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North Sea rig shut down after oil spill off Shetland


October 3, 2016

An oil spill from a North Sea platform is heading away from land, according to BP.

Its Clair platform was shut down on Sunday following the leak.

BP has not yet revealed how much fuel has escaped from the structure, which is 46 miles west of Shetland.

It has, however, confirmed oil is visible on the surface of the water and appears to be moving north.

The firm currently believes that allowing the oil to disperse naturally at sea is the best way to deal with the spill, although other options have not been ruled out.

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EPA Plans to Allow Unlimited Dumping of Fracking Wastewater in the Gulf of Mexico


Environmentalists are warning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its draft plan to continue allowing oil and gas companies to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals and wastewater directly into the Gulf of Mexico is in violation of federal law.

In a letter sent to EPA officials on Monday, attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity warned that the agency's draft permit for water pollution discharges in the Gulf fails to properly consider how dumping wastewater containing chemicals from fracking and acidizing operations would impact water quality and marine wildlife.

The attorneys claim that regulators do not fully understand how the chemicals used in offshore fracking and other well treatments -- some of which are toxic and dangerous to human and marine life -- can impact marine environments, and crucial parts of the draft permit are based on severely outdated data. Finalizing the draft permit as it stands would be a violation of the Clean Water Act, they argue.

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‘Deepwater Horizon’ movie gets the facts mostly right, but simplifies the blame


The movie “Deepwater Horizon” gets the facts right, and admirably so — but only up to a point. You could imagine all manner of ways in which Hollywood could have turned the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico into a more traditional disaster movie. You could invent love stories, improbable acts of square-jawed heroism, maybe throw in a sea monster. Instead, Peter Berg’s film, which describes itself as “based on true events,” generally sticks to what actually happened on April 20, 2010. The biggest exception is that the film simplifies the culpability. (I covered the oil spill for The Washington Post and later wrote a book about the BP oil spill and effort to plug the well.)

The filmmakers get high marks for capturing the texture of rig life — the immense scale of the operation, the huge pipes and machinery involved, the powerful geological forces at work, and the specialized terminology of the crew (you probably don’t have to know what a “cement bond log” is to grasp the central fact that it’s a routine and potentially critical test of well integrity, and BP chose to skip it).

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Meet America's super polluters


9/30/2016

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — To see one of the country’s largest coal-fired power plants, head northwest from this Ohio River city. Or east, because there’s another in the region. In fact, nearly every direction you go will take you to a coal plant — seven within 30 miles.

Collectively they pump out millions of pounds of toxic air pollution. They throw off greenhouse gases on par with Hong Kong or Sweden.

Industrial air pollution — bad for people’s health, bad for the planet — is strikingly concentrated in America among a small number of facilities like those in southwest Indiana, according to a nine-month Center for Public Integrity investigation.

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Shipowner Wins in Oil Spill Litigation

September 8th, 2016 
 
Following an eight-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Montgomery McCracken partners, won a $71.5 million judgment against CITGO Asphalt Refining and related companies in connection with a 2004 oil spill in the Port of Philadelphia.  
 
The partners, John J. Levy, Alfred J. Kuffler, Eugene O’Connor, Timothy J. Bergère and Tricia J. Sadd, represented the Frescati Shipping and Tsakos Shipping & Trading the Greek owners and operators of the M/V Athos I. The tanker was chartered by CITGO to transport oil from CITGO facilities in Venezuela to a CITGO asphalt refinery in Paulsboro, NJ.
 
On November 26, 2004, while the Athos I was attempting to dock at CITGO’s Paulsboro refinery on the Delaware River, her hull was punctured by a nine-ton anchor abandoned on the river bed. The anchor punched a hole in a cargo tank allowing over 264,000 gallons of heavy crude oil to spill into the river, closing the Port while emergency responders scrambled to contain the spill under difficult tidal and weather conditions.  
 
The oil spill response took nearly six months, involved over 1,100 oil spill response workers on both sides of the river across three states and cost in excess of $143 million.  The vessel also suffered millions of dollars in damages and was out of commission for many months.  

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