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Oil Spills

  1. Oil-Eating Microbes for Cleaning Oil Along the Coast (CNN News)
      Osprey Biotechnics claims microbes can clean oil along the shoreline. In Alaska, with nitrogen and phosphorous as nutrients, microbes were used to help clean oil along the shoreline. 07-10

  1. Gulf Oil Spill News (CNN News)
      Provides news on the BP 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 05-10

  1. "Top Kill" Not Working (CBS News)
      "A risky procedure to stop the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico has yet to show much success, and BP is considering scrapping it in favor of a different method to contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history, an executive said Saturday." 05-10

  2. "Top Kill" Planned to Stop Oil Leak (CNN News)
      "A "top kill" method intended to stop the runaway flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico will likely be tried early next week, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Friday."

      "In the procedure, thick, viscous fluid twice the density of water will be pumped at a high rate into the site of the leak to stop the flow so that it can then be sealed with cement, Suttles said." 05-10

  3. -Who Is to Blame for the Gulf Oil Spill? (
      Provides a list of 12 who time editors consider the most guilty. 06-10

  4. Amount of Oil Spilling in the Gulf of Mexico (MSNBC News)
      Provides a graphic to show how much oil has spilled. 05-10

  5. BP Has Had Strong Ties With Government (New York Times)
      "Three years ago, the national laboratory then headed by Steven Chu received the bulk of a $500 million grant from the British oil giant BP to develop alternative energy sources through a new Energy Biosciences Institute." 05-10

  6. BP Oil Leak Stopped Temporarily (CNN News)
      "The verdict so far: generally good news but still some uncertainty about whether there's a leak in BP's well in the Gulf of Mexico, now fitted with a containment cap." 07-10

  7. BP Oil Spill Now Largest Ever in Gulf (CBS News)
      "The blown-out well that has been spewing oil for two and a half months has now sent some 140.6 million gallons of oil into the Gulf surpassing the 140 million gallons from a spill off the coast of Mexico in 1979 and 1980. Even by the lower end of the government's estimates, at least 71.2 million gallons are in the Gulf."

      "The calculation is based on the higher end of the government's range of barrels leaked per day, minus the amount BP says it has collected from the blown-out well using two containment systems."

      "The growing total is crucial to track, in part because London-based BP PLC is likely to be fined per gallon spilled, said Larry McKinney, director of Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi's Gulf of Mexico research institute." 07-10

  8. BP Settles for a "Rougher Cut" of Pipe to Seal Gusher (CNN News)
      "An effort to slice off the pipe with a precision diamond-edged cutter failed Wednesday, forcing BP to settle for a rougher cut of the pipe made with shears. The more primitive cut means that a rubber seal will not be as tight as previously hoped, said U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's response manager."

      "Meanwhile, the government has now declared 37 percent of the Gulf off limits for fishing." 05-10

  9. BP Underperforms on Promise to Clear Oil from Gulf (CBS News)
      "The Washington Post reported today that, in the 77 days since the spill began, BP has skimmed or burned only about 60 percent of the oil it promised regulators it could remove in a single day. In March, BP told the government it had the capacity to skim and remove 491,721 barrels of oil each day in the event of a major spill. As of Monday, however, skimming operations have removed on average less than 900 barrels a day."

      "In total, about 2 million barrels of oil have been released into the Gulf as of Monday." 07-10

  10. BP to Try a Tube to Stop Oil Leak (MSNBC News)
      "Setting aside their 'top hat' strategy for now, BP officials said Thursday they would instead try threading a small tube into a jagged pipe gushing crude from the Gulf seafloor." 05-10

  11. Bacteria That Eat Oil Pollution (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
      Provides a description of bacteria that make oil spills nontoxic. 1-01

  12. Bhopal and the Gulf Oil Spill (
      "Indians point at the way the U.S. government is now confronting BP — holding it squarely responsible for the oil spill and accountable for all cleanup costs — as a stark contrast to the way their own government has dealt with Union Carbide. The hope in India is that U.S. courts will be more amenable to the requests of Bhopal's victims now that America has a huge environmental disaster in its own backyard. The Bhopal activists say the Indian government must join the case in the U.S. as a plaintiff (indeed, it owns the land on which the Union Carbide factory was located). 'Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be inspired by President Obama's recent commitment toward making BP pay every cent for its oil spill,' says Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action. 'And the U.S. government must follow the same standards on corporate liability for U.S. corporations operating in India as it expects for corporations operating in the U.S.' " 06-10

  13. Biggest Oil Spill in U.S. History (MSNBC)
      "As BP labored for a second day Thursday to choke off the leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, dire new government estimates showed the disaster has easily eclipsed the Exxon Valdez as the biggest oil spill in U.S. history." 05-10

  14. Bubble of Methane Caused Oil Rig Explosion (
      "The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation." 05-10

  15. Costner Presents a Potential Solution to Oil Spill (ABC News)
      "Costner has been funding a team of scientists for 15 years in hopes of developing a technology to clean up massive oil spills, and his research has created a powerful centrifuge that he claims can separate oil from water and dump the oil into a holding tank." 05-10

  16. Depths of Gulf Oil Spill Disaster (CNN News)
      "The Gulf Coast oil disaster is made up of many facets: the lives, the numbers, the science, the economy, the wildlife and more. The worst U.S. spill began April 20, and the consequences could last decades. Explore some of the threads of this unfolding story." 08-10

  17. EPA Scientists Discuss Dispersants (CNN News)
      "The EPA study showed that the chemicals, when not mixed with oil, did not significantly disrupt the endocrine systems of marine life. But the agency has said it plans to conduct more tests of the toxicity of the dispersant when mixed with crude." 07-10

  18. Economic Consequences of the Gulf Oil Spill (CNN News)
      "The four biggest industries in the Gulf of Mexico are oil, tourism, fishing and shipping, and they account for some $234 billion in economic activity each year, according to a 2007 study done by regional scholars and published by Texas A&M University Press." 05-10

  19. Editorial: Oil Spill Not Just an Accident (CNN News)
      "The federal government should nationalize major spills, avail itself of the best pooled talent in the oil industry, and send the offending company the people's bill. Once it's on our property, the offending oil company should not touch anything unless specifically directed to do so. As it is now, things are so insanely backward that at the end of June the Coast Guard made it a felony for boats to get within 70 feet of boom. We need to stop putting the murderer in charge of the crime scene."

      "Larger lessons lurk. The mortgage bubble, banking collapse, taxpayer-funded bailouts and this blowout all stem from a three-decade assault on government effectiveness, the consequent deregulation Mardi Gras, and the unleashing of corporate greed and corporate 'personhood.' Corporate capture of government away from the public's interests is the basic poison. Campaign finance reform and publicly funded elections would be the antidote." 07-10

  20. Effort to Cap the Oil Gusher (New York Times)
      "The new strategy is to smoothly cut the riser that the oil is leaking from and then place a cap. Pipes attached to the cap would then take the oil to a storage boat waiting at the surface." 05-10

  21. Efforts Described as Chaotic in the Gulf Oil Spill (New York Times)
      "From the beginning, the effort has been bedeviled by a lack of preparation, organization, urgency and clear lines of authority among federal, state and local officials, as well as BP. As a result, officials and experts say, the damage to the coastline and wildlife has been worse than it might have been if the response had been faster and orchestrated more effectively." 06-10

  22. Fisherman Files Retraining Order Against BP (CNN News)
      "A fisherman who was hospitalized after becoming ill while cleaning up oil in the Gulf of Mexico has filed a temporary restraining order in federal court against oil company BP." 05-10

  23. Giant Oil Skimmer Being Tested (
      "A converted tanker billed as the world's largest oil skimmer is being tested in the Gulf of Mexico, where officials hope it will scrub millions of gallons of oil-tainted seawater."

      "Officials want to verify the ship can make good on its promise of sucking up as much as 21 million gallons of oil-fouled water per day." 07-10

  24. Giant Plumes of Oil Forming Under the Gulf (New York Times)
      "Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given." 05-10

  25. Glossary of Terms for the Oil Spill (CNN News)
      Provides a glossary. 06-10

  26. Governors Claim that Coast Guard and Federal Bureaucracy Continue to Delay Solutions (ABC News)
      "But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges."

      "Sixty days into the crisis, it still can be tough to figure out who is in charge in Louisiana, and the problem appears to be the same in other Gulf Coast states."

      Alabama Governor Bob Riley said "the problem is there's still no single person giving a 'yes' or 'no.' While the Gulf Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard's command center in the Gulf, things begin to shift when other agencies start weighing in, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.' "

      " 'It's like this huge committee down there,' Riley said, 'and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power.' " 06-10

  27. Gulf Oil's Underwater Threat (
      "So far, it's impossible to predict exactly where the toxic cloud [of oil] is heading. If shallow currents take hold of it, they could keep the chemicals near the surface, hastening the breakdown that occurs when they're exposed to sunlight. But if the chemicals hitch a ride on deeper currents, they could sweep down into the canyon, turn south along the west coast of Florida, and then reach the Keys. It's not even out of the question for them to catch the Loop Current and swing up the Atlantic coast of the U.S. The effect on ocean life could be devastating and it will by no means be limited to the fish themselves." 05-10

  28. Gulf Spill Stain Still There (
      "Our need for an energy revolution hasn't changed, but we seem unable to make the hard choices and compromises that are necessary to bring about that change. We haven't gotten serious about attacking our demand for oil—witness New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's recent decision to kill a needed transit tunnel—or funding the heavy-duty research into renewables and other forms of clean energy. Venture capital investment in clean tech is declining. Perhaps worst of all, the oil spill and the debate that ensued over offshore drilling seemed to deepen the sense that a clean environment and a growing economy were simply opposed. An spill-free Gulf would be nice—but drilling jobs are nicer." 10-10

  29. Infrared Camera Shows Oil Slick Extending for Hundreds of Miles (CBS News)
      "From the air, the oil-slick waters stretch for hundreds of miles, the camera only picking up images from the surface of the water."

      "The federal government now estimates as many 39 million gallons worth of oil has poured into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig collapsed. Zappa says it is clear from the pictures seen in this video that the cleanup booms are simply overmatched." 05-10

  30. Ixtoc I Oil Spill (
      "Ixtoc I was an exploratory oil well being drilled by the semi-submersible platform Sedco 135F in the Bay of Campeche of the Gulf of Mexico, about 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche in waters 50 m (160 ft) deep.[1] On 3 June 1979, the well suffered a blowout resulting in the third largest oil spill and the second largest accidental spill in history."

      "In the initial stages of the spill, an estimated 30,000 barrels of oil per day were flowing from the well. In July 1979, the pumping of mud into the well reduced the flow to 20,000 barrels per day, and early in August the pumping of nearly 100,000 steel, iron, and lead balls into the well reduced the flow to 10,000 barrels per day. PEMEX claimed that half of the released oil burned when it reached the surface, a third of it evaporated, and the rest was contained or dispersed.[6] Mexican authorities also drilled two relief wells into the main well to lower the pressure of the blowout, however the oil continued to flow for three months following the completion of the first relief well.[7]" 05-10

  31. Kevin Costner's Oil Separating Machines for the Gulf (ABC News)
      "The machine is a centrifuge designed to separate spilled oil from water and, according to Costner, could be instrumental in cleaning up the massive oil slick expanding in the Gulf."

      "Costner said BP had ordered 32 of the machines. While he acknowledged that a great deal of damage had already been done in the Gulf, he said the machines could still mitigate much of the problem." 06-10

  32. Legal Issues Surrounding the Oil Spill in the Gulf (CNN News)
      "To help readers navigate the legal landscape surrounding BP's mammoth oil spill (or "oil spew," as some argue it should more properly be called) in the Gulf Coast, I have looked into some of the law-related questions and statements that keep surfacing as the press and bloggers keep up with the crisis. I rely mainly here on an interview with Christopher B. Kende, an international insurance law specialist at the firm of Cozen O'Connor. Kende also teaches attorneys about the legal issues stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as a lecturer for HB Litigation Conferences." 05-10

  33. Louisiana Governor Declares State of Emergency (CNN News)
      "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency Thursday as winds drove a massive oil spill toward the state's coast and authorities scrambled to mitigate its environmental effects." 04-10

  34. Machines and Microbes Will Clean Up Oil (CNN News)
      "There's no way to stop oily water from reaching land along the Gulf Coast, but experts will use tools both massive and microscopic to clean it up." 05-10

  35. Methods Tried to Stop Leaking Oil (New York Times)
      "Since a fire engulfed the Deepwater horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, engineers have attempted a number of techniques to slow or stop the torrent of oil leaking from the wellhead 5,000 feet below the surface."

      Provides diagrams as well as descriptions. 05-10

  36. Oil Blowout Preventers Known to Fail (CBS News)
      "Cutoff valves like the one that failed to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster have repeatedly broken down at other wells in the years since federal regulators weakened testing requirements, according to an Associated Press investigation."

      "These steel monsters known as blowout preventers or BOPs - sometimes as big as a double-decker bus and weighing up to 640,000 pounds - guard the mouth of wells. They act as the last defense to choke off unintended releases, slamming a gushing pipe with up to 1 million pounds of force. "

      "We have compiled this chronology in the spirit of transparency so the American people can have a clear understanding of what their government has been and is doing to respond to the massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster." 05-10

  37. Oil Cleanup Effort (ABC News)
      "More than 30 million gallons of oily water have been removed from the surface, and another 10 million-plus gallons have been burned. More than 1.8 million gallons of dispersants have been dropped, and the Coast Guard estimates that with every gallon of chemicals used, up to 20 gallons of oil may be disseminated." 07-10

  38. Oil Containment Box Fails to Work (CBS News)
      " Icelike crystals encrusting a 100-ton steel-and-concrete box meant to contain oil gushing from a broken well deep in the Gulf of Mexico forced crews Saturday to back off a long-shot plan to contain the leak."

      "While the precise cause is still under investigation, the sequence of events described in the interviews provides the most detailed account of the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers and touched off the underwater gusher that has poured more than 3 million gallons of crude into the Gulf." 05-10

  39. Oil Spill: How Much Is a Pelican Worth? (CNN News)
      "Just how much is a dead pelican worth? BP is about to find out."

      "As the owner of the still-leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil giant will pay billions of dollars in damages, much of which will compensate for the birds, fish, mammals and plants that are killed by the accident." 05-10

  40. Pollution-Eating Microbes (Michigan State University)
      Provides information on the microbe, Azoarcus tolulyticus, an Anaerobic Toluene Degrader. This microbe can help clean up (bioremediate) pollution, such as oil spills. It needs nitrates, rather than oxygen, to live. 04-10

  41. Pollution-Eating Microbes (Michigan State University)
      Provides information on the microbe, Azoarcus tolulyticus, an Anaerobic Toluene Degrader. This microbe can help clean up (bioremediate) pollution, such as oil spills. It needs nitrates, rather than oxygen, to live. 2-01

  42. Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry Coordinates Oil Spill Clean Up (
      "Even as volunteers and private contractors helped spread booms to protect Lake Pontchartrain and the city of New Orleans from the oncoming oil, BP on Friday began lowering a 70-ton containment dome over the first of three leaks from the Deepwater Horizon wreck, 5,000 feet below the ocean's surface. If the operation is successful, the dome — and two others that will be deployed over the weekend — will channel oil up to ship on the surface, and could reduce the leakage of oil by some 85%."

      " 'I want to manage everyone's expectations,' said Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry, the federal on-scene coordinator for the spill response." 05-10

  43. Researchers Double Estimate of Oil Spewing into Gulf (CNN News)
      "Researchers have doubled estimates of how much oil has been spewing from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, reporting Thursday that up to 40,000 barrels (1.7 million gallons) a day may have escaped for weeks." 06-10

  44. Sequence of Federal Responses to Gulf Oil Spill (
      "Since the Deepwater Horizon explosion the night of April 20, federal authorities, both military and civilian, have been working onsite and around the clock to respond to and mitigate the impact of the resulting BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

      "We have compiled this chronology in the spirit of transparency so the American people can have a clear understanding of what their government has been and is doing to respond to the massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster." 05-10

  45. Study: Microbes Dispersed Surprising Amounts of Oil in Gulf Spill (CNN News)
      "A new study finds oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from a ruptured BP well degraded at a rate that was 'much faster than anticipated,' thanks to the interaction of a newly-found and unclassified species of microbes with the oil particles." 08-10

  46. Subsea Oil Plumes Found 142 Miles from Rig (MSNBC News)
      "There have been reports of such underwater "plumes" previously, but BP had questioned whether oil was actually forming below water."

      "This is the first time the presence of oil plumes has been confirmed by a government agency." 06-10

  47. Ten Animals Most At Risk from Oil Spill (CBS News)
      "Oil is spreading across the Gulf of Mexico -- the result of the sinking of an oil rig last week. A spill of this magnitude so close to the wetlands, estuaries and national fisheries of south Louisiana is unprecedented."

      "Though it's unclear how badly wildlife along the Gulf Coast will suffer, the timing of the spill couldn't be worse. This is peak spawning and nesting season for many species of fish, birds, turtles and marine mammals. Many species remain in set breeding areas during this time and there's less instinct to move away from danger." 04-10

  48. Testing Oil Spill Cleanup Methods (
      "Ohmsett is located at the Naval Weapons Station Earle Waterfront in scenic Leonardo, New Jersey (approximately one hour south of New York City). Ohmsett's above ground concrete test tank is one of the largest of its kind, measuring 203 meters long by 20 meters wide by 3.4 meters deep. The tank is filled with 2.6 million gallons of crystal clear saltwater."

      "The Ohmsett test tank allows testing of full-scale equipment. The tank's wave generator creates realistic sea environments, while state-of-the-art data collection and video systems record test results. Our facility has proven to be ideal for testing equipment, evaluating acquisition options, and validating research findings."

      "Government agencies, academia, public and private companies are invited to contract the use of Ohmsett as a research center to test oil spill containment/clean-up equipment and techniques, to test new designs in response equipment, and to conduct training with actual oil spill response technologies." 05-10

  49. The EPA Solicits Ideas and Help for Gulf Oil Disaster (
      The EPA is requesting help. 05-10

  50. The Physics of Oil Spills (MSNBC News)
      Shows what happens to oil over days, week, months, and years as it interacts with the ocean. 06-10

  51. Unchecked Gusher from Ocean's Floor: No End in Sight (
      "It may be time to stop referring to the Deepwater Horizon rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico as an oil spill. A spill sounds like something temporary, a glass of milk overturned, which empties and then can be cleaned up. But what is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, not far from the sensitive shorelines of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, isn't a spill. It's an unchecked gush of crude oil from beneath the bottom of the ocean into the water — and no one can say for sure when it will finally stop." 04-10

  52. What Happens to the Toxic Waste from the Oil Spill? (MSNBC News)
      "But where the oil is concentrated in slicks on the surface, some of it can be burned off. The Deepwater Horizon response website said that as of Saturday, more than 95,000 barrels had been disposed of that way."

      "After that it gets more complicated. More than 400 skimmer boats are collecting oily water from the surface of the Gulf — about 474,000 barrels as of Saturday. That mixture, as well as the runoff from rinsing down oily equipment or washing oiled birds, is supposed to be collected and transported to facilities like the River Birch Landfill near Avondale, La." 06-10

  53. Who Decides If an Oil Spill Claim Is Legitimate? (
      "Fishing can bring in a lot of money in a very short period of time during the right season, but fishermen might be hard-pressed to provide evidence — bank statements, pay stubs — that can back that up. The same goes for many other businesses: if receipts are dwindling at a restaurant, or guests are cancelling at a resort, how is it possible to prove that the spill alone is responsible?" 06-10

  54. Why Cleanup of Oil Spill Lagged (Christian Science Monitor)
      "Local crab fishermen used to take part in drills to clean up oil spills, scooping up rice – the stand-in for an oil slick – that drifted atop the waters of San Francisco Bay. Then, about a decade ago, that training stopped. So when a real oil spill occurred earlier this month, the crabbers didn't have up-to-date certifications or strong ties with first responders. The Coast Guard initially rebuffed their help." 04-10


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