Keystone XL Redux

BP Gulf Drilling Plan Criticized by Environmentalists, Lawmakers

By Katarzyna Klimasinska and Brian Swint, Bloomberg News

Sep 26, 2011 8:43 AM ET

BP was “ultimately responsible” for the accident on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 and started the leak, though rigowner Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co (HAL), which provided cement, share some of the blame, a U.S. report said Sept. 14. The 212-page document issued by the Interior Department and Coast Guard said BP managers were distracted by cost overruns and personal conflicts.

Gulf of Mexico oil is more than twice as profitable as production from the rest of BP’s portfolio, yielding about $60 in profit to the company when oil prices are $100 a barrel. In 2010, the Gulf of Mexico accounted for 28 percent of the company’s cash flow and just 10 percent of production, according to research by Citigroup Inc. analyst Alastair Syme.

BP’s Dudley said July 26 that BP is eager to “get back to work” in the Gulf, working closely with regulators, and that the pace of BP’s return depends on getting approvals for new wells. He said the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Management says BP won’t be held to a higher standard than its peers in its applications.

What could possibly go wrong?

Study shows dispersants BP used in oil spill may cause cancer

Kimberly Blair, Pensacola News Journal

12:00 AM, Sep. 26, 2011  

The report indicates that the 1.8 million gallons of oil dispersants – including Corexit 9500 and 9527 – sprayed on or dumped into the Gulf of Mexico after the spill could contain cancer-causing agents, endocrine-disrupting chemicals and hazardous toxins.

And the chemicals mixed with the sweet Louisiana crude that flowed into the Gulf for 87 days from the Deepwater Horizon oil well may have created a brew that is more harmful to marine life, humans and the environment than the oil.

Gulf oil spill could cause lasting damage to fish populations, study finds

By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

Published: September 26

Fish living in Gulf of Mexico marshes exposed to last year’s oil spill have undergone cellular changes that could lead to developmental and reproductive problems, a group of researchers reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Their biology is telling us that they’ve been a), exposed to these chemicals and b), affected by them in negative ways,” said Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at LSU and the paper’s lead author. “Very low-level exposures can cause these toxic effects.”

Whitehead said the results show that just because fish from the gulf have passed federal inspections, it does not mean these species are unaffected by the spill.

“You can have a fish that’s safe to eat but is still not healthy,” he said, adding that as sediment containing hydrocarbons is dredged up by storms, it could expose species over time. “The sediments are going to act as this long-term reservoir of oil, of potential exposure.”

Docs show US gov’t bias to Keystone XL during environmental study

by Lynn Herrmann

Sep 26, 2011

Washington – New documents reveal the US State Department was “doing favors” for TransCanada during a government review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and sheds light on a White House bias in favor of the pipeline.

Among the initial batch of 34 documents (pdf) released, all originating from the Office of the Secretary, are concerns over State Department “bias” and Clinton’s comment herself before the required environmental review had been completed in which she stated she was “inclined” toward project approval.

Other documents reveal State Department officials helped TransCanada by “providing information about State’s internal thinking and by coaching TransCanada on what to say” in response to the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Friends of the Earth notes.

In another email correspondence (pdf) from December 6, 2009, Elliott offered to have TransCanada lobby the Canadian government on behalf of the State Department, with Elliott stating “TransCanada executives spend a great deal of time with Ottawa government officials” and added “TransCanada can be an asset for the state department and I hope you might see us as such.”

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