Environmental News Roundup

Photo of a Port Arthur, Texas, neighborhood by the Associated Press

An advocate for communities dealing with industrial pollution gets a huge award, Ken Feinberg finally gets real about subsistence compensation, Grand Isle is restored to its pre-Anglo-Suisse/post-BP conditions and more. Below are some interesting stories we’ve found:

First off, some good news! Longtime LABB partner and a fighter of industry in Port Arthur, Texas, Hilton Kelley, was awarded the Goldman Prize (what’s billed as the “Green Nobel”) on Monday in San Francisco. Kelley has been instrumental in improving his community and forcing refineries and chemical plants in the area to change their ways. From the Washington Post:

“In 2006, Motiva Enterprises, a subsidiary of Shell Oil and billed as the largest refinery in the nation, was persuaded to start a $3.5 million community fund as part of a Good Neighbor Agreement to promote economic revitalization and improve pollution controls. The next year, activists led by Kelley ended a corporation’s plan to import from Mexico 20,000 tons of toxic liquids that were banned by the federal government and incinerate them at its Port Arthur hazardous-waste plant.”

Another good story from today: Ken Feinberg finally decided to pay attention to the Oil Pollution Act and compensate Vietnamese and American Indian fishermen for more than 16,000 subsistence claims related to the BP Oil Spill.

In other news, Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, made headlines last week for awarding huge bonuses to its top brass for having the “best year in safety performance in our company’s history!!!” in 2010. Congrats, guys! You really deserve this, despite that itty bitty explosion that killed 11 rig workers, ruined the Gulf of Mexico and led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Of course, the waves of criticism forced Transocean into damage control, and five of its executives announced they would be donating their safety bonuses (about $250,000) to the families of the 11 victims. But what they didn’t mention was that this was only a portion of the total bonuses they were awarded for Excellence in Oil Spill Response, Outstanding Achievement in Deflecting Blame and finally, Most Improved at Doublespeak.

Anglo-Suisse, makers of fine chocolates and occasional oil spills, stopped by to say that the recent non-BP oil spill at Grand Isle, which they only contributed 5 gallons to,  is ALL CLEANED UP! So they’re gonna, y’know, go now. And everyone nodded and thanked them, then we all held hands with the Coast Guard on the front porch and waved Anglo-Swiss Chocolates off as they drove away, back to Swiss Chocolate Land. Someone yelled “Come back and visit again!” but they probably didn’t hear.

Then, a few days later, the Coast Guard remembered something, called up Anglo-Saxon Chocolatiers and said, “Oh, hey! We forgot to give you some enforcement actions before you left!”

The Coastal Marine and Operators group (y’know, those guys!) met last week in Larose and they were all “Oilfield pipelines may pose safety risks!” And then they all patted themselves on the back and called it a day.

Remember last year? Remember how after the BP Oil Spill, Congress was ready to shake down the oil industry, improve safety standards, rename MMS to BOEMRE because it rolled off the tongue better, and make sure BP paid for it all? Every last cent and then some? Those were the days! But, alas, it’s no longer an election year.

From the Times-Picayune:

“A compromise being negotiated by Mary Landrieu, D-La., that would have increased liability for spills beyond the current $75 million limit and directed most of the BP fine and penalty money to coastal restoration, never made it to the floor during the Senate’s lame-duck session after the election, which was consumed with legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years.

Legislation to give the BP spill commission the same subpoena power given other investigative commissions couldn’t get to the floor. Another would have allowed families of the 11 rig workers killed in the explosion to collect damages comparable to those allowed for land-based accidents. It failed when a single senator objected, preventing it from getting a vote.”

This entry was posted in BP Oil Spill, Oil Refineries, Oil spills, Public Health. Bookmark the permalink.

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