Stories tagged with Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Make the polluters pay

Why I introduced the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act

The tragic oil spill in the Gulf has led me to look at the Oil Pollution Act, which Congress passed in 1990 in the wake of the Exxon Valdez spill. It’s apparent that the liability limit set in that legislation, $75 million, is laughably small. With estimates that the oil spill off the Gulf Coast may be the costliest in American history — far more than $75 million, when you factor in lost business revenues from fishing and tourism, natural resources damages, and lost local tax revenues — I have introduced legislation, the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, to raise …

Oil Disaster Doesn't Mean We Should Switch to Other Dirty Fuels

This post was co-written by Kate Colarulli of the Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign. As we’ve watched the Gulf Coast clean up from the massive BP oil disaster, besides BP picking up its own PR mission to improve its image, we’ve also noticed another disturbing PR campaign: the coal industry and the tar sands industry are both starting to use this disaster to tout the supposed “cleanliness” of their respective energy sources. There are more and more “clean” coal ads appearing alongside oil cleanup articles, and the tar sands (also known as oil sands) industry has already made the outrageous …

Offshore Wind, Not Offshore Oil

This piece was written by my colleague Janet Larsen at the Earth Policy Institute. The enormously devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is just one reminder that stretching out an addiction to a polluting and planet-warming fossil fuel poses risks to our health, our environment, and our economy. U.S. oil production peaked in 1970 at 9.6 million barrels per day. Since then production has dropped by almost half and now supplies less than 30 percent of domestic consumption. In 2009, the United States spent nearly $200 billion on oil imports to make up the difference. With oil wells …

It really ain't so, Joe

Bingaman rebukes Lieberman’s oil disaster excuse that ‘accidents happen’

Cross-posted from the Wonk Room. Last week, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) defended the inclusion of expanded offshore drilling in the climate bill he will unveil tomorrow, brushing off the deadly Gulf disaster by saying that “accidents happen:” There were good reasons for us to put in offshore drilling, and this terrible accident is very rare in drilling. I mean, accidents happen. You learn from them and you try not to make sure they don’t happen again. Today, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chair of the Senate energy committee, rebuked this attempt to excuse the BP oil disaster as an unforeseeable anomaly. …

Fantasy games

Disaster contingency plans are ‘fantasy documents’ when it comes to big oil spills

Lee Clarke.Am I the only one mystified — and, OK, horrified — by British Petroleum’s apparent failure to have a contingency plan in place for just the kind of worst-case scenario that happened in the Gulf on April 20? Thankfully not. “Fantasy documents” is how author and sociologist Lee Clarke describes most corporate contingency plans in his book Mission Impossible: Using Fantasy Documents to Tame Disaster. Clarke is a professor at Rutgers University who studies (how perfect?) disasters and organizational failure. He is also the author of six books on breezy topics such as risk, catastrophes, terrorism, and worst-case scenarios. …

Dodge a trois

A three-way blame game at oil-spill hearing

Here’s your 30-second wrap of the first congressional hearing on the BP Gulf oil disaster: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hauled in executives from BP America, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig; Transocean, which owned the rig; and America’s favorite, Halliburton, which laid cement for the rig. Executives from the three companies — shockingly — blamed each other for the ongoing disaster. BP America’s Lamar McKay focused on Transocean’s failed blowout preventer. Transocean’s Steven Newman talked about the failed Halliburton cement. Halliburton’s Tim Probert said a drilling contractor misused a cement plug (it’s unclear if he was blaming …

Ready, Aim, Point Fingers

Political fallout from the Gulf oil spill: Hill hearings, climate-bill questions, MMS reorg

Now it’s really starting to get ugly.  Not in the Gulf of Mexico — that’s already borderline hideous — but in Washington.  The top execs of the three partners in the toppled, leaking oil rig — BP, Transocean, and Halliburton — made their first public appearances before Congress today, and while they haven’t reached screaming-cats-in-a-bag level, at the moment they’re really not that into each other. Matthew L. Wald of The New York Times liveblogged the hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the Times‘ Liz Robbins reports on the outcome.  The execs have all been …

Gulf oil spill and Florida politics

There’s been a lot of discussion about what the Gulf oilspill means for federal clean energy legislation.  The same thing has been happening at the state level as well. Take Florida.  The Florida Legislature has debated clean energy legislation in the last several sessions, and has come heartbreakingly close to passage several times, only to have the process derailed in the 11th hour.  This year was no different, when the session closed about a week after the spill began, with no clean energy progress. With the tragedy unfolding off the coast, Governor Crist has indicated that now may be a …

Fishing for solutions

Support Southern seafood with this Vietnamese-style caramelized catfish dish

The addition of spring greens makes this Vietnamese-style caramelized catfish a complete meal.(April McGreger photos) Recently I visited my family in Mississippi, where I dodged tornadoes and lamented flooded fields of corn and soybeans and the many farmers who’ve gone bust. The one thing that distracted us from the immediate crises in the northern half of the state was the abominable news coming from our neighbors to the south. The television constantly blasted updates on the Gulf oil spill — the consequences of which we found hard to fathom, when so many residents are still barely hanging on from Katrina. …

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