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Latest Gulf oil disasters portend bigger problems for the future, conservationists say

Dozens of workers were evacuated from a natural gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico Jan. 30 after it began spewing methane gas into the air and continued out of control into the next day. Although no workers were reportedly injured, the ocean conservation group Oceana says that the incident underscores a much bigger threat, one posed by allowing energy companies to drill in deeper, more remote regions of the globe at a time when rigs in the relatively shallow and accessible Gulf are spilling pollution with alarming regularity. On Jan. 30, Metairie, Louisiana-based EvVen Energy Ventures was operating a ... Read More

BP oil spill toxicity damaging hearts in Gulf tuna, new scientific study finds

A new study of the BP oil spill’s lingering effects on Gulf of Mexico marine life has found that a chemical contained in the crude oil interferes with heart cells in tuna, exposing fish populations to higher risk of disruptions in heart function, heart attack, and death. Researchers from Stanford University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted the study to fulfill a requirement by the Oil Pollution Act that damage to natural resources be assessed in the wake of an oil spill. The study appears in the Feb. 14 edition of the journal Science and was discussed ... Read More

Appeals court upholds BP’s multibillion dollar oil spill settlement agreement

BP lost another battle it waged against the giant, multi-billion dollar settlement agreement that compensates victims of its 2010 Gulf oil spill when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld federal Judge Carl Barbier’s approval of the agreement.   BP has repeatedly taken legal action against the agreement it helped design and approve as well as Judge Barbier, who affirmed it, and Patrick Juneau, who has administrated the fund since March 2012. BP has argued that a skewed interpretation of the agreement allows fictitious and inflated claims to be paid to businesses that weren’t truly impacted by the ... Read More

Dolphin deaths, disease directly linked to BP oil spill, new report finds

Bottlenose dolphins living in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay region have lung disease and adrenal hormone deficiencies, U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report connecting BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to surging dolphin deaths and disease for the first time. The study heightens concerns about the impact that exposure to toxic hydrocarbons has made on dolphins, whales, fish, and other marine ingesting food and water in areas of the Gulf contaminated by the BP disaster. The spill sent more than 200 million gallons of crude oil and tons of natural gas into the sensitive marine environments of the Gulf of ... Read More

Jury convicts BP engineer for obstructing investigation of Gulf oil spill

A jury in a federal New Orleans court convicted former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix on one count of obstruction for deleting text messages and voicemails from his cell phone that he was supposed to preserve as evidence in the ongoing BP trial and investigations of its massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The deadlocked jury appeared to be headed for a possible mistrial Tuesday before finally reaching a verdict in the case on Wednesday. The obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The jury acquitted Mr. Mix of ... Read More

BP trial judge issues scathing criticism of BP legal team

The federal judge overseeing Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation in New Orleans said he was “deeply disappointed” in the behavior of BP’s legal team, condemning it for attempting to undermine his authority and undo the complex settlement agreement with plaintiffs that it helped design. Judge Carl Barbier issued the unusually striking order Nov. 22 in response to an “emergency motion” the oil giant filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In that motion, BP accuses the judge of refusing to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement payments it believes are being sent to claimants ... Read More

BP accused of hiring PR firm to bully, threaten facebook critics

A woman who made comments on BP America’s Facebook page critical of the company’s handing of its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill says she now fears for her personal safety after the oil giant hired an international public relations firm to allegedly “troll” her and other critics by bullying them, making malicious accusations, and even physically threatening them with violence. BP hired the PR firm Ogilvy & Mather to run all of its social media campaigns, including its Facebook page, and help rehabilitate its image and reputation after its Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and unleashed about 5 million ... Read More

Second part of BP’s oil spill trial starts Monday

The second of three phases in a long trial to determine BP’s role and culpability for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill begins today in New Orleans. The London-based oil giant remains on the hook for potentially up to $18 billion dollars in per-barrel fines for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act with its massive 2010 oil spill, the worst in U.S. history. The second phase of BP’s oil-spill trial will help determine how many billions of dollars the corporation will pay in addition to the $42.4 billion it has already spent or reserved for cleanup of the spill, compensation for ... Read More

New report maps wide destruction of BP oil spill across Gulf sea floor

BP’s giant 2010 oil spill decimated several square miles of life on the Gulf of Mexico’s floor in the area surrounding the company’s blown-out Macondo well, a new academic study has found. According to researcher Paul Montagna, professor of ecosystems and modeling at Texas A&M, the oil spill decimated about nine square miles of life on the sea floor surrounding the Macondo wellhead, the epicenter of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. In all, about 57 square miles of sea-floor ecosystems suffered varying degrees of damage from the resulting oil spill, said the report, published Tuesday in the scientific journal PLOS One. ... Read More

BP still trying to stall oil-spill claims payments, administrator Juneau says

Lawyers for Patrick Juneau, the oil-spill claims administrator appointed by BP and the court, lashed out at the oil giant Tuesday, accusing BP of attempting to undermine the claims process by cutting his budget and halting the payment of valid claims to individuals and business harmed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP has repeatedly pushed the court to invalidate terms of the settlement agreement it reached with plaintiffs’ lawyers in March 2012, asserting that the Mr. Juneau’s office has been paying fictitious and exaggerated claims. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is overseeing the BP’s oil spill litigation ... Read More