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 gulf of mexico.
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.
The fish could be causing major problems for Louisiana’s coastal fisheries in eight to 10 years if nothing is done.
Asian carp, including species such as bighead and silver carp, were introduced in the Midwest in the 1970s to clean murky fish farm ponds. The fish are filter feeders, munching microscopic plant and animal plankton from the water. Flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers caused ponds to overflow, allowing Asian carp to escape into other rivers and reproduce in the wild.
These fish eat voraciously and reproduce rapidly. One fish reproduces three to four times a year, releasing between 100,000 to 3 million eggs each spawning, Parola said. They have no major predators and can eat more than 20 percent of their body weight in algae and plankton a day. Asian carp can weigh up to 100 pounds. With their large size and hunger for plankton, they could pose a threat to native species.
SUBMIT FEEDBACK UNTIL 5PM TOMORROW.
To help citizens find out how the Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency responded to pollution reports, we are proposing FOIA-matic, a new feature to be added to Louisiana Bucket Brigade‘s iWitness Pollution Map and SkyTruth‘s Gulf Oil Spill Tracker. This simple tool will enable anyone to easily submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Coast Guard and EPA to find out if there was any response or enforcement to a pollution report.
Excellent. FOIA is complicated and expensive. Now, citizens can find more information from government regarding pollution (among other enviro-y things). Pass it on.
Note the above oil fire was just a few days ago.
An ancient Cypress forest was discovered at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Not a hoax. Hurricane Katrina stirred up the sand on the bottom of the Gulf, exposing a 50,000 year old forest.
For thousands of years, sand protected the ancient forest from rotting. Now that the sand has been removed, the trees are being torn apart by critters, fish, and exposure to water.
Here’s a video, which I can’t embed because tumblr hasn’t completely figured out How to Internet: Underwater Forest.
The forest is about 10 miles off the coast of Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico and lies under 60 feet of water (about the height of a 6 story building). Researchers say you can see tree rings, and even sap when the wood is cut with a saw. In fact, they say it even smells like freshly cut Cypress.
The trees apparently lived along a river.
Why is there a forest at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico? Sea level rise from melting glaciers. Sea level rise chewed away and drowned millions of miles of coasts around the world after the last Ice Age, but I’ll leave that for you to google and for future posts!
stayholden asked: Hello! I am studying International Relations with a Minor in Environmental Policy/Law. I am currently writing a paper on Hypoxia in Japan. Know of any good documentaries or places I could visit with good information?
Hey stayholden, Best I can think of is NOAA’s hypoxia projects. There’s also research on the Great Lakes, which I’m sure you’re aware of. But maybe check out the work being done on Lake Balaton in Hungary. Sounds like an interesting research project. Do keep in touch! m
(Photo: U.S. Coast Guard via Reuters)
WASHINGTON - Transocean Ltd has agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle U.S. government charges arising from BP Plc’s massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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.
The oil rigs are on fire. Two people missing. Video.
Four people were rushed to a hospital Friday after an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico some 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La., the U.S. Coast Guard told NBC News.
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
NASA’s August 27 update from the International Space Station reveals the scale of Isaac brewing in the Gulf of Mexico this past weekend. Isaac was technically a tropical storm at the time, but it has just been declared a Category 1 hurricane and continues to grow. Follow updates on Isaac at the Atlantic Wire here.