Some quick Gulf spill updates

Rick Wilking/Reuters

Although media coverage of the Deepwater Horizon spill seems to pale in comparison to similar spills of the past, events are still unfolding that may be of interest to readers here.

Congress hauled in executives from BP, Transocean Limited, and Haliburton none of whom accepted responsibility for the catastrophe. Meanwhile, dutiful public servant Jimmy Inhofe bravely leaped to their defense, arguing that the execs had better things to do than be held accountable for their actions. In BP’s case, such things include “top hats” and “junk shots”, terminology that isn’t particularly reassuring to say the least. Concerns continue to mount about the scale of BP’s use of oil dispersant chemicals.

NOAA has closed additional federal waters to fishing as shifting weather conditions altered projections of the spill’s path. The latest forecast indicates winds from the southeast could move new oil onshore:

The Mississippi Delta, Breton Sound, the Chandeleur Islands and areas directly north have a potential for shoreline contacts throughout the forecast period. Oil observed to the west of the Delta offshore of Timbalier Bay could threaten shorelines as far west as Atchafalaya Bay by Thursday, according to the NOAA forecast.

The White House is moving forward with legislation that would increase the amount in damages that the US can collect from oil companies for spills like this one. The current amount is capped at a paltry $75 million.

Things aren’t looking much better for the coal industry. The death toll of a Russian mine blast over the weekend has climbed to 60, with an additional 30 people still missing. After dozens of deaths over the last several months, China has reached the bold conclusion that its mines are insufficiently safe. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration director fears that American coal mining faces similar safety concerns.

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