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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. . . .

Discussion

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:
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111025p2a00m0na007000c.html

    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
    12/05/2001

    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:

    TPM
    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
    Q
    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

    Reuters

    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:

    AlJazeera
    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.

    OIL AND GAS

    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.

    “WELL FROM HELL”

    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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