Despite a huge and detailed hearing and investigative record of BP corner-cutting on well-control and safety operations leading up to the Gulf blowout, explosion, and spill, BP's Tony Hayward is poised to tell a Congressional committee today that he has no idea why it happened. The interrogation may be harsh.
"Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again."
Promises from BP and the Coast Guard of improved news media access to Gulf spill operations have done little to curtail the obstacles and intimidations journalists face trying to cover the story. Now a top AP editor has asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs for help.
"Under intense pressure from President Barack Obama, BP Plc agreed on Wednesday to set up a $20 billion fund for damage claims from its huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill and suspended dividend payments to its shareholders."
WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans (Channel 6), found that BP's highly publicized statement that it is not barring news media from witnessing the cleanup, or its failure, is in fact not true. See video of this and other examples, and get contact info for the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center if you've been denied access.
"Facing the possibility that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill could arrive on its reefs and beaches in the coming weeks, many in the Florida Keys are once again angry about perceived fools and bureaucrats. In particular, they've watched how BP has monopolized and, in the eyes of many, mismanaged the oil cleanup in the northern Gulf of Mexico and are frantically trying to organize an independent local response."
The CEOs of 5 oil giants admitted to a House panel that their spill-response plans for gulf drilling relied on the same boilerplate, inadequate but reassuring, used by BP to claim it could handle a Gulf spill. The Minerals Management Service approved the plans.
Hurricanes could generate strong waves and underwater currents that could damage some of the 31,000 miles of underwater pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico, causing damaging oil spills, a newly published scientific study says.
After BP's senior drilling engineer testified that BP and contractors had worked in concert to build the safest possible well, Congressional investigators released email suggesting he was not telling the truth.
"The official estimate of the flow rate from the leaking gulf oil well has surged again, with government officials announcing Tuesday that 35,000 to 60,000 barrels (1.47 million to 2.52 million gallons) of oil a day are now gushing from the reservoir deep beneath the gulf."