Sometimes it seems to me that all I write about is Economics, but I do have other interests. Alas, pitchers and catchers don’t report until February 13th and no Formula One until March 11th.
But there are other things happening that we shouldn’t forget, indeed that’s one of the things the Versailles Villagers count on is our having a short attention span. Fortunately the Tubz are here to remind us of the dim distant past, say April 20th, 2010.
Taint Part 1.
Panel challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear
‘It is unethical to experiment with the health of the U.S. population or military members,’ toxicologist says
By Kari Huus, MSNBC
12/27/2010 6:04:49 AM ET
Citing what the law firm calls a state-of-the-art laboratory analysis, toxicologists, chemists and marine biologists retained by the firm of environmental attorney Stuart Smith contend that the government seafood testing program, which has focused on ensuring the seafood was free of the cancer-causing components of crude oil, has overlooked other harmful elements. And they say that their own testing – examining fewer samples but more comprehensively – shows high levels of hydrocarbons from the BP spill that are associated with liver damage.
“What we have found is that FDA simply overlooked an important aspect of safety in their protocol,” contends William Sawyer, a Florida-based toxicologist on Smith’s team. “We now have a sufficient number of samples to provide FDA with probable cause to include such testing, really. They need to go back and test some of their archived samples as well.”
Their approach draws on the work of scientists from industry, government and academia who banded together in the 1990s to develop guidelines for public health officials and environmental engineers faced with petroleum-related exposure and contamination. The work of the U.S.-funded Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Criteria Working Group was part of a flurry of research that occurred in the wake of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.
“What gives us confidence that we are finding oil in these samples is that we are using multiple lines of evidence,” he said. “We are finding – even in metabolized samples – a lot of matches to BP oil.”
Sawyer and Kaltofen began finding high levels of TPH in seawater and sediment in June. Many scientists had previously expressed concerns that the heavy use of chemical dispersants by BP to break up giant oil slicks would lock the contaminants in the water column, making them more available to marine life.
“From there you can reasonably predict that there are going to be more and more findings in the food chain,” said Susan Shaw, a marine toxicologist at the Marine Environmental Research Institute. Shaw, who is not a member of Smith’s scientific team, is one of 14 scientists tapped for the independent DOI Strategic Sciences Working Group to dissect the oil spill consequences and make policy recommendations to the agencies. She has been a vocal opponent of the heavy use of dispersants throughout the response.
“What we’re seeing now is plausible evidence from independent labs that – just as we thought – there’s oil in the food web, and here’s where we’re finding it,” said Shaw.
“We are taking this situation seriously,” said Roy Crabtree, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service southeast region. “Our primary concerns are public safety and ensuring the integrity of the gulf’s seafood supply.”
The New York Times recently published a lengthy piece on the final hours of the BP Deepwater Blowout Disaster, which the whiney Galtian Gatekeepers at Associated Press claim is not a scoop though they don’t dispute it’s original reporting.
Who cares you crybabies?
Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours
By DAVID BARSTOW, DAVID ROHDE and STEPHANIE SAUL, The New York Times
Published: December 25, 2010
It has been eight months since the Macondo well erupted below the Deepwater Horizon, creating one of the worst environmental catastrophes in United States history. With government inquiries under way and billions of dollars in environmental fines at stake, most of the attention has focused on what caused the blowout. Investigators have dissected BP’s well design and Halliburton’s cementing work, uncovering problem after problem.
What emerges is a stark and singular fact: crew members died and suffered terrible injuries because every one of the Horizon’s defenses failed on April 20. Some were deployed but did not work. Some were activated too late, after they had almost certainly been damaged by fire or explosions. Some were never deployed at all.
The paralysis had two main sources, the examination by The Times shows. The first was a failure to train for the worst. The Horizon was like a Gulf Coast town that regularly rehearsed for Category 1 hurricanes but never contemplated the hundred-year storm. The crew members, though expert in responding to the usual range of well problems, were unprepared for a major blowout followed by explosions, fires and a total loss of power.
They were also frozen by the sheer complexity of the Horizon’s defenses, and by the policies that explained when they were to be deployed.
Finally, I mentioned earlier that Shareholder Democracy is a joke. The only way to assert your Contract Rights as a Shareholder is to sue-
New York, Ohio Pensions to Lead Plaintiffs in BP Investor Case Over Spill
By Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg News
Dec 29, 2010 12:01 AM ET
U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison in Houston named New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Ohio State Attorney General Richard Cordray, who head their states’ public employee pension funds, as lead plaintiffs for investors who bought either BP common stock or American depositary receipts from June 2005 to June 2010.
Ellison also named four individual investors as lead plaintiffs for a smaller class of investors who bought common shares of London-based BP or ADRs from March 2009 to April 20 of this year, the date the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, sparking the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
While the sub-class of investors claim that BP’s leadership made misleading statements about drilling safety in the Gulf of Mexico in the months before the rig explosion, the state pension funds “argue more generally that BP made fraudulent statements between 2005 and 2010 about its safety precautions in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere,” Ellison said in yesterday’s order.
The New York and Ohio funds also claim substantial losses from BP ADRs purchased several weeks after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, a timeframe not covered by the complaint of the smaller group of investors, Ellison said. For six weeks after the blast, the funds claim “BP intentionally understated the oil flow rate in an attempt” to diminish harm to the company, lawyers for one of the institutional funds said in court papers.