Stories in the news

  • Dispersant's use adds subplot to oil spill saga

    As a federal judge considers a proposed settlement between BP and Gulf Coast residents harmed by the 2010 oil spill, a legal subplot has developed around workers who allege they were sickened by chemicals used to clean up the oil.

    Nalco, which manufactured the dispersant Corexit, and some companies that applied it during the cleanup, have asked U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans to dismiss them from the tangle of litigation arising from the spill.


    And that has created a dilemma for plaintiffs considering whether to participate in a proposed multibillion-dollar settlement BP worked out with a steering committee representing claimants who suffered economic damage or health problems.


    The proposed class action settlement would include compensation for past and future medical problems related to the spill. Plaintiffs must opt out of the settlement by Oct. 1 if they want to pursue legal action independent of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee.

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  • Study: Gulf oil spill might have lasting impact

    MOBILE, Ala. - New research by an Auburn University professor and other scientists suggests that the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could have significant impacts on microscopic life that might not become apparent for years.

    Auburn professor Ken Halanych and scientists from the University of New Hampshire, the University of California Davis Genome Center, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, published their work last month in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

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  • BP oil spill settlement grants will pay for health, mental health services on Gulf coast

    Health care services in southeastern Louisiana will get a major share of the $104 million in grant money included in the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, according to papers filed in federal court on Thursday. The grants, expected to cover five years of services, include $50 million for a Primary Care Capacity Project to expand and improve access to health care in underserved coastal communities, $36 million for behavioral and mental health needs, and $4 million to train community health workers. Another $15 million will be used to expand environmental health expertise and literacy.

    BP also will finance the creation of an online library of information about the spill.

    The Primary Care project will be led by the New Orleans-based Louisiana Public Health Institute, a nonprofit focusing on improving health care access through public-private partnerships, foundations, academia, community groups and private businesses; and the New Orleans-based Alliance Institute, a nonprofit aimed at providing residents with the tools to participate in public institutions.

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  • Oiled rookeries look different 2 years after spill

    CAT ISLAND, La. (AP) Before the BP oil spill, this shrubby island along the Louisiana coast was a lush green rookery where noisy brown pelicans and other birds clamored. Two years later, the island is smaller and ragged, full of dead black mangrove stumps and muddy patches.

    Cat Island was one of the first places to be hit by thick mats of oil coming from 50 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico. Crews hired by BP raced to try to protect the island with boom, skims and dispersant, but a lot of the effort was futile. Some of the most iconic images from spill confused, struggling pelicans covered in oil were seen near these parts.

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  • Report: Oil ill health effects linger

    Two years after the Deepwater Horizon/BP disaster, people along the Gulf Coast are reporting lingering health effects, according to a new report released from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network.

    The nonprofit environmental group released the report Friday that compiles health responses from 87 people, primarily those who have gone to Dr. Mike Robichaux, a former state senator, for treatment.

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  • Two Years After the BP Drilling Disaster, Gulf Residents Fear for the Future

    On April 20, 2010, a reckless attitude towards the safety of the Gulf Coast by BP, as well as Transocean and Halliburton, caused a well to blow out 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. As the world watched in horror, underwater cameras showed a seemingly endless flow of oil – hundreds of millions of gallons - and a series of failed efforts to stop it, over a period of nearly three months. Two years later, that horror has not ended for many on the Gulf.

    “People should be aware that the oil is still there,” says Wilma Subra, a chemist who travels widely across the Gulf meeting with fishers and testing seafood and sediment samples for contamination.

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  • Gulf Oil Spill Anniversary: BP Disaster's Impact On Children Still Debated

    SOUTH PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. -- Julie Creppel raises six children here, steps away from the lapping waves of the Gulf of Mexico. Her modest mobile home, on a narrow peninsula roughly an hour and a half south of New Orleans, puts her about as close as anyone to where, two years ago today, a BP offshore drilling operation went terribly wrong, spewing 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf's constant saltwater churn.

    It was the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, though for much of the nation, it remained a worrying but distant drama. Creppel says that for her and her family, the impacts were very clear and very present. The spill, she says -- and the months of efforts to stop it -- made them sick.

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  • Gulf Spill Pictures: Ten New Studies Show Impact on Coast

    As the Deepwater Horizon disaster unfolded, images of oiled birds and slick coastlines made headlines while the fate of seafloor ecosystems remained hidden beneath the waves.

    But recent research has provided compelling evidence of the spill's impact on deep-sea corals, seen clearly in the specimen above, which is now likely dead despite the orange branch tips. "Because of the magnitude of this spill, and because of the fact that it happened so deep, rather than at the surface, it had significant impacts on these biological communities that we've just been beginning to understand," said Haverford College geochemist Helen White.

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  • Damage in oil's wake

    It’s been almost two years since the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon that left 11 men dead and kicked off an 87-day battle to cap the well that was leaking millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the fragile coastline.

    The well was capped on July 15 but not before 4.9 million barrels of oil — about 205 million gallons — escaped from the deep water well.

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  • Settling up with Big Oil

    Joseph Doan of Abbeville, who sometimes runs a shrimp dock in Intracoastal City, said he lost business in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

    Shrimpers weren't catching anything, so they didn't come to his dock to unload and sell their catch. "A lot of fishermen went to do something else. A lot of them sold their boats," Doan said.

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