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Deep Water Horizon

Reckless BP Kills 11 Men Now They Face Civil Fines

West Coast Native News - September 4, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

A Louisiana federal court basted BP for the massive 2010 oil spill in the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday, saying the incident was a combination of “gross negligence” and “reckless” conduct by the oil giant and other oil producers — a judgement the company strongly rejected.

The ruling means BP could face as much as $17.6 billion in civil fines under the Clean Water Act, The company could now face fines as much as $4,300 for every barrel of oil lost. Based on government estimates from the time of how much was lost, the company could end up with a fine of almost $18 billion. Just this week, Halliburton agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle claims related to its role in the disaster.

Earlier this year, a separate court ruling determined BP would have to set aside $9.2 billion in settlement funds, a figure the company was fighting to reduce.

Here is a list of the 11 workers who died after a blast on the BP-leased drilling rig Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010 about 50 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico.  — after burning for about a day and a half — the Deepwater Horizon sank. It rests on the bottom about a mile below the Gulf surface.

None of the men worked directly for BP. Two were employed by M-I Swaco, a division of oil field services company Schlumberger. The rest worked for Transocean.

— Jason Anderson, 35, of Midfield, Texas. A father of two. His wife, Shelley, said Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday. Anderson began preparing a will in February 2010 and kept it in a spiral notebook. It sank with the rig.

—Aaron Dale “Bubba” Burkeen, 37, of Philadelphia, Miss. His death at the Deepwater Horizon came on his wedding anniversary and four days before his birthday. He was married with two children.

—Donald Clark, 49, of Newellton, La. He was scheduled to leave the rig on April 21, the day after the blast.

—Stephen Ray Curtis, 40, of Georgetown, La., Curtis was married and had two teenagers.

—Gordon Jones, 28, of Baton Rouge, La. Jones arrived on the rig the day before the explosion. He died three days before his sixth wedding anniversary and 10 minutes after talking to his pregnant wife, Michelle Jones. Their son, Max, was born three weeks later.

—Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, Jonesville, La. Kemp was married. His daughter’s birthday was 3 days before the explosion. Kemp was scheduled to leave the rig on April 21.

—Karl Kleppinger Jr., 38, of Natchez, Miss. Kleppinger was a veteran of the first Gulf War and the father of one child.

—Keith Blair Manuel, 56, of Gonzales, La. Manuel had three daughters. He was a fan of LSU athletics and had football and basketball season tickets.

—Dewey A. Revette, 48, of State Line, Miss. Revette had been married to his wife, Sherri, for 26 years when the rig exploded. He was scheduled to leave the rig on April 21.

—Shane M. Roshto, 22, of Liberty, Miss. His wife, Natalie, filed a lawsuit April 21, 2010, saying she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after her husband was killed in the explosion. He was set to leave the rig on April 21.

— Adam Weise, 24, Yorktown, Texas. Weise drove 10 hours to Louisiana every three weeks to work on the rig. A high school football star, he spent off- time hunting and fishing. He was scheduled to leave the rig on April 21.

No bodies were recovered.

Common Resources PDF: What Did the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Moratorium Mean for the Workforce?

Joseph E Aldy - Common Resources, August 22, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

On April 20, 2010, the Transocean Deepwater Horizon suffered a catastrophic blowout while drilling in a BP lease in the Gulf of Mexico’s Macondo Prospect. This accident resulted in the largest oil spill in US history and an unprecedented spill response effort. Due to the ongoing spill and concerns about the safety of offshore oil drilling, the US Department of the Interior suspended offshore deep water oil and gas drilling operations on May 27, 2010, in what became known as the offshore drilling moratorium. The media portrayed the impacts of these events on local employment, with images of closed fisheries, idle rigs, as well as boats skimming oil and workers cleaning oiled beaches.

In a new RFF discussion paper, “The Labor Market Impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Moratorium,” I estimate and examine the net impact of the oil spill, the drilling moratorium, and spill response on employment and wages in the Gulf Coast.

Read the full article here.

This and other PDFs are featured on our links page.

Subsidy Spotlight: Paid to Pollute and Poison

By Paul Thacker - Oil Change International, July 28, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

A wife and mother of two from Venice, Louisiana, Kindra Arnesen says her life can be divided into two chapters: before April 20, 2010, and after. On that evening, an oil well located several miles off the coast of Louisiana discharged large bubbles of gas which traveled a mile to the surface before igniting, destroying the oil rig and killing eleven men. Thus began the worst marine oil spill in history and America’s largest environmental disaster, with hundreds of millions of gallons of oil eventually spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

Four years later, residents from surrounding communities claim they still struggle with the health problems caused by the BP oil spill. “You just learn to live sick,” says Arnesen, who complains of headaches and unexplained rashes that won’t go away.

Her husband, who was hired by BP to help clean up the spill, has it much worse.

A fisherman in his mid-forties, his life has not been the same. He struggles to go to work and every month he is laid low by headaches, respiratory problems, and general weakness. “I roll over at night sometimes to see if he is still breathing,” Kindra says. “It’s really scary.”

The impact of exposure to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill on people’s wellbeing has been documented by numerous government-sponsored studies. After seven fishermen hired for oil spill cleanup were hospitalized, the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examined possible health effects of the spill. Because of the wide variety of working conditions, differing levels of exposures, and confounding problems from heat, the agency’s conclusions, released in August 2011, remain rather vague. During the summer of 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a workshop to assess the effects on people and attempted to identify high risk populations for future health concerns.

But science places a high value on controlling for variables when drawing conclusions. It has been difficult if not impossible to place direct blame on the oil spill for each individual’s health problems. Exposures to oil were not carefully measured. For all intents, people who were exposed have become involved in an uncontrolled medical experiment.

However, what is certainly well documented, yet much less publicized, is that the likelihood of this disaster was certainly encouraged by tax policies created in Washington. According to Oil Change International’s latest report, federal and state subsidies to the oil, gas, and coal industries result in a $21 billion windfall for carbon polluting companies every year. This occurs at a time when the biggest five oil companies are earning record profits, close to $93 billion last year, or $177,000 per minute. And according to corporate documents, risky drilling projects like those undertaken by BP would most likely never occur without this type of corporate welfare.

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