Oil company BP this week blamed a sequence of failures involving a number of different third parties for the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Decisions made by multiple companies and work teams were responsible for the spill, they claim, spreading the blame around for the worst environmental disaster in US history.
“No single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy. Rather, a sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion and fire which killed 11 people and caused widespread pollution in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year,” BP said in a summary of the report.
According to the report, a “series of “mechanical failures” and “human judgments” led to the April 20 explosion, which killed 11 people. The report said BP and other companies “incorrectly accepted” the results of negative pressure tests ahead of the blast. It named Transocean, the rig operators, in this context.
In other news, Munich Re, the world's largest insurer for oil rig operators in the Gulf of Mexico, announced that it would be raising premiums 30%, but would now offer insurance plans up to $20 billion in liability. Current plans only cover $1.5 billion in liability.
The Germany based insurance company said that while the premiums for oil drilling were going to rise significantly, premiums are down or flat across the board in every other category.
Hurricane Earl was largely a false alert for the US, but Hurricane Igor is now on its way, flowing nearly the same path. While islands such as Bermuda are still not out of the clear, the likelihood of Igor hitting the mainland US is very uniquely, according to experts. Igor is already a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 150 miles an hour and is likely to become a Category 5 storm soon. Igor is followed by the newly formed Tropical Storm Julia, right on its heels, and like its bigger brother, is not expected to throated the mainland US.
In Texas, Governor Rick Perry declared a disaster for 40 counties of the Lone Star State due to damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine. Hermine's damage at landfall in South Texas was not severe, but as the storm continued north, it spawned tornadoes and flood warnings all over Central and North Texas, as well as parts of Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.
More than 136 homes have been destroyed by a fire that swept through the mountains near Boulder, Colorado this week. According to state authorities, four people are still unaccounted for.
The Fourmile Canyon fire burned through more than 6,000 acres of foothills, requiring the evacuations of about 3,500 people, but caused no reported injuries. Some 300 firefighters and 24 fire engines have been battling the fire, along with air support. Officials say the fire could take days to contain and still have no idea what caused the fire.
New Zealand has made the news quite a bit this week, about its efforts to recover from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch September 4. Schools are finally opening in most areas, but the nation's Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said that while some fixes could take years, "an enormous amount" of progress had already taken place in the last few weeks.
"The city got reconnected very quickly to water, sewerage and power ... and daily lives can continue for the overwhelming majority of the city."
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie is trying to bring international attention to the monsoon flooding that flooded Pakistan's Punjab province this summer. So far, the flooding has been responsible for more than 1,750 lives, affecting more than 18 million people, and doing more than $43 billion in damage. Both Pakistani and UN officials continue to plea to the world for help, claiming that the relief it has so far revived is still very short of the nation's needs to address the humanitarian disaster there.
In Nashville, Mayor Karl Dean's administration is launching a plan to buy 88 homes that suffered substantial damage in summer flooding and are considered a threat to public safety. Than plan will cost a little more than $10 for the homes, most of which would be reimbursed to the city by state and federal emergency authorities. Overall, 305 properties have been offered voluntary buyouts, of which 246 accepted, 19 declines, and 40 had not responded.
DISASTER OF THE WEEK
The horrific blast that rocked the Bay Area bedroom community of San Bruno Thursday got the attention of the nation as hundreds of houses were burnt after a natural gas pipeline ruptured.
Four are officially listed as dead, with fifty injured, eight of which are in critical condition. No number is still official yet, as cadaver dogs are still combing the area looking for survivors.
For more, read our coverage of the disaster.