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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.
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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.
SCIENCE
May 2, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The seafood is safe to eat and the Gulf of Mexico tourism industry is recovering three years after the nation's worst offshore oil spill spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the waters off Louisiana. But despite that BP-sponsored commercial message, something appears to be amiss at the bottom of the Gulf's food chain, according to new research. Oil buried in sediments in the shallow waters of the Gulf is triggering genetic reactions in the gills and livers of local populations of killifish, a ubiquitous prey for marine species vital to the region's economy, according to a study published this week in the review Environmental Science & Technology.
NATIONAL
April 12, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
The images from Mayflower, Ark., after a March 29 oil spill were particularly repulsive: A river of black goo running through yards and down the street of a subdivision, and hundreds of workers arriving to clean up an industrial mess in a peaceful burg. But the Exxon Mobil pipeline spill, initially estimated to have released at least 157,000 gallons of crude oil and driven more than 20 families from their homes, represents only a fraction of the regular oil losses from the huge network of pipelines stretching across the United States.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
An expert witness for those suing BP over the nation's worst environmental disaster criticized the company's investigation of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as the civil trial entered its second day. UC Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea was the first witness in the day's proceedings and told the federal court in New Orleans that BP management's role was not examined. He argued that the company's own investigation of the 2010 spill failed to look at systemic causes, which would include management's actions and the company's cost-cutting culture.
NATIONAL
February 25, 2013 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
NEW ORLEANS - Energy giant BP, behind schedule and $50 million over budget drilling a deep-water well, emphasized cost-cutting over safety, causing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, lawyers said Monday as the company's high-stakes civil trial began. Lawyers used PowerPoint presentations to provide a dramatic recounting of the April 20, 2010, explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 crew members. Workers were preparing to temporarily cap the Macondo well 4,100 feet underwater when it blew up. The 30-story drilling vessel about 50 miles offshore burned for two days before crumpling into the gulf.
NATIONAL
February 19, 2013 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
With the ink barely dry on the record-breaking $4-billion check BP wrote to settle criminal charges stemming from its Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, the energy giant now faces a protracted court battle that could cost it billions more. The civil trial scheduled to begin next week could expose BP to about $17 billion in fines for violating the Clean Water Act. If imposed, the fine would be the largest environmental penalty in U.S. history. The first phase of the nonjury trial will focus on the cause of the April 20, 2010, explosion that killed 11 people and spewed an estimated 4 million barrels of oil into the gulf over 84 days.
NATIONAL
February 14, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
Transocean Deepwater Inc., an oil drilling company, formally pleaded guilty on Thursday to a misdemeanor charge and will pay $400 million in criminal penalties, the latest action in the 2010 Gulf oil spill. U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in New Orleans accepted the guilty plea to violating the Clean Water Act plea and imposed sentence, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Transocean agreed last month to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge and to pay $1 billion in civil penalties along with the criminal penalty.
NATIONAL
January 29, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
A federal judge in New Orleans accepted an agreement for BP to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record fine in connection with the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which ranks as one of the nation's worst environmental disasters. The agreement , announced in November, allowed a unit of the London-based oil giant to plead guilty Tuesday to 11 counts of seaman's manslaughter in connection with the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the gulf.
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