Monday, July 12, 2010
Updates on the Gulf Oil Spill
The president's 'independent' oil spill commission meets for the first time today. Day 84 into this tragedy. They will first hear from Gulf Coast victims of the oil spill and from state officials.The commission will also dig into what it calls the root causes of the BP oil rig explosion, looking deeper than just equipment failures.
Adm Thad Allen was on a morning talk show today. Some of the boom equipment has been stolen lately and he spoke to the new security measures being taken along the area. He also spoke about the restrictions of journalists trying to report about the progress of the clean up and recovery. He indicated by opening up the area to too many people leaves the equipment and area vulnerable to thieves. That isn't a bit of the story normally heard.
Rep Henry Waxman sent a letter to Exxon Mobil's chairman asking for information on the health problems of clean up workers from the Exxon Valdez tanker oil spill. According to reports, more than 50,000 workers have been through two to four hours safety and awareness courses and 1,000 have been through a 40-hour training module on hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER).
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a legislative hearing entitled “Legislation to Respond to the BP Oil Spill and to Prevent Future Oil Well Blowouts.”
Attorney General Holder, in a televised interview, stated that BP is not the only company or entity the government is considering legal action against in relation to the oil spill. "We opened a criminal investigation but did not indicate what the subject of the investigation was," Holder told CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer at the Aspen Institute's 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival. "There are a variety of entities and a variety of people who are the subjects of that investigation." Holder added, "For people to conclude that BP is the focus of this investigation might not be correct."
The containment cap has been removed and oil is now gushing without restraint into the Gulf of Mexico. This will continue until the new cap is in place, perhaps by the middle of the week, according to Adm Allen. Allen credited the decision from the Obama administration to approve the action to the weather, saying forecasters are predicting a seven to 10-day window of calm weather.
"We think this weather window presents a significant opportunity for us to accelerate the process of capping — shutting down the well from the top and increasing the prospects for being able to kill the well from below through the relief wells," Allen said.
Should the new containment cap take longer than anticipated to put into place, BP has given Allen a list of back-up actions. Should the initial action fail, BP's Bob Dudley provided this: it would be to station between the Deepwater Horizon site and the Gulf Coast nearly 400 boats and more than 50 aircraft that would be expected to spot and scoop up the additional oil that would flow into the Gulf between the time the current containment cap is removed and the time the new one is installed.