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Read BP exec’s Facebook Q and A

Friday, March 18th, 2011 by Dara Kam

BP exec Dave Rainey, head of the oil giant’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, held his third Facebook chat yesterday.

Rainey’s fielded questions ranging from whether the dispersants used after the April 20th Deepwater Horizon blow-out caused acid rain (he says no), what’s up with tar mats still found on beaches, including Pensacola, and oil on the Gulf of Mexico ocean floor.

The first question dealt with dozens of dead infant dolphins who washed ashore along the Gulf Coast – a six-fold increase from previous years.

“Why are the dolphins dead?” Down Hiller, who asked the first question, wanted to know.

Read Rainey’s response after the jump and the entire transcript here. (more…)

Tourism pitch, first family visit may harm Panhandle fishermen’s claims

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Promotions touting tar-free Northwest Florida beaches and clear Gulf waters may hurt Panhandle fishermen’s ability to get the emergency six-month payments the new oil disaster claims czar is promising will be easy to get come Monday.

Ken Feinberg will take over BP’s troubled claims system at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Under Feinberg’s new process, individuals or businesses filing claims will get paid for six months of lost revenues instead of BP’s current month-to-month compensation.

Feinberg told fishermen today they may not be eligible for six full months of emergency payments because the oil well is capped, water closures for fishing have been lifted and tourism officials are promoting the cleanliness of Florida waters and beaches.

Even the first family’s weekend trip to the region – aimed at luring visitors to the region – may not have been a good thing for the fishermen.

“Now I see the president’s coming down. I see they opened up the shrimp grounds yesterday. The fishing grounds are open. I’m reading in the newspaper people are returning to the Gulf,” Feinberg, in Pensacola for the second time in a week, told an audience of about 100 at the Pensacola Civic Center.

Feinberg said it appeared to him that things were getting better in the Panhandle despite a persistent refrain from mom-and-pop hoteliers, restaurant owners and fishermen, whose plight was recently worsened when BP shut down the “vessels of opportunity” program that paid them to aid recovery efforts.

“What do you men you can’t fish for six months? Your compatriots are fishing now. I’m reading it in the newspaper. So the new wrinkle…that I didn’t confront two weeks ago or two months ago is what is the impact of the spill as every day I read in the newspaper things are improving.Thank goodness,” Feinberg said.
“I hear what the president says. I’m watching on TV. The beaches look fabulous.”

Obama halts all deep-water oil drilling, new estimates show four times more oil than thought gushing into Gulf

Thursday, May 27th, 2010 by Dara Kam

gulf_oil_spill_jpeg_447171kPresident Barack Obama halted all deep-water oil drilling operations in the Gulf for the next six months or until a presidential commission co-chaired by former Florida U.S. Sen. Bob Graham completes its work.

Obama ordered the 33 deep-water rigs to stop drilling this afternoon as federal officials estimate that between 12,000 and 15,000 barrels of oil per day – up to four times more than previously thought – is gushing from the Deepwater Horizon well into the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster has now surpassed the Exxon Valdez spill more than 20 years ago.

Obama refuted criticism that his administration has not responded quickly enough to the disaster but acknowledged more could have been done in at least two key areas, including the oil flow estimates.

“This is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about. The spill,” Obama told reporters at a press conference this afternoon in Washington. “Those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don’t know the facts. This has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred.”

But government officials should not have trusted BP’s estimates of how much oil was spewing from the well more than 5,000 feet below the sea level, Obama said.

(more…)

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