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disaster 42 articles

Arrested BP engineer says secret evidence will clear him of charges

An engineer who was the first person to be arrested on charges related to BP’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill for deleting a series of text messages has asked the court to allow him to share undisclosed records that, he claims, will exonerate him of any wrongdoing. Kurt Mix, 50, worked as a drilling and completions engineer for BP when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank about 50 miles south of the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and setting off the largest oil spill in U.S. history. He is accused of deleting hundreds of text messages exchanged between ... Read More

Mental health decline in Gulf Coast two years after BP oil spill

A new Gallup poll surveying the emotional health of Gulf Coast residents has found that people in counties fronting the Gulf of Mexico continue to suffer from various forms of emotional distress more than two years after BP’s disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill first erupted. Using its Emotional Health Index tool, which helps researchers quantify daily worry, stress, sadness, and clinical depression, Gallup data showed that residents in the coastal counties of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are suffering a significant decline in emotional health compared to residents of the same states living in inland counties. Whereas the emotional ... Read More

Commercial diver sues BP, NALCO for severe injuries after diving in contaminated Gulf

A commercial diver who spent months working in the Gulf of Mexico for a number of clients is suing BP and NALCO Co., maker of the Corexit oil dispersants used during the 2010 oil spill, for extensive and severe injuries his doctors blame on exposure to the oil and toxic chemicals. Before his exposure to BP’s oil spill and oil dispersant chemicals, plaintiff David Hogan was a “very gregarious” and “healthy” man, who climbed the 14,400-foot-high Mount Ranier in Washington May 2010. All of that changed, however, during a 5-month diving stint in the Gulf of Mexico, where Mr. Hogan ... Read More

Testimony suggests BP manager should have stopped drilling operation before explosion

An hour before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, BP’s well leader called an engineer in Houston to say he didn’t understand the results of a critical pressure test meant to determine whether the well had been properly sealed. Macondo well designer Mark Hafle told Donald Vidrine, BP’s top man aboard the rig at the time of the disaster, that he “might consider whether he had trapped pressure in the line or perhaps he didn’t have a valve properly lined up,” according to a court deposition collected from an expert witness ... Read More

Alabama seeks BP oil spill liability trial in July

A trial to determine BP’s share of liability in the 2010 Gulf oil spill has been set for January 14, 2013. The state of Alabama had urged U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to avoid delaying BP’s oil spill liability trial until after a November hearing on the proposed settlement, scheduled for November. BP and a number of plaintiffs involved in the oil spill litigation filed a proposed settlement agreement on April 18, seeking Judge Barbier’s preliminary approval on it. Judge Barbier presided over the oil spill litigation from federal court in New Orleans. In the agreement, BP and the other ... Read More

BP to open three new oil drilling operations in Gulf this year

Just two years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, setting off the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the oil giant announced it will be reclaiming its stake in the Gulf of Mexico with the opening of three new oil rigs before the end of the year. BP already has had five wells operating in the Gulf of Mexico since before the April 2010 spill erupted from the Macondo well, spewing more than 200 million gallons of crude oil across miles of ecologically sensitive marine habitats and coastline. The company’s three new rigs will ... Read More

CDC offers emergency preparedness tips in form of zombie pandemic comic

You’ve just finished watching a movie and you stay up late to watch the news. Before you turn in for then night, an emergency bulletin airs, warning the public about a sudden outbreak of a mutated flu virus that turns people into zombies. The federal government advises you to lock your doors and windows, stay inside, and gather some emergency supplies that can improve your chances of survival. You peer out the window and you’re horrified by the sight of the living dead wandering the streets, looking for victims. Your dog begins to snarl and bark about something happening outside ... Read More

Earthquake, hurricane expose limitations in emergency communications

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the nation’s capital last week exposed a serious flaw in the emergency reporting system – a heavy reliance on cell phone networks that become easily overloaded, making 9-1-1 inaccessible. According to a Politico report, police and firefighters in the D.C. metro area were able to communicate in the aftermath of the earthquake, but the rest of the city’s residents had major problems with jammed lines. That means about two-thirds of the city’s population – the number of people the Federal Communications Commission estimates use cell phones to report emergencies — were unable to contact ... Read More

Scientists say BP oil spill likely culprit in massive coral die-off

According to National Geographic magazine, scientists discovered a massive deep-sea coral die-off this month about 7 miles southwest of the site where BP’s blown-out well spewed millions of gallons of crude oil for months. Scientists who made the discovery said that vast communities of bottom-dwelling coral in the Gulf of Mexico were dead or dying under a strange dark substance. The damaged coral beds were found at depths of up to 4,600 feet. Scientific team member Timothy Shank of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution told National Geographic that he’s never seen anything like it before. “When we tried to take samples ... Read More

osha accused of mismanaging whistleblower protection program

The federal whistleblower protection program that is supposed to serve 200 million U.S. workers is languishing under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s authority and should be removed, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The GAO report admonished OSHA leadership for its inattention to the whistleblower program and recommended that it be elevated to its own separate office. The GAO’s recommendation jibes with the calls of whistleblower support organizations, such as Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which has petitioned Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to turn the program into its own office within the Department of Labor. Entitled ... Read More