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Aug 4, 2010

Nearly 3/4 of BP spill oil gone from Gulf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly three-fourths of oil from the BP spill is gone from the Gulf of Mexico, with 26 percent remaining as a sheen or tarballs, buried in sediment or washed ashore, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday.

“It is estimated that burning, skimming and direct recovery from the wellhead removed one quarter (25 percent) of the oil released from the wellhead,” the scientists said in the report “BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Budget: What Happened to the Oil?”

Aug 3, 2010
via Environment Forum

Crustaceans rule!

Photo

Ever wondered what kinds of wildlife dominate the world’s seas and oceans? Now there’s an answer, at least in terms of the number of species in different categories. It’s not fish. It’s not mammals. It’s crustaceans!

A mammoth Census of Marine Life has revealed that nearly one-fifth, or 19 percent, of all the marine species known to humans are crustaceans — crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill, barnacles and others far too numerous to mention here. The census didn’t count the actual numbers of animals beneath the waves — that would have been impossible — but it did count up the number of species in 25 marine areas. The aim is to set down a biodiversity baseline for future use.

Aug 2, 2010

Oil-dispersant mix no more toxic than oil alone: EPA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dispersant chemicals used to break up oil from the BP spill are generally less toxic to test species than oil alone, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data released on Monday showed.

EPA researchers tested the toxicity of eight kinds of dispersants, including Corexit 9500A, the only such chemical BP has said it used on the spill. The test species were juvenile mysid shrimp and small fish found in the Gulf of Mexico.

Aug 1, 2010

BP prepares to plug Gulf oil well for good

HOUSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP Plc could start plugging its broken deepsea oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday night, more than three months after its rupture led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP engineers were preparing to pump heavy drilling mud and cement into the well in a procedure known as a “static kill,” retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the U.S. official overseeing the federal spill response, said on Sunday.

Aug 1, 2010

Congress questions BP’s use of dispersants in Gulf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP’s use of dispersant chemicals on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is sparking questions from a U.S. congressional panel, which says the company used more of these compounds than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had directed.

But the EPA indicated in a statement on Sunday that the difference between what the agency directed and what BP and the U.S. Coast Guard achieved is slight — the difference between a 75 percent cut in dispersant use and a 72 percent cut.

Aug 1, 2010

Speaker Pelosi wants pre-election tax cut vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants a vote before November elections on whether to extend tax cuts for those with annual income over $250,000 a year, she said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

“The tax cuts for the wealthiest … (with income of) $250,000 and above, were the Bush initiative,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to former President George W. Bush.

Jul 29, 2010

US EPA denies challenges to greenhouse gas rule

WASHINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency on Thursday rejected 10 petitions challenging
EPA’s 2009 finding that climate-warming greenhouse gas
emissions endanger human health and the environment.

The EPA received petitions questioning the scientific basis
for the so-called endangerment finding — which cleared the way
for the EPA to curb carbon dioxide emissions — from Texas and
Virginia and groups like the Ohio Coal Association.

Jul 29, 2010

Ten key indicators show global warming “undeniable”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Melting glaciers, more humid air and eight other key indicators show that global warming is undeniable, scientists said on Wednesday, citing a new comprehensive review of the last decade of climate data.

Without addressing why this is happening, the researchers said there was no doubt that every decade on Earth since the 1980s has been hotter than the previous one, and that the planet has been warming for the last half-century.

Jul 28, 2010

Factbox: Oil spill adds to environment insults on Gulf Coast

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The BP oil spill is the latest in a series of environmental insults to the U.S. Gulf Coast, from wetlands eradication to flood control measures that have starved marshes of new sediment deposits.

WETLANDS CLEARING: Early European settlers cleared coastal swamps and marshes in the Mississippi River delta to control malaria they believed was caused by the fetid air in wetlands. This destroyed coastal wetlands that filter pollution, shelter native species and act as buffers to slow down hurricanes that spawn in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Jul 28, 2010

Oil spill adds to environment insults on US Gulf Coast

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) – The BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) oil spill is the latest in a series of environmental insults to the U.S. Gulf Coast, from wetlands eradication to flood control measures that have starved marshes of new sediment deposits.

WETLANDS CLEARING: Early European settlers cleared coastal swamps and marshes in the Mississippi River delta to control malaria they believed was caused by the fetid air in wetlands. This destroyed coastal wetlands that filter pollution, shelter native species and act as buffers to slow down hurricanes that spawn in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

RIVER CHANNELIZATION: To keep the Mississippi navigable and protect against floods, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers channeled the river and built a series of levees along its banks. This prevented the natural variation of the river’s course in the lower delta, essentially blocking the formation of new wetlands or the building up of existing wetlands with sediment from the river’s vast watershed, which draws from 31 states and two Canadian provinces over 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square km). Louisiana has lost an estimated 2,000 square miles (5,180 square km) of territory since channelization was authorized in 1928.

SUBSIDENCE AND COMPACTION: Without new sediment deposits to build them up, as would occur if the river followed its natural varying course, coastal wetlands sink and squash down, allowing the salty waters of the Gulf to inundate them. Scientists are looking at this area as a kind of preview of what might happen to other river deltas and low-lying areas if global sea levels rise due to climate change. Species that thrive in marsh or swamp don’t necessarily adapt to ocean habitat.

DEAD ZONE: Agricultural chemicals applied to farms throughout the Mississippi watershed flow toward the Gulf of Mexico, and because of the river’s channelization, these chemical-laden waters and sediments are shunted away from wetlands and out into the deep Gulf. The nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizers have created a recurring summer "dead zone" with oxygen levels so low in parts of the Gulf that few species can survive. The 2009 dead zone extended over about 3,000 square miles (7,770 square km), smaller than the average but more deadly because the hypoxic area was closer to the water’s surface.

OIL AND GAS EXTRACTION: Drilling for oil and gas in the lower Mississippi delta can accelerate subsidence and compaction by creating empty underground pockets that are ripe to sink down. The pace of this kind of subsidence has slowed because much of the oil and gas has already been extracted; its peak was in the 1970s. Some engineers believe that the constant stream of heavy vehicles on a single two-lane road that leads to Port Fourchon, Louisiana, which supplies offshore drilling, also contributes to subsidence in the area.

(Editing by Eric Beech)




    • About Deborah

      "I started with Reuters in 1986 in New York City, moving to Washington DC two years later. I've covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary and Salt Lake City, a couple wars, the State Department, White House, Pentagon, several long trials and a presidential sex scandal. Since 2006, I've been reporting on the environment and climate change."
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