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Yet Another Gulf Oil Spill

Mariner Oil Spill

After decades without a major oil spill off the Gulf Coast, we’ve now had two this year.  Thankfully, this one looks less severe than the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Another oil rig exploded and caught fire Thursday off the Louisiana coast, spreading a mile-long oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico west of the site of […]

BP Spill Damage Exaggerated?

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Now that the flood of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig has been staunched, some are arguing that the prophesied environmental catastrophe was greatly overblown.

Kevin Costner Oil Cleanup Centrifuge

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How effective is Kevin Costner’s oil separator? It depends who you ask.

Waiving the Jones Act

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Should Obama waive restrictions on international shipping, as Bush did during Katrina? It’s more complicated than you may think.

Drilling Moratorium Misguided

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President Obama’s decision to suspend drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for six months in the interests of public safety may actually have the opposite effect, reports NPR’s John Ydstie. Ken Arnold, one of the engineers called on by the department to help strengthen safety standards after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, says […]

Partner In Deepwater Horizon Rig Blames Explosion On BP Recklessness

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While BP still struggles to turn off the gusher of oil seeping up from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, one of its partners in the Deepwater Horizon is already assessing blame: BP’s three-front oil spill war — on the seafloor, on the Gulf Coast and in Congress — turned into a four-front battle […]

Obama Oil Spill Speech Reax: Epic Fail

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Doug has already done an excellent job assessing President Obama’s Gulf cleanup speech but I’m going to weigh in with some further thoughts. As has been my custom in recent years, I skipped the speech altogether, preferring to assess it the next morning based on reading the text and gauging the reactions to it.  This […]

Obama Swings And Misses In Oval Office Address

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President Obama used the prestige of his very first Oval Office speech to report to the American public on Day 57 of the Gulf Oil Spill Crisis, and it was, quite honestly, less than it should have been: WASHINGTON — President Obama summoned Americans on Tuesday to a “national mission” to move away from reliance […]

Obama’s New Oil Spill Plan: An “Oil Recovery Czar”

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At least one element of the plan that President Obama plans to announce in his speech tonight has been leaked, and it sounds very familiar: WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, in his televised speech to the nation Tuesday, will announce the creation of an oil recovery “czar” to oversee progress in siphoning crude from the […]

Obama: Watch This Drive!

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Memeorandum juxtaposes two stories, a Politico piece quoting President Obama saying the Gulf oil spill “echoes 9/11” and a Hill report on his four-hour golf outing in what I can testify was oppressive heat.  Gateway Pundit‘s Jim Hoft summarizes the two with a single word:  “Leadership.” This is mildly amusing, I suppose, especially in light […]

Lifting the BP Damage Cap

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One of the ways that the DVR has changed my television viewing habits is that, while I stopped watching the Sunday talking heads shows live nearly a decade ago, I now record “This Week” so that I can fast-forward to the roundtable.  I virtually always ignore the opening interviews with newsmakers on the theory that […]

What Happens If BP Files Bankruptcy ?

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Last week, the financial markets seemed to finally start taking into account the possibility that the Gulf Oil Spill may force BP to seek protection in Bankruptcy Court: Pelicans, dolphins and other wildlife may not be able to escape the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, but investors in the corporation responsible for it […]

BP Accused Of Blocking Media Access To Oil Spill Cleanup Efforts

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On several occasions since oil started coming close to the Gulf Coast, members of the media have complained that they were being prevented from fully covering the story by BP workers or private security guards. When ABC’s Jake Tapper mentioned this to Admiral Thad Allen, the White House’s “man in charge” of the oil spill […]

The Odd British Response To American Anger At BP

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One of the most striking developments over the past several days has been news of the way that some Britons seem to be reacting to American anger at BP. It started with statements from Boris Johnson, the always outspoken Mayor London, who accused President Obama of using “anti-British rhetoric:” Boris Johnson has warned that the […]

Obama Attended Fundraiser Instead of Memorial Service

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The scandal du jour is that Barack Obama was flying to a political fundraiser during a memorial for those killed in the BP explosion: According his official schedule, President Obama did not attend the May 25 memorial service in Jackson, Mississippi for the workers who died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion because he was en […]

Estimate Of Oil Flow In Gulf Doubled

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A government panel is painting a far bleaker picture of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill: A government panel on Thursday essentially doubled its estimate of how much oil has been spewing from the out-of-control BP well, with the new calculation suggesting that an amount equivalent to the Exxon Valdez disaster could be flowing into […]

Charlie Crist’s Decision To Go Independent Looking Smarter And Smarter

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When Florida Governor Charlie Crist dropped out of the Republican Senate primary to run as an independent, the conventional wisdom was that he’d fade away quickly but as time goes on, it’s looking like he made a very smart political decision: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who switched from Republican to independent, holds a small 37 […]

Obama Refused Dutch Oil Cleanup Help?

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My default position on disasters is that presidents get far too much blame for not doing enough when, usually, there’s little that they can do.   With minor quibbles here and there, that’s been my view of the Gulf oil spill.    This report from Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy may change my mind: Three days […]

Risk Assessment

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NYT econ columnist David Leonhardt thinks BP underestimated the risk of a spill: The people running BP did a dreadful job of estimating the true chances of events that seemed unlikely — and may even have been unlikely — but that would bring enormous costs. Perhaps the easiest way to see this is to consider […]

Public Rates Federal Response To Oil Spill Worse Than Response To Katrina

on June 4, 2010 in Grand Isle, Louisiana.

More bad news for the Obama Administration in a new ABC News poll about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill: By more than a 2-to-1 margin, Americans support the pursuit of criminal charges in the nation’s worst oil spill, with increasing numbers calling it a major environmental disaster. Eight in 10 criticize the way BP’s […]

Barack Obama: Speaking Loudly, Carrying The Same Old Stick

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In an interview that will air tomorrow morning on Today, President Obama displays another example of what appears to be the “tough talk” strategy the White House adopted late last week on the Gulf Oil Spill: (CNN) — President Barack Obama bluntly defended his administration’s response to the undersea gusher fouling the Gulf of Mexico […]

BP’s Public Relations Disaster

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Last weekend, British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward got himself into no small degree of trouble for saying that he hoped the Gulf Oil Spill was over with quickly because “I’d like my life back.” This weekend, BP is out with an ad that seems to be causing more public relations problems for the embattled company: […]

Just How Big Is The Oil Spill ?

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Using Google Maps, someone has created an application that lets you see just how big the Gulf Oil Spill would be if it was centered in any other location on Earth. I dropped on Warrenton, Virginia: Yikes H/T: Bruce McQuain

Oil Spill Day 46: Obama Held Hostage

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Pundits such as  James Carville, Chris Matthews, Peggy Noonan, and Maureen Dowd have given President Obama a lot of heat lately for his response, or lack thereof, to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and what’s becoming clear is that the longer this story goes on, the more that his entire Presidency is becoming consumed […]

The President We Elected

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CNN’s Gloria Borger says that President Obama is exactly who he was supposed to be. He was elected because he is cool, calm and analytical. That’s what we wanted to see after George W. Bush, so we made him president. But now the disaster in the Gulf has made many of us want to see […]

British Petroleum Market Value Down 40 Percent Since Start Of Oil Spill Crisis

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The market is beginning to speak when it comes to British Petroleum: As BP hacked away at a pipe gushing oil at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, investors sawed off 15 percent, or $21.1 billion, of the company’s market value Tuesday. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., during a trip to the Gulf […]

Sarah Palin Encourages Bobby Jindal To Violate Federal Law

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Fox News Channel pundit, and for a short time Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin says that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal should ignore Federal environmental laws and build sand berms despite objections from the Army Corps of Engineers that the islands could cause more damage than they prevent: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) pushed Louisiana […]

The Limitations of Government

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The politics of the oil spill keep rattling around in my head (yes, I should probably have that checked) and I have been contemplating a post on the subject for several days to go beyond what I wrote in my post, Is Oil Spill becoming Obama’s Katrina? I have a number of disparate and/or inchoate […]

Obama Paying A Political Price For The Oil Spill Crisis

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A new Gallup poll seems to indicate that President Obama is beginning to pay a political price for what many are perceiving as a lack of an aggressive response to the Gulf oil spill: WASHINGTON, D.C. — With President Barack Obama and BP taking their most aggressive steps yet in response to the massive oil […]

Nigeria and a Sense of Proportion

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Should we be worried about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Yes. Should BP take whatever steps are necessary to stop the spill, remediate the harm done to the environment, reimburse those who’ve suffered losses as a consequence of the spill, and have their feet held to the fire until they do? Hell, […]

BP Was Aware Of Problems At Deepwater Horizon Months Before Explosion

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There’s a fairly disturbing report in today’s New York Times indicating that British Petroleum was aware of safety problems at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig months before the April 20th explosion that destroyed it: WASHINGTON — Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far […]

“Top Kill” Fails, BP Moves On To Plan C

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Late yesterday, the officials in charge of trying to stop the Gulf Oil Spill announced that their latest efforts had ended in failure: NEW ORLEANS — In another serious setback in the effort to stem the flow of oil gushing from a well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers said Saturday that […]

Is “Top Kill” Failing ?

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Despite initial reports of success, it’s beginning to look like the “top kill” procedure to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil leak may not be working: BP engineers struggled Friday to plug a gushing oil well a mile under the sea, but as of late in the day they had made little headway in stemming […]

Potemkin Village Cleanup Crews For Obama’s Visit To The Gulf ?

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Local officials in Louisiana are accusing BP of busing in workers to the Grand Isle, Louisiana for President Obama’s visit there yesterday to make it appear that the clean-up task was larger than it actually is: BP, the oil company taking flak for its inconsistent response to the massive oil leak in the Gulf of […]

Obama’s Obligatory Oil Odyssey

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The following headline and picture, currently fronting YahooNews, sums it up: Obama arrives in Gulf as BP tries to stop oil leak Four paragraphs in, AP writers Ben Nuckols and Greg Bluestein get to Obama’s role: President Barack Obama arrived in the Gulf, where he stood on Fourchon Beach in his shirt-sleeves and called reporters […]

Safe Bets: Minerals Management Service Edition

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Reacting to news that Minerals Management Service Director Elizabeth Birnbaum — who was ostensibly charged with regulating drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — has been fired, Dave Schuler offers a sucker bet: Prediction: the MMS will be abolished and its responsibilities split among several other agencies. Most of the same people will remain in […]

‘Top Kill’ Working, Plugging Oil Leak

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UPDATE (5/29): Alas, the initial reports may have been premature.  See “Is ‘Top Kill’ Failing?” ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS: While we’re not out of the woods yet, it certainly looks like BP’s “top kill” effort is going to do the trick, as David Summers predicted it would on last night’s OTB Radio. Jim Tankersley for LAT: […]

Cult of the Presidency: Oil Spill Edition

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Over at his own digs, Dave Schuler discusses the politics of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster in a post titled “Beyond White House Control.”   I commend it to you in full, but the key ‘graphs are: All of the experience, expertise, and equipment relevant to dealing with the spill are in the […]

OTB Radio – Tonight at 5:30 Eastern

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The latest episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30-6:30 Eastern. Dave Schuler and I will be joined by recent OTB addition Doug Mataconis and The Oil Drum‘s “Heading Out,” aka Dr. David Summers, recently elevated to Emeritus status after 32 years teaching at Missouri S&T’s Rock Mechanics and […]

Fact Checking Media ‘Fact Checking’

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AP is having great success with its “fact-checking” stories, Plum Line‘s Greg Sargent reports. I asked AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier about this, and he told me something fascinating, if not all together unexpected: Their fact-checking efforts are almost uniformly the most clicked and most linked pieces they produce. Journalistic fact-checking with authority, it […]

Time To Nuke The Gulf Oil Spill ?

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A former nuclear submarine officer is suggesting what seems at first glance like a rather unorthodox solution to the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: For more than 100 years, explosives have been used to break the necks of runaway oil wells, snapping the long, narrow columns and sealing them shut with tons […]

Giant Underwater “Oil Plumes” Suggest Gulf Oil Spill Worse Than Feared

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There is further evidence today that the scope of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is worse than previously feared: Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The […]

Gulf Oil Spill Estimates May Be Off By Over A Factor Of Ten

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NPR received a tape from BP showing video of the oil spill in the Gulf and consulted several experts in the field about the rate of oil spilling from the pipe. There were three scientists. Using three different methods. And they all came up with the same result: the official estimate of 5,000 barrels a […]