"Federal inspectors charged with ensuring the safety of offshore oil drilling are overwhelmed, insufficiently trained, work without official procedures for some of their most crucial decisions and sometimes have insufficient support from their supervisors for resisting industry influence, according to a report released Tuesday by the Interior Department’s inspector general."
Many workers in Louisiana's seafood industry have returned to work months after the BP Gulf oil spill -- but oystermen whose families have been in the business for generations are still unable to harvest oysters.
"Foreign firefighters and aircraft poured into Israel Friday in an unprecedented wave of international assistance as the country battled a huge forest fire that has killed at least 41 people and displaced thousands."
"Seven months after the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the troubled federal agency that oversees offshore drilling has been revamped, renamed and given a new leader with a mandate to turn what critics called an industry lapdog into an effective watchdog. But there's at least one big change the agency hasn't made: fixing its deeply flawed inspection program."
"The Obama administration on Wednesday reversed its plans to expand offshore drilling along the Atlantic coast and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in a retreat prompted by last summer's oil spill."
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement about a 'cautious' approach to offshore oil development opens the door to leasing new waters in the Arctic after 2012 and clears the way for full review of a proposed new exploratory well in the Beaufort Sea as early as next summer."
"A coalition of 20 environmental groups took to the airwaves today in their escalating pushback against a $7 billion Canadian oil sands pipeline, launching a two-week ad campaign urging President Obama to 'prevent the next oil disaster' by rejecting a permit for the project."
"When the Department of Homeland Security wants advice on how to guard against terrorist attacks at chemical plants, it relies heavily on a special agency panel focused on the topic. There's just one problem, critics say: The committee is stacked with more than a dozen chemical corporation lobbyists and other industry representatives, who have worked to water down agency standards and oppose tougher security requirements."
Half a mile below the surface, the muddy bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is covered in a layer of oil.
"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday it had closed 4,200 square miles/10,880 square kms of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico to royal red shrimping after a commercial shrimper discovered tar balls in his net."