Tuesday, May 25, 2010


clipped from news.yahoo.com

According to two surviving crew members of the Deepwater Horizon, oil workers from the rig were held in seclusion on the open water for up to two days after the April 20 explosion, while attorneys attempted to convince them to sign legal documents stating that they were unharmed by the incident. The men claim that they were forbidden from having any contact with concerned loved ones during that time, and were told they would not be able to go home until they signed the documents they were presented with.

Stephen Davis, a seven-year veteran of drilling-rig work from San Antonio, told The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg today that he was held on a boat for 36 to 40 hours after diving into the Gulf from the burning rig and swimming to safety. Once on a crew boat, Davis said, he and the others were denied access to satellite phones or radio to get in touch with their families, many of whom were frantic to find out whether or not they were OK.

blog it
Hat-tip to Wounded Bird: HORIZON SURVIVORS ALLEGEDLY KEPT IN SECLUSION AFTER EXPLOSION for this link. And like Wounded Bird, I have few words, and let the story speak for itself.

But I have one observation. Perhaps our grandchildren's generation may develop the technology to exploit that oil without wasting it or damaging the environment. It seems that BP were out of their depth, figuratively as well as literally. That is our grandchildren's oil that is being wasted by this generations hubris.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Transocean cites 1851 law to limit spill liability - U.S. business- msnbc.com

Transocean cites 1851 law to limit spill liability - U.S. business- msnbc.com: "The company that owns the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig said Thursday it will petition a federal court in Houston to cap its overall liability from the incident at less than $27 million.

If successful, Transocean Ltd. would be left with as much as $533 million in insurance money from the failed venture. That's almost enough to cover the revenue the company was expecting from a three-year contract with BP PLC. However, it has also estimated additional expenses from insurance deductibles, higher insurance premiums and legal fees at about $200 million.

The move comes as lawsuits pile up against Transocean and BP, which leased the rig and is trying to shut off a well that's spewing 210,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico each day. In addition, hearings by congressional and administration panels this week have raised questions about safety procedures and equipment employed at the drill site."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother of all gushers could kill Earth's oceans

Mother of all gushers could kill Earth's oceans: "Imagine a pipe 5 feet wide (potentially) spewing crude oil like a fire hose from what could be the planets' largest, high-pressure oil and gas reserve. With the best technology available to man, the Deepwater Horizon rig popped a hole into that reserve and was overwhelmed. If this isn't contained, it could poison all the oceans of the world."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wild Coast: mining and toll road


The Wild Coast continues to be under threat from both the application to undertake sand dune mining and the N2 toll highway. The record of decision (ROD) for the N2 toll road was released on 19 April. It is stated that objections need to be made before 19th May. We are asking for an extension to this deadline but we are also told that DEAT is requiring a notice of intention to appeal. We attach this notice. We write now to ask that if you are registered as an Interested and Affected Party (I&AP) and wish to appeal, that you send in this form.

Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) will shortly issue a brief outline regarding our concerns. We believe it best if comments come from a denomination or a congregation or a faith community, though an individual may also object. If you are not registered as an I&AP but wish to object, please do it through SAFCEI. We will include your appeal with ours.

I do emphasize that we in both SAFCEI and SWC believe that the development of roads in the Eastern Cape is important. Our concern is about the route of this proposed toll road and the fact that it is to be a toll road which will place an extremely heavy burden not only on the people of the Eastern Cape but also on the residents of Durban. As long ago as 2003, we asked SANRAL to upgrade the existing roads. This would not have required an extensive EIA and the work could have been completed by now. Their refusal has been extremely costly in terms of failed development and human lives lost as a result of the poor condition of the present roads. I continue to recall that one of the best priests of the Anglican Diocese of Umzimvubu, the Revd Madoda Hlwatika, lost his life on 6th January in 2004 on one of the very road we have asked to be upgraded.

The greenfields route between Lusikisiki and Port Edward is not of concern only because of the threat it poses to the Pondoland Centre of Endemism but it will also isolate the present economic centres of the region, notably Mt Frere, Flagstaff and Bizana and it will have an impact on Kokstad. Certainly the residents of Umtata and Lusikisiki will benefit but the EIA does not include the matter of tolling. This is to be a separate application. We believe this is dishonest as residents of that area have not been informed that toll fees could be in excess of R75 to get to Durban. It is also absurd not to include the toll fees at the outset as the road cannot be built unless it is a toll road.

This highlights the fact that the road is for the benefit of through traffic. The road will isolate communities and provide them with extremely limited access. We believe strongly that the people of the Eastern Cape deserve the development of a road system which does not punish them with excessively high toll fees. It would seem that it is the engineering companies that are driving this proposal. This application has emanated from the Department of Transport but is an unsolicited bid. We were told by the Department of Transport that it was not integral to their development plan.

I think it would be fair to say that the people of Pondoland are divided on their opinion about this road. But there is unanimity in their desire for improved roads in the region. Those who will be directly affected by the toll road are extremely concerned not least because of the lack of consultation.

We hope to send you further information shortly.

With good wishes

Bishop Geoff Davies.

Kate Davies

Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute (SAFCEI)




Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Massive oil spill was foreseeable

Massive oil spill was foreseeable: "BP, the company that owns the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded on April 20, is claiming that the spreading oil spill threatening US states along the Gulf of Mexico with economic and ecological disaster was unforeseeable.

Oil is now flowing into the Gulf at a rate of as high as 25,000 barrels a day due to the explosion and the subsequent failure of a blowout preventer (BOP), which is designed to plug the well in the event of an emergency. The BOP is still not responding to attempts to close it.

Neither the company nor the government had in place any backup plans in the event of a failure of the BOP. Options currently being considered to plug the well will take weeks or months to implement and may not be successful."
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