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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 16 articles

Newly acquired documents indicate White House purposely low-balled BP oil spill size

Top White House officials manipulated the scientific findings of independent experts to “seriously lowball the amount of oil leaking from the BP Deepwater Horizon,” according to a group of federal, state, and municipal employees. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a national alliance of publicly employed scientists, law enforcement authorities, land managers, and other professionals dedicated to upholding U.S. environmental laws and values, filed a scientific integrity complaint Monday after reviewing documents it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. According to PEER, the documents, which include a series of high-level emails, “indicate White House pressure to present low-range ... Read More

Oil pollutes coast a year after BP spill, millions of gallons unaccounted for

BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was successfully capped a year ago, but hundreds of miles of Gulf coast beaches and marshlands are still contaminated by oil from the blown-out Macondo well. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), oil ranging in form from sticky crude to a light sheen covers about 491 miles of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi coastline. Approximately 1,100 miles of coast have been covered with oil since BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform exploded April 20, 2010. Tim Zink, an NOAA spokesman, told Bloomberg that several miles of the Louisiana coast and marsh ... Read More

Enormous mass of dead fish troubles scientists and Louisiana residents

Oceanographers and scientists have been warning that only time will reveal how much damage BP’s massive oil spill and its use of chemical oil dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico have done to the environment and marine ecology. This week a troubling sign has emerged in the form of an astonishingly large mass of floating dead fish just west of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Masses of dead fish surfacing in the Gulf of Mexico are unfortunately  common events, especially near the mouth of the Mississippi River where oxygen-depleted dead zones created by miles of fertilizer runoff frequently choke ... Read More

NOAA report offers glimpse of Gulf fishing losses after BP's oil spill

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s newly released fisheries report finds New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska, remaining at the top in 2009 for value and amount of fish landed, but the inclusion of several Gulf fisheries among last year’s top ten underscores just how much was lost in 2010 – for both the Gulf Coast and the national economy as a whole — in the wake of BP’s oil spill. The “Fisheries of the United States 2009” report shows New Bedford’s port brought in more than $249 million of fish that year, with an increase of 23.6 million ... Read More

New Orleans mayor says BP is ready to "cut and run"

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told an audience at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Thursday that he lacks faith in BP and doesn’t trust the company to do the right thing in the aftermath of the oil spill. The journalism organization invited Mr. Landrieu to speak about the progress New Orleans is making with its rebuilding efforts on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and about the effects the oil spill continues to have on his city. Landrieu criticized BP’s cleanup efforts in the Gulf, telling the Press Club, “In my opinion, they’re poised to cut and ... Read More

Scientists find up to 80 percent of BP's spilled oil is on the Gulf floor

Researchers have discovered that oil from BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico extends further east than previously thought. The extent of the spill isn’t visible from the surface because as much as 80 percent of the oil is on the sea floor, stretching from the blown-out well site south of New Orleans to 40 miles south of Panama City, Florida. A University of South Florida research vessel carrying 13 scientists has been plying the Gulf waters for 10 days investigating the oil spill. The researchers told CNN that they have found toxic levels of oil and dispersants affecting ... Read More

Government says BP spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into Gulf

Now that BP has temporarily plugged the oil spill and remains confident that a successful permanent plug is within reach, federal scientists estimate 4.9 million barrels of oil have gushed into the Gulf since April 22. The calculation makes BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill the largest in history, far surpassing Mexico’s 1979 Ixtoc spill, which released 3.3 million barrels into the Gulf. Government analysts believe the spill began more powerfully than it ended, releasing about 62,000 barrels of oil per day and gradually weakening as the weeks passed to about 53,000 barrels a day. A diminishing reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding ... Read More

BP preparing for deep, remote arctic drilling

With all eyes fixated on the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is stealthily moving toward what could easily be this country’s (and the world’s) next environmental catastrophe: Deep-sea drilling in remote reaches of the Arctic. But will the Minerals Management Service (MMS) stop it? According to a report that appeared in Rolling Stones magazine, no. Many environmentalists assert that President Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling is nothing more than a stall tactic engineered to allow the public’s anger to abate before MMS gives BP and other oil giants the green light to drill in an area that ... Read More

BP succeeds in replacing cap on oil leak as oil washes up on beaches

Several hours after it was forced to remove the cap that had been containing some of the oil pouring from its broken oil well, BP has managed to fix its latest problem at the site and put the cap back on. The cap was removed around 10 a.m. Wednesday, after a robot on the site nearly a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico bumped into it. The cap had contained at least a portion of the oil pouring from the damaged well, to the tune of about 700,000 gallons a day, so its hasty replacement was essential. ... Read More

Satellite images reveal another Gulf oil spill

BP isn’t the only oil company currently spilling crude oil into the Gulf from defective wells and broken riser pipes, satellite images reveal. An offshore rig named the Ocean Saratoga has been spewing oil into the water since at least April 30, according to federal documents. The rig, which is situated about 40 miles from the Deepwater Horizon site, is owned by Diamond Offshore and leased to Taylor Energy Company. An organization called Skytruth, which uses satellite images to document environmental destruction, has published images of what it believes to be one but possibly two oil leaks in the vicinity ... Read More