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Lawmakers review oil leak video, continue to pressure BP

Stepping up its probe of the environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, Senate investigators began reviewing video footage from 12 underwater cameras dating back to the April 20 drilling rig explosion in the hope it will cast more light on the extent of the spill.

At the same time, increasingly anxious Gulf Coast lawmakers appealed to Washington for help to protect their states from disaster. Florida lawmakers asked President Obama on Friday for help in determining the amount of oil leaking and threatening to wreak havoc on their state’s economy and environment.

“There’s a significant surface oil slick in the gulf,’’ a bipartisan group of the lawmakers wrote Obama, "but we believe that the larger threat may be from oil suspended in the water column below the ocean’s surface."

The lawmakers said they fear that oil moving into strong loop currents "could bring oil to our coastlines within a few days.’’ The staff of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has contacted the Navy to see if it can help.

Louisiana lawmakers pressed federal officials to swiftly approve the building of a sand barrier to protect marshes and wetlands.

"It is clear that booms are not working in most areas of coastal Louisiana,’’ Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said in a statement Friday. "If we had healthy barrier islands, this spill may not be as catastrophic for Louisiana.’’

Meanwhile, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), obtained the lengthy video archive of the well site from BP. The committee hopes to make the video available to the public but especially to scientists for use in evaluating the size of the spill. The archive is expected to take considerable time to review since the footage covers nearly a month of data.

"There is a strong public interest in access to the video records of the Deepwater Horizon spill, given the serious threat to the coastal economy and the environment,’’ Boxer said. The video archive is in addition to live video of the leak that lawmakers obtained from BP and posted on their websites. Demand for the live video has been so high that servers have repeatedly crashed.

The review of the video archives comes as lawmakers grow increasingly angry over BP’s inability to plug the leak and contain the spill. "The public is rightfully frustrated that the leak has not been halted,’’ Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) complained Friday at yet another congressional briefing on the spill.

"At a minimum, tens of thousands of barrels a day are escaping from the well, with some estimates ranging above 70,000 barrels a day,’’ Markey said in a letter sent Friday to BP, Transocean and Halliburton.

"Your companies bear complete responsibility for this disaster,’’ he said in asking them to create a fund, managed by an independent entity, to bring aboard researchers from academia and other institutions to assist in the response. "We need to have all of our best minds on board and all hands on deck to confront this ongoing environmental catastrophe,’’ he wrote.

A group of scientists from government and academia known as the "flow rate technical group" is due to examine the video to try to determine the extent of the spill.

Congress next week plans more hearings on the spill and is expected to debate a big increase in the per-barrel tax -- from 8 cents to 32 cents -- paid by oil companies into a spill cleanup fund and consider a package of emergency financial aid for the Gulf Coast.

-- Richard Simon
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Better late than never!!!#$@%&

Why the Oil Spills could have been prevented. Any idiot could have projected the effects on the States touching the Gulf. They would have said "oh .... yes ... any spills could destroy the Gulf Coast lines of the States residing on the Gulf. The politicians turned their heads and their eyes saw huge amounts of dollars. The people saw huge amounts of dollars ... jobs. Greed wins out again.
Congratulations America. By the way I am an environmentalist. I believe that whatever we take from Mother Earth we must do so respectfully. In the Gulf we were Greedy and Mother Earth slapped us.

Don’t worry citizens of the United States ... The Republicans will fight against the EPA, FDA, and any other regulatory agency that protects "We The People of the United States of America".

In fact if the Republicans and the Neo-Cons put their heads any further into the sand they will come up somewhere around China. :LOL LOL LOL.

By the way have you checked out Fox and the spinners? They are beginning to pull their heads out of the sand. They finally admit this is a “Disaster”. They do have some disclaimers however ... if the government regulates the oil industry the costs of gasoline and other oil related products will go “WAY” up. Fox and the Neo-Cons are also blaming the PRESIDENT and his administration for not reacting fast enough … you know they were sitting on their hands.

According to a news article there was a closed door meeting where most of the handful of congressional Democrats and Republicans who met with representatives from BP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill walked away unimpressed. A source who attended the meeting said that the companies' representatives had a "deer in headlights" look and that the tenor of the conversation was that the firms "are attempting to solve a problem which they have never had to solve before at this depth…at this scope of disaster. They essentially said as much."

Give me a break Fox. Give me a break BP Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton. The Ocean environment is being destroyed. Ocean related industries are being destroyed. That is ok for Fox spinner and the rest of these fools. They are still working and making enough money to go hide from environmental destruction ... so they hope.



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