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Deadly Oklahoma Rig Explosion Likely Caused By Blowout Preventer Failure

Federal officials said they will open a full investigation of the rig explosion that killed five workers in eastern Oklahoma last month as early indications show the failure of a critical piece of equipment may have contributed to the deadly blast. The Chemical Safety Board, an independent non-regulatory federal agency charged with investigating large industrial chemical accidents, said it sent two investigators to the rig explosion site near Quinton, Oklahoma on Jan. 24 to begin the probe. The rig, owned by Houston-based company Patterson-UTI, exploded about 9 a.m. on Jan. 22 when an uncontrolled release of natural gas from a ... Read More

Tractor-Trailer Crashes Into Bus on Pennsylvania Highway, Injuring 26

A crash between a tractor-trailer and a bus on an eastern-central Pennsylvania interstate sent more than two dozen people to the hospital Sunday, Aug. 20. Authorities said the collision on Interstate 78 in Williams Township, about 65 miles north of Philadelphia, sent 26 people to the hospital with injuries. Three of those brought to St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, remain hospitalized in serious condition. The bus was reportedly traveling in the right lane of I-78 eastbound and the tractor-trailer was in the left lane. For reasons not yet clear, the tractor-trailer struck the back of the bus ... Read More

New Administration Likely To Kill Speed Limiter Rule For Commercial Trucks

Donald Trump’s anti-regulation stance will deal a death blow to a proposed safety rule mandating electronic speed limiters on most heavy-duty commercial trucks, some industry analysts say. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) rule for speed limiters in trucks weighing 26,000 pounds or more reached the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “proposed rulemaking” phase in September after several years of contentious debate. The proposed rule calls for the implementation of devices that cap the maximum speed a commercial truck can travel between 62 and 68 mph. Shortly after taking office, Donald Trump ordered federal agencies to kill all new regulations ... Read More

Probe of Fatal Crash Uncovers Multiple Safety Violations For Mass. Trucking Company and Owner

U.S. safety regulators deemed a Massachusetts-based commercial trucking firm and its owner to be “an imminent hazard to public safety” and ordered them to immediately cease all their trucking operations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said it found that Kamway Services of Lowell, Mass. and John Kamau, a commercial driver and the company’s owner, completely ignored critical federal safety regulations, and that its violations put the public at risk. The agency came to its conclusion after an investigation of a fatal crash in Maine involving Kamway and Mr. Kamau. On Nov. 18, 2016, a Kamway truck driven by ... Read More

Alabama getting $93.8 million for BP oil spill recovery and restoration projects

Alabama is set to receive $93.8 million in oil spill money for coastal restoration projects in the third and largest installment to come from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established to help the U.S. Gulf coast recover from BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees made the announcement on Friday that Alabama and the four other Gulf Coast states would soon be receiving their share of $1 billion in funds BP provided as a down payment in April 2011. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas will share $627 million in ... Read More

Cleanup workers sickened by BP oil spill face legal limbo with medical claims

Cleanup workers and coastal residents who were exposed to crude oil and chemical dispersants from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill may be forced into the same kind of protracted litigation that prevented Exxon Valdez cleanup workers from getting medical assistance and relief from doctor’s bills. Some 20,000 Gulf coast residents and cleanup workers, many of them suffering from chronic health problems that manifested several months after their exposure to the oil and other contaminants, are part of a medical damages settlement class, but find themselves in a legal limbo thanks to, as WWL-TV reported, “a disputed reading of one phase ... Read More

Judge strikes down BP’s efforts to recoup money paid on oil spill claims

A federal judge in New Orleans overseeing the BP oil spill litigation said that the company will not be permitted to take back hundreds of millions of dollars it paid out to victims harmed by the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill. BP had sought to recoup payments it considered excessive from some oil spill claimants. Those payments were calculated under the accounting methods established by the 2012 settlement agreement, before Judge Carl Barbier ordered the claims administrator’s office last year to implement new accounting procedures BP considered fairer. However, Judge Barbier found in a hearing last week that the payments ... Read More

Halliburton agrees to $1.1-billion resolution of Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims

Beasley Allen lawyers and other members of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) leading the BP oil spill litigation announced they have reached a $1.1-billion settlement with Halliburton Energy Services over its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The settlement, subject to approval by a New Orleans federal court, is to be paid into a trust in three installments over the next two years until all appeals have been resolved. Halliburton, an oil-field services provider that cemented the doomed well a mile beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig, agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge last year for destroying evidence ... Read More

New study confirms BP oil spill is destroying deep-sea coral reefs

BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a broader, deeper impact on life in the Gulf of Mexico than researchers previously thought, according to a new study conducted by Pennsylvania State University scientists. The researchers documented their discovery of two partially dead deep-sea coral reefs about 14 miles east of BP’s blown-out Macondo wellhead, ground zero for the largest oil spill ever recorded. Before the researchers discovered these damaged reefs, they only knew of one coral reef that had been devastated by the BP spill, but that reef was little more than 8.5 miles from the Macondo well and in ... Read More

Future looks bleak for oyster production after BP oil spill

Louisiana oyster beds that have yielded rich harvests for generations now produce little more than dozens of “empty, lifeless oyster shells,” the Associated Press reported, underscoring the death blow dealt by BP’s 2010 oil spill to local fisherman and businesses in some parts of the Gulf Coast. Gulf Coast oyster harvests have declined dramatically in the four years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion released millions of gallons of crude oil into some of the Gulf’s most ecologically sensitive regions. According to the AP, “thousands of acres of oyster beds where oil from the well washed ashore are producing less than ... Read More