And we must also pursue domestic sources of oil and gas. Because it represents 30 percent of our oil production, the Gulf of Mexico can play an important part in securing our energy future. But we can only pursue offshore oil drilling if we have assurances that a disaster like the BP oil spill will not happen again. This Commission will, I hope, help provide those assurances so we can continue to seek a secure energy future for the United States of America.

 

Thanks so much.

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Guest greenzen



British Petroleum gave the go ahead to Ocean Therapy Solutions to test its oil separation device in the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico, in the wake of the Horizon disaster.

Film Star Kevin Costner’s company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, provides multiple machines designed to address spills of different sizes. The largest can clean as many as 200 gallons per minute, Costner said. The company reports it has 20 such machines ready to be employed.

“The machines are basically sophisticated centrifuge devices that can handle a huge volume of water and separate the oil at unprecedented rates,” Ocean Therapy Solutions CEO John Houghtaling said last week.

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Guest B Funny

Silly Tea Party, you were supposed to dump tea into the sea, not oil!

 

BP aids Louisiana tourism by adding bronzer to Gulf Waters. "Now you can tan WHILE you swim' says BP exec.

 

BP discovers way to deep fry seafood BEFORE it is harvested!

 

BP invents exciting new twist on blackened redfish recipe

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Guest LAW

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 5/21/10

 

Q So on BP, the President referred to it today as a disaster, a disaster in the Gulf. And I'm wondering if -- well, I guess if you could explain why the federal government isn't treating it like it would treat a normal disaster, where you should have come in and take charge. I know you have the expertise at BP's level and the other companies, but why isn't the federal government sort of taking over this operation?

 

MR. GIBBS: I think we've gone through this question. We went through this question yesterday. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, for reasons that were obvious in 1990, put the liability and the responsibility for recovery and cleanup with the company rather than with the taxpayers. That's why --

 

Q No, I'm not asking a financial question. I'm asking a management question.

 

MR. GIBBS: No, no, no -- no, no, but the management question is a financial question. Understand --

 

Q How?

 

MR. GIBBS: Because they're responsible for the cleanup and they have to pay for it. They're not two separate questions. So it is --

 

Q There's no legal way to sort of separate that out and say, we send the federal disaster experts --

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, the Oil Pollution Act -- let's be clear -- I've tried to explain this many times. They are responsible for, and we are overseeing that response. That includes -- as I discussed yesterday, there are many different departments and agencies that are involved here. The Department of Interior and what used to be the Minerals Management Service is in charge of regulation and drilling issues. NOAA deals with a series of issues including water sampling, detection of oil inside the water. The Department of Homeland Security is where the Coast Guard is housed. The Coast Guard obviously was on the scene right after the original explosion, and Thad Allen, the head of the Coast Guard, is the National Incident Coordinator. The Environmental Protection Agency does air and water quality testing. And once oil hits land, they have purview over that.

 

Q I just want to be clear that I understand what you're saying, that you're legally not allowed to take sort of command and control of the whole situation.

 

MR. GIBBS: No, no, again, we're -- Jennifer, they are responsible for and we are overseeing the recovery response. I will add that SBA is also in the area dealing with disasters for fishermen because NOAA has closed 19 percent of the Gulf for fishing. And SBA is there to provide low-interest loans for people that have had economic damages as a result of that disaster.

 

But understand, Jennifer, as I've -- I think I've also said on a number of occasions, the technical expertise to clean up and deal with the equipment that is 5,000 feet below the surface of the sea, that's equipment that BP has; that's the equipment that other oil companies have. That is not based on equipment that the federal government has in storage.

 

Q I understand, I'll let this go because I'm using up my time. That's not really the question I was asking, is whether you're physically doing the work. I'm asking why you don't take control of the whole operation.

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, maybe I'm just not being -- over the course of several weeks have not been clear on this. It is their responsibility. They have the legal responsibility and the technical expertise to plug the hole. Obviously Secretary Chu, Secretary Salazar, Secretary Napolitano, and others, have been involved in efforts with other scientists, both government and nongovernmental scientists, in conjunction with British Petroleum, which has been working in conjunction with other corporations and other oil companies.

 

So I guess -- I'm happy to try to sift through the question. I just -- they are responsible and we are overseeing to ensure that what they're doing is what needs to be done.

 

Q But if they're not getting the job done, does the government just stand there as a spectator and hope for the best?

 

MR. GIBBS: Chip, there's nothing that would denote that the federal government has stood there and hoped for the best. I mean, the premise of your question doesn't match any single -- hold on, let me finish this.

 

Q You're confident they're getting the job done?

 

MR. GIBBS: Hold on, let me finish this. That doesn't match any single action that our government has undertaken since the call came in that this rig had exploded in the Gulf. So, you know, the premise of your question doesn't fit any of the actions that are currently happening on behalf of the federal government in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Q But Robert, there's a whole problem here with BP in that every piece of information that they've delivered -- every piece of information hasn't been -- has turned out not to be true when it comes to the amount of oil that's spilling, how many leaks there were, I mean, and every single -- so you guys are having to rely on them -- and I understand you're saying that they're legally responsible.

 

MR. GIBBS: It's not -- we are --

 

Q The government has to rely on them for the technical expertise, I understand that, but do they have the credibility any more? I mean, why not just say, you know what, we're going to -- we're running this thing; you guys aren't running this thing -- we're running it.

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, Chuck, we are overseeing the response -- okay? I don't know what you think -- we are working each and every day. That's why Secretary Chu -- the Department of Energy -- it sounds technical -- the Department of Energy doesn't have purview over oil, oil drilling. That's not in their governmental sphere. But Secretary Chu has been down there working through a whole host of ideas, including enhanced imaging to get a better look at a disaster that's 5,000 feet underneath the water.

 

We have taken every step. We have pushed relentlessly for BP to do what is necessary to contain what is leaking, to deal with both the environmental and the economic impacts of what, as the President said today, is unquestionably a disaster. One of the questions you asked, Jennifer, was, this is not something -- there's not a -- you may have been -- be confused about the notion of a disaster declaration that --

 

Q But I'm wondering if there's something analogous to that, where you could just -- like an AIG or a disaster where --

 

MR. GIBBS: There's -- the Oil Pollution Act is where -- the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 is what governs how one responds to and who pays for a spill.

 

Q But then when I asked if you're legally non-able to step in and take actual control, you said, no. So I'm just confused.

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, I don't -- I guess I'm confused at what are you -- what are you asking then.

 

Q If BP is not accomplishing the task, why doesn't the federal government come in and take over and get the job done?

 

Q So that they can --

 

Q Federalize it -- can you just federalize it?

 

MR. GIBBS: No.

 

Q Well, why?

 

MR. GIBBS: Well, we're -- let me just -- I also want to address Jake's question. BP is working -- and I would refer you to BP on the actual efforts that they're undertaking and they will undertake as the course of this weekend -- different ideas on how to stop the leak both out of the pipe, which they've done through the insertion tube, as well as what's going on in the riser.

 

I would say relating to some of the earlier questioning, we've asked them to provide more public data on air and water quality, and we asked them 10 days ago and reiterated in a letter yesterday to provide video footage of what's happening 5,000 feet underneath the sea --

 

Q Why didn't you order them to do that rather than ask them?

 

MR. GIBBS: Because it's -- you can't do that from a private company. We -- the information -- first of all, the --

 

Q You had the authority to tell AIG what to do.

 

MR. GIBBS: Pardon?

 

Q You took over AIG.

 

MR. GIBBS: Well, we -- the company is largely in receivership. That's -- there's a difference between --

 

Q Well, I know, but I mean, isn't there a way to declare some sort of emergency --

 

MR. GIBBS: I hate to -- let me just get through -- let me get through Chip's question.

 

Chip, that's proprietary video that was in the Joint Information Center and was working through -- the command had the video in order to see for the response efforts that we were doing on -- in conjunction with them, that video is now public.

 

Q Robert, can I ask --

 

Q It took 10 days.

 

Q Thank you, Robert. On BP, there is an official who said -- from BP -- who says that he expects that the leak would be plugged some time next week, as early as next week. How much confidence does the White House have in that timeline, that they could actually get this --

 

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, they're going to undergo -- and they can explain the technical nature of this better -- the process of trying to clog this leak with heavy mud, injecting that into the system I think beginning sometime this weekend. I would point you to them in terms of the degree to which they think that's going to be successful. We continue to work on with them ideas for how to both plug and contain what is leaking, even as BP begins to drill a longer-term solution through a relief well.

 

Q But obviously they're telling you, this is what we think will work. What is the confidence level from the White House? Do you think they're going to be able to stop this by next week?

 

MR. GIBBS: We're certainly hopeful, yes.

 

Q And then back to Jennifer's question -- I mean, if they can't, does there come a point when the White House has to say, listen, we need to take charge of this -- not just from an oversight point of view; we're going to step in and we're going to bring in whatever --

 

MR. GIBBS: The National Incident Coordinator in Thad Allen, agencies throughout the government, have been working on the ground since right after this explosion in the Gulf to do all that we can to plug this leak; to contain what was leaking; to deal with what happens in the event, and as we have seen, that that oil gets to land; we now know some of that oil has begun to get into the loop current, and how do we deal with that; sampling -- water quality sampling and how we deal with both surface and subsea dispersants.

 

So we have -- we've been there every day of this crisis, and we will stay there until this hole is plugged, until we deal with what is either in the water or on the surface, and the impacts of that both environmentally and economically, which will probably take quite some time to sift through.

 

Q Robert, a follow --

 

Q Hang on a second, hang on -- but you will still just be essentially assisting in any way possible as many times as they want to keep trying something that doesn't work? So you're not going to walk in --

 

MR. GIBBS: Well, Dan, we're focused on --

 

Q -- if that doesn't work, well, we'll wait and see, and they'll try something else.

 

MR. GIBBS: No, no, Dan, this notion that the government is simply waiting and seeing -- again, Dan, if you've got an idea of how to plug this hole, I'm happy to put you in charge of -- with John Holdren here, with Secretary Chu, or somebody at the Joint Information Command. Everything --

 

Q -- that the White House has, that this administration has --

 

MR. GIBBS: Everything that can be done is being done. That's why we have scientists here and throughout the administration that are working on trying to make that happen.

 

Q Robert, the questions about federalizing --

 

Q I'd love to get at least initially a yes or no answer to this question. Is the President satisfied with BP's response?

 

MR. GIBBS: The President is not satisfied that we've plugged a hole in the floor of the ocean that's leaking a barrel -- thousands of barrels of oil a day and polluting the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Q Is the President satisfied with BP?

 

MR. GIBBS: We are continuing to push BP to do everything that they can.

 

Q So, no "yes" or "no" on whether you're satisfied with BP.

 

MR. GIBBS: I thought I gave you a fairly fulsome answer.

 

Q Does he have full confidence in BP?

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, we are asking BP to do -- to take the steps that we believe are necessary.

 

Chuck.

 

Q I have another question. You sent out that Tweet about -- it was 10 days between the time you first asked for the live video and when you got the video.

 

MR. GIBBS: May 11th.

 

Q And on the other hand, which sounds like you're asking without any kind of power behind it at all, and on the other hand you say you've got your boot on their throat. That sounds like they're wearing the boot if they can just go along for 10 days. I mean, seriously, Robert, there's this growing perception that the United States, that the government is somewhat powerless to make BP do what it wants them to do if it can't even get them to put a live feed of video up for 10 days.

 

MR. GIBBS: Chip, we have pushed them to make things more public. There are laws that govern the proprietary information of companies. We can't change each and every one of those laws, Chip. We will work every day to ensure that BP is doing everything that it can do, everything that we believe it should do. We asked again yesterday that they make more transparent their air and water quality samples, that they update their website on that on a daily basis, that they provide live video footage of what is happening on the floor of the ocean 5,000 feet beneath it.

 

And we will continue to push any company, and the President and the team here will continue to push all elements of the government, to get this right. We are facing a disaster, the magnitude of which we likely have never seen before, in terms of a blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. And we're doing everything humanly possible and technologically possible to deal with that.

 

Q Why isn't the EPA doing the --

 

MR. GIBBS: No, no, no, no, no -- again, EPA does air and water quality testing. NOAA does water quality testing. They also do testing and we're asking them to make public their samples of that testing. The EPA --

 

Q So the EPA rechecks the tests, and does their own?

 

MR. GIBBS: And does -- they do their own testing, yes. It's all up on a website if you want to look at water -- air and water quality samples.

 

Q Secretary Napolitano is still the person I guess that's overall in charge. Is there any concern --

 

MR. GIBBS: No, the National Incident Commander has been for several weeks Thad Allen and, again, as I said -- well, let me, because -- I'm apparently not being clear. Thad Allen has postponed his retirement from the Coast Guard to continue on as the National Incident Commander. A new Commandant of the Coast Guard will be put in. They'll be able to focus on their job while Admiral Allen focuses on -- as the overall National Incident Commander, as is required by law.

 

Q Are you guys confident that Secretary Napolitano is not being taken too much away, considering the other part of her job at Homeland Secretary?

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, the Coast Guard is part of DHS --

 

Q I understand.

 

MR. GIBBS: -- so there's some equity there. Again, the National Incident Commander is Thad Allen -- okay? Secretary Napolitano certainly has equities in this based on the fact that DHS is there. Secretary Salazar has equities because of DOI and MMS. The Department of Commerce is where NOAA sits -- they have equities in this. The Environmental Protection Agency has equities.

 

Q Meaning, are you going to take more of an aggressive role in oversight? I mean, like yesterday on CNN --

 

MR. GIBBS: Again, there's nothing that -- there's nothing that we think can and should be done that isn't being done. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

 

Q Okay, well, will there be any efforts to try to change that? Because, I mean, many people have been talking about this comment from the EPA Administrator yesterday on CNN. She was asked by I guess Wolf that if there is -- what's the relationship with BP and the federal government. She said, "Trust but verify." And so many people are saying if you've got to verify, there's no trust. So with that, again, will you try to --

 

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think that's a monitor that follows our relationship with countries around the world, not just with companies that do business in the Gulf. I'm not going to get into the explanation of historical "trust but verify," but again, we have -- BP has the obligation and responsibility to plug the hole in the floor of the ocean and to respond to the oil that has leaked out -- with our oversight, the strong oversight and strong response that we'll continue to exercise.

 

Yes, sir.

 

Q Robert, thank you. Coming back to BP, and not to be presumptuous about some of the other questions.

 

MR. GIBBS: We didn't leave. (Laughter.)

 

Q There's sort of a -- BP's response from the get-go. One of the first things they did was they tried to buy people off with five grand if they wouldn't pursue future liability. And there's a lot of information --

 

MR. GIBBS: I think the Attorney General of Alabama and -- as well as we communicated through this administration that trying to hire people to -- trying to hire fishermen that couldn't fish anymore because NOAA had closed part of it, asking them to help and paying them to lay boom but then prohibiting them from, as fishermen, ever filing economic claims was not the right thing to do.

 

Q I haven't gotten to the question yet. I'm saying that's the first thing they did. And in general, there's the sense that they provide information with an eye-dropper. And then the video --

 

MR. GIBBS: Which is why we've asked them to be more transparent about air and water quality samples and about a video footage of what's happening 5,000 feet beneath the sea.

 

Q No, no, but the video on CBS the other night of Coast Guard officials on that ship with what were described as BP contractors threatening to arrest journalists for merely taking pictures -- all of this put together --

 

MR. GIBBS: Are you talking about 60 Minutes?

 

Q No, I'm talking about it was on -- Chip would know -- it was on -- and so all of this paints --

 

MR. GIBBS: I did not see the particular --

 

Q They threatened to arrest a CBS crew for taking pictures -- for daring to take pictures --

 

Q And they said that BP had told them that they --

 

Q So all of this paints --

 

MR. GIBBS: Who was threatening to arrest?

 

Q There were two agents on the boat, too. It was a BP boat and BP had --

 

Q Why is the Coast Guard being co-opted with BP officials and threatening the arrest of journalists for trying to take pictures?

 

MR. GIBBS: I'd have to look at the story. Other than -- I'd have to look at what CBS reported. I just haven't seen that story.

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Guest emporia

The Times of London reports that Tony Hayward is returning to the U.K. today to celebrate his birthday and attend a BP board meeting. Meanwhile, BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, apparently has been attending a Google-sponsored tech conference in which he shared the podium with the head of Gucci to discuss leadership.

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Guest Fielding

Has anyone thought of using a nuclear blast? It would probable fuse that hole closed for a million years. Just a thought.

 

F

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Guest Maggie L. Fox

It's now been over a month since the Deepwater Oil Disaster began -- and not only has BP failed to stop the flow of oil so far, but we still don't even know how big the spill is -- because BP won't allow anyone else to investigate the extent of the problem.

 

The secrecy must stop.

 

BP is refusing to share information -- data it's already tracking -- that would assist in the response and public understanding of the scope and severity of the Deepwater Oil Disaster. And they have every incentive in the world to keep doing so -- news reports say that the smaller the official estimates of the spill, the lower BP's liability could be in court.1

 

We don't let criminals investigate their own crimes, and this shouldn't be any different. It's time for BP to get out of the way and allow access for independent scientists and engineers to determine the real size of this catastrophe.

 

Independent reviews by scientists across the country are suggesting that the oil leak may be as much as 19 times worse than the original estimates -- but BP refuses to provide them with the data required to make their estimates more precise. All we know for sure is that the oil just keeps on gushing.

 

BP is extremely sensitive right now to public pressure -- so let's tell them that we won't stand for them hiding the truth. We'll deliver copies of the petitions and any comments you submit to the CEO of BP, as well as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Guest Justin

The Minerals Management Service repeatedly ignored warnings from government scientists about environmental risks in its push to approve energy exploration activities quickly. Separately, an inspector general report found that regulators "allowed industry officials several years ago to fill in their own inspection reports."

 

The report said the findings of the investigation had been presented to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana, which declined prosecution.

 

The inquiry began after investigators at the Office of the Inspector General received an anonymous letter, dated Oct. 28, 2008, addressed to the United States Attorney’s Office in New Orleans, alleging that a number of unnamed minerals agency employees had accepted gifts from oil and gas production company representatives, the report said.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/us/25mms.html

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Guest greenzen

Everyone who received a free meal, tickets and gifts should immediately be fired. The names of the employees should be made public. The oil companies that gave these bribes should be made public.

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