EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"The Environmental Protection Agency has directed oil giant BP to use a less toxic form of chemical dispersants to break up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."
"The coal baron who runs the West Virginia mine that last month saw the deadliest U.S. mine accident in 40 years came unbowed to Capitol Hill today, insisting that his company 'does not place profits over safety.'"
A blanket of thick oil smothered Louisiana's life-giving wetlands as the BP oil spill finally moved ashore.
"A proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean as early as this summer received initial permits from the Minerals Management Service office in Alaska at the same time federal auditors were questioning the office about its environmental review process."
"BP, the company in charge of the rig that exploded last month in the Gulf of Mexico, hasn't publicly divulged the results of tests on the extent of workers' exposure to evaporating oil or from the burning of crude over the gulf, even though researchers say that data is crucial in determining whether the conditions are safe. Moreover, the company isn't monitoring the extent of the spill and only reluctantly released videos of the spill site that could give scientists a clue to the amount of the oil in gulf."
The vast deposits of deepwater methane hydrates may have been a major factor in the Deepwater Horizon blowout and explosion. Methane hydrates expand 164 times in volume when destablilized by heat and reduction in pressure. Such conditions may have existed the night of the explosion, causing a quickly expanding bubble of methane gas to shoot up the drill column before exploding on the platform on the ocean's surface.
"A whistleblower filed a lawsuit [Monday] to force the federal government to halt operations at another massive BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that BP never reviewed critical engineering designs for the operation and is therefore risking another catastrophic accident...."
"Federal authorities on Tuesday expanded the no fishing zone associated with the BP oil spill to encompass 19% of the Gulf of Mexico."
"The Minerals Management Service did not adequately regulate safety devices and procedures for offshore drilling before the massive Gulf of Mexico disaster, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said [Tuesday]."
"The U.S. Minerals Management Service, which grants offshore drilling permits, set aside safety regulations for oil exploration in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, environmental groups alleged in a lawsuit on Tuesday."
"Chrys Oynes, the associate director of Offshore Energy and Minerals Management at the Minerals Management Service will retire May 31, reports The Washington Post."
"President Obama will establish an independent commission to investigate the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an administration official said Monday, as the federal government came under increasing scrutiny for regulatory failures that might have contributed to the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig."
"New satellite images show oil starting to enter the Gulf Loop current, which would pull it through the Florida Keys, into the Gulf Stream and up to Palm Beach County, according to a scientist tracking the oil spewing into the Gulf."
In a rush to complete the well it was drilling with the Deepwater Horizon, BP and other companies pushed ahead to complete the well despite multiple warnings that conditions were unsafe. CBS Interviews with explosion survivor Mike Williams and Berkeley engineering professor Bob Bea bring to light new information not yet available to the panels investigating the spill. At least five congressional hearings are scheduled on the spill this week.
"Oil giant BP succeeded Sunday in connecting a mile-long pipe to help capture what it hopes will be most of the oil flowing from a damaged well into the Gulf of Mexico -- 'an important step' toward capping the massive spill, the company said, but not a complete solution."