In a move condemned yesterday by several legal experts as indicative of corporate arrogance but defended by others as accepted tactical manoeuvring, the British energy group has filed papers requesting that all pre-trial matters in litigation relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster be assigned to US District Judge Lynn Hughes.
Concerns are mounting over the chemical dispersants BP's using to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico now that over 1 million gallons of the chemical have been pumped in Gulf waters. Nonetheless, a federal study says using the dispersants are less harmful to the environment than allowing the oil to reach shorelines.
Although the Coast Guard had trained for the possibility of cleaning up a disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it had never anticipated that oil would spread across such a broad area and break up into hundreds of thousands of patches as the current spill has done, the commander heading the federal response to the spill said Monday.
“It’s the breadth and complexity of the disaggregation of the oil” that is now posing the greatest clean-up challenge, the commander, Adm. Thad W. Allen, said at a news conference at the White House.
A powerful lobbying organisation representing agribusiness interests helped draft a key government report that has been attacked by environmentalists for heavily favouring the arguments of the genetically modified food industry.
The revelation comes after the resignation of two government advisers who have criticised the close relationship between the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the body that oversees the UK's food industry, and the GM lobby.
But what most people don’t know is that the active ingredient of the toxic chemical dispersant, which is up to 60% by volume, being sprayed by BP to fight the Gulf oil spill is a is a neurotoxin pesticide that is acutely toxic to both human and aquatic life, causes cancer, causes damage to internal organs such as the liver and kidneys simply by absorbing it through the skin and may cause reproductive side effects.
Their disappearance has caused alarm throughout Europe and North America where campaigners have blamed agricultural pesticides, climate change and the advent of genetically modified crops for what is now known as 'colony collapse disorder.' Britain has seen a 15 per cent decline in its bee population in the last two years and shrinking numbers has led to a rise in thefts of hives.
"This spill will be lasting for years if not decades," said Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation. Some of the immediate effects of a spill are obvious -- witness the gut-wrenching images of soaked and suffocating seabirds in the gulf.
But some types of ecological damage are hard to measure and can take years to document. Many of the creatures that die will sink to the bottom, making mortality estimates difficult. Damage to the reproduction rate in sea turtles may take years to play out.
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