Sep 14 2012

Twitter Link Round-Up: Solar Power on the Rise and Isaac Washes Tar Balls on Gulf Shores

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

Afraid you missed something interesting in the world of environmental law?  Read on for a (non-comprehensive) list of articles posted on our Twitter feed @WMELSBlog.

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Jan 20 2012

Twitter Link Round-Up: Obama Proposes Moving NOAA to DOI and a Cap and Trade Proposal for Whaling

Published by under News

Photo by Kelci Block

Afraid you missed something interesting in the world of environmental law?  Read on for a (non-comprehensive) list of articles posted on our Twitter feed @WMELSBlog.

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Apr 20 2011

One Year Later: The BP Oil Spill

Published by under Energy,Water/Maritime

Anchor-handling tugboats battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, via wikimedia

Today is the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  On that fateful day, eleven people lost their lives in the explosion on the rig and seventeen more were injured.  This then touched off a disastrous oil leak from the blown wellhead that brought words like “blowout preventer” and “dispersant” into our collective understanding.  Speeches were made and hearings held in Congress as lawmakers attempted to get to the cause.  Meanwhile, attempts to stop the relentless flow of oil continued for months and workers in the Gulf of Mexico were frantically trying to keep the oil offshore and out of the wetlands, with limited success.  When the well was finally capped, the future of the Gulf of Mexico was uncertain.

One year later, the Minerals Management Services is no more, replaced by the unfortunately named Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE).  BOEMRE is setting a breakneck pace trying to balance pressure from the industry to get permits approved and environmentalists worried about another spill.  The oil in the Gulf is still around and recently there has been a rash of mysterious dolphin deaths, with dead baby dolphins washing up on the beaches.  Residents and scientists still worry that large oil plumes may exist underwater, sink to the seafloor, create “dead zones” for fish, and affect crab and shrimp harvests.  If anything, this anniversary is a reminder that the full effects of this disaster have not been fully felt or understood yet and we should not forget that. Continue Reading »

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Nov 24 2010

The BP Oil Spill, Seven Months Later

Published by under Energy

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from space

This month, a panel of 15 experts convened by the National Academy of Engineering has released a report detailing mistakes made by the owners and operators of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig leading to the explosion and subsequent oil spill on April 20, 2010. The leak wasn’t stopped until July 15, almost 3 months in which oil was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.  Initial concerns were that BP officers ignored warnings about a defective blowout preventer, then the finger was pointed at Halliburton and the possibility that the cement used on the rig was defective.  This new report is the initial findings of the panel, with a full report to come out later, and some of the findings they’re releasing indicates that several crucial decisions were made despite warnings of trouble that increased the likelihood of the disaster.  Read more about the findings by following the links below.

News from the National Academies: “Events Preceding Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill Point to Failure to Account for Safety Risks and Potential Dangers”

Nov. 16, 2010 — The numerous technical and operational breakdowns that contributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico suggest the lack of a suitable approach for managing the inherent risks, uncertainties, and dangers associated with deepwater drilling operations and a failure to learn from previous “near misses,” says an interim report of preliminary findings from a committee of the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council.  The events also suggest insufficient checks and balances for critical decisions impacting the schedule for “abandoning” the exploratory well — or sealing it in transition to production — and for considering well safety.

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