BP: Trail of Accidents, Scandals Stretches to Alaska

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: New NOAA Projection Map; BP’s High-Stakes Mission; And More News

Criminals with one goal profit!


BP, the most important oil company in Alaska and the corporation at the heart of the Gulf of Mexico oil-drilling disaster, has struggled with perhaps the oil industry’s worst environmental and safety record of the last decade.

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BP’s Alaska unit over two massive oil spills in Prudhoe Bay

The British oil company BP produced the largest oil spill ever on Alaska’s North Slope, faced criminal charges for intentionally dumping hazardous waste near Prudhoe Bay and was excoriated by Congress for a string of oil-pipeline leaks on the tundra.

Members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — have accused the company of everything from profiteering at the expense of employee safety to pressuring government contractors to whitewash draft reports that criticized its upkeep of worn-out Alaskan oil pipelines.

“BP’s policies are as rusty as its pipelines,” Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told BP executives during a heated September 2006 hearing. “I’m even more concerned about BP’s corporate culture of seeming indifference to safety and environmental issues. And this comes from a company that prides itself in their ads on protecting the environment. Shame. Shame. Shame.”

Read moreBP: Trail of Accidents, Scandals Stretches to Alaska

EU Rules: Silent Electric Cars Must Make Noise!

EU rules may mean silent electric cars must make Star Wars noises

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Battery cars such as the G-Wiz may be too quiet for cyclists and the blind to hear

The vision of tranquil modern cities, with inhabitants gliding by silently in electric cars, may be shattered by European plans to introduce artificial warning sounds to the new generation of zero-emission vehicles.

Each manufacturer may be permitted to provide its own “signature tune”, with the regulation simply setting a minimum volume to prevent pedestrians, cyclists and especially blind people from stepping into the path of battery-powered cars.

Some manufacturers are likely to opt for an engine noise while others are considering adopting the noises of spacecraft from science fiction films, such as the podracers from Star Wars.

Read moreEU Rules: Silent Electric Cars Must Make Noise!

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: New NOAA Projection Map; BP’s High-Stakes Mission; And More News

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A sea turtle in the gulf surfaced Wednesday to feed, swimming through patches of oxidizing oil mingling with chemical dispersants used by BP to break up oil.

Poisonous chemicals used to fight Gulf oil slick (MSNBC):

As they struggle to plug a leak from a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP and federal officials are also engaging in one of the largest and most aggressive experiments with chemical dispersants in the history of the country, and perhaps the world.

With oil continuing to gush from the deep well, they have sprayed 160,000 gallons of chemical dispersant on the water’s surface and pumped an additional 6,000 gallons directly onto the leak, a mile beneath the surface.

New NOAA Projections Show Slick Curling Ominously Around The Louisiana Coast (Business Insider):

(Click on image to enlarge.)
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Gulf of Mexico oil spill: giant dome sent to capture leaking crude (Telegraph):

BP has dispatched a giant concrete “dome” on a high-stakes mission to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, knowingt that failure would leave crude spewing into the sea for months and magnify the risk of an environmental catastrophe.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill: Transocean-BP rig had safety valve problem in UK (Telegraph):

UK regulators issued a safety warning over a North Sea oil rig operated by Transocean and leased by BP five years ago.

Congressmen raised concerns about BP safety before Gulf oil spill (Guardian):

Letter pointed out that three BP pipelines on Alaska’s North Slope had ruptured or clogged, leading to a risk of explosions

In the months before BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig sank in a ball of fire in the Gulf of Mexico, the company had four close calls on pipelines and facilities it operates in Alaska, according to a letter from two congressmen obtained by ProPublica.

Gulf of Mexico oil slick hits wildlife reserve beaches (Telegraph):

The first tentacles of the giant Gulf of Mexico oil slick have washed up on beaches that are part of a wildlife refuge off the Louisiana coast.

Rusty streaks of crude could be seen closing in on the Chandeleur Islands and small, dark patches of oily sheen lapped ashore in some places close to flocks of birds.

The uninhabited island chain, 60-miles from New Orleans, is home to endangered brown pelicans, least tern and piping plover shore birds.

It is the easternmost point of Louisiana and forms part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, which is the second oldest wildlife refuge in the United States.


Related articles:

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The Halliburton Connection (Los Angeles Times)

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The Halliburton Connection

Halliburton had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week.

Halliburton

Investigators delving into the possible cause of the massive gulf oil spill are focusing on the role of Houston-based Halliburton Co., the giant energy services company, which was responsible for cementing the drill into place below the water. The company acknowledged Friday that it had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week.

In a letter to to Halliburton Chief Executive David J. Lesar on Friday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, called on Halliburton officials to provide all documents relating to “the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work” by May 7.

In a statement Friday, Halliburton said “it is premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues.” The company had four employees stationed on the rig at the time of the accident, all of whom were rescued by the Coast Guard.  “Halliburton had completed the cementing of the final production casing string in accordance with the well design,” it said. “The cement slurry design was consistent with that utilized in other similar applications. In accordance with accepted industry practice … tests demonstrating the integrity of the production casing string were completed.”

Read moreGulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The Halliburton Connection

Billons Of Bee Colonies Die Worldwide

Recommended reading:

Heavy Honeybee Die-Off Continues; New Study Shows Pollen And Hives Laden With Pesticides

Study: ‘High-Fructose Corn Syrup and Its Toxicity to the Honey Bee’

Organic Bees Surviving Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)


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Catastrophic collapse: More than three million colonies in America and billions of bees worldwide have died since 2006

The world faces a future with little meat and no cotton because of a catastrophic collapse in bee colonies, experts have warned.

Many vital crops are dependent on pollination by honeybees, but latest figures show a third failed to survive the winter in the U.S.

More than three million colonies in America and billions of bees worldwide have died since 2006.

Pesticides are believed to be a key cause of a crisis known as Colony Collapse  Disorder (CDD), damaging bee health and making them more susceptible to disease.

But scientists do not know for certain and are at a loss how to prevent the disaster. Other potential factors include bloodsucking parasites and infections.

Some experts believe bees are heading for extinction.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the U.S. fell by 34 per cent last  winter, according to a survey by the country’s Agricultural Research Service,  and some commercial beekeepers have reported losses of more than 60 per cent over a year.

Read moreBillons Of Bee Colonies Die Worldwide

California Files Legal Brief Opposing Monsanto in US Supreme Court

Conflict of Interest: Ex Monsanto Lawyer Clarence Thomas to Hear Major Monsanto Case:

In Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case which could have an enormous effect on the future of the American food industry. This is Monsanto’s third appeal of the case, and if they win a favorable ruling from the high court, a deregulated Monsanto may find itself in position to corner the markets of numerous U.S. crops, and to litigate conventional farmers into oblivion.

Here’s where it gets a bit dicier. Two Supreme Court justices have what appear to be direct conflicts of interest.

Stephen Breyer

Charles Breyer, the judge who ruled in the original decision of 2007 which is being appealed, is Stephen Breyer’s brother, who apparently views this as a conflict of interest and has recused himself.

Clarence Thomas

From the years 1976 – 1979, Thomas worked as an attorney for Monsanto. Thomas apparently does not see this as a conflict of interest and has not recused himself.

Fox, meet henhouse.


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(Watch this video here. More important information at the end of the article.)

California is weighing in on a landmark Supreme Court case with far-reaching implications for agriculture the world over. The Attorney Generals of California, Oregon and Massachusetts have filed amicus briefs along with a coalition of scientists, organic and conventional farmers, food exporters, former government officials and legal scholars in support of the Center for Food Safety, an anti-GMO advocacy group opposing Monsanto.

In Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, the American biotech giant – currently under investigation for anti-trust law violations – is seeking to end an injunction on its patented “Roundup Ready” alfalfa imposed by a federal district court in 2007. Three years and two failed appeals later, Monsanto is taking their case to the the Supreme Court in what will be the first ever High Court ruling on a genetically engineered (GE) crop.

At issue in this case is a lower court’s ban on the planting of the GE alfalfa crop. The USDA approved its use in 2007 without submitting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to asses the ramifications transgenetic plants would have on farmers and surrounding environments. The court determined that by failing to comply with the environmental impact research requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the USDA was derelict in its administrative duties.

Read moreCalifornia Files Legal Brief Opposing Monsanto in US Supreme Court

Climategate: Inventor of Mann-made global warming feels the heat

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: ManBearPig’s worst nightmare

This blog’s hero of the week is Ken Cuccinelli. He’s the new Attorney General of Virginia and he’s about to launch quite possibly the most delicious and worthwhile law suit in the entire history of litigation: one that could result in Michael Mann – arch-climate-fear-promoter, comedy You Tube Star, creator of the infamous, twice-discredited Hockey Stick – being fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for alleged misuse of state grant funding. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)

Though Mann now works at Penn State University – an institution which appears to share UEA’s principled belief that the best response to the skullduggery exposed in the Climategate emails is to whitewash, whitewash, whitewash – his Achilles heel is Virginia, where he worked from 1999 to 2005. This, of course, was the period in which Mann sent some of his juiciest Climategate emails.

According to The Hook:

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann- now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State- was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

“Since it’s public money, there’s enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data,” says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.

Fingers crossed, eh?

Meanwhile, over at Climaterealists, legal expert John O’Sullivan casts an eye over yet another Mann-related lawsuit, this time one threatened by Mann himself against the creators of the hilarious Hide The Decline song which became a hit on You Tube. He concludes:

Read moreClimategate: Inventor of Mann-made global warming feels the heat

US Oil Spill Disaster Is Now ‘Out Of Control’

See also:

BP warned of rig fault ten years ago (Times)

US oil spill could bill could exceed $14 billion (Reuters)

Current timeline to shut down Gulf of Mexico oil spill: three months (Christian Science Monitor)

BP accused as size of oil slick triples in a day (Independent)

BP and Shell ‘not meeting safety standards on North Sea oil rigs’ (Guardian)

Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf (Truthout):

A former contractor who worked for British Petroleum (BP) claims the oil conglomerate broke federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, according to internal emails and other documents obtained by Truthout.


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A Northern Gannet found in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Louisiana, is given treatment (Reuters)

President Barack Obama will today visit the Gulf of Mexico coastline threatened by the giant oil spill, as experts warn that the spill from a ruptured oil rig might be growing five times faster than previously estimated.

The oil is gushing from BP’s sunken Deepwater Horizon rig at 25,000 barrels a day and could reach 50,000 barrels a day, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earlier estimates had put the leak at 5,000 barrels a day.

Professor Ian MacDonald, an ocean specialist at Florida State University, said the new estimate suggested that the leak had already spread 9 million gallons of heavy crude oil across the Gulf. This compares with 11 million that leaked from the Exxon Valdez tanker when it hit a reef off Alaska in 1989.

Hans Gruber, a Miami University researcher, said that satellite images of the slick on Friday showed that it was three time bigger than estimated, covering an area of 3,500 sq miles (9,000 sq km), similar in size to Puerto Rico.

Read moreUS Oil Spill Disaster Is Now ‘Out Of Control’

US: 34% Of Bee Colonies Did Not Survive The Winter; World May Be On The Brink Of Biological Disaster

Recommended reading:

Heavy Honeybee Die-Off Continues; New Study Shows Pollen And Hives Laden With Pesticides

Study: ‘High-Fructose Corn Syrup and Its Toxicity to the Honey Bee’

Organic Bees Surviving Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)


Fears for crops as shock figures from America show scale of bee catastrophe

honey-bee-collecting-pollen

Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country’s estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy.

Read moreUS: 34% Of Bee Colonies Did Not Survive The Winter; World May Be On The Brink Of Biological Disaster

Gulf of Mexico: Oil well hit by fatal explosion produces slick the size of Hong Kong

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An oil slick covering 400sq miles is threatening a slow-motion catastrophe for the Gulf of Mexico’s delicate marine life, with 42,000 gallons (160,000 litres) a day now gushing from an uncapped well after a rig explosion.

Two days after declaring that there was no leak and that oil on the surface was residue from on board the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform that burst into a fireball on Tuesday, officials revealed that the slick was coming from the seabed and was now 25 times the size it was on Friday.

“It’s 1,000 barrels [a day] emanating from 5,000ft below the surface,” said Rear-Admiral Mary Landry, of the US Coast Guard, who is overseeing the emergency response. “Absolutely, this is a very serious oil spill.”

BP, which leased the rig, said last week that it was doing everything in its power to contain the spill and resolve the situation “as rapidly, safely and effectively as possible”, using underwater robots, 700 personnel, five aircraft, 32 vessels, and nearly 200 miles of floating booms.

Read moreGulf of Mexico: Oil well hit by fatal explosion produces slick the size of Hong Kong