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BP exec can face criminal charge in connection with oil spill, court decides

A former BP executive can be tried on a criminal charge of lying to Congress during its oil spill investigation, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday, overturning the decision of a lower court that had dismissed the charges in May 2013. Judge Stephen Higginson of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said that David Rainey, a former BP exploration vice president, can indeed stand trial for obstructing Congress because a lower court judge had misinterpreted the obstruction statute when he threw the charges out. Prosecutors accused Mr. Rainey of downplaying estimates about the quantity of ... Read More

Louisiana oyster and shrimp industries in serious decline after BP oil spill

Louisiana’s seafood industries are in serious decline more than four years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded and flooded the northern Gulf with millions of barrels of oil. Recent reports from the state’s oyster and shrimp industries indicate that fisheries have a long way to go before they return to pre-oil spill levels, if they ever recover at all. Al Sunseri, co-owner of French Quarter-based P&J Oyster Co., told the Associated Press that his company’s oyster yields are the lowest they have ever been in the company’s 130-plus years of business. “We’re shucking a tenth of the oysters that we used ... Read More

Supreme Court rejects BP’s request to freeze oil spill claims, payments resume

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected BP’s request to freeze payments to businesses harmed by its Deepwater Horizon oil spill as the oil giant waits to hear whether the high court will hear its appeal of the settlement agreement it reached with plaintiffs’ lawyers in 2012. In its fight to kill the uncapped oil-spill settlement agreement it helped design and then approved in 2012, BP has pushed its argument all the way to the Supreme Court. The company says oil spill fund administrator Patrick Juneau misinterpreted the agreement terms and is paying fictitious and inflated claims to businesses. However, ... Read More

Blowout preventer problems that led to BP oil spill still threaten Gulf, new report finds

A “litany of flaws” still plagues the devices offshore oil drillers in the Gulf of Mexico rely on to prevent blowouts like the one that exploded BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, according to findings by the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. The Board’s findings potentially mean key risks that contributed to the BP oil spill – the largest environmental disaster ever to hit the U.S. – are still in place. The Chemical Board’s report, which focused on BP’s blowout preventer or “BOP,”  is one of a number of ongoing federal safety and industry investigations of the BP spill ... Read More

BP oil spill killed unprecedented number of sea birds, new study finds

A new scientific study estimates that BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed between 600,000 and 800,000 coastal seabirds, a figure that surpasses previous estimates and underscores that likelihood that the 2010 disaster’s effects continue to send devastating shockwaves through the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem. According to a Marine Ecology Progress Series study, at least twice as many seabirds died as a result of the BP oil spill than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the second-largest oil spill in U.S. history and far smaller than the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Scientists estimated that the Valdez spill killed about 300,000 ... Read More

Anadarko agrees to pay record $5.15 billion for toxic waste cleanup costs

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has agreed to pay $5.15 billion to clean up radioactive uranium, thorium, and other hazardous waste that was dumped throughout the United States, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday. The settlement is the largest recovery for environmental contamination in the nation’s history. Anadarko is the parent company of energy company Kerr-McGee Corp., which it acquired in 2006. According to the Justice Department, Kerr-McGee has an 85-year history of polluting U.S. communities and resources with toxic waste. Kerr-McGee’s perchlorate business contaminated Lake Mead, which flows into the Colorado River and provides drinking water to much of the Southwest United ... Read More

BP’s new tar sands refinery spills crude oil into Lake Michigan

CHICAGO — A new unit at BP’s Whiting facilities used to process Canadian tar sands oil into gasoline and other fuels spilled an unknown amount of crude oil into Lake Michigan Monday, just a few miles from an intake at one of Chicago’s municipal water plants. Neither BP officials nor government regulators have been able to determine yet how the spill occurred or how much damage it has caused. Workers at the tar sands refinery, which BP built as the centerpiece of a $4-billion overhaul of the Whiting refinery less than a year ago, discovered an oil slick on the ... Read More

Appeals court rejects BP’s bid to rewrite oil spill settlement terms

Businesses seeking compensation for losses caused by BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill do not have to prove they were directly harmed by the disaster to collect payments, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. BP and its lawyers have been trying to backpedal on the settlement agreement it reached with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) in March 2012, arguing that oil spill relief money is falling into undeserving hands. BP has sued oil spill fund administrator Patrick Juneau and U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in an effort to halt claims payments, asserting that payments are being made ... Read More

BP fails to delay oil-spill compensation to seafood works

NEW ORLEANS, La. — A federal judge on Wednesday denied BP’s request to suspend payments to seafood industry claimants seeking oil spill compensation from a $2.3-billion fund, saying BP’s allegations of fraud against a lawyer representing some of the claimants weren’t substantial enough to justify halting payments to all seafood workers seeking relief from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP had asked Judge Carl Barbier to halt the second phase of payments from the special seafood fund BP and plaintiffs’ lawyers agreed to in March 2012. The oil giant alleged that a San Antonio-based lawyer falsely claimed to represent ... Read More

Researchers find a dolphin population in crisis after BP oil spill

Researchers who recently completed the first major study of dolphin health after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill flooded the Gulf of Mexico with 206 million gallons of oil in 2010 say what’s left of the dolphin population in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay is struggling to survive. The report, published in the December issue of the Environmental Science and Technology journal, found the dolphins racked with pneumonia, liver disease, anemia, low blood sugar, missing teeth, and other serious problems. One pregnant female was found to be carrying a dead fetus. Of the 32 dolphins briefly captured and assessed of the coast of ... Read More