Environmental Must-Reads – March 1, 2013

BP oil spill probe did not address cost overruns: executive

BP Plc’s investigation of its disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico blowout did not address the impact of cost overruns on the well, a BP executive said on Thursday, in the final day of testimony this week in the massive civil trial over the spill.

BP’s safety chief testifies that internal report did not probe management’s role in Gulf oil spill

Under intense questioning Thursday, BP’s safety chief testified that the team that conducted an internal investigation into the Macondo blowout did not weigh concerns that the ill-fated oil well was over-budget and behind schedule, nor did they reach out to a former company executive who reportedly resigned months earlier over safety concerns in its offshore drilling operations.

Sens. Landrieu and Shelby urge ‘robust’ Clean Water Act fines for 2010 BP spill

In an unusual joint statement, a Democrat and Republican senator argued strongly Thursday that any settlement with BP over Clean Water Act violations for the 2010 Gulf oil spill include “robust” fines. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., issued the statement Thursday as a trial continues in New Orleans that can determine BP’s culpability.

Feds charge 15 with scamming BP oil spill fund

Fifteen people were charged Thursday with felony fraud for allegedly filing bogus claims for help after the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the phony claims were worth more than $300,000 combined.

BP Exec Back on the Stand in Oil Spill Trial

Another BP executive was expected on the witness stand Thursday to face more questions from attorneys for the U.S. government, which is trying to prove the oil company is mostly to blame for a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that led to a massive oil spill.

BP trial’s first week offers glimpse of long fight

Testimony from current and former executives. Gulf Coast residents and the U.S. government pitted against some of the biggest companies in the world. Tens of billions of dollars at stake.

BP trial: Day 4 testimony from New Orleans

Testimony in the BP oil spill trial continued today as Mark Bly, the British oil company’s safety chief, took the stand to discuss an internal investigation he authored on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

La. officials differ on offer to BP

The BP oil disaster trial is well under way, and talks of a potential settlement have not died.

But Louisiana officials and the state’s U.S. senators remain at odds over how the billions of dollars in any settlement should be funneled.

VIDEO: On the Ground at the BP Gulf Oil Spill Hearings

This week marked the start of the the civil trial against BP over its role in the 2010 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men and caused the worst spill in US history. District judge Carl Barbier warned of a lengthy trial, one that could last up to 3 months if a deal isn’t reached earlier, and if the first three days of the trial are anything to go by, BP is in for a battery of tough questions about its safety record and procedures. As much as $17.5 billion in damages is hinged on the legal question of whether the company was “grossly negligent” in causing the deaths and the subsequent spill. Climate Desk caught up with Dominic Rushe at partner publication, the Guardian, who has been covering the trial as it unfolds.

BP exec back on the stand in oil spill trial

Another BP executive was expected on the witness stand Thursday to face more questions from attorneys for the U.S. government, which is trying to prove the oil company is mostly to blame for a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that led to a massive oil spill.

After The Spill: The Environment And Economy Of The Gulf

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I’m Neal Conan in Washington. This week the federal government and Gulf Coast states took BP and its contractors to court seeking billions in civil damages for the disaster that began almost three years ago now, with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Some call it the trial of the century.

BP Gulf probe ‘did not address impact of cost concerns’

BP’s investigation of its disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico blowout did not address the impact of cost overruns on the well, a BP executive said on Thursday, in the final day of testimony this week in the massive civil trial over the spill.

Former BP Boss Says Deepwater Horizon Wasn’t His Fault

Tony Hayward, BP’s former boss, defended his role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster on Wednesday as lawyers blamed his cost cuts for the deadly oil rig explosion.

In video testimony shown to the New Orleans court, Hayward defended the massive cost savings made under his tenure. “When you don’t have accountability no one is accountable for anything,” he said, under often combative questioning from Robert Cunningham.

BP: Betraying the Public

On the morning of Monday, February 25, NGO members, sportsmen, fishermen, students, and community leaders gathered outside the Hale Boggs U.S. Courthouse in New Orleans to remind everyone of the need to hold BP accountable for the nation’s largest environmental disaster. Inside the courthouse, the first phase of the BP trial began.

Judge says certain business claims can be paid again while BP challenge is reconsidered

A federal judge has lifted an informal stay on oil spill damage payments, a stoppage that had tied up certain claims in recent months while BP challenged the interpretation of a section of its multi-billion-dollar settlement agreement with private claimants.

The court-appointed claims administrator, Patrick Juneau, said he heard from U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier after WWLTV.com broke the story of BP’s complaint and the previously unreported stay on payments earlier this week.

Shell takes Arctic “timeout”

Royal Dutch Shell says it will pause its exploration drilling for 2013 off the coast of Alaska after last year’s drilling rig accidents. Environmentalists now call for a similar “time-out” from oil drillers in the Barents Sea.

Bill McKibben’s Battle Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

Every month, Bill McKibben gets dozens of e-mails from pseudo-scientists—or perhaps actual scientists, for all he knows—describing plans to build perpetual motion machines. The senders want McKibben to help them secure financing to build these contraptions, which they claim will solve the world’s energy needs and save the planet. He took the first few of these requests seriously enough to at least ponder before deleting. Now he gets so many he doesn’t even read the descriptions or business plans, though he can’t shake a certain nagging guilt. “My heart breaks a little each time,” he says. “What if someone has actually figured it out?”

European Climate Official Urges Keystone XL Veto

President Obama would send the world an strong signal of his seriousness on climate change if he rejects the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, Europe’s top climate change official, Connie Hedegaard of Denmark, said Thursday.

With Gas Drilling on the Decline, Texas Shale Regions Diverge

Two years ago Texas’ booming Barnett Shale region was facing a slew of challenges that came along with increased oil and gas drilling. Heavy drilling trucks were destroying the roads, employees were getting poached from their everyday jobs to go work on the rigs, and residents of North Texas worried about what kind of impact all that drilling was having on the environment.

Illinois Fracking Bill Contains Industry-Friendly ALEC Language

Illinois is the next state on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)’s target list for putting the oil industry’s interests ahead of the public interest.

Ninety-eight percent funded by multinational corporations, ALEC is described by its critics as a “corporate bill mill” and a lobbyist-legislator dating service. It brings together corporate lobbyists and right wing politicians to vote up or down on “model bills” written by lobbyists in service to their corporate clientele behind closed doors at its annual meetings.

Water: the big issue for fracking

Water’s just too important for the fracking business not to handle wisely, Stuebi writes.

Report Examines Ties Between Pennsylvania’s Regulators and the Oil and Gas Industry

Are state regulators across the country too cozy with the industry they’re in charge of overseeing?

The Huffington Post takes a look at the issue, highlighting a recent report about Pennsylvania, by the Buffalo, N.Y.-based Public Accountability Initiative

ALEC Sham Chemical Disclosure Model Tucked Into Illinois Fracking Bill

Illinois is the next state on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)’s target list for putting the oil industry’s interests ahead of the public interest.

Oil Drilling Could Be Coming to the Doorstep of the US’s Newest National Park

Firm plans to explore for heavy crude on the edge of Pinnacles National Park

A Gas Lease Can Prevent You From Selling Your Property

Most homeowners did not know about the dangers of hydrofracking when they signed a gas lease and are only now finding out that most home mortgage loans prohibit the types of heavy industrial activity and hazardous materials that come with fracking. Take the case of Brian Smith of Daisytown, PA who in May 2012 was unable to refinance his home and was told by his lender, “While Quicken Loans makes every effort to help its clients reach their homeownership goals, like every lender, we are ultimately bound by very specific underwriting guidelines. In some cases conditions exist, such as gas wells and other structures in nearby lots that can significantly degrade a property’s value. In these cases, we are unable to extend financing due to the unknown future marketability of the property.”

Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting With Disaster

As an anti-fracking activist, one of the most important things I’ve learned in this work is how necessary it is for us to be connected and know about each other’s work, experiences and information. Walter Brasch has made a valuable contribution to that effort. If I were teaching a course on environmental ethics, Brasch’s books would be on the reading list.

Separation of the Mineral Estate from the Surface Estate

The people who conduct Shale Drilling have talked up advantages of their enterprise, but never mention costs to the land owners.

Look at property damage. A shale well or compressor next door cuts property values, sometimes to a little as one-third or even one-tenth. Why? No one wants to live near an industrial establishment with bright lights, noise, fumes and dust; nor do they want to live where nature is replaced by ugly pipes and paved lots, where the woods is replaced with scraggly grass, and the roads broken down with large trucks and racing pickups.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>