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Archive | March, 2011

Gulf Spill Sickness Wrecking Lives

National and State Parks along the Gulf Coast have posted health warnings along the coast (Erika Blumenfeld/AJE)

Nearly a year after the oil disaster began, Gulf Coast residents are sick, and dying from BP’s toxic chemicals.

“I have critically high levels of chemicals in my body,” 33-year-old Steven Aguinaga of Hazlehurst, Mississippi told Al Jazeera. “Yesterday I went to see another doctor to get my blood test results and the nurse said she didn’t know how I even got there.”

Aguinaga and his close friend Merrick Vallian went swimming at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in July 2010.

“I swam underwater, then found I had orange slick stuff all over me,” Aguinaga said. “At that time I had no knowledge of what dispersants were, but within a few hours, we were drained of energy and not feeling good. I’ve been extremely sick ever since.”

BP’s oil disaster last summer gushed at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing the largest accidental marine oil spill in history – and the largest environmental disaster in US history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons toxic dispersants, including one chemical that has been banned in the UK.

According to chemist Bob Naman, these chemicals create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. Naman, who works at the Analytical Chemical Testing Lab in Mobile, Alabama, has been carrying out studies to search for the chemical markers of the dispersants BP used to both sink and break up its oil.

Read the rest of the story on Al-Jazeera English.

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Climate change ‘number one issue’

Levies have been breached by severe flooding from intensified storms linked to climate change [Erika Blumenfeld/AJE]

El Salvador is “already” facing wild weather, the country’s environment minister tells Al Jazeera.

San Salvador – “We have a very clear position,” El Salvador’s Minister of Environment, Herman Chavez, told Al Jazeera at his office in San Salvador, the capital.

“The President of El Salvador, last year on July 20th, in an extraordinary meeting of presidents that was convened here in San Salvador, launched the intervention process. We put Climate Change as the number one issue for the region.”

The government of El Salvador’s position, which mirrors that of other Central American countries like Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras, is due to the fact that anthropogenic (human caused) climate change is impacting the planet more than ever, and scientists expect it to worsen.

In January, new figures provided by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that Earth’s global average surface temperature for 2010 tied 2005 for the hottest year on record. The two agencies’ figures also showed that 2010 was the wettest year ever recorded.

Read the rest of this article at Al-Jazeera English.

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Lawsuit Filed Against BP Compensation Czar

TAMPA, Florida – A first-of-its-kind lawsuit alleging gross negligence and fraud has been filed in a Florida state court against Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the 20-billion-dollar compensation fund for victims of BP’s Gulf oil spill, and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).

Attorney Brian Donovan of the Donovan Law Group from Tampa filed the complaint against Feinberg, his firm Feinberg Rozen, LLP and the GCCF on behalf of Pinellas Marine Salvage, Inc. and John Mavrogiannis.

The complaint alleges, in part, gross negligence, fraud, fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment on the part of the defendants.

“Feinberg and the GCCF have done more damage than the oil spill,” Donovan told IPS. “My client has relied on what Feinberg said he would do. They’ve made promises they didn’t keep. John’s company was promised money they have not received.”

Mavrogiannis told IPS, “We’re sick and tired of this runaround. I’m tired of Feinberg’s lies. He’s made promises he hasn’t kept. He’s manipulating the system and that’s not right.”

Mavrogiannis is far from alone in not having received compensation for the severe losses his business has suffered as a direct result of BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that began last April.

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