Moreno, the first Latina to lead the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in November 2009.
Her tenure spanned one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010. Eleven men died in that firestorm.
The Justice Department extracted a record $1 billion civil penalty from Transocean, the rig owner, earlier this year. And a civil trial continues in New Orleans over other environmental damages.
“To date, we have already achieved significant resolutions for liability in the Gulf,” Moreno said in an exit interview with NPR. “We are focused on holding those responsible accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The unit also successfully defended Obama administration regulations of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, winning a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year.
But veterans of the environmental unit worried it had lost some prestige by ceding ground in the massive Gulf oil spill case to the Justice Department’s criminal division, which led a federal task force and prosecuted giant BP and several individual employees in connection with the disaster.
Posts tagged bp.
The number of deepwater semisubmersibles and drillships working in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico could rise to 52 in June 2014 and 54 in December 2014 if all of the deepwater rigs currently under contract remain so according to data from Rigzone’s RigLogix database.
Operators with rigs under firm contract in the U.S. Gulf in December 2014 will include BP plc, which will have six rigs, the most from any operator. Royal Dutch Shell plc will have five rigs under firm contract during that time. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is expected to have four rigs working, followed by Chevron Corp. and LLOG Exploration Co. LLC, with three rigs each under firm contract.
Exxon Mobil Corp., Petroleo Brasiliero S.A. (Petrobras), Plains Exploration & Production Company, and Statoil ASA each are expected to have two rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico in December 2014. At that time, BHP Billiton Ltd., Eni S.p.A, and Murphy Oil Corp. will each have one rig under firm contract.
Several of these drillers are foreign oil companies. And many of the permits were fast-tracked by the Obama administration.
Fed environmental agency tri-fecta complete. Obama has lost Chu, Jackson, and now Salazar.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who overhauled the federal government’s troubled offshore drilling agency after the BP oil spill and locked horns with Republicans over energy policy, plans to step down at the end of March.
Salazar, a former senator, will return to his ranch and family in Colorado, according to the Interior Department.His tenure has included a heavy focus on developing solar power, wind and other green energy sources on federal lands.
He battled frequently with Republicans who say the Interior Department should allow faster oil-and-gas development on federal lands and make more offshore areas available for drilling.
Salazar’s departure is part of a wider turnover of President Obama’s energy and environment team.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced in December that she plans to depart sometime after Obama’s State of the Union Address, which will be delivered Feb. 12.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is widely expected to leave as well, although he has not announced any plans.
Salazar, whose ever-present 10-gallon hat and bolo tie showed his Western roots, has been a colorful and sometimes combative chief of the agency that oversees conservation, recreation and oil-and-gas drilling on vast swaths of federal land.
govtoversight: What BP’s Suspension Means
BP well probably still leaking in the Gulf of Mexico. The excellent tumblr energygasandoil discovered this diligent reporting by CBS. They interview Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA), who led the original 2010 federal investigation in 2010:
Oil may be seeping from Deepwater Horizon site
BP is set to embark Thursday on the fifth day of a little-known subsea mission under Coast Guard supervision to look for any new oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The BP oil rig exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and sending more than 7 million gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for three months before it was capped. In September, a new oil sheen was spotted about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. Tests confirmed the oil came from the infamous Macondo well underneath the Deepwater Horizon. BP’s underwater vehicle observed oil seeping from the well’s containment dome and, after a remote operation, declared the leaks plugged on October 23. The company and the Coast Guard said it wasn’t feasible to clean up the slick, and that it didn’t pose a risk to the shoreline.
Slicks and sheens of varying sizes and shapes have been documented by satellite photos, as well as aerial video recorded by the non-profit environmental group “On Wings of Care.” It’s suspected that an unknown amount of oil trapped in the containment dome, and in the wreckage and equipment from 2010, could be seeping out
(via CBS News)
The U.S. government bans BP from new federal contracts over its "lack of business integrity" in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, possibly imperiling the company's role as a top U.S. offshore oil and gas producer and the No. 1 military fuel supplier. ›
Suspensions typically last 18 months. BP, a foreign energy company, caused the largest marine oil spill in human history.
The suspension, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, comes on the heels of BP’s November 15 agreement with the U.S. government to plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The British energy giant agreed to pay $4.5 billion in penalties, including a record $1.256 billion criminal fine.
BP and its affiliates are barred from new federal contracts until they demonstrate they can meet federal business standards, the EPA said. The suspension is “standard practice” and BP’s existing U.S. government contracts are not affected, it said.
The EPA acted hours before a government auction of offshore tracts in the Gulf of Mexico, a region where BP is the largest investor and lease-holder of deep-water tracts and hopes for further growth. BP is also the top fuel supplier to the U.S. military, the largest single buyer of oil in the world.
Suspension of contracts could give the government leverage to pressure BP to settle federal and state civil litigation that could top $20 billion if a court finds BP was grossly negligent in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
An EPA official said government-wide suspensions generally do not exceed 18 months, but can continue longer if there are ongoing legal cases.
In a statement, BP said it has been in “regular dialogue” with the EPA, and that the agency has informed BP that it is preparing an agreement that “would effectively resolve and lift this temporary suspension.” The EPA has notified BP that the draft agreement will be available soon, BP said.
NY TIMES: BP to pay $4.5 billion in fines, plead guilty to 14 criminal counts in 2010 Gulf oil spill; two BP employees to be charged with manslaughter. ›
“The sheen, located about 50 miles off Louisiana’s shore in the Mississippi Canyon block 252 where the Macondo well was drilled, was detected in satellite images taken on Sept. 9 and Sept. 14. The Coast Guard said the size of the sheen has varied with weather conditions.
Samples of the crude were collected and sent to a Coast Guard laboratory in New London, Conn. On Tuesday, the Coast Guard told BP and Transocean, owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that caught fire and sank, that the oil from the sheen and spill matched.
In a meeting Wednesday, the Coast Guard told the companies to come up with a plan of action for determining the source. “No one’s 100 percent as to where it’s coming from,” said Frank Csulak, scientific support coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Since the disaster in 2010, which killed 11 workers, the wreckage of the massive rig, the crumpled riser and some hardware used in the attempt to kill the well have remained on the gulf floor.”
Breaking: Three mile oil slick in Gulf of Mexico. Could be from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well that blew up in 2010.
Update: See also regarding new federal investigation
Workers claim they got sick from chemical used to break up oil from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But, the company that makes Corexit, Nalco states it is exempt from a lawsuit because their chemical was approved by the Federal Government. It seems that hundreds of workers with medical claims will probably lose, and the corporation might win on a technicality…
Full story at MoJo
BP to invest over $40 billion in Gulf of Mexico oil drilling, beginning with the 6,800 foot 'Galapagos deepwater wells' ›
Two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion in 2010, BP will begin (with Obama’s approval) to accelerate drilling operations in even deeper waters off U.S. shores. BP, a foreign company, is the largest lease holder of U.S. oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re investing over $40 billion over the next ten years in
exploitation additional oil exploration, atop billions already invested in wells.
“A pair of scientists have accused BP of an attack on academic freedom after the oil company successfully subpoenaed thousands of confidential emails related to research on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
The accusation from oceanographers Richard Camilli and Christopher Reddy offered a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes legal manoeuvring by BP in the billion-dollar legal proceedings arising from the April 2010 blow-out of its well.
It also heightened fears among scientists of an assault on academic freedoms, following the legal campaign against a number of prominent climate scientists.
In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, the scientists, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said they volunteered in the early days of the spill to deploy robotic technology to help BP and the Coast Guard assess how much oil was gushing from the well.
The two researchers turned over some 50,000 pages of research notes and data to BP. But BP demanded more, and obtained a court subpoena for the handover of more than 3,000 confidential emails. The scientists handed over the emails last week – but with severe misgivings, they wrote.
“Our concern is not simply invasion of privacy, but the erosion of the scientific deliberative process,” they wrote. They feared the email exchanges, in which the scientists discuss hitting dead ends or challenging each other on their conclusions, were open to deliberate misinterpretation.
“Incomplete thoughts and half-finished documents attached to emails can be taken out of context and impugned by people who have a motive for discrediting the findings. In addition to obscuring true scientific findings, this situation casts a chill over the scientific process. In future crises, scientists may censor or avoid deliberations, and more importantly, be reluctant to volunteer valuable expertise and technology that emergency responders don’t possess.”
The struggle over the emails indicates the looming legal significance of any data related to the flow of oil from the stricken well.”