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BP Executive in Charge of Gulf Clean Up Killed in Plane Crash

Com­ment: The BP exec­u­tive in charge of a newly-created unit to deal with the clean up of the Gulf Coast fol­low­ing the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon blowout was killed in the crash of a small plane.

As is always the case with the death of a strategically-placed indi­vid­ual at a time of con­tro­versy, one must ask: was this tragedy as it seems on the surface–an unfor­tu­nate accident?

Given that the sab­o­tag­ing of small air­craft is child’s play for a skilled assas­si­na­tion orga­ni­za­tion, it is impor­tant to con­sider what the late, unfor­tu­nate Mr. Black might have learned or known that may have placed him in dan­ger. Had he learned some­thing incon­ve­nient for the polit­i­cal far right?

In this con­text, one should remem­ber BP is a major cen­ter of power pol­i­tics, in both the United States and the United King­dom, with close con­nec­tions to the Bush polit­i­cal milieu.

“Gulf Oil Spill Recov­ery Exec Dead in Plane Crash” by Melissa Nel­son [AP]; San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle; 11/24/2010.

Excerpt: An exec­u­tive help­ing to guide BP’s recov­ery from the Gulf of Mex­ico oil spill, a top Texas lawyer and his mother-in-law were killed in a small plane crash in waters off north­ern Florida, offi­cials said Wednesday.

James Patrick Black, 58, died about a mile from the Des­tin air­port in the Florida Pan­han­dle on Tues­day night, said BP spokes­woman Hejdi Feick. Those who knew them said the three were bound for a Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day gath­er­ing in Florida.

Black was direc­tor of oper­a­tions for BP’s Gulf Coast Restora­tion Orga­ni­za­tion and had a key role guid­ing the busi­ness unit cre­ated after April’s Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon rig fire and explo­sion and month­s­long spill that spewed at least 200 mil­lions of crude oil from a blown-out BP well. . . .


18 comments for “BP Executive in Charge of Gulf Clean Up Killed in Plane Crash”

  1. It seems pretty obvi­ous to me that the rig was sab­o­taged. All the clues are there while the offi­cial story, like it is often the case, doesn’t make sense. Acci­dents hap­pen but not on that scale. But the best clue remains the fact that the “acci­dent” hap­pened on April 20th...which is Hitler’s birth­day! Many moti­va­tions could have been at play in this scheme. Suf­fice it to say that the far right can’t stand the fact of hav­ing a “social­ist” and a black man, on top of that, as pres­i­dent! They will do any­thing to embar­rass him while try­ing to make it prof­itable at the same time.

    Posted by Claude | November 27, 2010, 12:37 pm
  2. @Claude: Hey there, Claude. I absolutely agree with you here; not only does it look like the rig was indeed sab­o­taged, but I also now sus­pect that a very deep con­spir­acy was also involved.

    Posted by Steven | November 27, 2010, 3:59 pm
  3. I won­der if Tepco’s chief of dis­as­ter response should be “avoid­ing planes too:

    Unedited Fukushima acci­dent man­ual released, loss of power sources not envisioned

    The government’s Nuclear and Indus­trial Safety Agency (NISA) released part of an unedited severe acci­dent man­ual for the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on Oct. 24, reveal­ing that Tokyo Elec­tric Power Co. (TEPCO) had not envi­sioned the pos­si­bil­ity of all power sources at the nuclear com­plex being lost.

    TEPCO, the oper­a­tor of the crip­pled nuclear power plant, had ear­lier sub­mit­ted to a spe­cial House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­mit­tee largely blacked-out emer­gency oper­a­tion man­u­als for the Fukushima nuclear facil­ity. The man­u­als were in fact used when the Great East Japan Earth­quake and ensu­ing tsunami struck the nuclear com­plex. On Oct. 24, NISA released part of an unedited man­ual after sub­mit­ting it to the same lower house panel. The man­ual revealed the fact that there was no oper­a­tional man­ual that envi­sioned a loss of all power sources needed to acti­vate emer­gency con­densers and back-up water injec­tion devices to cool down nuclear reac­tors. The rev­e­la­tion high­lights flaws in TEPCO’s con­tin­gency plan in the event of a loss of power sources.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 25, 2011, 12:31 pm
  4. Just FYI, if you hap­pen to spot any oil wash­ing up on the coast down there or in your seafood, it didn’t come from BP:

    NOVEMBER 9, 2011, 11:27 A.M. ET

    BP Spill Cleanup Winds Down

    Asso­ci­ated Press

    NEW ORLEANS—BP PLC will no longer be respon­si­ble for clean­ing up oil that washes up on the Gulf Coast unless offi­cials can prove it comes from the company’s well that blew out in 2010, caus­ing the worst off­shore spill in U.S. his­tory, accord­ing to a plan approved by the Coast Guard.

    The plan marks the near-end of the cleanup phase of the oil spill, accord­ing to the Nov. 2 agree­ment obtained by the AP on Tues­day. Now, BP will turn its atten­tion to restor­ing areas dam­aged by the spill that began on April 20, 2010, when the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 work­ers. About $1 bil­lion has been set aside for those projects, an offi­cial says.

    Roughly 90% of the Gulf Coast has been deemed clean, accord­ing to offi­cials. The plan spells out pro­to­col for when an area still needs to be cleaned and when BP’s respon­si­bil­ity for that ends.

    Louisiana offi­cials wouldn’t give their approval because they were con­cerned about what they per­ceived as a lack of long-term mon­i­tor­ing in the doc­u­ment. They also com­plained that the Coast Guard gave them only five days to review the plan, accord­ing to a let­ter sent to the agency by Gar­ret Graves, a top aide to Gov. Bobby Jin­dal for coastal affairs.

    On Florida’s Pan­han­dle, some peo­ple reacted with skep­ti­cism. Ken­neth Collins, who rents fish­ing poles to tourists and spends his days with local fish­er­men at the Pen­sacola Beach pier, said he doesn’t think the effects of the spill are over.

    “It’s not ok at all. We aren’t sci­en­tists or any­thing, but we are out there all the time and we can tell things aren’t right,” Mr. Collins said. Red­fish, cobia, grouper and other species caught off the beach pier have oily deposits in their intestines when they are carved up for clean­ing, he said.

    “Every­thing is just not how it used to be. When you pull a fish up, it doesn’t look like it is sup­posed to look, like they did before” said Ryan John­son a fish­er­men on the pier. Mr. John­son said many fish now have an unnat­ural brown­ish color.

    Despite the con­cerns, the Coast Guard said its final­ized plan would apply to Louisiana and all the Gulf states.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 9, 2011, 10:13 am
  5. And they seemed like such a nice cou­ple:

    BP: Hal­libur­ton destroyed key oil spill evidence

    By CAIN BURDEAU, Asso­ci­ated Press

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP in a high-stakes court fil­ing on Mon­day accused Hal­libur­ton of destroy­ing dam­ag­ing evi­dence about the qual­ity of its cement slurry that went into drilling the oil well that blew out last year and caused the worst U.S. off­shore oil spill.


    Also in the doc­u­ments filed in a New Orleans fed­eral court, BP accused Hal­libur­ton of fail­ing to pro­duce incrim­i­nat­ing com­puter mod­el­ing evi­dence. BP accused Hal­libur­ton of claim­ing the mod­el­ing is gone.

    BP asked U.S. Dis­trict Judge Carl Bar­bier to penal­ize Hal­libur­ton and order a court-sponsored com­puter foren­sic team to recover the miss­ing mod­el­ing results.


    In Monday’s court fil­ing, BP accused Hal­libur­ton employ­ees doing an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion of the Macondo dis­as­ter of dis­card­ing and destroy­ing early test results they per­formed on the same batch of cement slurry used in the Macondo well.

    BP said Halliburton’s chief cement mixer for Gulf projects tes­ti­fied in depo­si­tions that the cement slurry seemed “thin” to him but that he chose not to write about his find­ings to his bosses out of fear he would be misinterpreted.

    “I didn’t want to put any­thing on an email that could be twisted, and turned,” Rickey Mor­gan, the Hal­libur­ton cement expert, said in depo­si­tions. He worked at a lab­o­ra­tory in Dun­can, Oklahoma.

    “Upon review­ing these lat­est test­ing results, Hal­libur­ton employ­ees destroyed records of the test­ing as well as the phys­i­cal cement sam­ples used in the test­ing,” BP alleged.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 5, 2011, 9:37 pm
  6. Here’s another fel­low that might want to avoid small planes:

    Law­suit Claims For­mer BP Employee Was Fired For Refus­ing To Skew Clean-Up Data

    Jil­lian Ray­field Jan­u­ary 25, 2012, 8:56 AM

    Updated Jan­u­ary 25, 2012 at 11:29 am.

    A for­mer employee of BP Amer­ica is suing the oil com­pany for wrong­ful ter­mi­na­tion, alleg­ing that he was canned for refus­ing to alter data about the progress of the clean-up of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon oil spill.

    In a suit filed in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Louisiana, August Wal­ter asks for dam­ages over his ter­mi­na­tion from BP, where he was employed for about a year as part of the Gulf Coast clean-up. Wal­ter served under BP’s Gulf Coast Restora­tion Orga­ni­za­tion (GCRO) as State Plan­ning Lead “for the pur­pose of devel­op­ing a descrip­tive plan to accom­plish the clean­ing of oil caused by the BP spill.”

    BP Amer­ica has been run­ning a clean-up oper­a­tion since the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon oil rig exploded in April, 2010, killing 11 work­ers and dump­ing 4.9 mil­lion bar­rels of oil into the Gulf. The spill affected the coasts of Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, Florida and Alabama.

    Accord­ing to the suit, Walter’s job involved cre­at­ing plans for the clean-up, known as Shore­line Treat­ment Rec­om­men­da­tions (STR), which were pre­pared and approved with the over­sight of the U.S. Coast Guard Fed­eral On-Scene Coor­di­na­tor (FOSC) “to be in com­pli­ance with fed­eral and state envi­ron­men­tal rules and reg­u­la­tions.” BP would then be respon­si­ble for imple­ment­ing the plans.

    But, Wal­ter claims, in May and June of 2011 he “began to con­vey his con­cerns that BP Mis­sis­sippi oper­a­tions were inten­tion­ally not fol­low­ing the plans for clean up delin­eated by U.S. Gov­ern­ment, the Coast Guard and the Depart­ment of the Interior.”

    “Cory Brown, BP’s Deputy Oper­a­tions Branch Director/Response Lead con­veyed that he was defy­ing the [rec­om­men­da­tions] by insist­ing that BP was only pick­ing up tar balls and not other smaller oil debris as required by the” Shore­line Treat­ment Rec­om­men­da­tions. In Sep­tem­ber of last year, Wal­ter told BP that he was required to inform stake­hold­ers that the com­pany was not fol­low­ing his recommendations.

    Shortly after, Wal­ter claims that “BP began a mali­cious cam­paign to dis­credit him in retal­i­a­tion for his oppo­si­tion to BP refusal to rea­son­ably fol­low envi­ron­men­tal rules and reg­u­la­tions.” At one point, Wal­ter says, he was called in for a meet­ing with the VP of Oper­a­tions who said that the “focus was to have the [Coast Guard] be con­fi­dent in BP” so that they could more quickly tran­si­tion to a new plan for clean-up and over­sight that would be ben­e­fi­cial to BP stock prices. Wal­ter claims he was “specif­i­cally threat­ened” and told that there were “peo­ple watch­ing him” that would report him if he con­tin­ued to hin­der BP’s plans.

    Wal­ter also claims that fol­low­ing a Deep Dive to assess the clean-up’s progress, BP’s Oper­a­tions Sec­tion Chief Mike Har­ri­son said he “did not like the data as to Mis­sis­sippi because as he stated ‘it did not fit with the story’ he wanted to tell” the Coast Guard. “[Har­ri­son] specif­i­cally — with­out back-up data — insisted that the amount of seg­ments that needed to be cleaned had to be lower than the data was showing.”

    Mike Har­ri­son basi­cally demanded that Wal­ter fal­sify the data by chang­ing the num­ber of seg­ments that still needed to be cleaned to a lower num­ber,” the suit alleges.

    In Novem­ber, Wal­ter was put on admin­is­tra­tive leave pend­ing inves­ti­ga­tion, and offi­cially ter­mi­nated on Decem­ber 9, which he believes was in “retal­i­a­tion’ for his refusal to skew the data.

    Tom Mueller, the Press offi­cer for BP Amer­ica Hous­ton denied the alle­ga­tions in an e-mail statement:

    We do not believe that Mr. Walter’s alle­ga­tions have merit. We will inves­ti­gate the alle­ga­tions con­tained in his com­plaint, con­sis­tent with our per­son­nel poli­cies and Code of Con­duct. We believe we have demon­strated good faith in meet­ing our oblig­a­tions in the Gulf and are com­mit­ted to treat­ing our employ­ees fairly.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 25, 2012, 9:50 am
  7. BP just had a nice day in court:

    BP Won’t Face Some E-Mails in Gulf of Mex­ico Oil Spill Trial, Judge Says
    By Mar­garet Cronin Fisk — Feb 8, 2012 1:10 PM CT

    Lawyers suing BP Plc (BP/) and other defen­dants over the 2010 Gulf of Mex­ico oil spill won’t be able to use sev­eral inter­nal e-mails in the trial over fault for the inci­dent, a judge said.

    One e-mail includes a com­ment from a BP geol­o­gist two months before the April 2010 well blowout refer­ring to a “s—- y cement job” at the project. Hal­libur­ton Co. (HAL), which pro­vided cement­ing ser­vices, asked that the e-mail be barred from trial, say­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion was a joke and the geol­o­gist didn’t cre­ate it as a busi­ness activity.

    The com­ment about the cement job isn’t a busi­ness record and “is not admis­si­ble,” U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Sally Shushan said in a rul­ing today in New Orleans. “It must be demon­strated that the e-mail at issue was not sent or received casu­ally, nor was its cre­ation a mere iso­lated inci­dent.

    Shushan also excluded an e-mail from a Hal­libur­ton employee who called tests before the blowout unsuc­cess­ful. London-based BP and Transocean Ltd. (RIG), owner of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon rig that exploded, asked the judge to exclude the June 2010 e-mail, call­ing it hearsay.

    In the e-mail, Ryan Haire of Hal­libur­ton told another com­pany employee: “I read some report that stated that the two neg­a­tive tests we did were con­sid­ered suc­cess­ful? I stated that I found them to unsuc­cess­ful and I was check­ing to see if maybe you knew why Transocean and BP were call­ing them suc­cess­ful?”
    ‘No Evidence’

    “There is no evi­dence that Haire pos­sessed per­sonal knowl­edge that BP and Transocean called the two neg­a­tive pres­sure tests suc­cess­ful,” Shushan said today.

    She also barred use of sev­eral e-mails between man­agers at Anadarko Petro­leum Corp. (APC), BP’s part­ner in the well, writ­ten in 2009 over storm dam­age to another deep­wa­ter drilling rig. The mate­r­ial “is hearsay, and it is not admis­si­ble,” Shushan said.


    Let’s just hope Judge Shushan didn’t ban any of these emails because they sound “highly rel­e­vant”:

    Judge: Lawyers suing BP can see engineer’s emails
    POSTED: 03:48 PM Mon­day, March 28, 2011
    BY: The Asso­ci­ated Press

    Lead attor­neys for peo­ple suing BP over last year’s oil spill can view emails exchanged between a key engi­neer for the oil giant and his wife, a fed­eral mag­is­trate judge ruled today.

    Judge Sally Shushan said the mar­i­tal priv­i­lege doc­trine does not pro­tect the emails Brian Morel exchanged with his wife, Jade.

    Both were BP employ­ees at the time of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon dis­as­ter, and they had exchanged the emails in ques­tion over the company’s inter­nal com­puter sys­tem. The plain­tiffs’ lawyers have argued that the con­tent of the emails are “highly rel­e­vant” to BP’s lia­bil­ity for the disaster.

    Morel is the engi­neer who described BP’s blown-out well as a “night­mare well” six days before the rig explo­sion. In August, Morel asserted his Fifth Amend­ment right against self-incrimination and refused to tes­tify before a fed­eral panel inves­ti­gat­ing the April 20, 2010, disaster.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 8, 2012, 8:12 pm
  8. And BP scores again:

    Part of share­holder suit against BP tossed


    3:11 p.m. CST, Feb­ru­ary 13, 2012
    BP Plc on Mon­day won the dis­missal of part of a U.S. share­holder secu­ri­ties fraud law­suit seek­ing dam­ages related to the 2010 Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    U.S. Dis­trict Judge Keith Elli­son in Hous­ton dis­missed claims by pur­chasers of ordi­nary shares, as well as claims by pur­chasers of Amer­i­can deposi­tary shares, against sev­eral BP offi­cials, includ­ing cur­rent Chief Exec­u­tive Robert Dudley.

    But Elli­son refused to dis­miss claims by the ADS investors against the London-based com­pany and for­mer Chief Exec­u­tive Anthony Hay­ward, say­ing the investors had ade­quately pleaded vio­la­tions of U.S. secu­ri­ties law.

    Investors led by sev­eral New York and Ohio pub­lic pen­sion funds had accused BP of mis­lead­ing them about its safety record before the April 20, 2010, explo­sion of the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon drilling rig.

    The dis­as­ter killed 11 peo­ple, caused the largest off­shore oil spill in U.S. his­tory and led to BP set­ting aside more than $40 bil­lion for related costs.


    The law­suit is sep­a­rate from one sched­uled to go to trial Feb. 27 in a New Orleans fed­eral court to assess blame for the oil spill.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 13, 2012, 1:37 pm
  9. And with two year anniver­sary of the Gulf dis­as­ter approach­ing, we learn that the worst-case sce­nario (of an unstop­pable leak on the sea floor) might be reality:

    BP set­tles while Macondo ‘seeps’
    As BP pays bil­lions in set­tle­ments, sci­en­tists are con­cerned about a per­sis­tent oil seep near the Macondo 252 well.

    Dahr Jamail Last Mod­i­fied: 04 Mar 2012 12:50

    New Orleans, LA — As BP set­tles out of court for the first phase of thou­sands of law­suits that could cost the com­pany tens of bil­lions of dol­lars, Al Jazeera has spot­ted a large oil sheen near the infa­mous Macondo 252 well.

    In Sep­tem­ber 2011, Al Jazeera spot­ted a large swath of sil­very oil sheen located roughly 19km north­east of the now-capped well.

    But now, on Feb­ru­ary 29, Al Jazeera con­ducted another over-flight of the area and found a larger area of sea cov­ered in oil sheen in the same location.

    Oil track­ers with the organ­i­sa­tion On Wings of Care, who have been mon­i­tor­ing the new oil since mid-August 2011, have for months found rainbow-tinted slicks and thick sil­very globs of oil con­sis­tently vis­i­ble in the area.

    “This is the same cres­cent shaped area of oil and sheen I’ve been see­ing here since the mid­dle of last August,” Bonny Schu­maker, pres­i­dent and pilot of On Wings of Care, told Al Jazeera while fly­ing over the oil.


    Schu­maker, a career physi­cist with NASA who retired in 2011, is deeply con­cerned because she has spot­ted oil in the same loca­tion now at least 15 times since last August.

    Edward Over­ton, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at Louisiana State University’s envi­ron­men­tal sci­ences depart­ment, exam­ined data from oil sam­ples taken from this area last Sep­tem­ber and con­firmed that the oil is from the Macondo reservoir.

    Experts believe the oil is likely to be from a seep in the seabed, but there is debate about what caused the seep, as many believe it may well have been caused by BP’s blowout well and the failed attempts to cap it dur­ing spring 2010.

    ‘Dead ringer’

    Over­ton, who is also a National Oceanic and Atmos­pheric Admin­is­tra­tion (NOAA) con­trac­tor, told Al Jazeera in Sep­tem­ber, “After exam­in­ing the data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252 [Macondo Well] oil, as good a match as I’ve seen.”

    He explained that the sam­ples were analysed and com­pared to “the known Macondo oil fin­ger­print, and it was a very, very close match”.

    While not rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity that oil could be seep­ing out of the giant reser­voir, which would be the worst-case sce­nario, Over­ton believed the oil cur­rently reach­ing the sur­face was prob­a­bly from oil that was trapped in the dam­aged rig­ging on the seafloor.

    How­ever, given the fact that the oil sheen has existed in this area since at least as early as August 2010 and is con­tin­u­ing, the like­li­hood of it being resid­ual oil from the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon or dam­aged rig­ging is now slim.

    Other sci­en­tists remain con­cerned that the new oil could be com­ing from a seep from the same reser­voir the Macondo well was drilled into. The oil­field, located 64km off the coast of Louisiana, is believed to hold as much 50 mil­lion bar­rels of pro­ducible oil reserves.


    Shrimpers and oys­ter fish­er­men have seen their catches drop dra­mat­i­cally, and in some areas entire oys­ter pop­u­la­tions have been annihilated.


    New Orleans attor­ney Stu­art Smith, who lit­i­gates against major oil com­pa­nies, believes the bur­den of proof about where the oil is com­ing from lies on BP.

    “Our worst fears have proven true,” Smith said of the seep. “We have a chronic leak sce­nario caused by the Macondo well, and it is time for the feds and BP to come clean and tell the Amer­i­can pub­lic the truth. Unless/until the gov­ern­ment and BP explain in a ver­i­fi­able man­ner what the source of this oil is, in my opin­ion any thoughts of set­tle­ment are way premature.”

    Nat­ural seep

    BP has denied that the oil is com­ing from their well.

    When reports sur­faced last August that a large swath of oil sheen was reported near the site of the oil dis­as­ter, BP offi­cials, in coor­di­na­tion with the US Coast Guard, deployed two sub­mersibles to inves­ti­gate the site.

    BP said their visual inspec­tion con­firmed there wasn’t any oil released from the Macondo well.

    The Coast Guard also deployed a boat to the area and con­ducted an aer­ial sur­vey of the site by helicopter.

    “Both observed noth­ing,” Coast Guard Cap­tain Jonathan Bur­ton, who is based in Mor­gan City, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera in at inter­view at his office.

    Cap­tain Bur­ton said after see­ing footage from the sub­mersible of BP’s cap, he does not believe the Macondo well, or the relief wells BP drilled to stop it, are leak­ing, and he feels the oil is from nat­ural seepage.

    “Research shows the Macondo area is ripe for seeps, and I think that’s what we’re look­ing at here, and it’s com­ing from the same reser­voir,” Bur­ton said.

    Bur­ton is also the Fed­eral On-Scene Coor­di­na­tor for this region of the Gulf of Mex­ico that includes the Macondo area.

    Bur­ton, who was some­what defen­sive for BP, added that he thinks that “the seep was there all along”, and “doesn’t know why BP has been silent on it.”


    Dur­ing the Sep­tem­ber over flight of the oil, Al Jazeera spot­ted two BP research ves­sels in the area in question.

    “These ves­sels are con­duct­ing research on nat­ural oil seeps as part of the Nat­ural Resources Dam­age Assess­ment [NRDA] process,” Tom Mueller, a press offi­cer with BP Amer­ica, told Al Jazeera. “They were parked over a known nat­ural seep on the bot­tom of the Gulf, col­lect­ing sam­ples and doc­u­ment­ing the nat­ural seep activ­ity in that area using a remote oper­ated sub­ma­rine and acoustic sens­ing equipment.”

    Accord­ing to Mueller, the intent of the NRDA study is to learn more about the loca­tions of nat­ural seeps and test sam­ples taken from them.

    “We can tell you that we recently sent a remote oper­ated sub­ma­rine down to inspect the Macondo well cap and the relief well cap,” Mueller, added, “Both are intact and show no evi­dence of any oil leak. So no oil is leak­ing from the Macondo well.”

    But experts believe that is exactly the prob­lem, since the work BP con­ducted to cap the gush­ing well could have caused oil to begin seep­ing from the reser­voir in an area away from the capped well.

    Anthro­pogenic seeps

    Leifer remains con­cerned that the seep, given its prox­im­ity to the Macondo well, could be oil in the reser­voir that entered a layer of mud and has migrated into a nat­ural path­way that leads to the seabed.

    “I see these new obser­va­tions [of the seep] as the canary in the coal mine that indi­cates some­thing could be chang­ing at the seabed and should not be ignored and hope it goes away,” he said.

    Given Overton’s find­ings that the oil does appear to be from Macondo, Leifer added, “It’s not nec­es­sary to be alarmist, but this is some­thing that deserves set­ting an alarm off to investigate”.

    Of Cap­tain Burton’s com­ments about the oil com­ing from the Macondo reser­voir, Smith had this to say:

    “What is sig­nif­i­cant in my mind, as an attor­ney, is that a US gov­ern­ment offi­cial admit­ted this is Macondo oil, and to me, absent BP pro­duc­ing evi­dence this seep existed prior to their drilling, they there­fore must have caused it.”

    Leifer’s con­cerns are that if the seep increases in vol­ume, “It could be a per­sis­tent, sig­nif­i­cant, con­tin­u­ous oil spill again, and that would require BP to go back and re-drill, and block off the pipeline even deeper than they already did, or else they would be liable for what­ever the emis­sions are, for­ever, because it’s not going to stop for a very long time”.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 15, 2012, 8:06 pm
  10. Dou­ble Whoops! That was the wrong link! Here’s the CORRECT link to the above article.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 15, 2012, 8:10 pm
  11. The lat­est inno­va­tion in humanity’s end­less quest to cre­ate hell on earth: Scottland’s “Well From Hell”, an oil AND gas off­shore well. And it’s more like a gate­way to hell, with hydro­gen sul­phide and methane now bub­bling up from the sea floor so agres­sively that work­ers can on longer safely work at the rig. For­tu­nately, Total has some options ready for their way­ward rig. My favorite is the “do noth­ing and hope it fixes itself” option or, as Total calls it, the “Dream Option”:

    ‘Well from hell,’ leak­ing cloud of explo­sive nat­ural gas, forces evac­u­a­tion of Scot­tish coast

    Reuters Mar 27, 2012 — 11:58 AM ET | Last Updated: Mar 27, 2012 9:11 PM ET

    By Oleg Vuk­manovic and Gwla­dys Fouche

    LONDON/OSLO — A cloud of explo­sive nat­ural gas boil­ing out of the North Sea from a leak at Total’s aban­doned Elgin plat­form forced wider evac­u­a­tions off the Scot­tish coast on Tues­day as the French firm warned it may take six months to halt the flow.

    Dubbed “the well from hell” by a Nor­we­gian envi­ron­men­tal­ist who said the high pres­sure of the under­sea reser­voirs in the field made it espe­cially hard to shut off, a plume of gas was vis­i­ble over the plat­form, offi­cials said, and a sheen of oil, also pro­duced from the rig, was spread­ing over the water.

    Offi­cials imposed an air and sea exclu­sion zone around the plat­form, which had been pump­ing 9 mil­lion cubic metres of gas per day or 3% of Britain’s nat­ural gas out­put, and lies some 240 km east of the city of Aberdeen.

    A senior Total man­ager said the firm was look­ing at two main options — drilling a relief well, which could take six months, or the faster — poten­tially riskier — alter­na­tive of send­ing in engi­neers to “kill” the leak affect­ing a plat­form that also accounts for some 5.5% of Britain’s total oil production.

    But, Total man­ager David Hainsworth added: “The well itself could die on its own. This is the dream option.”

    Oth­er­wise, “There are two options for inter­ven­ing,” said Hainsworth, who is health, safety and envi­ron­ment man­ager at Total Explo­ration and Pro­duc­tion UK Ltd. “One is drilling a relief well which could take about six months. The other is a plat­form inter­ven­tion to kill the well,” he told Reuters.

    “This would be a faster option,” he added, say­ing a deci­sion on how to tackle the prob­lem would be taken in the com­ing days.



    As well as gas, Total said Elgin also pro­duces 60,000 bar­rels per day (bpd) of light crude oil, exported via the BP-operated For­ties pipeline sys­tem. Britain’s total out­put last month was 1.09 mil­lion bpd.

    Britain’s energy min­is­ter Charles Hendry played down the extent of leak­ing oil, which is a light form known as con­den­sate, spread­ing over the sur­face: “Some tonnes of con­den­sate have escaped,” he told Reuters. “The size of the sheen is one-sixteenth of the size of an Olympic swim­ming pool.”

    “Any leak we take very seri­ously and I think the right mea­sures have been taken What we’ve iden­ti­fied, pro­ce­dures appear to have been fol­lowed properly.”


    Hainsworth said that some weeks ago Total engi­neers had decided to pump in mud to pip­ing on a gas reser­voir that had been plugged about a year ago. This recent oper­a­tion appeared to have been resulted in the escape of gas: “We believe the leak is com­ing out of the outer cas­ing of the well,” Hainsworth said.

    The leak­ing reser­voir is above the pro­duc­tion reser­voir, which lies 6,000 metres — nearly four miles — below the seabed.


    British offi­cials said the gas, con­tain­ing poi­so­nous hydro­gen sul­phide — famil­iar from the smell of rot­ten eggs — should dis­perse in the atmos­phere. But it poses a risk to any­one close to the source, mak­ing cap­ping the well complex.

    Poi­son in the gas could also threaten fish and other marine life nearby, although the rate at which it dis­si­pates in air and water meant it was not a sig­nif­i­cant threat to peo­ple on land.

    Envi­ron­men­tal cam­paign­ers have been critical.

    “This is the well from hell,” said the activist, Fred­eric Hauge, head of Bel­lona, a lead­ing Nor­we­gian group that closely mon­i­tors the oil indus­try. “This prob­lem is out of control.”

    Plat­form staff had strug­gled for 14 hours to con­tain the leak before hav­ing to evac­u­ate early on Mon­day, said Hauge cit­ing anony­mous sources involved in the inci­dent whom he said Bel­lona had spo­ken to. “They saw the sea bub­bling with gas under the plat­form,” he said. “This is quite shocking.

    “This sit­u­a­tion is only going to get big­ger and bigger.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 1, 2012, 4:11 pm
  12. @Pterrafractyl: If that gas well explodes, there could be a Fukushima tsunami sit­u­a­tion all over again......

    Posted by Steven L. | April 1, 2012, 6:57 pm
  13. I not sure the shrimp are the only blind species talked about in this arti­cle.

    Get your new and improved shrimp: Now with nat­ural lubricants!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 18, 2012, 11:46 am
  14. More “jus­tice” for the Big Fish:

    Hal­libur­ton admits destroy­ing Gulf oil spill evi­dence
    Michael Win­ter, USA TODAY 8:57 p.m. EDT July 25, 2013
    Com­pany will plead guilty to a crim­i­nal charge in Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon disaster.

    Hal­libur­ton has admit­ted destroy­ing evi­dence in the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon oil spill dis­as­ter in the Gulf of Mex­ico and will plead guilty to a crim­i­nal charge, the Jus­tice Depart­ment announced Thursday.

    Under the plea agree­ment, which requires court approval, Houston-based Hal­libur­ton will also face three years’ pro­ba­tion, pay the max­i­mum fine of $200,000 and con­tinue to coop­er­ate in the Jus­tice Department’s crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion of the April 2010 explo­sion and fire on the drilling plat­form, which killed 11 rig work­ers off Louisiana.

    The Jus­tice Depart­ment said it would not pur­sue fur­ther crim­i­nal charges against Hal­libur­ton or its subsidiaries.

    Sep­a­rately, Hal­libur­ton made a $55 mil­lion “vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tion” to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

    In a state­ment Thurs­day night, Hal­libur­ton noted that the Jus­tice Depart­ment “acknowl­edged the company’s sig­nif­i­cant and valu­able coop­er­a­tion dur­ing the course of its inves­ti­ga­tion, and the com­pany has agreed to con­tinue to coop­er­ate ... in any ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion related to or aris­ing from the incident.”

    The spill was the largest in U.S. his­tory: Nearly 5 mil­lion bar­rels of crude oil poured into the Gulf before the sea-floor gusher was capped three months later.

    Halliburton’s energy-services sub­sidiary designed and built the well for BP. In early May, the com­pany began an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion to deter­mine whether the num­ber of “cen­tral­iz­ers” — metal col­lars that help keep the well pipe cen­tered — played a role in the blowout. Hal­libur­ton rec­om­mends installing 21, but BP chose to use just six.

    Hal­libur­ton ran 3-D com­puter sim­u­la­tions in May and June 2010, and both times the results indi­cated there was lit­tle dif­fer­ence between the two sce­nar­ios. Employ­ees were then directed by uniden­ti­fied indi­vid­u­als to destroy the sim­u­la­tions, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said.

    The Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon Task Force was unable to recover the com­puter simulations.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 26, 2013, 7:06 am
  15. This rul­ing against Hal­libur­ton raises some impor­tant ques­tions: Since Hal­libur­ton was appar­ently cov­er­ing up the fact that the sim­u­la­tion mod­els used for anti-blow-out work was faulty, was that a model used across the indus­try? And are they still using the sim­u­la­tion model? Because that should be a prob­lem:

    Hal­libur­ton pleads guilty to destroy­ing Gulf spill evidence

    Prepa­ra­tions to drill a relief well con­tinue at the Macondo oil spill site in the Gulf of Mex­ico, in this aer­ial pho­to­graph taken from a coast guard heli­copter on August 21, 2010. REUTERS/Ann Driver

    NEW ORLEANS | Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:33pm EDT

    (Reuters) — Hal­libur­ton Co pleaded guilty on Thurs­day to fed­eral charges of destroy­ing evi­dence, stem­ming from its role in the 2010 BP oil dis­as­ter that killed 11 men and sent more than 4 mil­lion bar­rels of oil spew­ing into the Gulf of Mexico.

    A for­mer Hal­libur­ton cement­ing tech­nol­ogy direc­tor in Texas also was charged on Thurs­day with destroy­ing evidence.

    U.S. Dis­trict Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in New Orleans accepted the company’s guilty plea from Hal­libur­ton legal coun­sel Marc Mukasey, imposed the agreed-upon max­i­mum fine of $200,000 and placed the com­pany on a three-year pro­ba­tion term.

    Mukasey did not make a state­ment on the company’s behalf.

    The Macondo dis­as­ter, the worst-ever off­shore oil spill in U.S. his­tory, so far has cost BP about $42.4 bil­lion in charges on its bal­ance sheet from pay­outs, cleanup and restora­tion costs and ongo­ing litigation.

    The plea deal with Hal­libur­ton was first announced by the com­pany and the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice on July 25. The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment revealed the sin­gle count of destroy­ing evi­dence filed against the for­mer Hal­libur­ton man­ager, Anthony Badala­menti, of Katy, Texas, on Thursday.

    In its plea, Hal­libur­ton admit­ted to the mis­de­meanor charge of “inten­tion­ally caus­ing dam­age with­out autho­riza­tion to a pro­tected computer.”

    Hal­libur­ton pro­vided cement­ing ser­vices for BP at the ill-fated Macondo drilling oper­a­tion. Those ser­vices included plac­ing “cen­tral­iz­ers,” or huge plugs, at var­i­ous points in pip­ing as it was placed inside the drilled well. Cen­tral­iz­ers help ensure cement prop­erly seals a well.

    Hal­libur­ton had rec­om­mended BP use 21 cen­tral­iz­ers in the Macondo well, and BP chose to use six. Hal­libur­ton later claimed that if BP had fol­lowed its rec­om­men­da­tion to use more, the well would have been more stable.

    Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, the gov­ern­ment alleged that in May 2010, as part of Halliburton’s review of the dis­as­ter, Badala­menti directed another man­ager to run com­puter sim­u­la­tions com­par­ing per­for­mance of 21 cen­tral­iz­ers with that of six. In June that year, Badala­menti allegedly directed a sec­ond man­ager to run a sim­i­lar comparison.

    Both times, the sim­u­la­tions indi­cated there was lit­tle dif­fer­ence between use of 21 cen­tral­iz­ers as opposed to six. Pros­e­cu­tors allege that both times, Badala­menti ordered the man­agers to delete the sim­u­la­tion results from their com­put­ers, and both complied.

    The judge noted that a com­pany exec­u­tive had directed employ­ees to pre­serve mate­r­ial related to Macondo.

    In an ongo­ing, multi-phase civil trial over the cause of the well explo­sion in fed­eral court in New Orleans, both the gov­ern­ment and BP con­tend that faulty cement work by Hal­libur­ton con­tributed to the disaster.

    BP also con­tends that Hal­libur­ton destroyed com­puter evi­dence that would have shown those errors.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 19, 2013, 1:45 pm
  16. What’s more heart­warm­ing than BP’s pub­lic dis­plays of affec­tion for the ‘small peo­ple’ of the Gulf coast? BP’s treat­ment of its own:

    BP Employ­ees, Out­raged by Lack of Com­pen­sa­tion, Warn Vic­tims
    Tues­day, 21 Jan­u­ary 2014 09:41 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

    Long-term employ­ees accuse oil giant BP of greed, exploita­tion and lying about their pensions.

    Ear­lier this month BP’s attempts to curb com­pen­sa­tion pay­outs to those impacted by its 2010 Gulf of Mex­ico dis­as­ter failed after its appeal was rejected by a US court.

    Dozens of peo­ple and busi­nesses that have claims against the oil giant have told Truthout they are infu­ri­ated at the company’s ongo­ing attempts to avoid pay­ments, and they are not alone.

    Sev­eral long-term senior BP employ­ees are incensed at what they believe is BP’s attempt to short-change them on their pensions.

    Rus­sel Stauf­fer worked for BP for 32 years, but left in 2012 in “disgust.”

    “I quit the com­pany as ‘Head of Finance for the Gulf of Mex­ico’,” Stauf­fer told Truthout. “I had a sweet job, but I could no longer stand the injus­tice and lies at work.”

    Stauf­fer, who worked for BP in Hous­ton, used these strong words to describe what he and at least 450 other BP Amer­ica employ­ees are out­raged over — what they describe as their com­pany reneg­ing on their pen­sion plans by up to 75 per­cent, lying about it, and actively work­ing against them in order not to pay them retire­ment ben­e­fits that were promised.

    Accord­ing to Stauf­fer, the issue has grown large enough and been ongo­ing long enough that BP’s vice pres­i­dent of the Hous­ton region sup­ported him in lead­ing a group to con­duct con­ver­sa­tions with BP’s Human Resources depart­ment to resolve the issue.

    “HR instead cooked up pre­var­i­ca­tions and took them to BP’s CEO Bob Dud­ley so that he would for­ever close the book on this issue,” Stauf­fer said.

    Fritz Guen­ther, a BP employee and United Steel­work­ers Union mem­ber work­ing in Alaska, who has worked for BP for 35 years, said he and his col­leagues are “cur­rently fight­ing to get back the pen­sion plans that BP promised us in writ­ing in 1989.”

    “We were openly lied to by BP man­agers and HR peo­ple that when we were con­verted to the “new” plan that it would be as good or bet­ter than the exist­ing and indus­try com­pet­i­tive plan,” Guen­ther told Truthout. “Now that many of us are reach­ing retire­ment age, we are find­ing out that we have less than 50 per­cent of what we would have had if BP’s promise was true or if we had remained in the old plan.”

    “Don­ald Vidrine, the high­est rank­ing BP rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon, was report­edly in bad health for years lead­ing up to the Macondo dis­as­ter,” said a cur­rent BP employee. Speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, he asked to be referred to as an ‘engi­neer’ and told Truthout, “Fol­low­ing the dis­as­ter, his tes­ti­mony is con­fir­ma­tion regard­ing the con­di­tion of his health.”

    Work­ing Past Retirement

    “BP’s com­mit­ment to Amer­ica does not extend to a small group of its longest-serving, most loyal employ­ees,” Guen­ther said. “The way we have been treated and repeat­edly lied to in no way comes close to fol­low­ing BP’s much touted Code of Con­duct and Ethics and could very well have been the root cause of the Macondo incident.”

    Guen­ther, Stauf­fer, the engi­neer, and other pre­vi­ous and cur­rent BP employ­ees, with whom the news orga­ni­za­tion Al Jazeera spoke, are frus­trated because they all belonged to Stan­dard Oil of Ohio (Sohio), a com­pany BP bought out­right in 1987 and made the cor­ner­stone of its new national oper­a­tion, BP Amer­ica. At the time, BP promised these new employ­ees in writ­ing that their pen­sion plan would main­tain equal value to the old plan, or would even increase in value.

    “When BP bought Amoco they brought in thou­sands of Amer­i­cans and let them keep those higher value pen­sions, so at that point, I’m work­ing shoul­der to shoul­der with peo­ple who came from other com­pa­nies and their pen­sion is worth two to two and a half times as much as mine,” Stauf­fer said.

    In 2011, BP fur­ther enhanced the pen­sion plans of employ­ees from other com­pa­nies it had acquired, but not those from Sohio.

    “So this was when all the Sohio peo­ple burst a gas­ket,” Stauf­fer said. “We asked why the worst off among us weren’t even men­tioned when the best off were get­ting a sweeter deal. I’ve a finance back­ground, I man­aged econ­o­mists and accoun­tants and did the num­bers and knew the num­bers we had were cor­rect . . . but [BP’s] HR played hard­ball and ignored us and affected the CEO’s think­ing on this once and for all so they’d never give in.”

    Kirk Ward­law worked for BP for 31 years before retir­ing over this issue two years ago.

    He’d known of the pen­sion dis­par­ity for more than 15 years and knows of more than 50 of his for­mer col­leagues who were dis­grun­tled over the issue as well.

    Ward­law told Truthout that BP’s actions over this issue show that BP is “A com­pany that doesn’t keep their word,” in addi­tion to being “unwill­ing to step up and do what’s right unless required by law or forced to do it.”

    The employ­ees are accus­ing BP of not fol­low­ing their own code of con­duct as it is out­lined on the com­pany web­site, where it states, “We say what is true” and “We do what is right.”


    So much for­give­ness. So much grace.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 22, 2014, 12:55 pm
  17. Here’s an exam­ple of just how scary nuclear power plants are when you fac­tor in the worst case sce­nar­ios:
    Uh oh, a nuclear plant sit­ting on Lake Michi­gan has been leak­ing for the past two months. Oh phew, it’s only leak­ing oil and not radi­a­tion. Good news:

    Think Progress
    A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil Into Lake Michi­gan For Two Months Straight

    by Emily Atkin Posted on Jan­u­ary 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    A cool­ing sys­tem attached to a nuclear power plant in south­west Michi­gan was steadily spilling oil into Lake Michi­gan for about two months, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

    Approx­i­mately 2,000 gal­lons of oil from a cool­ing sys­tem at the Don­ald C. Cook Nuclear Plant leaked into the lake last year, accord­ing to an event noti­fi­ca­tion posted on the Nuclear Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion web­site. The leak started on Octo­ber 25, and was iso­lated on Decem­ber 20, the report said. Plant offi­cials report­edly noti­fied the State of Michi­gan of the leak on Decem­ber 13.

    Bill Schalk, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for the Cook Nuclear Plant, assured the Detroit Free Press that there would be no impact on the lake.

    “One of the first things we did when we looked at the poten­tial for a leak is exam­ine the lake,” he said. “Oil floats on top of the water and you see a sheen, but we could find no evi­dence of oil in our reser­voirs, in the lake or on the beach. It has been dispersed.”

    Oth­ers dis­agree that just because the oil is dis­persed, there no threat to the lake and its ecosys­tems. Michael Kee­gan, direc­tor of the non­profit Coali­tion for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, lamented that the oil would not be recov­er­able, and ques­tioned whether plant offi­cials truly knew how much oil had spilled into the lake, con­sid­er­ing they didn’t know the leak had been hap­pen­ing for two months.

    “What’s con­cern­ing is they don’t really know the extent of the leak,” he said. “Nearly two months later is the first deter­mi­na­tion they make that they have an oil leak? It speaks to the qual­ity assur­ance of all of their other systems.”

    Lake Michi­gan is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by vol­ume, and the only one located entirely in the United States. The EPA describes Lake Michi­gan, seem­ingly uniron­i­cally, as “a source of drink­ing water, as a place for swim­ming and fish­ing, as a scenic won­der­land, and as a sink for munic­i­pal and indus­trial waste and runoff from the sur­round­ing lands.”

    Though it may seem counter-intuitive, small oil leaks at nuclear power plants are fairly com­mon, usu­ally com­ing from power gen­er­a­tors. Approx­i­mately 70 gal­lons of oil leaked out of a power trans­former at the Pal­isades Nuclear Power Plant in Michi­gan this past May. The Beaver Val­ley nuclear plant in Penn­syl­va­nia spilled five gal­lons of oil into the Ohio River this Sep­tem­ber. And in Feb­ru­ary 2013, the Susque­hanna nuclear power plant was tem­porar­ily shut down after a small hydraulic oil leak.

    The Cook Nuclear Plant itself had been sus­pected of spilling 8,700 gal­lons of oil this past August, but plant offi­cials told the Nuclear Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion that an employee had just made an error when read­ing the level of oil in a diesel generator.

    While arguably every instance of hydro­car­bon pol­lu­tion into the Great Lakes is of con­cern to envi­ron­men­tal­ists, oil from nuclear plants are not usu­ally their main focus when it comes to oil con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. The Great Lakes pro­vide drink­ing water to more than 40 mil­lion peo­ple and con­tain nearly 20 per­cent of the world’s sur­face fresh­wa­ter, and envi­ron­men­tal­ists say one of the biggest oil-related threats are aging oil pipelines that run below the Straits of Mack­inac, directly between Lake Michi­gan and Lake Huron.

    Every day, about 23 mil­lion gal­lons of Cana­dian tar sands crude oil pass through the Straits of Mack­inac in the pair of 61-year-old under­wa­ter oil pipelines owned by Enbridge, accord­ing to the Free Press. Tar sands oil is harder to clean up than con­ven­tional oil, mainly because it does not float on top of water like con­ven­tional crude. Instead, it grad­u­ally sinks to the bot­tom, mak­ing nor­mal cleanup tech­niques and equip­ment of lit­tle use. And because tar sands oil needs chem­i­cals like ben­zene to liq­uefy it, those chem­i­cals evap­o­rate into the air while the oil sinks.

    Just two weeks ago, a pinhole-sized leak was dis­cov­ered in one of the two Enbridge pipelines under the Straits of Mack­inac, rais­ing ques­tions about their integrity and reviv­ing worry about a large spill.


    And, of course, here’s a reminder how just how scary the oil indus­try is:

    ...The Great Lakes pro­vide drink­ing water to more than 40 mil­lion peo­ple and con­tain nearly 20 per­cent of the world’s sur­face fresh­wa­ter, and envi­ron­men­tal­ists say one of the biggest oil-related threats are aging oil pipelines that run below the Straits of Mack­inac, directly between Lake Michi­gan and Lake Huron.

    Every day, about 23 mil­lion gal­lons of Cana­dian tar sands crude oil pass through the Straits of Mack­inac in the pair of 61-year-old under­wa­ter oil pipelines owned by Enbridge...

    Just two weeks ago, a pinhole-sized leak was dis­cov­ered in one of the two Enbridge pipelines under the Straits of Mack­inac, rais­ing ques­tions about their integrity and reviv­ing worry about a large spill.

    Although note that the pin­hole sized leak wasn’t leak­ing oil. It was liq­uid nat­ural gas, although Enbridge uses the pipeline to trans­port nat­ural gas and crude oil. Also, accord­ing to Enbridge’s spokesman, it wasn’t a leak. It was a
    “pinhole-sized defect, observed in the weld of the pipe,” that was releas­ing stuff. But it totally was not a leak so don’t worry:

    The Detroit Free Press
    ’Pin­hole’ leak in U.P. gas pipeline raises fears
    The inci­dent height­ened con­cerns among some peo­ple about a 61-year-old stretch of the pipeline that runs under­wa­ter through the Straits of Mack­inac, and what a spill could do to the Great Lakes.
    By Keith Math­eny, Detroit Free Press 12:45 a.m. EST Decem­ber 17, 2014

    A pin­hole leak in a con­tro­ver­sial petro­leum pipeline run­ning through the Upper Penin­sula released an unde­ter­mined amount of nat­ural gas liq­uid that dis­persed into the atmos­phere north of Man­is­tique, near the Indian River, Michi­gan Attor­ney Gen­eral Bill Schuette announced Tuesday.

    A spokesman for Cana­dian oil trans­port giant Enbridge, which oper­ates the Line 5 pipeline, how­ever, said it was not a leak, but a “pinhole-sized defect, observed in the weld of the pipe,” dur­ing a planned inves­ti­ga­tion of the pipeline Dec. 8.

    Leak or defect, the inci­dent height­ened con­cerns among some peo­ple about a 61-year-old stretch of the pipeline that runs under­wa­ter through the Straits of Mack­inac, and what a spill there could do to the Great Lakes.

    Enbridge trans­ports light crude oil, light syn­thetic crude, and nat­ural gas liq­uids through the line.

    “This small leak is a wake-up call,” said David Holtz,chair of the Michi­gan Chap­ter of the non­profit Sierra Club. State and fed­eral agen­cies should pub­licly dis­close the full extent of poten­tial envi­ron­men­tal threats from the pipeline, he added, and open a pub­lic debate “about whether the threat to our state’s waters and land are too great a risk to take.”

    Enbridge spokesman Jason Man­shum said the weld defect “cre­ated a small, dime-sized stain on the pipe,” and that there was “no impact from the release to the air or the soil.” Reg­u­la­tors were noti­fied when the planned pipeline repair met report­ing cri­te­ria, he said.


    It was an Enbridge oil trans­mis­sion line that burst near Mar­shall in July 2010, caus­ing the largest inland oil spill in U.S. his­tory, dec­i­mat­ing Tal­madge Creek and pol­lut­ing about a 35-mile stretch of the Kala­ma­zoo River.

    The $1-billion-plus cleanup took more than four years; some area res­i­dents still ques­tion its completeness.

    Gilbert Baker, super­vi­sor of School­craft County’s Hiawatha Town­ship, where the Line 5 pin­hole leak occurred, said he was not informed about the inci­dent — and he’s not happy about it.

    “It’s very easy to make a phone call and let us know,” he said, adding he also ques­tions the company’s assur­ances that pub­lic health and the envi­ron­ment were not impacted.

    “If they don’t know how much leaked, how do they know?” he said.

    Line 5 should be rerouted away from the Great Lakes, National Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion vice pres­i­dent for con­ser­va­tion action Andy Buchs­baum said.

    The Dec. 8 leak dis­cov­ery “demon­strates that even­tu­ally, all pipelines leak — the ques­tion is when and how much,” he said. “Know­ing that sooner or later Line 5 will leak again, it’s sim­ply unac­cept­able for a por­tion of that pipeline to be lying on the bot­tom of the Straits of Mack­inac.“

    Yep, spills are indeed inevitable. It’s just a mat­ter of time. We should prob­a­bly plan for that.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 5, 2015, 3:09 pm
  18. When a major dis­as­ter strikes your area, the reper­cus­sions can be felt for years...unless you close your eyes, cover ears, and yell “blah, blah blah, noth­ing bad hap­pened before, every­thing is fine, and noth­ing bad will hap­pen in the future”. That should do the trick:

    The Charleston Gazette
    Bills would weaken water pro­tec­tions
    By Ken Ward Jr., Staff writer

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A year after a toxic leak con­t­a­m­i­nated drink­ing water for 300,000 res­i­dents, West Vir­ginia law­mak­ers are con­sid­er­ing a series of pro­pos­als that would weaken a new chem­i­cal tank safety law, remove stronger pol­lu­tion pro­tec­tions for streams across the state, and pro­tect the coal indus­try from enforce­ment actions over vio­la­tions of water qual­ity standards.

    Mem­bers of a coali­tion of cit­i­zen groups called the West Vir­ginia Safe Water Round­table held a news con­fer­ence Mon­day at the Capi­tol to draw atten­tion to their con­cerns and to urge law­mak­ers not to roll back the state’s clean water laws.

    On Tues­day, one broad bill backed by the West Vir­ginia Coal Asso­ci­a­tion is up for pas­sage in the Sen­ate, and efforts to attach industry-backed amend­ments to a Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion rules bill are expected in a House committee.


    The DEP rules bill, on the agenda Tues­daythis morn­ing before the House Indus­try and Labor Com­mit­tee, pro­poses to add drink­ing water pro­tec­tions to the part of the Kanawha River that flows through down­town Charleston.

    Last week in the Sen­ate, a com­mit­tee began con­sid­er­ing an amend­ment from the GOP-controlled major­ity that would not only remove the drink­ing water pro­tec­tions the DEP wants for the Kan­waha from the Sen­ate ver­sion of the bill, but also end the DEP’s long­stand­ing pol­icy of enforc­ing the state’s so-called “Cat­e­gory A” drink­ing water stan­dards on all rivers and streams across the state.

    DEP Sec­re­tary Randy Huff­man has pushed for drink­ing water stan­dards to be applied to the Kanawha, to pro­vide for a pos­si­ble loca­tion for a sec­ondary intake for West Vir­ginia Amer­i­can Water’s Kanawha Val­ley plant on the Elk River, and Huff­man has also spo­ken strongly against the West Vir­ginia Man­u­fac­tur­ers Association’s effort to end the statewide appli­ca­tion of drink­ing water rules.

    Mean­while, the Sen­ate is set dur­ing Tuesday’stoday’s floor ses­sion to con­sider pas­sage of the “Coal Jobs and Safety Act” being pro­moted by the coal asso­ci­a­tion as a way to make West Virginia’s mine oper­a­tors more com­pet­i­tive as cheap nat­ural gas, com­pe­ti­tion from other coal regions, the min­ing out of qual­ity reserves and tougher fed­eral envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards chip away at the local industry.


    Among other things, the bill (SB 357) as aimed at stop­ping suc­cess­ful cit­i­zen suits brought over min­ing com­pany vio­la­tions of Clean Water Act stan­dards where those stan­dards were not specif­i­cally writ­ten into state DEP per­mits and pro­hibit­ing the DEP from incor­po­rat­ing those stan­dards into future coal per­mits. It also includes a long-sought change the coal indus­try wants to West Virginia’s water qual­ity limit for aluminum.

    The leg­is­la­tion has come under crit­i­cism, though, from the United Mine Work­ers union, which says it also weak­ens safety stan­dards for coal miners.

    “As long as min­ers con­tinue to die in West Virginia’s mines, we need to be look­ing for ways to strengthen health and safety pro­tec­tions, not gut them,” UMW Pres­i­dent Cecil Roberts said Fri­day.

    Com­pan­ion bills in both houses (HB 2574 and SB 423) would exempt from the state’s new chem­i­cal tank safety stan­dards the vast major­ity of above­ground stor­age tanks that reg­is­tered with the DEP to com­ply with the law passed in the wake of the Jan­u­ary 2014 leak at the Free­dom Indus­tries facil­ity on the Elk River.

    “Leg­is­la­tors on both sides of the aisle are intro­duc­tion bills that would effec­tively gut the pro­tec­tions that were gained for us last year,” Rosser said.

    And here’s a bit more on West Vir­ginia bold leg­isla­tive push to make the state safe for mass poi­son­ings and lethal neg­li­gence:

    GOP-led West Vir­ginia House clears con­tentious legal reform
    Posted: Feb 10, 2015 5:58 PM CST Updated: Feb 10, 2015 5:58 PM CST

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The GOP-led state House of Del­e­gates has cleared a con­tentious legal reform proposal.

    Law­mak­ers voted 59–38 Tues­day to scale back delib­er­ate intent law­suit pro­tec­tions. When there’s a known unsafe work­ing con­di­tion that hurts or kills some­one, the law­suits are avail­able, in addi­tion to mak­ing work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion claims.

    Bill pro­po­nents, largely Repub­li­cans>, said the pro­posal would help busi­nesses, but still be fair for plaintiffs.

    Oppo­nents, mostly Democ­rats, said changes would make the bur­den of proof so high that wrong­do­ing com­pa­nies and exec­u­tives could more eas­ily get off the hook. Sev­eral law­mak­ers men­tioned mine dis­as­ters, includ­ing the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explo­sion that killed 29 men.

    One pro­vi­sion says employ­ers would be liable for actual knowl­edge, not what they should have known, about unsafe conditions.


    If it seems like West Virginia’s leg­is­la­ture is try­ing to kill its con­stituents, keep in mind that, thanks to West Virginia’s Demo­c­ra­tic gov­er­nor, the state actu­ally accepted the Med­ic­aid expan­sion, so at least there should be some health­care avail­able to the casu­ally poi­soned. Could be worse!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 10, 2015, 7:33 pm

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