From the Washington Post, this extraordinary story: A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history.
An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history.
Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever.
New Report: One Year In, EPA Chemical Rule Delay Allows Chemical Disasters to Continue.
While news this week suggests that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is a walking ethics disaster, he’s long been paving the way for actual disasters—chemical disasters that is. A report released today, A Disaster in the Making, by community, environmental, health, workers, and scientist groups, illuminates how Pruitt’s unnecessary delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule continues to harm Americans.
From the NY Times: Floods Are Getting Worse, and 2,500 Chemical Sites Lie in the Water’s Path.
Anchored in flood-prone areas in every American state are more than 2,500 sites that handle toxic chemicals, a New York Times analysis of federal floodplain and industrial data shows. About 1,400 are located in areas at highest risk of flooding.
From the ScienceCorps organization, this 28 page handbook titled Chemical Hazards in Floods and Disasters.
Regarding environment hazards in general, the Wall St. Journal noted: Houston’s Environmental Threats Come Into Focus. As Harvey’s flooding recedes, risk of toxic pollutants tests health inspectors
From Forbes Magazine: The Next Global Refugee Crisis Will Be Caused By Environmental Disasters. Some rather alarming news about mostly man-made disasters:
The next big migration wave won’t be caused by war or hunger. It will be caused by environmental disasters. People will be fleeing cities and countries to escape environmental pollution that makes life short, sick, and unbearable.
The global consequences of environmental disasters are enormous for everyone, including for investors in global markets. For the countries most affected, this massive migration wave will undermine economic growth, property values, and financial asset valuations—a risk investors must factor into their calculations when they buy into financial and real estate assets in highly polluted countries.
Watchdog for Industrial Disasters to Be Purged in Trump’s Budget. The Chemical Safety Board was created to investigate fires, explosions; Agency’s $11 million budget watches over public, worker safety, Some excerpts from the Bloomberg News article:
When a Texas City refinery exploded in 2005, 15 people died. Months later, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found that putting workers in temporary trailers near danger zones at the plant raised the death toll.
Since then, temporary trailers have been relocated industry wide.
The example is just one of dozens over the past decade involving the independent agency, which has been targeted for elimination in President Donald Trump’s preliminary budget. While the board, with a 2016 budget of $11 million, is viewed skeptically by some companies and their allies in Congress, it has also drawn its share of supporters.
“I don’t think anyone in the industry wants to see the Chemical Safety Board be abolished,” said Stephen Brown, a vice president with Tesoro Corp., an oil refiner that was the focus of a 2014 CSB report, in a telephone interview. “The goal is a fully functional, professional investigative body that approaches things in a professional manner with integrity.”
Funding for the agency is among the cuts outlined by Trump’s blueprint budget Thursday, a preliminary document that embodies the president’s spending priorities for the nation. The safety agency was created in 1990 to find the root causes of industrial accidents and recommend ways to keep them from happening again.
One of the programs targeted for extinction by the Trump Administration is the Chemical Safety Board. In the Diva’s opinion this is not a smart move; in fact it is too bad that we do not have the equivalent of this board in the natural disaster field.
Is The Threat Of The Dakota Access Pipeline Real? “I thought pipeline accidents were rare. Turns out, they happen all the time.”
My suspicion was that pipeline accidents are rare, but as I investigated, I found that they actually happen all the time. As shown in the mapstory I produced above, in the last 30 years, there have been over 8,700 liquid pipeline spills, averaging nearly one every day.
EPA Knows How o Avoid Future City Water Crises. It’s unclear where the next administration will lead the agency tasked with keeping America’s water safe.
EPA Looks to Mitigate Chemical Plant Disasters.
A new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation aims to minimize the harm to local communities from disasters at chemical plants.
The regulation overhauls major sections of the EPA’s Risk Management Program for such plants, with new requirements that companies coordinate with local officials and first responders, and learn from past mistakes.
From the Huffpost, see: Congress Is Finally Overhauling A Decades-Old Chemical Safety Law. Should we be excited for changes to a law everyone says is broken?