A pipeline rupture in Mayflower, Arkansas Friday has given anti-oil advocates new fodder for the fight against Keystone XL. Thousands of gallons of Canadian Wabasca heavy crude oil en route from Illinois to the Gulf Coast burst from an Exxon Mobil pipeline, leaving slick roads, oil-logged lawns, and evacuated homes in its wake.!--/end tags-->
With the federal civil trial against BP scheduled to begin on February 25, Audubon and other environmental groups have mounted a letter campaign to urge the government to fine the company the maximum amount possible for the Gulf Oil Spill. So far more than 100,000 people have sent letters. Audubon, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Environmental Defense Fund will deliver the letters on Wednesday, February 13.!--/end tags-->
The Kulluk on New Year's Day after it ran aground on an uninhabited Alaskan island. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis)
Shell’s numerous Arctic drilling blunders have spurred the government to launch an urgent review that could hinder—or even halt—the company’s continuing efforts to open up waters off of Alaska’s coast to oil exploration.!--/end tags-->
Artwork: Mark Hobson
Seabirds befouled with black ooze are potent symbols of the havoc oil spills can wreak on marine and coastal ecosystems, but the ebony plumage of the bird in Mark Hobson’s “Pelagic Cormorants: Diving for Gobies” is entirely natural. Nevertheless, viewed in the context of the Art for an Oil-free Coast exhibit now touring British Columbia, the painting’s message is unequivocal: wildlife and petroleum products don’t mix.!--/end tags-->
Putting out the blaze on the Black Elk Energy-owned platform. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard
Just one day after BP agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges and pay a record-breaking $4.5 billion penalty for the Deepwater Horizon spill, another offshore drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday. Two workers missing, and of the 11 injured, four are critically injured with burns over much of their bodies.!--/end tags-->
The blazing remnants of Deepwater Horizon, April 21, 2010. Courtesy US Coast Guard
More than two years after the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP announced today that it will pay $4.5 billion in fines to the U.S. government and plead guilty to 14 criminal charges, including those related to the deaths of 11 Deepwater Horizon rig workers, lying to Congress about the amount of oil pouring out of the ruptured well, and violating of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. “This settlement matches the unprecedented offense BP committed,” says David Yarnold, Audubon president and CEO.!--/end tags-->
When we think of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, we remember slicks iridescent oil lapping against the rugged, pine-bordered beaches. We remember shorebirds and sea otters struggling helplessly to rid themselves of the toxic sludge. We remeber the disbelief, the outrage, and the heroic effort it took to mitigate the damage.
But few remember what happened to the ship that lent its name to the disaster. Twenty-three years after the spill, the Exxon Valdez’s story is finally finished. A July court ruling decided that the ship will be dismantled for scrap metal in an Indian ship-breaking yard.!--/end tags-->
Today marks a momentous occasion for conservation. In a historic turn of events, the RESTORE Act, designed to help recover the ailing Gulf coast, cleared both the House and Senate and is on its way to President Obama’s desk. The legislation represents the single largest investment in environmental restoration ever made by Congress, providing as much as $20 billion in funds for Gulf restoration and recovery. The money comes from Clean Water Act penalties that BP had to pay as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010.!--/end tags-->
The white pelicans developing inside eggs on Minnesota’s Marsh Lake islands weren’t around two years ago when the catastrophic BP oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, but they may be marked by the disaster anyway. Preliminary evidence shows that the vast majority of the small sample of eggs tested so far contain petroleum compounds and the chemical dispersant used to break up oil slicks.