Drumbeat: June 13, 2010
Posted by Leanan on June 13, 2010 - 10:35am
KEY LARGO, Fla. — When rigs first started drilling for oil off Louisiana’s coast in the 1940s, Floridians scanned their shoreline, with its resorts and talcum-white beaches, and said, No thanks. Go ahead and drill, they told other Gulf Coast states; we’ll stick with tourism.
Now that invisible wall separating Florida from its neighbors has been breached. The spreading BP oil spill has already reached the Panhandle, and if it rides currents to the renowned reefs and fishing holes on both Florida coasts, the Sunshine State could become a vacation destination with the rules of a museum: Look, but don’t touch.
All because other states decided to rely on oil and gas, angry Floridians say; all because, in the water, there are no borders — only currents that can carry catastrophes hundreds of miles.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Coast Guard said BP Plc has until tomorrow to find more capacity to contain its leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, as U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron expressed “sadness” yesterday about the spill to President Barack Obama.
Scientists and researchers doubled their estimates of the spill’s size on June 10, and BP’s efforts don’t “provide the needed collection capacity consistent with the revised flow estimates,” said Rear Admiral James A. Watson, the federal on- scene coordinator, in a letter dated June 11. It was sent to Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, and was released yesterday.
(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc is “ready” to suspend its dividend to ensure it can meet the costs of cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill when its directors meet U.S. President Barack Obama next week, the Financial Times reported, without saying where it got the information.
The P&J Oyster Company, the oldest oyster processor and distributor in New Orleans, has stopped shucking oysters because of the oil spill.
WILLIAMSBURG -- A local man is organizing a protest Thursday at a Richmond Road BP station to highlight the company's role in the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sandy Barnick's land near Glendive, Mont., is a long way from the vast and growing oil slick now staining the Gulf of Mexico. But these days, she feels as if it's just over the horizon.
The Gulf blowout happened despite repeated safety assurances from the industry. What's to prevent a similar disaster happening here, she asks, where a Canadian company hoping to build a pipeline for Canadian oilsands bitumen is using the same words?
(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, has put all its deepwater exploration and production projects under review following BP Plc’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We are looking at all our procedures for drilling, safety, engineering and production equipment,” Yves-Louis Darricarrere, Total’s head of exploration and production, said today in an interview at an energy conference in Paris. “Clearly the whole industry is asking questions to find out what happened and take measures if necessary.”
(Bloomberg) -- A damaged Chevron Corp. pipeline leaked as much as 500 barrels of oil into a Salt Lake City creek on June 11 before being contained, the Associated Press reported.
An extension of a Canadian oil sands pipeline cutting through six states, including nine Oklahoma counties, is being condemned by the National Wildlife Federation for creating an unsafe environment.
(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi’s state-controlled oil producer is seeking engineering and construction bids to build a sulfur granulation plant at the Shah natural gas development as the United Arab Emirates capital looks to boost its fuel supply.
He is convinced that the developed world needs to live in a radically different way and says it is a "good thing" that we may have already reached peak oil – because "things are going to get incredibly expensive. In the current system, if we don't keep buying refrigerators and cars, banks panic, people's assets are devalued, everything goes into meltdown. I'd rather settle for a three-day week with much less purchasing, and cut out waste."
Natural-burial exponent Lynda Hannah says the funeral services she assists with are usually in homes or gardens. Most cost less than $2000. She says it's not money that is driving people to look to alternatives, but increased environmental awareness.
"In food, climate change, peak oil... people are finding it more and more difficult to justify not doing the right thing.
"When I first started doing this, people treated me like I was completely weird. Now it's become much more mainstream. People say somebody needed to be doing this."
The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy jointly announced up to $33 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products, subject to annual appropriations. These projects will support the Barack Obama administration's comprehensive energy strategy of increasing the nation's energy, economic and national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gases.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — A few years ago, Ben Santer, a climate scientist with Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Washington, answered a 10 p.m. doorbell ring at his home. After opening the door, he found a dead rat on the doorstep and a man in a yellow Hummer speeding away and shouting curses.
Santer shared this story recently before a congressional committee examining the increasing harassment of climate scientists, and the state of climate science.
After the online posting in November of 1,073 stolen e-mails from climate scientists, including some from Santer, the threats took a more ominous turn, Santer told members of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, led by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. Skeptics of climate change have dubbed the e-mail incident "Climategate."
"The nature of these e-mail threats has been of more concern," Santer said. "I've worried about the security and safety of my family."
WASHINGTON — Images of gushing oil and dying pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico have stirred anger and agony in Washington. But are they enough to prod the Senate to act on long-delayed clean energy and climate change legislation?
Energy, maybe. Climate, probably not. There is growing sentiment for a measure that penalizes BP, imposes higher costs and tougher regulations on offshore drillers and takes some steps toward reducing overall energy and petroleum consumption.
But despite the outrage over the spill, there appears to be limited appetite in the Senate for a broad-based effort to cap greenhouse gas emissions across the board.
From Antioch to North Richmond to Redwood City, a slow rising sea level could endanger the properties of as many as 270,000 Bay Area residents and cause some $56.5 billion in damage by the end of the century unless measures are taken to protect them, experts say.
But is anyone doing anything about it?
SIBA, Iraq — The Shatt al Arab, the river that flows from the biblical site of the Garden of Eden to the Persian Gulf, has turned into an environmental and economic disaster that Iraq’s newly democratic government is almost powerless to fix.
Withered by decades of dictatorial mismanagement and then neglect, by drought and the thirst of Iraq’s neighbors, the river formed by the convergence of the Tigris and the Euphrates no longer has the strength the keep the sea at bay.