The future livelihoods of those who work around the Gulf of Mexico depend on the condition of the Gulf waters following the worst oil spill in U.S. history. While the government heralds that the waters have miraculously cleared themselves of the crude oil, a new report by five marine scientists concludes almost 80 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster remains in the Gulf ecosystem. If true, that means fishermen cannot safely return to work and businesses associated with the Gulf waters cannot safely reopen.
It’s been reported that BP oil cleanup workers are required to take a 40 minute rest after just 20 minutes of work. That’s why it appears they are not doing anything. Reporter, Larry Mendte, who writes for the Philadelphia Post reports that BP crews are everywhere, but with all the rest they have to take, locals have the impression they are not working very hard for their $18 an hour.
Mendte traveled the beaches from Mississippi through Alabama to Panama City and says the workers are doing a very good job. He also says he saw oil covered dead fishdead fish covered in oil and tar balls on the beach. Much of the beach has been combed and manicured. Residents along the Gulf shores say even if they don’t see tar, the water and sand feel different.
Under new guidelines it may become more difficult to collect compensation for long-term losses resulting from the BP oil spill. This is good news for BP but very bad news for consumers.
The new rules for oil spill loss claims to be processed were released Friday, August 20. Washington lawyer, Kenneth Feinberg, was picked by President Obama to oversee the $20 billion fund put aside by BP to settle claims.
So now who receives compensation?
The Associated Press reports that a flower shop in Florida probably won’t. Neither will a restaurant in Idaho that had to cut back on fish sales. The closer you are to the Gulf of Mexico, the better the chance that you will see some compensation. That is going to cut out a lot of businesses that rely on the attractions of the beach to make their livelihood, even if they don’t live near the beach.
The good news- the underwater camera no longer shows crude oil gushing from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Now the question ahead is what are the long-term ramifications?
The University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Public Health is working with the federal government in answering that question. Researchers have formed an ad-hoc team in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine the unprecedented tragedy. The oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon is equivalent to a supertanker spill every week and many have been impacted – from workers who have cleaned up the beach and the Gulf, to children and even tourists who have been exposed. In the short-term, health impacts have been watery and irritated eyes, skin rashes and itchiness, coughs, shortness of breath and wheezing, reports ConsumerAffairs.com. Long-term studies will be launched to understand the physical and psychological impacts.
Then there are the unanswered questions about consuming seafood from the Gulf.
The payout to those financially damaged by the BP oil spill appears to be as messy as the spill itself. ProPublica reports that many damage claims are in limbo and claimants are being kept waiting.
The answer appears to be within the wording of the Oil Pollution Act, a 1990 federal law that requires companies to be responsible for direct “removal costs and damages” caused by an oil spill. Not all claims are for the costs of removing oil and damages from the oil. ProPublica reports on Duane Sandy, who sells hurricane-proof storage units in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He submitted a claim in May for $3,500 since he has not sold a single unit since the spill in April. Instead, he got a form letter from BP that said he had not provided sufficient documentation to support the claim. When he called BP he got a different answer. A BP adjuster said the company is not paying claims of lost income based on commissions.
Visitors to Pensacola are getting mixed messages about whether they can go into the Gulf waters or not during the worst environmental disaster there ever. State and local officials are pointing blame at the Obama administration for keeping secret critical safety information about the toxicity of the water from the crude oil which is continuing to leak from the BP oil rig explosion.
In one of the biggest tourist weekends in the Panhandle, the question is whether they should ban swimming altogether. The Escambia County warning stops just short of banning swimming, largely because of the area’s dependence on tourism according to an article in the Palm Beach Post.
A man from North Naples, Florida, is suing BP alleging it has violated federal environmental laws and permits in allowing crude oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater oil rig.
According to www.naplesnews.com, Brian Doyle, 50, says the companies involved with the failed oil rig violated the federal Clean Water Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Oil Pollution Act.
Doyle is asking a federal judge to require BP, Transocean Deepwater Inc., Halliburton Energy Services, and the Department of the Interior to clean up the gooey mess as quickly as possible and cap the well to prevent further contamination. Doyle filed his oil spill lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Fort Myers.
Based on a www.tallahassee.com A federal judge in New Orleans has given the green light to deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. You heard that right. The Obama administration had imposed a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects in response to the tragedy in the Gulf caused by BP and assorted other companies including Halliburton and Transocean.
The president imposed the ban because, as we clearly see, drilling at such depths doesn’t make sense, puts rig workers in danger, not to mention has the potential to pollute the Gulf for the next 20 years. But the judge said the administration acted rashly in imposing the ban just because one rig failed.
Good news for a change concerning the BP oil spill and BP’s commitment to pay for its mess. A News4Jax article reports that BP announced Tuesday, June 15, that it will set aside $20 billion to pay victims of the massive oil spill. That move came after pressure from the White House following a meeting with BP executives Wednesday. The fund will be independent and overseen by lawyer, Kenneth Feinberg. He is the lawyer who oversaw the payments to September 11th terrorist attack families.
Those whose livelihoods have been devastated by the April explosion and subsequent leak of thousands of gallons of crude into the Gulf include fishermen, restaurateurs, oil rig workers, and hotel owners among others. There is no word yet on when claims will be processed and who and what will be covered, but BP is now committed to paying $5 billion a year for four years into an escrow account.
A Destin, Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against BP, Halliburton and Transocean, among others alleging that her vacation rental business is ruined and will cost her thousands of dollars. Vickie Nobles’ lawsuit is a class-action. That means she will head the class on behalf of other who are similarly situated, meaning they likely own beachfront property. According to The Florida Independent, among her claims are gross negligence, trespass, products liability, and liability for an abnormally dangerous activity. The Gulf oil spill, she contends, violates the state’s Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Control Act, which requires the plaintiff to prove that pollution did occur. That will not be tough.
Also named in the action is the maker of the Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer. That was supposed to be the backup but it failed and allowed the discharge of thousands of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Adding to the complaint Nobles says that BP has not done enough to stop the oil from fouling Florida’s beaches and the booms that BP has erected are ineffective. That’s because anything higher than a three-foot wave can clear the boom taking the oil slick with it. Just this past month, the Gulf has had seven to 10 foot-swells, her complaint says.