U.S. Halts Drilling on Gulf Wells With Flawed Bolts – Bloomberg | Is this a sign of stricter drilling regulations?
Deep-water oil exploration has been disrupted from the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil by the discovery of faulty bolts used in safety equipment less than three years after the worst-ever U.S. maritime crude spill.
Fuel Fix reports that potential downtime for active rigs needing replacement bolts “ranges from none — for wells almost completely drilled — to 14 days.”
Jindal aide: Corps structure adds delay and costs to needed projects — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Louisiana “Coastal Czar” Garrett Graves said that except for post-Katrina hurricane protection, the Army Corps of Engineers is a “disaster.”
“An outdated and inefficient project process, budget cuts, lack of accountability, rogue attorneys, and the rise of the bureaucratic morass has related the once-exemplary corps to an entity incapable of progress.”
Sen. David Vitter agrees about the skyrocketing costs and, like Graves, cited the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection Project as a prime example. Since 2007 the corps has spent millions studying the project as estimated costs ballooned from $887 million to $12 billion. Vitter intends to amend the Water Resources Development Act to “make the corps more efficient and jump-start projects in Louisiana.”
How will we adapt to coastal loss? — DailyComet.com | The Thibodaux paper notes a study, funded in part by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, about risk reduction in coastal communities. The editorial quotes the foundation’s Marco Cocito-Monoc, who says, “The levee system is not sufficient to protect our fragile coastal communities over the long term. The landscape along the coast is drastically changing, which threatens an entire way of life for the people who live and work there. Adaptation is essential.”
Too late to save face, but time for LSU to settle van Heerden lawsuit — The Lens | The university has treated an accomplished and prescient LSU researcher unfairly, argues Jed Horne, and should quit the legal wrangling before it disgraces itself further.
Gun control debate takes center stage in Louisiana with early bill filings — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “State lawmakers have introduced four bills on gun safety and ownership rights, two of which directly oppose recent gun control proposals from the White House.”
Violence plagues Chicago area that shaped Obama’s views— USA Today | Despite strict gun laws and more police patrols in troubled neighborhoods, Chicago “ended 2012 with 506 homicides, more than any other municipality in the country,” and it finished January with 43 murders, three more than last year. In 2011 Mayor Mitch Landrieu visited Chicago on a “working trip” to talk about violence reduction. It doesn’t appear that the Windy City has it all figured out.
Gun Violence in America: The 13 Key Questions (With 13 Concise Answers) – The Atlantic | If we’re going to discuss the issue, I suggest a review of The Atlantic’s distillation of gun violence data. Also worth reading: a four-part series called “The Dumb Control Debate” at the Hurricane Radio Blog. In part one “Cousin Pat” writes, “If we’re going to talk about gun control in any sort of rational manner, we’re going to need to get a handle on dumb. Because, boy oh boy, has this national conversation gone right off the rails.” (Here are parts 2, 3 and 4).
Ruling stays execution of elderly man who tortured stepson — The Lens | A federal judge in Baton Rouge ruled that the man is entitled to learn more about the state’s plan to use a single drug, pentobarbital, to execute him instead of the three-drug combination used in the past.
Gentilly Wal-Mart gets the go-ahead —The Advocate
A planned 118,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter will replace the Gentilly Woods shopping center on Chef Menteur Highway at Press Drive. The project, including demolition of the existing mall, is expected to cost about $13 million and be completed by mid-2014.
Judge approves 5 class-action settlements in Chinese drywall case – The Washington Post | “The product was used in the construction of 12,000 to 20,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the South, after a series of destructive hurricanes in 2005 and before the housing bubble burst. The problems it has caused range from a foul odor to corrosion of pipes and wiring.”
Elevating houses crowds sidewalks in historic neighborhoods — The Lens
Government & Politics
Lee Zurik Investigation: Snack cakes, Chianti and your taxes – FOX 8 WVUE | Continuing his investigation into the St. Tammany Parish coroner’s office, Zurik finds years of receipts that show questionable spending on restaurant meals, alcoholic beverages, groceries, and even yoga lessons. In part one, Zurik reported that the coroner is the highest paid elected official in the state after granting himself a 39 percent raise.
Bad Teacher? Blaming teachers is distracting us from what’s really hurting our schools — Something Like the Truth blog | LSU professor Bob Mann reviews a new book by Kevin Kumashiro, a former classroom teacher in Hawaii, that could inform the current debate about state budget priorities. “Certain stories can convince the less powerful to cooperate, to abide by the rules, and to continue playing. That is precisely what is happening today with public education.”