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BP will admit crimes, pay $4.5 billion in Gulf spill settlement

British oil company BP today announced it will pay $4.5 billion "in fines and other payments to the government," and plead guilty to 14 criminal charges resulting from the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago. How much of that do you imagine will make it to the poor and working-class families whose homes, bodies, and lives were damaged or destroyed by the toxic disaster?

Here is BP's statement. Coverage here in the New York Times, and here in the LA Times.

Via @meghangordon, an interesting footnote: The National Academy of Sciences gets $350 million of the BP settlement to study human health and environmental protection in the Gulf of Mexico.

Boing Boing's BP spill archives are here.

Image, via NYT: The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico that was connected to a well owned by BP killed 11 workers and spilled millions of barrels of oil. (photo: US Coast Guard)

Shocking new photos from BP disaster unearthed by Greenpeace

Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones writes about a trove of new photographs documenting the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which released nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.

In the midst of the disaster, BP and its contractors did everything they could to keep people from seeing the scale of the disaster. But new photos released Monday offer some new insight to just how grim the Gulf became for sea life.The images were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request that Greenpeace filed back in August 2010, asking for any communication related to endangered and threatened Gulf species. Now, many months later, Greenpeace received a response from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that included more than 100 photos from the spill, including many of critically endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles dead and covered in oil.

More photos and more about what they reveal at Mother Jones.

Deepwater Horizon-related court filing in which an injured oil rig worker seeks justice through wit and metaphor


This motion, filed on Mardi Gras in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is a "metaphorical request for a ride on the streetcar named remand." Its author, Lance Lubel of Lubel Voyles LLP (on behalf of Buddy Trahan, who was aboard the Deepwater Horizon at the time of its catastrophe), produced five pages of quirky, metaphor-laden pleadings related to his case against BP, seeking damages for the horrific injuries he suffered at the time. He cites Bob Dylan, Franz Kafka, Binx Bolling, and many other legal authorities. It really sounds like Trahan got a raw deal, and there's a lot of bravery and charm in this doc. I wish him the best of luck.

When queried by his Aunt how none of the values she had tried to impart meant anything to him, Binx Bolling replied: “My objections, though they are not exactly objections, cannot be expressed in the usual way. To tell the truth, I can’t express them at all.” Walker Percy, The Moviegoer (First Vintage International Edition, April 1998), at 224-25. Unlike Binx Bolling, Buddy Trahan can--and did--express his objections to the treatment he feared from the courts. What is more, he expressed those objections in the usual way to the Southern District of Texas, to the JPML, and to this Court. All that was for naught and Buddy Trahan fears that his time is running out. He therefore expresses his objections in what some might deem an unconventional manner. But as the Chief Justice has observed, “”[w]hen you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Sprint Communications Co., L.P. v. APCC Services, Inc., 554 U.S. 269, 301 (2008) (Roberts, C.J., dissenting), quoting Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone, on Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia Records 1965). Accordingly, Buddy Trahan respectfully requests that the Court (i) take this missive in the spirit in which it is intended, (ii) lift the moratorium on deciding motions to remand, (iii) give Buddy Trahan his much-needed and well-deserved ride on the metaphorical Streetcar Named Remand, and (iv) remand this case to Texas state court.

According to Lowering the Bar, the motion was denied.

Buddy Trahan Needs a Ride

(Image: Deepwater Horizon Offshore Drilling Platform on Fire, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from ideum's photostream)

Judge okays exclusion of damaging emails from BP oil spill trial

A judge has granted requests from defendants in the BP oil disaster case to exclude various emails from trial. The details of the emails are an interesting read. For instance: At Halliburton's request, the court will not include an email from a BP geologist to a colleague in February 2010 which offered "thanks for the shitty cement job." (Reuters) Xeni

BP sued in Ecuador for violating the "rights of Nature"

Ecuador's recent constitutional recognition of the "rights of Nature" is getting its first major workout in a groundbreaking lawsuit against BP: "This morning we filed in the constitutional court of Ecuador this lawsuit defending the rights of nature in particular the right of the Gulf of Mexico and the sea which has been violated by the BP oil spill. We see this as a test case of the rights of nature enshrined in the constitution of Ecuador--it's about universal jurisdiction beyond the boundaries of Ecuador because nature has rights everywhere."

BP Sued in Ecuadorian Court For Violating Rights of Nature (Thanks, Jeff!)

Fed claims you need a permit to dig in the sand

A Fed from seeking a justification for chasing off reporters who're digging in the Florida sand to examine the efficacy of BP's oil-spill-mitigation efforts has scraped the bottom of the barrel: he claimed that you need a license to build a sand castle.

"Are you digging for oil product?" the official asked. When Thomas did not immediately confirm his intentions, the man threatened to call law enforcement and advised the journalist to move down the beach.

Moments later, an officer of the National Parks Service was demanding the reporter identify himself, insisting over and over, "you can't dig."

"So, no sand castles?" Thomas asked. "None of that, huh?"

"You're right," the officer replied.

Building sand castles on Florida's beaches is illegal, feds tell oil-hunting reporter (via Consumerist)

(Image: Sand Castle in the Sun, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from gilichu's photostream)

Gulf spill nearly capped?

If the live view from robot submarines is to be believed, the gulf spill is almost beat. [PBS] CNN reports that tests are underway to determine the newly-installed cap's effectiveness.

BP claims tube capturing 2,000 barrels a day from oil leak

liability.jpg Reports the AP. Shame about the 3,000 barrels a day that it isn't. Interesting and relevant anagrams of British Petroleum: Blithesome Irrupt, Terrible shit u mop, Their rum be spoilt, The Impurest Broil, Blither Mire Spout, Bioshmup Litterer, and "Plumb It? Rhetorise."