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Latest News on the Gulf — Battle Continues

August 18, 2010

In the previous post we highlighted big energy’s most powerful tool — JOBS.

We have just learned that  the American Petroleum Institute launching a “Rally for Jobs” campaign for September. According to an add on the API website, the campaign will include a series of demonstrations in numerous cities across the company — the theme is clear,  a cut back or slow down in offshore drilling will threaten the jobs of workers.  Contents of the ad are shown below.


We are coming together in cities across America to protect American jobs. Join us

More energy equals more jobs, higher incomes and greater economic growth. We must come together to tell Washington that our livelihoods depend on the oil and natural gas industry and consumers who rely on access to affordable energy will not be overlooked. Throughout September, thousands of Americans will assemble together to call upon the government to re-open the gates of American energy prosperity. Stand with us.


The timing of the campaign is no mistake: The New York Times reported on August 16th that the Administration will conduct more extensive review prior to issuing new permits for offshore drilling. Here is an excerpt from the article by John M. Broder:

“The Obama administration said Monday that it would require significantly more environmental review before approving new offshore drilling permits, ending a practice in which government regulators essentially rubber-stamped potentially hazardous deepwater projects like BP’s out-of-control well.”

“The administration has come under sharp criticism for granting BP an exemption from environmental oversight for the Macondo well, which blew out on April 20, killing 11 workers and spewing nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.”

“The new policy will require much more extensive environmental scrutiny once the moratorium is lifted and will lengthen the process of granting new drilling permits. Under current policy, the agency has only 30 days to decide whether to approve a drilling application, and few are denied. The new policy will also suspend the issuing of automatic exemptions from environmental review for virtually all new wells in the gulf. Such waivers have become common in recent years.”

Not surprising that API doesn’t like it! Clearly, it’s time for a big, public sustainable jobs campaign — Wind versus Oil!


New University of Georgia study dispute Administration’s rosy spin on oil in the Gulf: In our August 8 post we warned that the Administration was putting forth an overly optimistic view for example of the oil remaining in the Gulf from the BP disaster. For example, White House energy adviser, Carol Browner, is quoted as saying “The vast majority of the oil has now been contained, it’s been skimmed, Mother Nature has done its part, it’s evaporated.” Source: Guardian Aug 4.

Now a group of scientists from the University of Georgia have released a report disputing the rosy picture. Statements by the scientists were contained in a McClatchy news article (August 17) by Curtis Morgan. The University of Georgia report estimates that  70 to 79 percent of the more than 4 million barrels of oil that escaped into the Gulf of Mexico remains in the water, posing real but still undetermined risks. “The idea that 75 percent of the oil is gone and of no concern for the environment is just absolutely incorrect,” said Charles Hopkinson, a director of Georgia Sea Grant and marine science professor at the University of Georgia, who co-authored the report. See the Sea Grant Report. Here we present a comparison of the graphics contained in the report:

US Government National Incident Command “Oil Budget” Estimate


The University of Georgia / Sea Grant “Oil Budget” Estimate

Quite a difference.

Tainted seafood?? According to a new, peer-reviewed report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), sea food from the Gulf of Mexico may not be safe to eat. The study’s co-author Gina Solomon said that the greatest concern was for shrimp, oysters, crabs and other invertebrates due to their difficulty in clearing dangerous polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from their systems.

Federal officials disputed the findings of the JAMA report and stated that testing of seafood is ongoing, aggressive and sufficient to protect public health. For more information see article by Fred Tasker, Miami Herald.


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