Wednesday, 05 September 2012 12:31
by Heather Miller
Oil, tar balls washing up on Louisiana beaches
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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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
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OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
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OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
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