Stories tagged with Gulf of Mexico oil spill

How environmental groups are protesting the oil spill

Since the scale of the BP catastrophe began to register, there have been a lot of questions swirling around the political implications of the spill. Will it help or hinder efforts to pass a climate bill? Should environmentalists seize upon the opportunity to galvanize public support like never before behind an aggressive shift towards clean energy, or should they avoid calls for a drilling moratorium? For their part, more than a few environmental groups have understandably chosen the former option, and have sprung into action mobilizing supporters behind a flurry of new campaigns. Here’s a sampling of some of the …

Senate climate bill is coming Wednesday

The big day is almost upon us. And the two amigos are confident about the Wednesday launch of their long-awaited climate and clean energy jobs bill. In a joint statement, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) write: We are more encouraged today that we can secure the necessary votes to pass this legislation this year in part because the last weeks have given everyone with a stake in this issue a heightened understanding that as a nation, we can no longer wait to solve this problem which threatens our economy, our security, and our environment. Our optimism is …

Google Earth: Where no NIMBY is safe

An oil spill looks a lot bigger in your (yes, your!) backyard

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is big. Twenty-five hundred square miles big. But that oily mess is out in distant ocean waters, not your backyard, making it difficult to relate to the scale of this petro-tastrophe. Helpfully, Google Earther Paul Rademacher makes it easy to imagine what the oil spill would look like in our own backyard (or anyone’s backyard) with this, ahem, slick tool. Here, already-oily Detroit, MI, gets the spill: And here, Grist HQ in Seattle could use a little something that cuts serious grease: Personally, zooming out to view the size of the oil spill against …

Going Down in Blame

Oil spill update: The ‘junk shot’ solution, BP’s poor safety record, right-wingers discredited

“Eww.” A toxic-smelling trail of “dispersed” oil in the Gulf.Photo: National Wildlife FederationDown $350 million so far and its much-hyped containment dome done in by clumps of icy slush, BP is mulling other options to shut off the gushing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  It might try again with a smaller dome.  Or it might go all high-techy and shoot shredded tires and golf balls into the spewing pipes.  No, really. “The next tactic is going to be something they call a junk shot,” Admiral Thad Allen, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, told CBS’s Face the Nation …

Post-traumatic spill disorder

Oil spills and human health: Lessons from history

Cleanup crews get the highest exposures to both the oil spill itself and chemical dispersants.Cross-posted from NRDC’s Simple Steps blog. Oil spill clean-up brings workers and volunteers into close contact with chemicals that are known to be hazardous to human health.  As we deal with the oil spill in the Gulf, it helps to brush up on history.  After the Exxon Valdez disaster, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported an increase in respiratory symptoms, headaches, throat and eye irritation, rashes and other skin problems among the clean-up workers.  More recently, a study of beach clean-up workers …

Inattention we can believe in

Obama’s failure on climate change

Last week, Josh Green had an op-ed in The Boston Globe called “Even an oil spill won’t move Washington,” which points out the bizarre fact that the BP Gulf oil disaster seems only to have entrenched politicians in their pre-existing positions. They asked me to write a short response for their website. I did, and it’s called “How Obama screwed up on climate change.” Here it is: —— Josh Green’s assessment of the politics of the Gulf oil spill is grim but accurate. It’s just the latest illustration of how sclerotic and rigid Senate politics have become. If a catastrophe …

He's no crash dummy

Accident expert weighs in on Gulf oil spill

Charles PerrowRegulation, regulation, regulation. Until the U.S. can make the switch to renewables, insists professor and author Charles Perrow, regulation is the best way to prevent disasters like the Gulf oil spill. Perrow is an organizational theorist, emeritus professor at Yale University, and author of Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies. He studies accidents. Well, actually the social implications of accidents — in nuclear plants, the airline industry, chemical plants, and other risky techno enterprises like drilling for oil at the bottom of the sea. Here’s what he had to say about the latest “accident” in the Gulf. Q. …

A Walk Through the Week's Climate News

The Climate Post: The empiricist strikes back

First things first: Let’s first pause for a moment to recognize where we are. Three U.S. Senators took the mantle for climate and climate leadership in this Congress, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). Over a series of many months, involving many colleagues, many industries, and many advocacy groups, they emerged with the seed of a new deal that might satisfy competing constituencies. The framework (reportedly) has something for everyone, a cost for emitting greenhouse gases, expanded nuclear power, and offshore oil exploration. Environmental groups, frequently splintered, circled their wagons to support the effort. Then …

Welcome to the Big Greasy

Gulf oil spill: angst edition

Photo: U.S. Coast GuardWell, BP has finally lowered the dome over its leaking pipes. It’ll probably be Sunday before crews know whether they can actually start pumping the spewing crude to the surface. While we wonder why the huge containment device wasn’t built, tested, and at the ready all along (doesn’t anybody make multiple backup plans anymore?), and whether the whole dome plan will work at all, the oil, in all its rust-colored sliminess, has made landfall. It began lapping up on the Louisiana coastline early today, raising the anxiety level of residents who can only guess at how bad …