oil spills

When Republicans Supported the Environment: Bush 41

The GOP wasn’t always the sworn enemy of environmental protection.

Younger people today probably know about George Herbert Walker Bush (R) as the father of George W. Bush and (perhaps) as the architect of the first Iraq War. But he also had some notable environmental achievements to his credit. Here are some of his accomplishments: Air Pollution Law. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were …


Legal Responses to the Santa Barbara Refugio Oil Spill

Exploring potential penalties and damages

Last Tuesday, a 24-inch underground oil pipeline on the beautiful Santa Barbara County coastline burst for reasons as of yet unknown. Over the course of several hours, an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil spilled down a storm drain, on the shoreline, and into the Pacific Ocean. As of late last week, oil had spread …


Exxon Cares!

At this point, we don’t know much about Exxon’s oil spill near Mayflower, Arkansas — especially because Exxon doesn’t seem to want to let many people look at what’s going on. Twitter to the rescue!  There’s an account called “Exxon Cares”, telling you all that you need to know, and…what’s that you say?  That’s not …


Rescuing Baby Penguins

  More than 2000 sea birds died following an oil spill off New Zealand.  However, over forty blue penguins have been cleaned of oil and released.  The photo shows little sweaters that people knitted to help keep them warm.


Great Sources on the BP Oil Spill

The National Commission has added some valuable additional material to its cite: A multi-media resource, especially useful for students and journalists. For those who want to dive deeper, the Chief Counsel’s report is a great resource. It presents a good deal of evidence unfavorable to BP, but also significant criticism of Transocean and Halliburton. Of …


100% Failsafe? There’s No Such Thing!

The blowout prevention device, which was touted as providing absolute protection against blowouts, not surprisingly turns out to have some flaws.  In a 2001 document, according to the Washington Post,  drilling rig operator Transocean said there were 260 “failure modes” that could require removal of the blowout preventer. Nothing is failure-proof unless the laws of …


How Bad is the Spill?

These comparisons may be a little misleading — a bit like saying that we shouldn’t worry about 9/11 because a a hundred times more people died in the Battle of the Somme in World War I.


A Brief History of the Deepwater Horizon Blowout

2001. Manufacture of the BOP (Blowout Preventer), a huge block of steel and valves that that holds the well pipe.The BOP has the ability to slice through the pipe and seal the well. The BOP used by the Deepwater Horizon remains with the rig for the next nine years. April 19, 2010. Halliburton completes pumping …