The American Bear


BP accused of gross negligence: Deepwater Horizon disaster


The US Justice Department has accused BP of “gross negligence and wilful misconduct” over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, claims which BP denies.

The allegations came in papers filed in the federal court in New Orleans.

The Deepwater Horizon rig had been leased by BP. It exploded on 20 April 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling millions of gallons of crude oil.

If the government can prove gross negligence it can triple the damages BP may have to pay to $21bn (£13bn).

The case is due to go to trial in New Orleans in January 2013, although talks are underway between BP and the US government to try to settle the claims.

“The behaviour, words, and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall,” the government said in its 39-page filing.

BP has denied the claims. “BP believes it was not grossly negligent and looks forward to presenting evidence on this issue at trial in January,” the company said in a statement.

Transocean, the Swiss-based company that owned the rig, declined to comment, the Reuters news agency said.

The legal filing said that errors made by BP and Transocean in deciphering a pressure test on the well supported the government’s case.

“That such a simple, yet fundamental and safety-critical test could have been so stunningly, blindingly botched in so many ways, by so many people, demonstrates gross negligence,” it said.

Until rich people go to jail, this is really just #pandering

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)

Daily Kos: Gulf Coast Waters Closed to Shrimping


The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acted this week to close waters along the Gulf Coast to shrimping due to widespread reports from scientists and fishermen of deformed seafood and drastic fall-offs in populations two years after the BP oil spill. All waters in the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay, and some areas of Bon Secour, Wolf Bay and Little Lagoon were closed to shrimpers. Reports of grossly deformed seafood all along the Gulf from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle have been logged with increasing urgency, but Alabama is the first state to actually close waters to the seafood industry.

Some Alabama officials are hedging on the real reason for closing shrimping but this report is largely substantiated by multiple sources.

(via sarahlee310)


“William worked from June to October 2010 as part of the Vessels of Opportunity program that paid the fishermen BP put out of business to use their boats to clean up its oil. William transported giant bags, called bladders, used to collect oil, to the shore. When he came home at night, says Nicole, his clothes “smelled oily.” Not only were his clothes blackened; so was William. William’s symptoms began with coughing, then headaches and skin rashes, followed by vomiting and diarrhea. About three to six months later, he started bleeding from his ears and nose and suffering from a heavy cough. “I ain’t got no money for a doctor,” William quietly tells me, staring down at his hands in his lap. Medicaid covers the kids, but Nicole and William do not have health insurance. “We didn’t know we were gonna get sick. Now I get sick, I stay sick. I don’t sleep. I stay stressed out more than anything. I got bags under my eyes I never had before. I just don’t know if I wanna show people who I am.””

Special Investigation: Two Years After the BP Spill, A Hidden Health Crisis Festers

William and Nicole Maurer, and their two young daughters, are among the hundreds of thousands of Gulf residents suffering from the hidden health crisis festering in the region as a result of the toxic “gumbo of chemicals” to which the people, places and wildlife of the Gulf continue to be exposed. From respiratory ailments to neurological disorders to what’s being called the “BP rash” and more, coastal residents have experienced devastating health effects while BP still hasn’t been held to account.  Antonia Juhasz reports on the little-known crisis at length in a special investigation for The Nation.

In stark contrast to today’s zeal for issuing subpoenas to the White House, yesterday Republicans were singing a very different tune. Over in the Natural Resources Committee, Republicans voted unanimously against my motion to subpoena the CEOs of BP, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron who refused – that’s right – refused – to appear at a hearing before the Committee.

We weren’t asking for hundreds of thousands of pages of emails or documents. We just wanted the opportunity to question them about the environmental catastrophe that actually was the result of illegal activity.

While insisting on full disclosure and complete transparency from the White House on Solyndra, Republicans have put the CEOs from the companies responsible for the worst offshore oil spill in our history into a witness protection program where they are apparently going to be immune from any Congressional or public scrutiny.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-MA., shredding the Republican Party for its hypocritical Solyndra witch hunt. Republicans have already received 85,000 pages of documents from the White House and have found no wrongdoing, but issued a politically-motivated subpoena last Thursday demanding more pages immediately and at tremendous taxpayer expense. (via ryking)

(Source: diadoumenos, via joshsternberg)