5/12/10 Federal investigators are likely to file criminal charges against at least one of the companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico spill, raising the prospects of significantly higher penalties than a current $75 million cap on civil liability, legal experts say.

5/6/10 Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced they will be introducing legislation to create an independent, non-partisan, “blue-ribbon” commission to investigate the causes of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and provide the President, Congress, and the public with recommendations to avoid such disasters in the future. The commission would serve as an important long-term addition to the Obama administration’s excellent short-term efforts to investigate and respond to the Gulf spill.

The commission would also be tasked with providing Congress with a full understanding of the consequences of this spill and possible future incidents to sensitive and ecologically important areas, as well as the economic impacts to ocean and coastal communities. Additionally, the commission would have subpoena power and the ability to hold public hearings, including in the Gulf region.

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5/3/10  As BP began accepting volunteer help from Louisiana fishermen to aid in the cleanup of oil that continues to leak from the Deepwater Horizon disaster BP was also making those fishermen sign agreements which "seriously compromised the existing and future rights and potential legal claims of these volunteers," said Stuart Smith, an attorney for the fishermen.

Many Louisiana fisherman feel a deep vested interest in protecting the marine resources that provide them their livelihood and the heart of their culture. They are also desperate to make a living in the face of the fisheries closures and the likelihood
that shrimp and oyster harvests in the affected areas will be shut down for at least this upcoming season.

The offer of paid volunteer work helping to clean up the spill was welcomed but the restrictive agreements that BP was asking them to sign was making the fishermen feel that they were being taken advantage of.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana was opened this afternoon by Judge Ginger Berrigan to receive petition of Louisiana commercial fisherman to nullify and strike the offensive language in the British Petroleum volunteer fisherman charter contract.
 
Download a copy of the Master Charter Agreements which British Petroleum was asking fisherman to sign at http://www.kreweoftruth.com
 

5/4/10 Larry King talked to Robert Kennedy Jr. who is representing the fishermen in Louisiana in a class action law suit against British Petroleum and James Carville about the incident at the Deepwater Horizon rig. Besides the problems with Halliburton and their faulty work with the cementing process and the lack of and the lack of an acoustic switch, Kennedy said they were also violating their permit by drilling too deeply. Although they were only permitted to drill down 18,000 ft., Kennedy said they now have evidence that they were drilling as deeply as 25,000 ft.

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5/5/10 A common spin in the right wing coverage of BP's oil spill is a gleeful suggestion that the gulf blowout is Obama's Katrina.

In truth, culpability for the disaster can more accurately be laid at the Bush Administration's doorstep. For eight years, George Bush's presidency infected the oil industry's oversight agency, the Minerals Management Service, with a septic culture of corruption from which it has yet to recover. Oil patch alumnae in the White House encouraged agency personnel to engineer weakened safeguards that directly contributed to the gulf catastrophe.

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