Jun 22, 2010 11:45 AM by Melissa Canone

June 22, Day 63 of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

A summary of events on Tuesday, June 22, Day 63 of the Gulf of
Mexico oil spill that began with the April 20 explosion and fire on
the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and
leased by BP PLC, which is in charge of cleanup and containment.
The blast killed 11 workers. Since then, oil has been pouring into
the Gulf from a blown-out undersea well.

The owner of the offshore rig involved in the massive Gulf oil
spill sharply criticized the U.S. government's six-month ban on
deepwater drilling Tuesday. Transocean Ltd. president Steven Newman
told reporters at an oil industry conference in London that
President Barack Obama's administration could let the business
resume immediately. Transocean owns the Deepwater Horizon rig,
which was run by British oil company BP PLC. An April 20 explosion
on the rig killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil
spill in U.S. history. A federal judge in New Orleans is
considering whether to lift the moratorium, imposed after the
disaster began. Judge Martin Feldman said he will decide by

Oil industry executives on Tuesday sharply criticized President
Barack Obama's six-month ban on deepwater drilling, saying the
world did not have enough other sources of oil to eliminate using
deepsea rigs. The massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico and the
moratorium imposed by Obama dominated discussions at the World
National Oil Companies Congress in the British capital, and a BP
executive standing in for embattled BP CEO Tony Hayward was heckled
by protesters.

Kenneth Feinberg, tapped by the White House to run a $20 billion
fund set up to help people harmed by the spill, pledged to speed
payments. Feinberg, who ran the claim fund set up for victims of
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said BP has paid out over
$100 million so far. Various estimates place total claims so far at
more than $600 million.

Out-of-work Gulf Coast shrimper Todd Pellegal spent his first
$2,500 check from BP quickly, paying off bills and buying groceries
for his family. He never even considered putting some of it away
for taxes. Now he's among the people up and down the Gulf Coast
reeling from the oil spill disaster who are surprised - and
frustrated - to find out the Internal Revenue Service may take a
chunk of the payments BP PLC is providing to help them stay afloat.
Many were already angry about how long the oil giant took to cut
the checks. So when they got the money - generally about a few
thousand dollars each so far - they spent it fast. Accountants have
been trying to nail down the implications for thousands of
taxpayers after President Barack Obama said BP would create a $20
billion disaster fund and provide another $100 million for oil
workers who lose their jobs because of the six-month moratorium on
deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

It looks dirty and muddy, a brown mass of weeds with gas-filled
berries that allow it to float on the Gulf of Mexico's waters.
Sometimes it washes ashore, getting caught in the toes of barefoot
beachgoers or stuck to the bottom of flip-flops. It appears to be
just another sea plant. But this Sargassum algae - sometimes called
sea holly or Gulf weed - is key to hundreds of species of marine
life in the Gulf. Now, the oil is threatening to suffocate it,
dealing a blow to fisheries and the ecosystem that scientists say
may take years to recover. And as the algae dies in the Gulf, less
of the vital plant will reach the Sargasso Sea - some 3,000 miles
away through the loop current - potentially harming that ecosystem
as well.


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