Oil spill

December 19, 2013

UT/Chevron Agree to Settlement

Read here about a settlement worth over $5 million between Utah and Chevron over a fuel spill.

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December 5, 2013

Oil Spill in MS River

Read here about clean up of an oil spill in the Mississippi River that resulted from a sunken towboat.

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December 5, 2013

Lawsuits Result from Ruptured Pipeline

Read here about lawsuits against ExxonMobil over a pipeline rupture in Arkansas.

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December 4, 2013

$8M oil spill deal

Source: Times Union (Albany, NY), November 23, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The world’s largest oil company is paying the state more than $8 million to cover disputed costs of a state-run cleanup of a former oil terminal on the St. Lawrence River, according to state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The payment from ExxonMobil settles a six-year legal disagreement and is the largest payment by a polluter ever made to the state Oil Spill Fund, which funds pollution cleanups run by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The fund gets most of its cash from taxpayers in the form of a gasoline tax.

Since 2006, the state spill fund has spent about $9.3 million for cleanup at Lighthouse Point on the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers in Ogdensburg, where a petroleum terminal owned by ExxonMobil and its corporate ancestors operated for about a century before closing in 1984. Pollution was found there in 2001, and a state cleanup began several years later.

ExxonMobil initially believed it settled the cleanup bill for $6 million in 2006 with former Comptroller Alan Hevesi, but his successor, Thomas DiNapoli disputed that, saying the extra costs had to be addressed in any settlement. DiNapoli sent the case to Schneiderman.

“Through today’s agreement, we’re not only returning millions to the state but also holding ExxonMobil responsible for their role in this oil spill,” the attorney general said.

The remaining balance of the cleanup, more than $1 million, will be borne by the spill fund.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the State of New York,” said ExxonMobil spokesman Todd Spitler.

For 2012-13, the fund spent about $14.8 million statewide on cleanups, and recovered about $8.2 million in reimbursement and penalties from polluters, ending the year with a $3 million deficit, according to state records. The fund began 416 cleanups statewide during that time, and completed 111.

Since the fund began in 1978, it has spent more than $464 million on spill cleanups, $306 million to run the program, and collected $196 million from polluters. During that same period, the gasoline tax kicked in $577 million.

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December 2, 2013

Well Site to be Included in Oil Spill Cleanup

Read here about cleanup of a former oil well pad.

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November 22, 2013

AL receives money for oil spill restoration

Read here about millions of dollars that have been approved for oil spill restoration projects in Alabama.

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November 22, 2013

Worms may help fight oil pollution

Source: The Herald (Plymouth, England), November 20, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

MARINE worms are the latest ally in the battle against oil pollution in the sea.

Plymouth scientists are studying how the burrowing creatures help speed up the breakdown of oil by microbes.

The research is going on at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) as part of a new European consortium, developing novel biotechnological ways of tackling oil spills.

The close links between MBA scientists and oil and technology firms – through the European Union-funded Kill-Spill group – are paying off as the city researchers move towards a ‘green’ solution. One of the partner groups in Messina, Italy, sent polluted sediment samples to the laboratory in Citadel Hill on the Hoe, where the oil-degrading microbes will be analysed to see how they respond to ragworms. The leader of Kill Spill’s MBA research group, Michael Cunliffe, said: “Burrowing marine worms have much the same effect as earthworms do in garden soil. As well as bringing oxygen down into the sediment, worms mix things up and accelerate natural microbial breakdown.”

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November 14, 2013

ND fire leads to oil & saltwater spill

Read here about an explosion in North Dakota that resulted in an oil and saltwater spill.

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October 4, 2013

Can bacteria combat oil spill disasters?

Source: Web Newswire (India), September 29, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Until now, chemicals have often been used to clean up oil disasters, to break up the oil/water emulsion, making oil more soluble and thus removing it from the surface water. According to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) around seven million litres of such chemicals were used to combat oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting from a spill of about 700,000 tons of crude oil into the sea from the offshore oil drilling platform Deepwater Horizon in 2010. Some of the most well-known of these were dispersants with the brand name Corexit – developed following the notorious tanker accident of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989. These substances have been heavily criticised however because of their side effects on humans and the environment. In the context of the EU-project BACSIN, scientists from different countries have therefore been investigating alternatives. One approach for example could be to stimulate oil-degrading bacteria in their growth or for example by making them easier to use by freeze-drying so that they can be sprayed more easily than powders over the oil slick, explains Dr. Hermann J. Heipieper from the UFZ. However, there are still lots of details that require fine-tuning before the day arrives when they can be used to combat damage from oil spills. The precautionary principle should therefore be given priority. No matter how concerted efforts are, nature will never completely return to its original state, not to mention the fact that the mitigation of environmental damage from oil spills is much more costly than its prevention.…

September 13, 2013

BP toxic gas trial is first of many

Source: Houston Chronicle, September 10, 2013
Posted on: http://fpn.advisen.com

Tons of toxic gases spewed from a tower at BP’s Texas City refinery for more than 40 days in 2010 without warning to the public. This week four of more than 48,000 residents who sued BP claiming health damage from the release will be the first to have their day in court.

They are asking a jury to give each of them up to $200,000 and to punish BP by awarding 10 percent of its estimated $147 billion net worth. The punitive damages would be given to charity, said attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the four Galveston County residents.

The lawsuit alleges that BP could have shut down a unit that caused the release but refused to do so because it would have cost $20 million in lost revenue.

Jury selection began Monday in the trial, which is expected to set the tone for many trials to follow.

“These test cases are all bellwethers,” Buzbee said. “Whatever decision is made by the jury will not be binding on any clients but these, but it will give a strong indication of the … value of the cases.”

The mixture of gases escaped through a flare, a tower designed to burn away pollutants released into the air, between April 6 and May 22, 2010.…