TagThe Big Fix

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


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


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...

A Look Behind the Curtain: Colorado Adopts Nation’s Toughest “Fracking Fluid” Disclosure Rules


Thanks to courageous regulators in Colorado, the American public will get its first real look behind the curtain at the closely held “chemical recipe” used by natural gas drillers in the highly controversial extraction process known as fracking. The increasingly widespread practice – involving the high-pressure injection of water, sand and a secret mix of toxic chemicals deep into the...

Aerial Dispersant Spraying Can’t Hide Oil Slicks Near Deepwater Horizon Site


It’s a hauntingly familiar sight: Airplanes buzzing over the Gulf of Mexico spraying toxic dispersant in a flight path from Breton Sound bearing southeast to the Macondo Prospect, the epicenter of last year’s monster oil spill. Yet despite these regular Corexit sprayings, the oil slicks and sheen persist – visible from the air – in the waters surrounding the Deepwater Horizon site...

BP’s Ace in the Hole: Halliburton Destroyed Key Evidence Tied to the Cementing of the Macondo Well


So who is ultimately responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history? BP, the owner of the oil itself, assigns blame to Halliburton, the company that did the cement work on the doomed Macondo Well. And not unexpectedly, Halliburton points the finger back at BP. As the blame game gets set to go to trial in New Orleans early next year, a bombshell legal motion filed Monday by BP in U.S...

Seafood Surprise: Eyeless Shrimp, Crabs with Lesions – and Bigger Final Settlement Offers from BP


Against a backdrop of damaged fisheries and a looming oil spill trial, BP is doubling “final settlement” offers to commercial crabbers and shrimpers who have had their livelihoods destroyed by the Gulf oil spill. It seems BP has joined the rest of the world in realizing the once-thriving Gulf seafood industry is in tatters, and will remain that way for years. Although on its face the...

Inside Japan’s Fallout Zone: Children’s Growth Severely Stunted From Nuclear Disaster


Eight months after the crippled Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant belched enormous plumes of radiation over the Japanese countryside, a new study reveals severely stunted growth in children living in the fallout zone. Those findings coupled with another alarming piece of news from the Tokyo Times – “Radiation affects 8 percent of Japan’s territory” – indicate that tens of thousands of...

Going, Going, Gone: Will the Gulf of Mexico Lose an Entire Generation of Dolphins?


The long-term viability of the Gulf’s bottlenose dolphin population is in jeopardy. Two more dead dolphins – juveniles, under a year in age – washed up on the beach in Gulfport, Mississippi, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That pushed the body count to five in just the last week on Mississippi and Alabama beaches hit hard by last year’s colossal oil spill. From Margaret...

Breakthrough in the Macondo Mystery: BP Admits to New Activity at Deepwater Horizon Site


Finally, some answers. After months of trying to make the fresh oil surfacing at the Deepwater Horizon site a “nonissue,” BP has finally copped to what’s really happening at ground zero of last year’s massive oil spill – where just last week, flyover surveillance footage captured a small fleet of large “oil-related” vessels working the waters. It’s hard...

Repeat Offender: BP’s History of Environmental Crimes Could Bring Huge Punitive-Damage Award in Gulf Spill Trial


There are many tragic layers to BP’s 200-million-gallon Gulf oil spill, but perhaps the most haunting is that we should have seen it coming, and we should have done more to prevent it. A procession of egregious BP management and safety violations leading up to the spring of 2010 – with laughable slap-on-the-wrist consequences – made a disaster in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico almost...

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