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BP Spill Plugged, to Cost $10bn

‘British Petroleum’s bill for containing and cleaning up the oil spill has reached almost $10bn (£6.4bn), as the US government declared that the blown-out well has finally been plugged, five months after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

BP also said payouts to people affected by the spill such as fishermen, hoteliers and retailers had dramatically increased since it handed over authority for dispensing funds to a White House appointee.

BP has set up a $20bn compensation fund, which has so far paid out 19,000 claims totalling more than $240m.

The oil company previously paid out about $3.5m a day in compensation, but this has risen to $12.5m a day since Feinberg took over.’

What great official news! British Petroleum, the government and all other officials agree that the well is finally done spilling- for good. BP’s cleanup costs are huge though, and there are definitely going to be many fair trials. The legal costs are going to be higher because of BP’s huge negligence to the environment and everything.

But realize, just for a second, what a huge number 10 billion dollars is, and the fact that there will be much, much more in fines to the oil giant over the next decade. That’s how long it takes for legal proceedings to do with environmental disasters to get completed.

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‘At least 18 people were killed in Guatemala on Saturday, including a dozen on a bus that was buried in a landslide, as heavy rains lashed the Central American nation and southern Mexico. A dozen people died when the bus they were traveling on was suddenly engulfed by mud around 8 a.m. on the Inter-American highway 50 miles outside of the Guatemalan capital, emergency workers said. Another six people were killed in separate incidents, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom told reporters.’ -Reuters

These deadly floods look to continue to rage through Guatemala and may head further into Mexico, according to local weather stations.

So many deaths are disappointing to see as we continue to see death around Central America, especially from flooding and earthquakes, etc. The country’s emergency services are going to need to kick in soon and start working quick. We, like the author of the original article, need to be anthropocentric as well as technocentric, using technology to solve our problems while still caring for the environment AND people.

UPDATE: We now have sources claiming the death toll may be up to 36. I literally just refreshed the page and now they’re saying it’s 37. Government rescue services are going to have to act quickly as the death toll increases and as many as 100 lives are claimed.

“It looks like a meteor strike: From out of nowhere, a huge clearing appears in the jungle — a deep rust-colored pit surrounded by mounds of dirt and thick stands of trees pushed to the side in dense piles of overturned soil.

But this is no act of nature. It is the result of the steady labor of a dozen barefoot men, who have blasted away at the earth for three days with high-pressure water hoses and earth-movers, searching for gold and destroying a swathe of rainforest.

Juergen Plein, a 29-year-old miner, said he needs the work mining, and doesn’t know any other way to get at the precious metal.

“I think about it,” Plein, nearly shouting over the roar of generators, said of the damage. “But survival comes first.”

Thanks to record gold prices, hundreds of small-scale mining operations are proliferating along the northeastern shoulder of South America. Small-scale miners produced a record of nearly 16.5 metric tons of gold in 2009, according to Suriname’s government.

Miners are tearing up trees, poisoning creeks with mercury and, in some places, erecting makeshift jungle towns with shops, prostitutes and churches.” – Ben Fox, AP

Ben Fox seems to think that this ‘tearing up [of] trees and poisoning creeks with mercury’ is a bad idea. He, just as I do, sees the ethical wrongs posed in blowing up precious jungle areas in order to make a profit, and he cares very much about the environment, as an semi-anthropocentric and semi-ecocentric. As world inhabitants, we need to care for the land, and this means keeping rainforests and gold outcrops in the ground safe and intact. The author and I both put a very high premium on the environment as partial ecocentrics and we think that this is an unbelievable betrayal of Mother Nature.

However, Juergen Plein, a resident miner, seems to think that this destruction is acceptable since he makes a profit off the gold he mines, which is a very greedy, part a. Clearly this is a man without an environmental moral compass- if only he could see the damage he is causing the environment, one would hope he would stop.

But this is not the case. Plein and other miners will continue to mine because they make money and have no value for the environment, unlike myself and the author of the article. As this devastation continues, rainforest will be unable to grow back and gold will be exploited further as it will be easier to do so, resulting in positive feedback that could go on until Suriname’s rainforest ceases to exist.

But hopefully not.

“Work to remove the 300-ton piece of equipment that failed to stop the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be delayed into the weekend or longer because of rough seas, the federal government’s point man on the spill response said Tuesday.

Engineers hoped to begin the operation Monday but were stopped by the rough waters, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. Seas were 6-feet or higher Tuesday, but Allen believes they would have to be closer to 4 feet for the work to be done safely.

The process involves removing the cap that stopped oil from gushing from the site of the spill in mid-July, then removing the failed blowout preventer and replacing it with a new one. That would clear the way for completion of a relief well and the final, permanent plugging of the well with mud and cement from the bottom.

Officials don’t believe more oil will leak when the cap and blowout preventer are removed, but they are preparing just in case.

Allen addressed reporters after a private meeting with Billy Nungesser, the president of coastal Plaquemines Parish, who for months after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion was a frequent critic of Allen and the overall response of BP and the government. Nungesser frequently complained that responders were too slow to get equipment in place where needed to keep oil off beaches and out of sensitive coastal marshes.” -Kevin McGill, BusinessWeek

This recent news on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has me wondering whether or not this new cap is the greatest idea.

I just hope that this technology does work and the blowout preventer ends up successful so that the spil site can be closed off. It seems to me that the author has a similar viewpoint- he seems to believe that the environment is quite important and it is necessary that as little goes wrong as possible. His viewpoint is professional but it is difficult not to be critical of government actions and caring for the environment, which the author gives the impression of in the full article.

I believe his thought of criticism of the actions of BP and the government is deserved and that the environment should be of importance those who inhabit it. Let’s just cross our fingers that the blowout preventer works so that we can seal off the spill site.