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Hurricane Katrina 14 articles

State Farm seeks new trial in Mississippi whistleblower fraud case

Illinois-based State Farm and Casualty Co. has asked a federal judge to overturn a Mississippi jury’s finding the insurance company defrauded the U.S. government by allegedly manipulating damage reports after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 to blame damage on storm-surge floods instead of wind damage. The whistleblower case originated with Cori and Kerri Rigsby of Ocean Springs, Miss., sisters who worked for an Alabama contractor State Farm hired to assess damages after the hurricane. The borderline category-3 / category-4 storm was the costliest and most destructive storm in U.S. history. It decimated entire cities along the Gulf ... Read More

US Travel Association analyzes oil spill's impact on Gulf tourism

An analysis published last week of the BP oil spill’s impact on the Gulf Coast’s tourism industry concluded that the effects of the massive oil spill could last up to three years and cost up to $23 billion. The study, conducted for the U.S. Travel Association by Oxford Economics, found that perception is a wildcard in how extensively the oil spill will damage tourism revenues along the popular vacation coast. Oxford Economics considered current spending, the oil spill’s predicted trajectory, and the effects that 25 past crises had on tourism dollars to determine how likely the damage will be throughout ... Read More

Artist expresses frustration toward BP with oil spill-inspired art

The depth of the Gulf oil spill tragedy is only just beginning to play out in news reports of oil-coated pelicans and killed sea turtles, never mind the toll it is taken on tourism and the fishing industry. One artist has found his own way of expressing anger toward the oil company responsible for the massive environmental disaster. Steve Shepard of Ocean Springs, Miss., says his artwork speaks “a visionary language of deep ecology inspired by the natural history of the northern Gulf of Mexico and its disintegration at the hands of developers (Republicans) investing in sprawling overpopulation.” For years, ... Read More

CPSC names Chinese companies responsible for toxic drywall

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission has identified the manufacturers of the Chinese drywall that thousands of homeowners say has ruined their homes and their health. Enough toxic drywall to build 30,000 homes entered U.S. ports from China during the post-Katrina building boom of 2006 and 2007. People in as many as 18 states claim that the drywall has sickened them with a slew of respiratory problems while corroding their homes’ electrical wiring, air conditioning units, and other household systems. The CPSC collected samples from homes affected by the toxic drywall and submitted them to the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley ... Read More

Oil laps land, brings despair, suicidal thoughts to small communities

Much press has been given to the dire threat BP’s oil slick poses to the coastal ecosystems, marine environment, and the economies that depend on the health of both. But now another tragic extension of the oil disaster is becoming apparent – a feeling of hopelessness and abandonment that threatens ways of life and cultural traditions that give the Gulf Coast its own unique, irreplaceable personality. According to New Orleans’ WGNO News, BP’s still-uncontrolled gush of oil has begun to invade the fragile wetlands that sustain Louisiana’s $3 billion seafood industry, and the situation has become so dismal that some ... Read More

Music festival in Gulf Shores will donate all profits to coastal recovery

Residents of Alabama, other Gulf Coast states, and beyond are invited to head to the beach this weekend for three days of sun, music and oil spill relief. Starting this Friday, May 14, The Hangout Music and Arts Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama, will kick off as planned, with all profits being donated to coastal protection and restoration. Rather than being deterred by BP’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, The Hangout Festival’s producers have been motivated by it, urging everyone concerned about the oil to listen to live music from dozens of renown artists while enjoying the beach ... Read More

Oil spill reminiscent of coal ash disaster

The story is all too familiar: Big business being oblivious to the harm they can cause not just us but the environment in which we live. Just last year BP suggested that an accident leading to a massive crude oil spill was all but impossible. Yet, it happened. A blowout from a riser pipe a mile below the water’s surface is pouring as much as 60,000 barrels of oil into ocean every day. The spill is so massive it is expected to be far larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster, in which about 10 million gallons poured into the ocean. ... Read More

BP tried to buy legal rights of Gulf fishermen for $5,000

British Petroleum (BP) representatives have been actively recruiting fishermen in the coastal communities of South Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to help with its oil containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Before going to work, however, the fishermen were required to sign a contract that would forfeit their right to sue BP for lost work and damages related to the massive oil leak in the future. BP sought to recruit 500 fishing boats to deploy boom around the oil mass, which specialists say is difficult to measure because it is constantly growing, changing sizes, and shifting. Some estimates say that ... Read More

CPSC info center helps consumers living with toxic Chinese drywall

The federal government has launched a new section of its web site called the Drywall Information Center. The agency developed the section in an effort to field consumer questions and complaints about the influx of tainted Chinese-made drywall to the U.S. that occurred in 2006 and 2007 when domestic drywall supplies ran low. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received close to 2,000 reports of drywall ruining electrical wiring, air conditioner coils, fixtures, and appliances because it emits corrosive sulfuric fumes. Homeowners affected by the Chinese drywall also report a variety of respiratory health problems and a constant foul odor ... Read More

Toxic drywall: new meaning for the term China Syndrome?

In the 1970s, a blockbuster movie popularized the apocalyptic theory that radioactive material from a nuclear meltdown could burn through the earth’s core and resurface on the other side of the world. Today, the words “China Syndrome” could be an accurate description of the influx of dangerous consumer products flooding the U.S. market from overseas and China in particular – products such as toxic Chinese drywall, which builders and suppliers imported during the 2006-2007 building boom and post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts. These products, analysts are coming to understand, threaten to harm more than the American consumer and his wallet. Customs records ... Read More