Archive for August, 2010

How much is the spill really costing the Gulf Coast?
August 16, 2010

That is the question Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen is trying to answer. Today Admiral Allen deployed Evaluation Teams to communities affected by the spill. 121 teams will be visiting communities in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. These team will help determine the exact economic impact each community has suffered from the spill. This will help determine how much money is funneled into each area from that $20 billion compensation fund. This announcement was made as BP was announcing it was providing $52 million to help federal and state health officials deal with behavioral problems associated with the spill. Here’s the breakdown of who is getting that money:

$10 million to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

$15 million to Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

$12 million to Mississippi Department of Mental Health

$12 million to Alabama Department of Mental Health

$3 million to Florida Department of Children and Families


Where’s the Oil?
August 13, 2010

Courtesy: Chattanooga Times Free Press

In the 80’s a likeable, yet frightening elderly lady asked us all, “Where’s the Beef?” In the new millenium the question has become, “Where’s the oil?” Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated only 26 percent of the 200 million barrels of oil remained in the Gulf as oil. I put the word ‘only’ in bold because it conjures up connotations that percentage is relatively small. Do the math. 26 percent of 200 million is more than 53 million barrels of oil still floating around out there. That’s a whole lot of ‘only’. The government said the rest has broken down into tiny droplets, dissolved, been collected or burned off. Even though the Gulf covers 600,000 square miles it does seem hard to believe crews are having a tough time finding any of the more than 53 million barrels still lingering in the water. Today Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen announced the creation of a tak force to find the rest of the crude. This will include research ships scanning the waters, land crews keeping watch on shore lines and crab traps filled with absorbent materials near the Louisiana coast.

Trivia Question: When was the first documented account of oil hitting Texas beaches?

Answer: The first recorded account of oil hitting Texas beaches came from the journal of a man who was part of Fernando De Soto’s expedition. In 1543 the crewman wrote about pools of oil and tar balls on High Island being used to caulk holes in the boats.

BP still paying for Texas City
August 12, 2010

Today BP agreed to pay $50 million in fines for workplace safety violations stemming from the 2005 Texas City refinery blast that killed 15 people. The fines were levied by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 2005 BP paid $21 million in fines as the result of an agreement with OSHA following the explosion. That agreement included BP being subjected to a comprehensive audit of the Texas City refinery for four years. When the agreement ended last Fall, OSHA determined BP was still not compliant and slapped the oil giant with $87 million in fines. BP appealed some of the government’s findings and today agreed to the $50 million settlement to avoid a full-blown hearing. This settlement comes days after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed suit against BP, claiming the Texas City refinery violated the Clean Air Act for 40 days this year by allowing half-a-billion tons of benzene to leak into the air.

When the Saints Come Marching In…..
August 10, 2010

A judicial panel has just ruled ALL litigation regarding the BP spill will be consolidated in New Orleans. Dozens of  lawsuits have been filed all over the Gulf Coast. Many of the major companies wanted the suits to heard here in Houston because that’s where the main offices are located. Individuals wanted the lawsuits handled where they live because it makes it much easier to participate in depositions, meet with attorneys, ect. So far 77 actions have been filed–31 in the eastern District of Louisiana, 23 in the Southern District of Alabama, 10 in the Northern District of Florida, 8 in the Southern District of Mississippi, two in the Western District of Louisiana, 2 in the Southern District of Texas and one in the Northern District of Alabama. Today the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided all lawsuits regarding the BP spill will be handled in New Orleans. Click here for the full ruling. MDL-2179-Transfer_Order

Life After The Oil Spill
August 9, 2010

While BP’s ill-fated well may have been capped and the company seems to be on track to permanently killing what’s coldly known as MC 252, the effects of this disaster will linger for years. Case in point, I recently read a study conducted by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. The study is based on interviews of more than 1,000 coastal residents in Louisiana and Mississippi. All interviews were conducted between July 19th and July 25th. The well was capped on July 15th. All those interviewed live within ten miles of the Gulf Coast. I’ll post some of the highlights of the report and a link to the full report.

26.6% May have to move because of oil spill effects.

65% Worry it’s not safe to eat local seafood.

70.2% Not using summer beaches.

One-third of parents say their children experienced either physical problems or mental distress because of the spill.

One in five households saw their income decrease because of spill and eight percent lost their jobs.

Click here for the full report. Oil_Impact_Report