Jun 9, 2010 3:51 PM by Melissa Canone
A summary of events on Wednesday, June 9, Day 50 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.
Equipment collecting the oil and bringing it to the surface is
believed to be nearing its daily processing capacity. A floating
platform could be the solution to process most of the flow, BP
said. The British oil giant is preparing to burn some, using a
device called an EverGreen Burner, officials said. Its 12 nozzles
turn a flow of oil and gas into a fog that can be burned without
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen has written to BP CEO Tony Hayward
demanding "more detail and openness" about how the company is
handling mounting damage claims from the Gulf Coast oil spill.
Allen reminded Hayward in the letter dated Tuesday that the company
is accountable and has accepted responsibility for economic loss
caused by the spill. But he said BP is failing to provide
"information we need to meet our responsibilities to our
Speaking to network news shows Wednesday morning, BP Chief
Operating Officer Doug Suttles continued to insist that no massive
underwater oil plumes in "large concentrations" have been
detected from the spill. His comments came a day after the
government said water tests confirmed underwater oil plumes, but
that concentrations were low.
Professor Peter Lutz is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a
Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in
2005. Under the heading "sensitive biological resources," the
plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions
and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf. The names and phone
numbers of several Texas A&M University marine life specialists are
wrong. So are the numbers for marine mammal stranding network
offices in Louisiana and Florida, which are no longer in service.
BP PLC's 582-page regional spill plan for the Gulf, and its
52-page, site-specific plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig are
riddled with omissions and glaring errors, according to an
Associated Press analysis that details how BP officials have pretty
much been making it up as they go along. The plans approved by the
federal government last year vastly understate the dangers posed by
an uncontrolled leak and vastly overstate the company's
preparedness to deal with one.
The government's ban on deepwater petroleum drilling in the Gulf
of Mexico is challenged by a Louisiana petroleum service company.
Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. filed a federal lawsuit in New
Orleans claiming there is no legal justification for the six-month
moratorium. Hornbeck's vessel fleet hauls people and supplies to
offshore drilling rigs and production platforms.
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are trying to
prevent a political disaster along with the environmental one
taking place in the Gulf of Mexico as they try to convince
Americans frustrated by the ongoing oil spill that BP and
Republican coziness with the oil industry are to blame. Within a
few hours Tuesday, the White House said Obama would visit the Gulf
Coast again next week, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a
strict deadline for new oil spill legislation. Obama's fourth oil
spill-related visit will be a two-day trip Monday and Tuesday to
receive updates in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.