A former Halliburton manager pleaded guilty Tuesday to destroying evidence in the aftermath of the deadly rig explosion that spawned BP’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Anthony Badalamenti, 62, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21.
Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., BP’s cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Prosecutors said he instructed two Halliburton employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP’s blown-out Macondo well.
Last month, a federal judge accepted a separate plea agreement calling for Halliburton to pay a $200,000 fine for a misdemeanor stemming from Badalamenti’s conduct. Halliburton also agreed to be on probation for three years and to make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but that payment was not a condition of the deal.
The April 20, 2010, rig explosion killed 11 workers and led to America’s worst offshore oil spill.See more at: Rigzone
Posts tagged louisiana.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on Monday sent a letter to the White House asking Obama to push the committee to hear from environmental regulators at an upcoming hearing on the impacts of climate change.
“As your Climate Action Plan sets in motion a litany of new actions with significant economic implications, those in your Administration charged with implementing your agenda should be made available to testify as to the scope, purpose, and consequences of such unilateral action,” he wrote in the letter.“The American people should not be kept in the dark regarding the scope of the actions the Administration is taking to theoretically control our climate – actions that have significant potential to negatively impact employment, job creation, and our national debt,” he added.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the head of the committee, has so far declined to invite administration officials to testify at the hearing, Vitter said. However, she previously told reporters that she would consider having federal officials testify at later hearings on climate change.
Waste of time. Via The Hill
Looks like a fun lawsuit to watch.
A huge lawsuit stirs up the sediment in Louisiana
OVER the past century Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands, an area the size of Delaware.
The board that oversees the levees protecting New Orleans filed an audacious lawsuit in July demanding that nearly 100 oil and gas firms should either repair the wetlands, or pay damages that could be used for levee upkeep. The defendants are a roll-call of industry giants, including BP (formerly British Petroleum), ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron.
The suit has been inspired by the successful assault on Big Tobacco in the late 1990s by state attorneys-general, who won a multi-billion-dollar settlement by arguing that cigarette-makers had increased their states’ medical costs. The legal arguments in the levee case are, if anything, even simpler: the oil companies drilled and dug under permits that required them to restore the land to its original condition. Their failure to do so has made Louisiana’s coast more fragile, and that has increased costs for the levee board, which must build taller, stronger structures to protect New Orleans from storms. The fact that regulators haven’t squeaked till now is of no moment, the plaintiffs say.
Depending on your point of view, the suit is either a brilliant scheme to protect the environment or a bonanza for greedy lawyers that will stifle a vital industry and hurt Louisiana’s business-friendly reputation. The Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, immediately denounced it, and seems keen to block it. An association of state levee boards also voted to oppose it. State legislators are discussing ways either to put the kibosh on the suit, or to limit the potential award.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers could get very rich. If the suit succeeds, they stand to pocket 32.5% of the first $100m and smaller slices of anything beyond that. But if they lose, they will get nothing, and would normally be liable for their own expenses. The levee board has tried to protect its lawyers with a “poison pill”: if the board withdraws the suit of its own accord—which could happen if Mr Jindal replaces a majority of members, as he may—it will first have to pay the lawyers their expenses.The Jindal administration says the real villain of the piece is the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which built most of the levees in south Louisiana.
CNN reports Alabama is abusing BP oil spill money. Above, a state rep defends plans to spend beach restoration funds on building a new convention center and tourist attractions on the beach, above.
Alabama is spending just 8.5% on restoring beaches and marine ecosystems. Louisiana, for comparison, is spending 100% of the BP penalties on wetland, wildlife, marshes, and other coastal restoration. Florida is spending 90% on restoration.
Solid reporting @CNN’s OutFront.
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.
In 1980, Lake Peigneu, Louisiana disappeared into an underground vortex of doom. Actually, the accident was due to a math error, which resulted in one of the strangest oil drilling and salt mining accidents in U.S. history.
The Diamond Salt company had a huge salt mining operation under the lake. Meanwhile, Texaco Oil was drilling for oil from shallow platforms, which were built on the lake. Texaco roughnecks set a new drill a few hundred feet down, through the lake, through the lake bed, and into the earth. The drill bit hit one of the salt mine shafts, and the above disaster happened.
Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, it does. The entire lake was sucked into the mine. The drill hole was originally 14 inches, but the force of the water expanded it to hundreds of feet across. At one point, a reverse water fall of 150 feet was formed because the Gulf of Mexico drained backwards (north!) into the lake. Watch the event unfold disaster on top of disaster. It is incredible. Via BoingBoing.
Rodents of Unusual Size is a new documentary on an invasive rodent called Nutria. Nutria’s grow to about 20 pounds(!) and are destroying critical wetlands in Louisiana. Click above to learn more.
Two financial deals that kept the National Football League playing in the Superdome, allowing New Orleans to host a 10th Super Bowl, were expensive for taxpayers and enriched Saints owner Tom Benson, said former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco.
Subsidies for Saints Owner Open New Orleans to Super Bowl - Bloomberg investigative report.
Taxpayers have spent at least $471 million on the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina, allowing a state reeling from the nation’s most-expensive natural disaster to keep its pro sports teams and rebuild a part of downtown destroyed by the 2005 storm. Benson, meanwhile, is worth $1.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after acquiring the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets, a 26-story office tower that houses state agencies and a mall next to the stadium.
Louisiana cemeteries sinking, washing away. (Click for video). Some of the cemeteries were built above sea level, but marshy soils, tough hurricanes, and sea level rise are destroying the land.
Eleven cemeteries in Jefferson Parish have repeatedly flooded since Hurricane Katrina. In Lafourche, Terrebonne and Plaquemines parishes, more than a dozen others have succumbed to tidal surge. Some have more than 300 gravesites.
Officials say not much can be done to save the cemeteries or the sinking communities that surround them, though some towns have tried pouring concrete slabs to build up the burial sites and hold headstones in place. They’ve also anchored above-ground caskets to the slabs to keep them from floating off. USAToday
These types of stories are going to keep popping up in the next few years. Cemeteries, historic properties, naval yards, ports, bridge pilings, hotels, etc., anything close to the soft coastlines are going to get chewed up. And journalists will swarm to grab stories of nostalgia - “Mah grammie was buried in thar,” “I had mah first kiss in that thar light house,” “This hotel has been in operation since 1923. Important to the economy, you know. Now it’s lost to the sea.”
We know these things are going to happen. So who should pay to repair these structures?
Btw dear readers, I’m really (teeth-grindingly) annoyed I couldn’t embed this video from USA Today. They’re a great paper, way underrated imo. I’d share more vidoes and news from them, but their IT is out of touch. Does anyone know how to grab the embed code from the page script? Usually I can scrape the video code, but not with these guys. The url is here if you want to mess with it. Hit me up if you can help me!
Warning! Severe Tornado Outbreak Expected Christmas Day, Night, and Wednesday in the south
Christmas 2012 will not only feature heavy snow from Winter Storm Euclid. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will target parts of the South Christmas Day into Wednesday!
Here is the general forecast timing of this event:
Tuesday: Severe weather outbreak may begin before sunrise Christmas morning in east and southeast Texas into Louisiana. The severe storm threat spreads east, taking in the lower Mississippi Valley eastward into Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle by afternoon. Tornadoes, damaging winds of 60 to 80 mph, and large hail are all threats in these areas! Some tornadoes may be strong, long-track tornadoes, as well!
Full story, with tons of maps and surprising history of many Xmas tornadoes at Weather
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. ›
Tropical Storm Debby forms in Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana on alert. Offshore oil and gas workers being evacuated. More at MSNBC.
"Last year’s hurricanes and flooding not only engulfed homes and carried away roads and bridges in hard-hit areas of the country, it dispersed aggressive invasive species as well.
In Vermont, the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Irene and work afterward to dredge rivers and remove debris spread fragments of Japanese knotweed, a plant that threatens to take over flood plains wiped clean by the August storm.
The overflowing Missouri and Mississippi rivers last year launched Asian carp into lakes and oxbows where the fish had not been seen before, from Iowa to the Iowa Great Lakes. Flooding also increased the population along the Missouri River of purple loosestrife, a plant that suppresses native plants and alters wetlands.
"It’s quite an extensive problem around the country and it’s spreading," said Linda Nelson, aquatic invasive species expert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The agency’s budget for controlling invasive aquatic plants has grown from $124 million in 2008 to $135 million for fiscal year 2012."
More from Lisa Rathke at HuffPo
One of my favorite tumblrs, fertilizermarkets posted this video on EPA regulations and Louisiana poultry growers. The issue is water quality and chicken poop. Basically, the EPA regulates water quality, among other things.
To do this, the source of any water pollution is identified, and measures are taken to mitigate the impacts to the water. Sources vary, from mall parking lots to toilet water to coal plants to chicken growers. In the video, poultry farmers learn that chicken poop is a potential source of water pollution and that they’re responsible for where the poop goes.
One problem is that American farmers generally don’t like to be 100% responsible for their waste (send me your hate mail here). And this irresponsibility manifests in a general disdain for the EPA and other “big government regulations.”
Lobbyists fuel this problem by creating confusion and uncertainty in the minds of farmers and politicians that represent them (which is, to my mind, an unethical exploitation and mental spoilage of otherwise good American people).
Anyway, the result is entrenched denial in its most brilliant form. And to me, it’s a fascinating artifact of American culture - to be both ‘personally responsible for self-actions’ yet eschew accountability when those responsibilities are not being met. Amazing to think about. This video follows standard journalistic tropes by showing “both sides” of the story. Good stuff.
Kristen Oaks shows us what #poultry growers can do to avoid a federal citation and fine due to new #EPA #regulations. This Week in Louisiana Agriculture.