PoliticsThe Exxon Free Environmental Thread

Previous 10 Next 10 
To: koan who wrote (9580)3/3/2012 10:24:26 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 37014
Late season freeze

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (2)

To: Wharf Rat who wrote (9581)3/3/2012 10:31:57 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 37014
Virginia Supreme Court Tosses Out AG Cuccinelli Inquisition on Michael Mann
By Climate Guest Blogger on Mar 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

by Rick Piltz, reposted from Climate Science Watch

In a victory for university scholars, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled today that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli does not have the authority to demand the release of email and other documents related to the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann. Cuccinelli’s global warming denial machine fishing expedition had been criticized even by climate ‘skeptics’ who are no friends of Prof. Mann. It raised the chilling question of whether the university could protect researchers’ ability to privately and freely correspond with one another.

The Washington Post and Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch online reported.

The Court’s 26-page ruling is here (PDF).

The court’s ruling was on the question of Cuccinelli’s statutory jurisdiction vis-a-vis the university. From the Times-Dispatch:

The Virginia Supreme Court today sided with the University of Virginia in its fight against the state attorney general’s investigation of former U.Va. climate scientist Michael Mann.

The court upheld the Albemarle Circuit Court ruling setting aside Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s civil investigative demands for documents related to grants Mann receive to study global warming.

Cuccinell sought the information under the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

But the high court ruled today that the university is not “a person” under the act, and the term “corporation” as used in the statute does not include state agencies such as public universities. …

“Certainly, I do think that it’s important for the university to be able to protect the privacy of its researchers and the ability of scientists to ask tough questions,” said Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group. “This is a victory for science in Virginia.” …

Amen to that, Michael.

When the Cuccinelli inquisition was initiated two years ago, we wrote ( Free the Cuccinelli 40: Virginia AG demands e-mails of Michael Mann and 39 other scientists):

Virginia’s combative right-wing state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has issued a “Civil Investigative Demand” calling on the University of Virginia to turn over a large quantity of material about climate scientist Michael Mann, who was at the University during 1999-2005. Among the documents he is demanding are all e-mail and other communications to or from Mann and 39 other scientists, or referencing them. This latest McCarthyite inquisition, by yet another agent of the global warming denial machine, is taking fire even from climate ‘skeptics’ who are no friends of Mann. It sends a chilling message about academic freedom and the freedom of scientists and others to communicate with each other without fear that their communications will be published….


Nine ways to undermine Virginia AG Cuccinelli’s McCarthyite demand for scientists’ communication

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s effort to subpoena Prof. Michael Mann’s documents and e-mail correspondence with 39 other scientists would establish a precedent for essentially destroying the ability of university faculty to correspond with colleagues with any sense of confidentiality—a terrible precedent if it is allowed to succeed. To oppose Cuccinelli’s action with pushback on multiple fronts, we can think of at least nine kinds of action that can be taken – by Prof. Mann, by the University of Virginia, by the science community, by the media, and by others. Fortunately, a number of such appropriate actions are already being taken or are under consideration. …

Climate Science Watch also joined with other groups in calling on the leadership of the University of Virginia to push back against a parallel demand by the ‘free market’ ideologue group American Tradition Institute. The University responded by toughening up its self-defense in that case, which is still pending. See:

Letter calling on Univ. of Virginia to prevent inappropriate open records disclosure of climate scientists’ exempt emails and documents [Union of Concerned Scientists, American Association of University Professors, American Geophysical Union, Climate Science Watch]

In defense of academic freedom against denialist FOIA inquisition tactics [Letter to University of Virginia President Sullivan from American Association of University professors, Virginia ACLU, Union of Concerned Scientists, and nine other groups, including Climate Science Watch]

Also see:

Shawn Lawrence Otto: Academic Freedom Wins in Cuccinelli Climate Case

“I’m pleased that this particular episode is over,” said Mann following the decision. “It’s sad, though, that so much money and resources had to be wasted on Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against me and the University of Virginia, when it could have been invested, for example, in measures to protect Virginia’s coast line from the damaging effects of sea level rise it is already seeing.”…

“The university should be commended for its courage in standing up to the attorney general to ensure Virginia will remain a safe place for scientific research, even when elected officials don’t like the results,” said Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists Scientific Integrity Program. “Academic institutions have the responsibility to protect their faculty’s ability to discover new things about our world without fearing harassment or political reprisals. Officials at research universities around the country should scrutinize this case and make sure they are prepared to respond appropriately to similar attacks.”

Halpern said that various courts in Virginia have found in favor of the university on both substantive and procedural grounds. “From the beginning, the attorney general had no case, and has wasted the state’s time and attention for nearly two years on this boondoggle.”

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund: Support Michael Mann

Funds are needed to defend Prof. Mann in the American Tradition Institute case, in which ATI is seeking to obtain Dr. Mann’s email correspondence through the civil discovery process, which essentially is an “end-run” around the scholarly research exemption under the Virginia FOIA law.

Rick Piltz is Founder and Director of Climate Science Watch. This piece was originally posted at Climate Science Watch.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: Wharf Rat who wrote (9582)3/3/2012 10:36:41 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 37014
Science: Ocean Acidifying So Fast It Threatens Humanity’s Ability to Feed Itself

By Joe Romm on Mar 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm

The world’s oceans may be turning acidic faster today from human carbon emissions than they did during four major extinctions in the last 300 million years, when natural pulses of carbon sent global temperatures soaring, says a new study in Science. The study is the first of its kind to survey the geologic record for evidence of ocean acidification over this vast time period.

“What we’re doing today really stands out,” said lead author Bärbel Hönisch, a paleoceanographer at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “We know that life during past ocean acidification events was not wiped out—new species evolved to replace those that died off. But if industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace, we may lose organisms we care about—coral reefs, oysters, salmon.”

Paleoceanographer James Zachos with a core of sediment from some 56 million years ago

That’s the news release from a major 21-author Science paper, “ The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification” (subs. req’d).

We knew from a 2010 Nature Geoscience study that the oceans are now acidifying 10 times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred. But this study looked back over 300 million and found that “the unprecedented rapidity of CO2 release currently taking place” has put marine life at risk in a frighteningly unique way:

… the current rate of (mainly fossil fuel) CO2 release stands out as capable of driving a combination and magnitude of ocean geochemical changes potentially unparalleled in at least the last ~300 My of Earth history, raising the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.

That is to say, it’s not just that acidifying oceans spell marine biological meltdown “by end of century” as a 2010 Geological Society study put it. We are also warming the ocean and decreasing dissolved oxygen concentration. That is a recipe for mass extinction. A 2009 Nature Geoscience study found that ocean dead zones “devoid of fish and seafood” are poised to expand and “remain for thousands of years.“

And remember, we just learned from a 2012 new Nature Climate Change study that carbon dioxide is “driving fish crazy” and threatening their survival.

Here’s more on the new study:

The oceans act like a sponge to draw down excess carbon dioxide from the air; the gas reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid, which over time is neutralized by fossil carbonate shells on the seafloor. But if CO2 goes into the oceans too quickly, it can deplete the carbonate ions that corals, mollusks and some plankton need for reef and shell-building.

That is what is happening now. In a review of hundreds of paleoceanographic studies, a team of researchers from five countries found evidence for only one period in the last 300 million years when the oceans changed even remotely as fast as today: the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, some 56 million years ago. In the early 1990s, scientists extracting sediments from the seafloor off Antarctica found a layer of mud from this period wedged between thick deposits of white plankton fossils. In a span of about 5,000 years, they estimated, a mysterious surge of carbon doubled atmospheric concentrations, pushed average global temperatures up by about 6 degrees C, and dramatically changed the ecological landscape.

The result: carbonate plankton shells littering the seafloor dissolved, leaving the brown layer of mud. As many as half of all species of benthic foraminifers, a group of single-celled organisms that live at the ocean bottom, went extinct, suggesting that organisms higher in the food chain may have also disappeared, said study co-author Ellen Thomas, a paleoceanographer at Yale University who was on that pivotal Antarctic cruise. “It’s really unusual that you lose more than 5 to 10 percent of species over less than 20,000 years,” she said. “It’s usually on the order of a few percent over a million years.” During this time, scientists estimate, ocean pH—a measure of acidity–may have fallen as much as 0.45 units. (As pH falls, acidity rises.)

In the last hundred years, atmospheric CO2 has risen about 30 percent, to 393 parts per million, and ocean pH has fallen by 0.1 unit, to 8.1–an acidification rate at least 10 times faster than 56 million years ago, says Hönisch. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that pH may fall another 0.3 units by the end of the century,to 7.8, raising the possibility that we may soon see ocean changes similar to those observed during the PETM.

More catastrophic events have shaken earth before, but perhaps not as quickly. The study finds two other times of potential ocean acidification: the extinctions triggered by massive volcanism at the end of the Permian and Triassic eras, about 252 million and 201 million years ago respectively. But the authors caution that the timing and chemical changes of these events is less certain. Because most ocean sediments older than 180 million years have been recycled back into the deep earth, scientists have fewer records to work with.

During the end of the Permian, about 252 million years ago, massive volcanic eruptions in present-day Russia led to a rise in atmospheric carbon, and the extinction of 96 percent of marine life. Scientists have found evidence for ocean dead zones and the survival of organisms able to withstand carbonate-poor seawater and high blood-carbon levels, but so far they have been unable to reconstruct changes in ocean pH or carbonate.

At the end of the Triassic, about 201 million years ago, a second burst of mass volcanism doubled atmospheric carbon. Coral reefs collapsed and many sea creatures vanished. Noting that tropical species fared the worst, some scientists question if global warming rather than ocean acidification was the main killer at this time.

The effects of ocean acidification today are overshadowed for now by other problems, ranging from sewage pollution and hotter summer temperatures that threaten corals with disease and bleaching. However, scientists trying to isolate the effects of acidic water in the lab have shown that lower pH levels can harm a range of marine life, from reef and shell-building organisms to the tiny snails favored by salmon. In a recent study, scientists from Stony Brook University found that the larvae of bay scallops and hard clams grow best at pre-industrial pH levels, while their shells corrode at the levels projected for 2100. Off the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the death of oyster larvae has recently been linked to the upwelling of acidic water there.

In parts of the ocean acidified by underwater volcanoes venting carbon dioxide, scientists have seen alarming signs of what the oceans could be like by 2100. In a 2011 study of coral reefs off Papua New Guinea, scientists writing in the journal Nature Climate Change found that when pH dropped to 7.8, reef diversity declined by as much as 40 percent. Other studies have found that clownfish larvae raised in the lab lose their ability to sniff out predators and find their way home when pH drops below 7.8.

“It’s not a problem that can be quickly reversed,” said Christopher Langdon, a biological oceanographer at the University of Miami who co-authored the study on Papua New Guinea reefs. “Once a species goes extinct it’s gone forever. We’re playing a very dangerous game.”

It may take decades before ocean acidification’s effect on marine life shows itself. Until then, the past is a good way to foresee the future, says Richard Feely, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who was not involved in the study. “These studies give you a sense of the timing involved in past ocean acidification events—they did not happen quickly,” he said. “The decisions we make over the next few decades could have significant implications on a geologic timescale.”

This is all on top of the “ Climate Story of the Year: Warming-Driven Drought and Extreme Weather Emerge as Key Threat to Global Food Security.” As my recent piece for the journal Nature concluded, “Feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of a rapidly worsening climate may well be the greatest challenge the human race has ever faced.”

Related Post:

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: Eric who wrote (9567)3/3/2012 10:43:13 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 37014

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Wharf Rat3/3/2012 11:01:11 AM
   of 37014
Indiana bears brunt as US storm system inflicts 'extreme damage'
At least three fatalities reported in fresh rash of storms in Indiana as destruction worsens across American midwest and south


But so far the 2012 tornado season has got off to a much quicker start than normal. In January 2011, 16 tornadoes hit America. But in January 2012, that number jumped to 95

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: Wharf Rat who wrote (9585)3/3/2012 11:30:27 AM
From: Wharf Rat
   of 37014
Climate Change: Insurers Confirm Growing Risks,
Costs Stakeholders from the insurance industry met with members of the U.S. Senate to acknowledge the role global warming plays in extreme weather-related losses, and to issue a call for action.

Insurance Networking News, March 2, 2012

Pat Speer

The politics of global warming have typically involved much debate as to the role climate change plays in growing weather-related risk. Yesterday, however, at a Capital Hill a press conference on the cost of climate change, debate was not on the agenda. Pointing to a year of history-making, $1 billion-plus natural disasters, representatives of Tier 1 insurance companies took a definitive stance with members of the U.S. Senate to confirm that costs to taxpayers and businesses from extreme weather will continue to soar because of climate change.

Representatives from The Reinsurance Association of America, Swiss Re and Willis Re and Ceres, a nonprofit organization that leads a national coalition of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies to address a variety of sustainability challenges, joined Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) yesterday to discuss the growing financial impact of global warming.


[iframe height=250 marginHeight=0 border=0 src=";pg=ros;sz=300x250;pos=3;tile=4;ord=12810754?" frameBorder=no width=300 name=frame1 marginWidth=0 scrolling=no] &ltSCRIPT language="JavaScript1.1" SRC=";abr=!ie;pg=ros;sz=300x250;pos=3;tile=4;ord=12810754?"&gt &lt/SCRIPT&gt [/iframe]
“From our industry’s perspective, the footprints of climate change are around us and the trend of increasing damage to property and threat to lives is clear,” said Franklin Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America. “We need a national policy related to climate and weather.”

Property and casualty insurers in the United States experienced an estimated $44 billion in losses last year when hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes and other natural disasters were more severe, longer, more frequent and less predictable than in the past.

According to Swiss Re, the average weather-related insurance industry loss in the U.S. was about $3 billion a year in the 1980s compared to approximately $20 billion annually by the end of the past decade.

“As a member of the global insurance industry, we have witnessed the increased impact of weather-related events on our industry and around the world,” said Mark Way, head of Swiss Re's sustainability and climate change activities in the Americas. “A warming climate will only add to this trend of increasing losses, which is why action is needed now.”

The insurers cited Tropical Storm Irene as an example of one of the record 14 natural disasters in the United States last year that each caused more than $1 billion in damage. Irene alone, which first came ashore as a hurricane, killed at least 45 people and caused more than $7 billion in damage, affecting both Senators’ states.

“Perhaps no industry better understands the impact of global warming than the insurance industry whose job it is to analyze risk,” Sanders said. “I am pleased leaders in that industry are speaking out about the need to reverse global warming.”

Added Whitehouse, “Extreme weather events, like Rhode Island’s historic floods in 2010, can result in the loss of homes, livelihoods, and even lives. These extreme events fit a pattern predicted by climate scientists, and we should take action now to minimize the damage that carbon pollution is causing to our country and our world.”

Cynthia McHale, the insurance program director at Ceres, issued a more unequivocal statement: “Our climate is changing, human activity is helping to drive the change, and the costs of these extreme weather events are going to keep ballooning unless we break through our political paralysis, and bring down emissions that are warming our planet. If we continue on this path, extreme weather is certain to cause more homes and businesses to be uninsurable in the private insurance market, leaving the costs to taxpayers or individuals.”

“Extreme weather is a threat today and a greater threat tomorrow,” said Pete Thomas, chief risk officer at Willis Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurance intermediaries. “I’m pleased to see the federal government grappling with this issue. The continuing work of Sens. Sanders and Whitehouse is an important start for this necessary dialogue."

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

From: Eric3/3/2012 11:45:03 AM
   of 37014
Global mining boom is leading to landgrab, says report Huge increase in large-scale mining is being fuelled by the rising price of metals and oil, as search for minerals centres on Africa

Huichol people near Real de Catorce, Mexico, who are trying to stop a $100m mining project by First Majestic Silver Corp. Photograph: Christian Palma/AP
The global mining, oil and gas industries have expanded so fast in the last decade they are now leading to large-scale "landgrabbing" and threatening farming and water supplies, according to a report by environment and development groups in Europe, Africa and India.

"The catalogue of devastation is growing. We are no longer talking about isolated pockets of destruction and pollution. In just 10 years, iron ore production has more than doubled, coal has risen 45% and metals like lithium by 125%. Across Africa, Latin America and Asia, more and more lands, rivers and aquifers are being devoured by mining activities.

"Industrial wastelands are being formed by vast open-pit mines and mountain top removal, and the poisoning of water systems, deforestation, and the contamination of topsoil," says the report by the Gaia foundation and groups including Friends of the Earth International, Grain, Oilwatch and Navdanya in India.

The dramatic increase in large-scale mining, clearly seen in places such as the Amazon for gold and oil, India's tribal forest lands for bauxite, South Africa for coal and Ghana for gold, is being fuelled by the rising price of metals and oil. These have acted as an incentive to exploit new areas and less pure deposits, says the report.

"Technologies are becoming more sophisticated to extract materials from areas which were previously inaccessible, uneconomic or designated of 'lower' quality," it says. "That means more removal of soil, sand and rock and the gouging out of much larger areas of land, as seen with the Alberta tar sands in Canada."

Economies are getting better at reducing the intensity of the use of raw materials but the sheer increase in their absolute consumption is now staggering, say the authors. According to the US Mineral Information Institute, the average American will use close to 1,300 tonnes of minerals in a lifetime. Global energy demand, which is based largely on fossil fuels, is expected to increase 35% by 2030, according to oil firm Exxon.

Africa is the epicentre of the mining industry's search for minerals. Of the 10 biggest mining deals to be completed last year, seven were in Africa, according to Ernst & Young. Mining group Anglo American has earmarked $8bn (£5bn) for new platinum, diamond, iron ore and coal projects on the continent, and Brazil's Vale has said it plans to spend more than $12bn over the next five years in Africa.

According to the Economist magazine, Ernst & Young recently suggested that southern African countries such as Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia were becoming increasingly attractive mining destinations.

China, which has invested heavily in African mines, now sucks up much of the world's mineral resources. According to the report, it uses 53% of the world's cement, 47% of its iron ore, 46% of its coal and more than 40% of the world's steel, lead, zinc and aluminium. However, it re-exports much of this in the form of finished products for world markets.

The loss of enormous quantities of soil, and the eviction of people to make way for large-scale extraction now threaten to make millions of people landless and hungry, a recipe for social problems, says the report.

Water could well be a factor in limiting the extraction of minerals in future. Most mining companies have said they are already experiencing shortages. If demand continues to grow at the same rate that it has in the last decade, industry demands for fresh water are expected to grow from 4,500bn cubic metres today to 6,900bn cubic metres in 2030.

"Humans have almost cleared the surface of the earth. Now all efforts are geared towards going beneath the surface. Large-scale mining is now targeting all parts of the planet," said Gathuri Mburu, co-ordinator of the African Biodiversity Network.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Eric3/3/2012 11:51:15 AM
1 Recommendation   of 37014
New device heralds potential to turn sewage plants into power stations

Breakthrough that combines fuel cell with other technologies could provide power for entire water grids, scientists say

Biodigesters at United Utilities Daveyhulme plant which processes 714m litres of sewage from Manchester each day. Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Corbis

Sewage can be used to generate electricity using a new device revealed by scientists on Thursday. It combines a fuel cell with other technologies to convert waste water treatment stations into power plants, which the researchers believe could provide the power for entire water grids.

"We certainly could take care of the whole water system: the treating and pumping of water, which currently requires substantial amounts of power," said Prof Bruce Logan at Pennsylvania State University in the US. "We also treated the organic matter much faster."

His team's work is published in the journal Science and is "the proof of concept", Logan said. "Our hope now is to optimise the electricity generation as much as possible."

Switching sewage plants from users to generators of electricity would be especially useful in developing countries, said Logan, an environmental engineer specialising in water systems. "There are 2 billion people in the world who need sanitation, including 1 billion who need access to clean water," he said. "If you go into a country and give them a waste treatment system - the World Bank and others have done this - they do not keep it going, as it needs power and maintenance. It is a drain on the community. But if you can also provide electricity for lighting, or charging mobile phones, that's a game-changer."

The new device combines two types of energy-producing technology: a microbial fuel cell, in which bacteria consume organic matter to produce a current, and a reverse electrodialysis system, in which positive and negative ions are separated by a series of membranes, also creating a current. Microbial fuel cells are relatively inefficient while reverse electrodialysis requires many specialised membranes, making it expensive.

"By combining the two technologies, we overcame the limitations of the fuel cell and synergistically generated energy for the reverse electrodialysis system," said Logan. A crucial factor was using ammonium bicarbonate as the fuel for reverse electrodialysis, which performs better than the seawater typically used. Lastly, said Logan, the combination of technologies meant it was possible to use just five membrane pairs rather than the 20 pairs typically needed to generate electricity.

The device produced 0.9 kilowatt-hours of electricity per kilogram of organic waste. In contrast, sewage treatment usually consumes 1.2kWh per kilogram.

"There were a lot of people looking at fuel cells and a completely different group looking at reverse electrodialysis," said Logan. "We brought the technologies together."

The scientists said broths of other organic material, such as crop waste or other sources of cellulose, could be used to generate power in their device. They also said it could be used to produce electricity from the 7-17% of energy used in the US that is lost as waste heat.

In 2011, British water company Thames Water said it would produce 16% of its electricity by burning sewage flakes. Another company, Wessex Water, has launched a trial running a car on methane gas derived from the sewage treatment process at its Bristol works.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: Eric3/3/2012 12:02:08 PM
   of 37014
BP settles Gulf of Mexico oil spill lawsuit $7.8bn payout will compensate thousands of individuals and comes ahead of trial due to begin on Monday

BP agrees $7.8bn payout over Gulf of Mexico oil spill Link to this video

BP will pay out $7.8bn (£5bn) to settle a lawsuit with thousands of individuals from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, under an agreement reached late on Friday night.

The settlement, announced by Judge Carl Barbier, was reached just ahead of Monday's trial in a New Orleans court.

The trial, already delayed by a week to allow extra time for negotiations, has been postponed again.

With one major settlement achieved, BP will probably redouble its efforts to reach a deal with the federal government over fines related to the spill.

In a statement late on Friday night, the oil company said it would use the remainder of the $20bn compensation fund raised in the summer of 2010 to settle claims with tens of thousands of shrimp boat captains, condo owners and others who suffered losses in the spill. The company said it had already paid out about $8bn from the fund.

The oil company said the $7.8bn would also include $2.3bn for the Gulf seafood industry.

"From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region and we've worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years," said Bob Dudley, the BP chief executive. "The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast."

Eleven men were killed in the 20 April 2010 blowout on the Deepwater Horizon. By the time BP regained control of its well 87 days later, the Gulf was fouled by some 4.9m barrels of crude, destroying shrimp and oyster harvests and the tourist season.

It was America's worst oil spill. and the civil trial of BP and the other companies involved on the Deepwater Horizon had been expected to be one of the biggest and most complex legal proceedings in modern history.

Hundreds of lawyers for all parties were involved in preparing for the trial – and in parallel negotiations to try to get a settlement. There were 340 lawyers from 90 different firms working on the plaintiffs' side alone.

The deal between BP and more than 120,000 victims of the spill – from shrimp boat captains to sales teams at time-share condos, restaurateurs and wedding planners – settles what is arguably the most complicated part of the legal proceedings.

But it will not be universally welcomed in the Gulf, where there is a strong undercurrent of opinion that wants to see BP held to account in court in addition to offering financial compensation.

Dean Blanchard, a leading shrimp producer from Grand Isle, Louisiana, before the spill, was adamant: payment would not be enough.

"I want my day in court," he said. "If they can get off with just paying the money – well, they've got plenty of money, they are not really going to learn a lesson.

"I'd like to make sure this never happens again. Somebody has got to hold BP's feet to the fire. They have just gotten away with throwing money at problems, but that doesnt get rid of the problems."

Friday night's deal will also not resolve all of BP's legal challenges.

The federal government, and the state governments of Louisiana and Alabama, are also pursuing claims, although the federal government is believed to be actively negotiating with BP to reach a deal over civilian fines for environmental damage done during the spill. If BP is found guilty of gross negligence those fines could reach $17bn.

BP is in a legal battle with the other companies that were involved in the runaway well: Transocean, which owned the oil rig, and Halliburton, which cemented the well. Those legal brawls, over the share of the costs of covering those damages, could continue even after the claims have settled.

"Delays or deals made by other players do not change the facts of this case and we are fully prepared to argue the merits of our case based on those facts," a spokesman for Transocean said on Friday night.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: Wharf Rat who wrote (9581)3/3/2012 12:36:30 PM
From: koan
   of 37014
Sea ice: I'll bet it dips soon.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read
Previous 10 Next 10 

Copyright © 1995-2018 Knight Sac Media. All rights reserved.Stock quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes - See Terms of Use.