Posts Tagged: oil spill

Cleaning up, and assigning blame, for the Michigan oil spill

Last week’s oil spill in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River is effectively being cleaned up, the AP reports. The good news will perhaps quell the escalating feud between Illinois and Michigan.

Between 800,000 and more than a million gallons of oil leaked from a broken pipeline into southern Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, 80 miles east of Lake Michigan. The EPA continues to fault the clean-up plan of Calgary-based Enbridge Energy Partners, which runs the Indiana-to-Canada pipeline. But the federal agency says that air and water quality (more…)

Another ‘BP Squad’ should investigate dispersants

The Obama administration has deployed the ‘BP Squad’ of federal investigators to the Gulf to probe whether there was any wrongdoing on the part of government regulators or private companies related to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

As Peter Henning points out in The New York Times, the criminal probe focuses mostly on (more…)

Preventive Journalism and the BP oil spill

One of the challenges preventive journalism faces is that it combines so many specialties:  writing, reporting, historical analysis, and evidence-based forecasting.  Skeptics we’ve talked to about this approach say you can’t report on something that’s going to happen in the future.   But as NPR’s Deborah Amis makes clear in her recent interview with Prof. Tad Patzek of the University of Texas, expertise in predicting the future (and avoiding tragedies like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill) is a field we can’t afford not to develop.  (more…)

Gearing up for an anti-government story?

The subhead in the New York Times says “U.S. Concedes It Must Rely on BP for Help.” The Washington Post writes “Obama administration conflicted about relying on BP to stop gulf oil spill,” which is the approach the Post often takes to turn a national story into a Washington story and keep it alive.  More informative is the Post’s own blogger, Joel Achenbach.

And as the federal government struggles to cope with an unprecedented disaster, don’t let any comparisons with Hurricane Katrina fool you.  Government neither can nor should be responsible for the cleanup of a disaster caused not by force-majeure but by a private corporation’s own errors.  BP is both responsible for the spill and for the cleanup.  It owns the oil — whereever that oil may end up.

Will BP Catastrophe Lead to a Sea Change?

Although the energy sector was doing more whining than gloating, until late last month there was much for the industry to celebrate. Even with Democrats pulling the levers of power, officials are still eagerly shoveling funds into ‘clean’ coal research, and nuclear power continues to gain converts among enviros and has even earned the President’s embrace. Even California was ready to reopen its waters to offshore drilling.

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon has prompted a sea change. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger quickly declared (more…)

Is the EPA responsible to BP or to the public?

BP’s containment dome didn’t work to stop the Deepwater Horizon’s oil geyser, which is spewing anywhere from 210,000 to 2.5 million gallons of oil per day. Yesterday the EPA announced that it has approved further use by BP of chemical dispersants, both on the surface and underwater, even though the agency notes that

“The effects of underwater dispersant use on the environment are still widely unknown, which is why we are testing to determine its effectiveness first and foremost. If it is determined that the use of this dispersant underwater is effective and that BP may continue its use,the Federal government will require regular analysis of its impact on the environment, water and air quality, and human health. We reserve the right to discontinue the use of this dispersant method if any negative impacts on the environment outweigh the benefits.”

It’s not Dawn dish soap, no matter how BP and the government spin it. “Testing” on a grand scale in the biologically diverse and important Gulf of Mexico and then deciding over time if the negative impacts might outweigh the benefits?   (more…)