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Aiding and Abetting the Perpetrator: Email Confirms White House Pressured Scientists to Lie About Size of BP Spill

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It’s official: The White House engaged in an aggressive campaign to pressure scientists into drastically underestimating the initial size of the BP oil spill – a campaign that impacted the scope, speed and overall effectiveness of the response. There are also legal ramifications, as fines are to be levied against BP based on how much oil is estimated to have been released into the Gulf of...

BP’s Gulf Coast Legacy: More Sick Children than We’ve Ever Seen Before

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Children on the Gulf Coast are falling ill in record numbers. Children who never had health problems before the BP oil spill are suffering from an array of debilitating ailments from chronic bronchitis to staph infections to acute sinusitis to mysterious “stomach viruses.” The ranks of the sick continue to climb, overwhelming doctors and clinics up and down the Gulf Coast. And to make...

Business Booms for BP: CEO Bob Dudley Calls 2011 “Best Year” in Three Decades

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BP’s business prospects are soaring. In fact, 2011 was the British oil giant’s best “business development” year in three decades. It’s inconceivable, infuriating, repugnant – but true, nonetheless. While parts of the Gulf Coast remain soaked in BP’s oil, the British petroleum giant has been rewarded with scores of new drilling contracts – 80 to be exact, in 11...

Chevron’s Hubris in the Amazon: Failure to Publicly Apologize for Damage Will Cost Oil Giant $10 Billion

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It’s been called the worst environmental crime ever perpetrated, anywhere in the world. Billions of gallons of toxic oil-drilling waste indiscriminately dumped into pristine Amazon waterways used for drinking, fishing and bathing by tens of thousands of Ecuadorians. Three decades of “deliberate” contamination laid waste to an expanse of lush rainforest comparable to the size of...

BP Oil Spill May Have Caused Fish Embryos to “Disintegrate” En Masse

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The damage the BP oil spill caused to fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico may be even more devastating than previously thought – and the recovery may be much longer and more difficult than expected. New groundbreaking research from the University of California Davis reveals that fish embryos that absorbed oil and were then exposed to sunlight “physically disintegrated” in a phenomenon...

High Marks for BP Oil Spill Documentary: “The Big Fix” Makes Top-10 List of Best Movies of 2011

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Congratulations to co-directors (and Louisiana natives) Josh and Rebecca Tickell for the enormous and ongoing success of their oil spill documentary “The Big Fix.” The film – a masterful exposé of our nation’s worst environmental disaster – was just named one of the top 10 best “Hollywood South” films of 2011 by the Times-Picayune. The list, compiled by film critic...

And Justice for All? Prosecutors Prepare First Criminal Charges Against BP Employees

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With the federal trial set to begin in February to determine fault in the worst oil spill in U.S. history, legal maneuverings have reached fever pitch on the Gulf Coast. Federal prosecutors are reportedly preparing criminal charges that could put a handful of mid-level BP employees behind bars for their role in last year’s 200-million-gallon oil spill. Based on the enormous scope of the...

Still Flushed from Major Oil Spill Cleanup in China, ConocoPhillips Gets Green Light to Drill in Alaska

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There goes the neighborhood. America’s second-largest U.S. oil refiner, ConocoPhillips, is moving onto a beautiful 23,650-acre lot in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) – a pristine area once described as “the largest tract of undisturbed public land in the United States.” It will soon be “undisturbed” no more. Conoco’s move represents the first...

The Untenable Risks of Deep-water Drilling: Shell Reports 13,000-Gallon Spill in Gulf of Mexico

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Yes, it’s happened again. In another costly example of the untenable risks tied to deep-water drilling, Shell is reporting a 13,000-gallon spill less than 30 miles from where the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank to the seafloor last year triggering the worst oil spill in our nation’s history. From a Dec. 19 Reuters report: The U.S. Coast Guard was investigating a 13,000-gallon...

The Settlement Phase: Maker of Blowout Preventer Agrees to Pay BP $250 Million

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There’s nothing like an impending trial to prompt defendants to cut their losses and settle out of court. We’re seeing the front-end of that legal phenomenon today with Cameron International – the maker of the (poorly named) “blowout preventer” that failed to stop last year’s 200-million-gallon Gulf oil spill – agreeing to settle with BP for $250 million. With the...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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