State officials criticize $60 million BP donation deal, warn of precedent

Louisiana’s treasurer and legislative auditor say a BP donation to two nonprofit groups was an improper arrangement because the state ultimately controlled how the money was spent — so the state Legislature should have had a say in the deal. However, an attorney general’s opinion from 2010 said the terms were proper.

Ounce of prevention vs. $300,000 in campaign contributions

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil drilling disaster, Louisiana’s two U.S. Senators, Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, and David Vitter, a Republican, did not call for more research.  Like most rational people, they called for safety measures to mitigate the potentially devastating impact of future disasters. You might think it was a no-brainer, then, that they’d eagerly back a proposal to step up safety measures at industrial facilities such as oil refineries and water treatment plants—in Louisiana alone there are more than 100.

The nation’s sacrifice zone, part II

The New York Times article I referred to in my previous post did more than contrast the crisis of wetlands loss to the oil disaster. It also discussed the longtime degradation of the Gulf Coast, and touched on several “radioactive” issues:
According to data from the Minerals Management Service compiled and analyzed by Toxics Targeting, a firm that documents pollution and contamination, at least 324 spills involving offshore drilling have occurred in the gulf since 1964, releasing more than 550,000 barrels of oil and drilling-related substances.