More than 12 miles of Louisiana’s coastline have been closed to fishermen and recreational activities following Hurricane Isaac as officials work to verify that the large tar mats and concentration of tar balls washing ashore are directly linked to the BP oil spill.
According to WWWL news, the impacted area stretches from the western tip of Grand Isle to Port Fourchon. Garret Graves, the state’s top coastal restoration official, tells the news station he’s “99 percent” sure the weathered oil is from the massive 2010 BP oil spill that dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf:
“It’s impossible to say at this point with a hundred percent certainty, but I can sit here and confidently say with 99 percent certainty that that’s exactly what it is,” said Grave. “It’s in some of the areas where we’ve previously found things like tar balls, tar mats and other impacts, and so it appears to be sort of weathered in a manner that would be consistent with Deepwater Horizon.”
And it would be just what a lot of people feared: that even years after the well beneath Deepwater Horizon was capped, oil left over from the disaster will keep showing up from time to time, especially after severe weather.
The news comes on the same day that the U.S. Justice Department filed a scathing brief with the U.S. District Court in Louisiana, accusing the oil giant of gross negligence and willful misconduct in its response to one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
Forbes reports that the feds filed the commentary in conjunction with the massive civil litigation BP is facing following the spill:
BP is in the process of settling the civil damages case brought by a giant group of fishermen, hoteliers and citizens damaged by the spill. BP has urged the court there to make a final approval of a $7.8 billion settlement with plaintiffs. The DOJ’s brief comes as the court is set to make a final pronouncement about the fairness of the settlement. This could throw a wrench into those proceedings; after reading the government’s litany of digs on BP there is a chance that the plaintiffs could reject that settlement amount as too low.
The government attorneys state that they moved to file their commentary on the settlement proceedings by BP’s “plainly misleading representations” concerning the extent of its liability and the extent of environmental damages. The brief criticizes BP for, among many other things, downplaying the plight of sick dolphins in Barataria Bay, La, of dead and dying deep-sea corals and of coastal marshes still matted with oil. They reiterated that in the upcoming trial set to begin January 2013, “The United States intends to prove gross negligence or willful misconduct.”
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DEC 10 The state's tax amnesty program paid off in a big way, with more money collected than expected, Jeremy Alford writes in LaPolitics. There are laws that govern how that money is supposed to be spent -- but surely the leges will find a way around that, Alford predicts. After all, it has happened before: if there's one thing we're good at, it's robbing Peter to pay Paul.
DEC 10 Tom Aswell continues his coverage of the New Bethany Home for Girls in this post. Although the school shut down years ago, the story has been revived -- especially after several former residents returned to Arcadia last week to file sexual assault complaints against the man who ran the school. Only two of the women filed complaints; the others came (from other states) to lend support. It's a compelling story Tom tells here.
DEC 10 Blogger CB Forgotston isn't buying what the legislature's selling (to itself) regarding Louisiana's fiscal outlook. Leges are telling everybody they don't need to worry about mid-year budget cuts. The Legislative Fiscal Office's predictions aren't being questioned like they should -- except by reporters, CB says.
DEC 10 The Picayune's Jarvis DeBerry writes about Nelson Mandela in this post. The former President of South Africa, who died last week, was not the simple, sanitized "cuddly" guy being portrayed in the simple-minded, easily-distracted American pop media, he says. He's hoping that Mandela's legacy will not receive the same "whitewash" that has been perpetrated against MLK.
DEC 10 Sen. David Vitter's continued efforts to force a vote on lawmakers' health care doesn't pass the "moral high ground test," columnist Stephanie Grace writes in this post. There's no "real policy argument" here and the vote he's trying to force (in true Vitter style, by embarrassing his colleagues) will accomplish "almost nothing" except hurting people, she says. So if he runs for guv and wins, we can look forward to more pointless, empty political posturing? Great.
DEC 10 So who is behind David Vitter's SuperPAC? Blogger Bucktown Pirate takes a look in this post on the Kingfish. With "the internets" and "a modicum of free time," Pirate has done some digging and it's pretty interesting stuff. So why should citizens have to do this much digging to find out who is behind organizations that raise tons of money then spent to influence elections? Good question.
DEC 10 Bob Marley's children and widow have sued Raising Cane's for use of the words "One Love," this blog post on Spin says. The words were registered by the chicken chain years ago, but the family says they're owed damages, attorney fees and all profits attributed to the use because it also was the name of a song recorded by Bob Marley with the Wailers.
DEC 10 Here's Gambit's take on Gov. Jindal's refusal (so far) to take the Medicaid expansion money. He's done this before, the editorial post says: posture and pose for the cameras, then show up in a dark alley to take the money anyway. That time, he handed out the money using big goofy checks with his name as the payer, the post reminds us. So he's not "entirely allergic" to federal bucks after all, the post says.
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