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Oil Spills

NATIONAL
November 8, 2013 | By Soumya Karlamangla
A 90-car train derailed and exploded in rural Alabama early Friday morning, spilling its crude oil cargo into the surrounding wetlands and igniting a fire so intense that officials said it will take 24 hours to burn out. No one was injured. The train was crossing a timber trestle above a wetland near Aliceville late Thursday night when 20 railcars and two of three locomotives derailed. Earlier reports said fewer cars had derailed. On Friday morning, about 10 train cars were burning, according to a statement from train owner Genesee & Wyoming.
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NATIONAL
October 23, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - About sundown one Sunday in September, North Dakota farmer Steven Jensen noticed that his combine was running over wet, squishy earth in a wheat field he was harvesting. When he took a closer look, he saw that oil had coated the wheels and that it was bubbling up about 6 inches high in spots. That was Sept. 29; Jensen contacted authorities immediately. At least 20,600 barrels of oil leaked onto the Jensens' land from a pipeline owned by Tesoro Logistics, one of the largest land-based spills in recent history.
NATIONAL
September 29, 2013 | By Julie Cart
The second phase of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial begins Monday in New Orleans, restarting a legal juggernaut that could saddle the energy giant with the largest environmental penalty in U.S. history, determine the future health of the Gulf of Mexico and calculate, finally, the amount of crude oil that spewed from the crippled well. The case - which involves a phalanx of federal and state prosecutors, attorneys for several multinational companies, and highly complex engineering testimony - has been droning on with little fanfare since February.
NATIONAL
September 19, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
DENVER - When the worst of the flooding began for Weld County last week, Cliff Willmeng, on a hunch, took his 2003 Subaru and drove east. The county's roads and bridges had begun to disintegrate under the might of the historic floodwaters, to the point that Willmeng, an environmental activist, had trouble navigating. Yet what his gut had told him to look for had been, as he put it, "unfortunately easy to find. " What Willmeng saw, and also photographed, was the drowning of Weld County's extensive oil and gas drilling operations - hundreds of fracking wells that were underwater, and an unknown number of storage tanks and other industrial facilities assaulted by the untamed waters.
NATIONAL
September 19, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- The warning from local health officials dealing with the flooding in Colorado is simple: Don't get in the water. Underscoring that message, state officials have reported a 5,250-gallon oil spill from a flood-damaged tank overtaken by the South Platte River in Weld County, a deluged area northeast of Denver. The tank's owner, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., responded by placing absorbent oil booms in the water. But it's not just oil in the floodwaters that is raising concerns.
NATIONAL
July 25, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON -- Oil-field services giant Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Halliburton has been charged with one count of destruction of evidence in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. Under a plea agreement that is subject to court approval, Halliburton agreed “to pay the maximum-available statutory fine, to be subject to three years of probation and to continue its cooperation in the government's ongoing criminal investigation,” the Justice Department said.
SCIENCE
July 10, 2013 | By Julie Cart
The federal damage assessment of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill should take into account the broader economic and social impacts of the 2010 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Research Council. The group recommended that the federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration program consider "ecosystem services" when it calculates the impact of the BP spill, a difficult-to-measure analysis of the services performed by an ecosystem.
NATIONAL
June 21, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
A lawyer working for the administrator reviewing claims from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has abruptly resigned amid charges that he collected money from settlements handled by a New Orleans law firm to which he had referred claims. Lionel H. Sutton III, who was placed on administrative leave after the charges were made public, has voluntarily resigned from the Deepwater Horizon Claims Administration, agency spokesman Nick Gagliano told The Times. Gagliano said he could not discuss any details of the departure.
NATIONAL
June 13, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department and the state of Arkansas filed suit against the oil giant ExxonMobil over a March 29 pipeline rupture that spilled 210,000 gallons of oil into a residential neighborhood and waterways in the small town of Mayflower. The spill prompted evacuations, killed wildlife, polluted wetlands and a lake, and stirred health complaints from people living near the rupture site, north of Little Rock. In the suit filed in federal district court, the Justice Department seeks civil penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act. The Arkansas attorney general is also pursuing civil penalties for violations of the Arkansas Hazardous Waste Management Act and the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act. The state also seeks to have ExxonMobil pay for all cleanup and removal costs under the federal Oil Pollution Act. The ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline split open just as the Obama administration entered the final phases of review for the far bigger, controversial Keystone XL pipeline, handing ammunition to opponents who say that Keystone's path from Canada through major rivers such as the Platte and the Missouri and over the Ogallala aquifer, the main freshwater source for the Great Plains, could lead to a catastrophe.
SCIENCE
May 31, 2013 | By Julie Cart
Environmentalists won a big victory for marine animals this week, with a court ruling that requires the government to determine whether dispersants used to to break up oil spills are harmful to endangered species before the chemicals are used in federal waters off California. The settlement in District Court in San Francisco requires the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard to analyze the impacts of dispersant products, which are used to diffuse oil spills into small droplets.
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