The Watering Hole: May 27 – The Waiting


Will they or won’t the be successful in plugging this spill? The first news seem to be encouraging, but I am still holding my breath. Let BP have a success today and let’s prosecute them then.

This is our open thread. Feel free to comment on whatever’s on your mind.

Cleanup crews are getting sick

From Raw Story:

Some cleanup crews have reported sickness and have been removed from duty. One witness who saw the sick crews called BP “liars and killers.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More on the oil leak:

Live feeds of the ‘leak’: HERE and HERE and HERE.

Top BP official on oil rig takes the fifth; another says too sick to testify (Raw Story)

Document reveals BP chose riskier, cheaper option to seal oil well before blast (Raw Story)

Thad Allen says effort to stop Gulf of Mexico oil spill going according to plan (NOLA.COM)

BP: Appears only drilling mud flowing from well (Reuters – update 1)

BP oil well “top kill” bid continues, no update yet (Reuters – update 2)

Oh, and this should come as no surprise..

BP wants Houston judge with oil ties to hear spill cases (McClatchy)

Facing more than 100 lawsuits after its Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed 11 workers and threatened four coastal states, oil giant BP is asking the courts to place every pre-trial issue in the hands of a single federal judge in Houston.

That judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, has traveled the world giving lectures on ethics for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a professional association and research group that works with BP and other oil companies. The organization pays his travel expenses.

Hughes has also collected royalties from several energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, from investments in mineral rights, his financial disclosure forms show.

Hughes, appointed to the bench in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan, declined to comment for this report. […]

Also from McClatchy:

Chief drill regulator Birnbaum sacked, as feds increase estimate of spill

The director of the Minerals Management Service, Elizabeth Birnbaum, has been fired in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, a government official told McClatchy Newspapers today.

In another major development, the government said a new estimate of the size of the oil gusher is more than twice the original estimate and possibly much more.

The government’s newest estimate means between 18 million and 36 million gallons of crude oil have spewed into the Gulf since mid-April.

Birnbaum’s former agency, which manages offshore drilling for oil and gas on the outer continental shelf and collects revenue from drilling leases offshore and on federal land, has been roundly criticized for some time.

Among the allegations against it are its employees are too cozy with the industry they regulate and for lapses in oversight of deepwater drilling operations like BP’s ill-fated rig.

Reaction to the firing was swift and not all positive.

“The departure of Elizabeth Birnbaum from MMS does not address the root problem,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall, D-WV. “She has only been the public face of MMS for 11 months and the most serious allegations occurred prior to her tenure. This might on the surface be a good start but must not be the end game.”
(Continue reading..)


[..] Though the spill is now the biggest in U.S. history, it’s not the biggest ever in the Gulf. An offshore drilling rig in Mexican waters — the Ixtoc I — blew up in June 1979, releasing 140 million gallons of oil.

Rachel Maddow made the comparisons on MSNBC last night:

The more spills change, the more they stay the same…