Gulf Coast Dolphin Death Toll Rising. Scientists clamor to figure out why 12 times the normal rate of dolphin deaths are being observed along the Gulf States. Results from an examination of 89 dead dolphins that washed up immediately after the Gulf oil spill have not been publicly released, but scientists concluded those dolphins "died from something environmental during the last year." Despite a steady drumbeat of stories in the media claiming that the Gulf has already been mostly cleaned up thanks to "teeny little janitors," getting far less media and public traction are more recent reports finding that the Gulf's sea floor is in fact still very much oily and dead. [more inside]
The final hours of the Deepwater Horizon.
But this was a disaster with two distinct parts — first a blowout, then the destruction of the Horizon. The second part, which killed 11 people and injured dozens, has escaped intense scrutiny, as if it were an inevitable casualty of the blowout.
It was not.David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul report for the New York Times on the Deepwater Horizon disaster. [more inside]
Even as the Deepwater Horizon well nears the day when it will finally be sealed for good, and BP finds itself falling under continued criticism as it is discovered that oily sediment is coating the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, the US government has announced that 3,500 unused oil wells must be sealed by the companies which drilled them. [more inside]
What is the value of a pelican? - The Planet Money crew investigates how we can estimate the value of a pelican killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (podcast)
There have been worse oil spills in history. The Lakeview Gusher followed by the Gulf War Oil Spill are the two worst in history. Another is the Ixtoc I Oil Spill which was also in the gulf. This gives us a good frame of reference for what to expect right? We will cap this thing by the end of next month right? Or is the government lying to us about what's going on in the gulf of mexico? Is Mat Simmons crazy? He believes that oil is covering 40% of the gulf beneath the surface. Does this man know what he's talking about. [more inside]
Is it really raining oil in Lousiana? A YouTube video captured by someone claiming to be a resident of River Ridge, Lousiana, roughly 45 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, purports to show evidence of just that. The EPA and other experts remain unconvinced, citing the seemingly obvious fact that oil does not evaporate. The local press characterizes the claims as "exaggerations and hysterical falsehoods." But at least one previous study has been offered to argue that oil broken down with dispersants can in fact evaporate under the right conditions. [more inside]
Obama ban on deepwater drilling overturned. While many critics on the left have complained all along that the six month moratorium announced by the Obama Administration doesn't go far enough, and while polls still show nearly 60% of Americans supporting the temporary ban, the industry and its supporters meanwhile have gone into full-time spin mode, saturating all available bandwidth with opinions denouncing the moratorium, and now the courts have chosen to side with the industry.
BP agrees to set aside $20 billion for spill claims. In a much anticipated deal brokered with the heads of the disgraced oil industry giant following on the heels of last night's speech from the Oval Office, President Obama has received a commitment from BP to establish a $20 billion dollar escrow account to pay for economic damages related to the Deepwater Horizon's now estimated 35,000 to 60,000 barrel a day oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico (also previously here, here, and here on the blue). Does this development render moot the politically perilous issue of retroactively lifting the $75 million dollar cap on oil company liabilities, which the DOJ recently declared legal? Some are asking for more details. NY Times asks: How much will BP really pay? Darling of the far-right fringe Michelle Balkin cautions BP: "Don't be chumps! This is redistribution of wealth." And fellow right-of-centrist Sarah Palin wants to call in the Dutch.