Monthly Archives: June 2010

Holding BP Accountable for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

For Floridians in the Panhandle, it’s no longer “if” but “when”. The oil spill has now come within 10 miles of the Florida Panhandle and will surely reach our shores sooner rather than later. The environmental and economic damage to our Gulf shores could be devastating for years to come.
The US Justice Department is exploring its options as it seeks to ensure that those who caused the BP oil spill are held legally and financially accountable. According to an editorial in the NY Times, there are several options open to the Justice Department. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, enacted in the wake of the Exxon Valdez spill imposes fines for every barrel of oil spilled even if negligence is not determined. The Clean Water Act which allows the government to exact civil and criminal for polluting the Gulf, may also be applied in this case.
BP could also be found liable under the Marine Mammal Protection Act for failing to to obtain the proper federal permits to drill in waters that are inhabited by endangered species such as whales.
Finally, Attorney General Holder will consider two other laws that may help hold BP and other companies liable for the Gulf oil spill disaster: the Migratory Bird Act Treaty and the Endangered Species Act, which provide penalties for injury and death to wildlife and bird species.
While holding BP and the companies responsible for the Gulf oil spill accountable is important and necessary, the more urgent need right now is the protection of our fragile eco-system and a quick and effective resolution to stop the gushing oil.

BP Oil Spill Expected to Hit Florida Panhandle Today

As the BP oil spill moves toward the Florida Panhandle, BP’s latest attempt at stemming the tide of the gushing oil has been put on hold as a saw became stuck in a pipe. Crews are trying to figure out if they can move the pipe in order to free the saw or if they need to bring another saw to loosen the stuck saw. Crews are trying to cut the riser pipe in order to cap the pipe and place a dome over it.
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen noted that “the cleaner the cut, the tighter the seal we can make.” Allen also mentioned that there is no sign that the oil spill has reached the Florida Panhandle yet.
Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder held a press conference in New Orleans after meeting with the area’s state attorneys general. Holder announced that the federal government will launch a criminal probe into what he called “a wide range of possible violations.” Holder’s announcement came hours after President Obama made similar remarks following a meeting with former EPA Administrator William Reilly and former US Senator Bob Graham.

Obama Vows to Bring to Justice those Responsible for BP Oil Spill

After meeting with the co-chairs of his BP commission (Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator William Reilly), President Obama promised to bring to justice those responsible for the BP oil spill disaster. Obama also stated that if the present laws are inadequate to prevent another oil spill, they have to be changed.
According to Politico, “This oil spill has made clear more reforms are needed,” Obama says, adding that the commission “take a comprehensive look at how the oil and gas industry operates.”

BP Tries Another Method to Cap Oil Spill in Gulf

After a frustrating and fruitless Memorial Day weekend, BP has announced that it will attempt a new method to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This new method may initially cause more oil to gush into the Gulf but British Petroleum officials believe the method has a 60-70% chance of success. Previous attempts at stopping the environmental disaster has failed miserably. BP’s latest attempt, the “top kill” method failed and was abandoned over the weekend.
The new method involves removing damaged pipe from a leaking well off the Louisiana coast. BP’s latest efforts focus on capturing the spilled oil until it can drill two relief wells to permanently halt the spill.
Meanwhile, criticism and political pressure continues to mount in Washington. President Obama plans to meet today with former Florida Senator Bob Graham who is co-chairing a commission investigating the cause of the BP oil spill.
As government officials sift through British Petroleum documents, the news continues to be bad for the oil company. The Wall St. Journal is reporting today that BP sought 3 permit changes the week prior to the oil rig explosion. According to the WSJ, the three permits which were submitted in the span of 24 hours were quickly granted by the Minerals Management Service. One of the permits may have increased the chances of the blowout on April 20.
The NY Times reported over the weekend that there were serious safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those described to Congress last week. The earlier problems involved safety concerns with the well casing and the blowout preventer, two key elements that triggered the oil rig explosion.