A tugboat pushing a barge loaded with crude oil struck a natural gas line Tuesday evening off the Louisiana coast, causing an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico, officials said.
Deano Bonano, an aide to the council chairman in nearby Jefferson Parish, said two crew members from the tugboat were hospitalized.FULL STORY
The U.S. government will block oil giant BP from new government contracts over its "lack of business integrity" stemming from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
The decision follows the London-based company's agreement November 15 to plead guilty to criminal charges including manslaughter, obstruction of Congress and environmental violations related to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and subsequent release of about 205 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.FULL STORY
[Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET] Attorney General Eric Holder says that three BP officials were indicted on criminal charges in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The news comes on a day when BP pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges, including a dozen felony charges, stemming from the oil spill, and that the company agreed to pay $4 billion in fines and penalties.
By Thom Patterson, CNN
(CNN) - If there's an official ranking for snarkiness, Greenpeace and the Yes Lab have got to be near the top this summer. Their snarky social media mash-up takes Greenpeace's campaign against Shell Arctic drilling to a whole new level.
It's a fake Shell website that encourages supporters to create ads that mock Shell's offshore drilling effort and to sign an anti-drilling petition.
Greenpeace teamed up with Yes Lab in June to create the fake website.
No matter which side you favor regarding offshore Alaska oil drilling, watching this fight is just plain fascinating. Just make sure you get out of the way when the fur starts flying.
The Greenpeace/Yes Lab social media campaign clearly points to a strategy to succeed in a cacophonous Internet where it's increasingly harder to be heard and credibility is often called into question.
Although Shell is none too happy, calling the campaign a "scam," Greenpeace says it has received no legal action from Shell nor threats of legal action.
Here's a sample of these mocking fake Shell ads:
[Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET] BP, Transocean and Halliburton all share responsibility for the deadly explosion that resulted in the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to the final federal report on the matter released Wednesday.
The three companies "violated a number of federal offshore safety regulations," according to the report, which includes a series of recommendations for improving drilling safety.
An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig led to more than 200 million gallons of oil being released into the Gulf. Eleven people working on the rig died in the explosion, while 16 others were injured.
Besides the oil, hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemical dispersant went into the water. At the peak of the crisis, in June 2010, 37% of Gulf waters - a total of 88,522 square miles - were closed to fishing due to contamination.FULL STORY
As another candidate throws his hat into the ring, remember that CNN.com Live is your home for the 2012 presidential election!
Today's programming highlights...
8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Testimony resumes in the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.
President Obama pays a visit to Facebook headquarters today for a town hall meeting, and CNN.com Live will be there for all your coverage.
Today's programming highlights...
12:30 pm ET - U.N. briefing on Libya - The United Nations humanitarian chief will speak with reporters on her trip to strife-torn Libya.
The U.S. ambassador to Malta and former legal aide to President Ronald Reagan resigned Saturday following a State Department report that his devotion to his religion was hindering his ability to do his job. In 2008, Kmiec, a devout Catholic, was publicly denied communion from his own priest for his support of Barack Obama in the2008 presidential election. Kmiec told CNN that he resigned, and was not pushed out of his position.
The Rand, Louisiana, mother of six, who is married to a Gulf oil worker, will protest at BP's Washington offices today to call attention to unresolved cleanup and compensation issues in that region from the 2010 oil spill. Foytlin walked 34 days and 1,243 miles from New Orleans to the capital last week, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. She claims that oil continues to wash ashore and Gulf residents are suffering from breathing in fumes from oil and dispersants. Her family took blood tests which she says show high levels toxins also found in crude, the New Orleans newspaper said. The compensation fund is not providing fair settlements to many Gulf residents, Foytlin said, and her family is in financial ruin. See CNN's coverage of the Gulf oil spill, one year later.
The former New York Times columnist shocked many when he resigned earlier this year from the newspaper. The Poynter Institute, a journalism think-tank, as well as New York Magazine, report that Rich has launched a second career as producer of the upcoming HBO comedy series "Veep." The program about the first female vice president will star Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Seinfeld" fame.
For every dead dolphin or whale that washes up on Gulf Coast beaches, there may be 50 more that no one ever sees, a new study suggests.
Natural factors and last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico probably have caused thousands more dolphin and whale deaths than have been observed, a team of scientists says in a study published Wednesday by the journal Conservation Letters.
The scientists, led by Rob Williams, said 101 cetacean, or marine mammal, carcasses had been observed in the water or on beaches as of the time of their study.
After analyzing historical data on populations and death rates of 14 species in the northern Gulf, the scientists determined that carcasses are found in only 2% of cetacean deaths.
"Thus, the true death toll could be 50 times the number of carcasses recovered, given no additional information," they write, adding that they don't know what the true figure is.
The scientists urge environmentalists and authorities not to rely solely on observed carcass counts in judging the severity of an event, but to develop standard formulas for more accurate estimates.
Scientists and observers have been alarmed by the high number of dead baby and preterm dolphins that washed ashore in February during the first calving season since the spill.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service counted 36 infant dolphin strandings in February; there was just one in February 2010, and the 2002-2007 average for February is 2.2. Stranding is the scientific term for marine mammals that end up on land.
NOAA had noticed a rise in cetacean deaths even before the spill which resulted from an April 20 explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers.
"We have been monitoring an increase of dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf since February of 2010," NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Karrie Carnes said.
The numbers of stranded (dead or alive) dolphins and whales are shocking: Against a 2002-07 average of 31.4 for January through March, there were 76 for that period in 2010 and 139 in 2011, according to NOAA.
Scientists aren't jumping to conclusions about what's killing the animals. Similar "unusual mortality events" occur from time to time; the Gulf has seen 13 of them since 1991, said Blair Mase, NOAA's lead marine mammal stranding coordinator. Marine mammals are particularly susceptible to harmful algal blooms, infectious diseases, temperature and environmental changes, and human impact, she said.
"Frankly, it's just too early to tell at this point," Mase said in February. "It's obviously on everyone's radar screen. Everyone's concerned about any impact of the BP oil spill, but we have to be very cautious as to identify any particular cause. We won't know until we have these samples analyzed and be able to identify the source."
Gray skies and a little rain didn't dampen the mood of Fat Tuesday revelry in New Orleans, home to the biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the nation.
Known as a day of excess before the start of the penitential Lenten season - when observant Christians typically fast or give up something in a show of faith - New Orleans' Mardi Gras reached raucous heights this year, owing to its overlap with many colleges' spring breaks and the approach of the anniversary of the BP oil spill – the object of ridicule for many maskers.
Sylvia Beyer, 57, of New Orleans led a group of five women in grass skirts and hats with the BP logo, CNN affiliate WSDU reported. On their backs were the slogans, Broken Promises, Brazen Polluters and Bloody Pathetic as they passed out voodoo dolls with a photo of former BP CEO Tony Hayward pasted to each.
Downriver in Grand Isle, Louisiana, the first populated piece of U.S. territory to see oil make land, residents on Sunday took a day off from worrying about the effects of the spill to enjoy a parade, complete with purple, green and gold bead necklaces and fleur-de-lis clappers.
Mayor David Camardelle estimates that Grand Isle is 80 percent back to normal, but still, he admits, tar balls keep washing ashore.
Far from the Gulf shores, Rio de Janeiro marked the end of its four-day carnival on Tuesday with its signature parade, complete with samba, King Kong, an oversized Jesus statue and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Talk about excess!
Several "specific and preventable human and engineering failures were the immediate causes" of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, the presidentially appointed Oil Spill Commission said in its much-awaited report Tuesday .
The event "was almost the inevitable result of years of industry and government complacency and lack of attention to safety. This was indisputably the case with BP, Transocean, and Halliburton, as well as the government agency charged with regulating offshore drilling - the former Minerals Management Service," said commission co-chairman William K. Reilly.
"As drilling pushes into ever deeper and riskier waters where more of America's oil lies, only systemic reforms of both government and industry will prevent a similar, future disaster."
The report, "Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling," proposed "comprehensive" government and industry actions "to overhaul the U.S. approach to drilling safety and greatly reduce the chances of a similar, large scale disaster in the future."
Winter weather – A winter storm that covered much of the Southeast with snow and ice will move up the East Coast on Tuesday, forecasters said.
The National Weather Service predicted 5 to 8 inches of snow in the Philadelphia area, 4 inches or more in northern New Jersey, and 2 to 6 inches in southern Delaware from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning.
Light to moderate sleet and ice accumulations are expected across parts of the Carolinas, according to the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.
Although most of the wintry precipitation had left much of the South by Monday night, parts of the region are likely to see snow and ice on the ground until the weekend, as an Arctic low slides in, bringing low temperatures in the teens.
Is 2010 the year America was exposed?
That's what The New Republic suggests in its latest issue, whose cover depicts Lady Liberty as she might appear to Transportation Security Administration agents if she were to pass through a body scanner in one of America's airports.
On the body scanner controversy, journalist Jeffrey Rosen writes that "protecting privacy isn’t something that the U.S. government has ever done well," compared with European counterparts, because U.S. privacy offices lack independence and regulatory mettle.
"And, while the Department of Homeland Security’s privacy office has broader legal authorities than most, it nevertheless failed to raise the obvious objections to the body scanners. That suggests the government needs a genuinely independent institution dedicated to protecting Americans’ privacy in order to avoid similar debacles in the future," Rosen writes.
What do you think? Was 2010 a turning point for privacy rights in America? Or just another year of passing tides? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
The Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit in New Orleans against nine defendants in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a statement from the department said Wednesday.
The suit asks the court for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, and to declare eight of the defendants liable without limitations under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to natural resources, the statement said.
The White House is putting its menu where its mouth is.
President Obama and administration officials have said numerous times since the BP oil spill that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe and good to eat.
Now, White House chef Cris Comerford says on the executive mansion's blog that she's ordered 2,000 pounds of Gulf shrimp and crab to serve during the holiday season.
"I'm excited to use the power of food once again to honor not only the Gulf, but some very special guests," Comerford wrote.
Bush memoir release
After staying largely mum on the political scene since leaving office almost two years ago, President George W. Bush will reveal his thoughts on the most historic - and controversial - parts of his presidency with the release of his memoir Tuesday.
In the 481-page book, Decision Points, Bush shares his thoughts on the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and what he calls the "worst moment" of his presidency.
The 43rd president also takes responsibility for giving the go-ahead for waterboarding terror suspects, which has touched off a new round of criticism of Bush and calls for his prosecution. He says that he decided not to use two more extreme interrogation methods, but he does not disclose what those were.
Scientists have found evidence of "dramatic" damage to deep-sea coral near the site of the Gulf oil disaster that one biologist called a shocking find that "slapped you in the face."
"This was the first time that anyone has seen a visually compelling indication of impact to deep sea animals in the vicinity of this deep-sea event," said Charles Fisher, a Penn State University biologist and the leader of a government-funded research expedition.
The research team encountered an apparently "unhealthy" colony of Madrepora - a hard coral species - on November 2 at a depth of 1,400 meters. While some in the coral colony appeared normal, others were covered in a "brown material" and were producing "abundant mucous," he said.
Read the full story on CNN.com
You know you're on the right path when the makers of "South Park" have their sights squarely on you.
And they did that last night with the talk of the NBA season, LeBron James, who has taken the Heat, so to speak, in Miami and from the media after his lengthy and drawn-out decision process following his free agency.
And the hits didn't stop there. They kept on coming when James and Nike teamed up for an ad now famously known as "What Should I Do."
"What should I do?" James says in the ad. "Should I admit that I made mistakes?"
So leave it to Matt Stone and Trey Parker to kick it up a notch and spoof the ad in their latest episode of the Comedy Central animated series. And who better to be the new face of the "What Should I Do?" ad in their opinion - BP's Tony Hayward, of course.
Oil giant BP and Halliburton knew of potential flaws in the cement slurry used to reinforce the oil well below the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded in April, according to a letter Thursday from the lead investigator for a federal probe of the Gulf oil disaster.
The letter from Fred Bartlit Jr. to the National Commission on BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling said tests in February on a cement slurry similar to what was used on the Macondo well showed instability.
According to the letter, the cement was poured to stabilize the well on April 19 and 20, the day of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig above that killed 11 workers and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
"Halliburton and BP both had results in March showing that a very similar foam slurry design to the one actually pumped at the Macondo well would be unstable, but neither acted upon that data," the letter said.
"Halliburton (and perhaps BP) should have considered redesigning the foam slurry before pumping it at the Macondo well," the letter continued.
Missing girl's medical records sought – North Carolina authorities have been in contact with Zahra Baker's biological mother in Australia and have asked for the medical records of the missing 10-year-old girl. Officials did not specify what kind of medical records they were seeking. Dental records are sometimes used to identify a body.
Although authorities believe Zahra is dead, her remains have not been found. Burke County Sheriff John McDevitt has said that Zahra's disappearance is being investigated as a homicide. CNN will watch for updates and bring you any new information available.
Tylenol's headaches – Johnson & Johnson reported a sales drop in its third quarter Tuesday, saying that successive recalls of its over-the-counter drugs have "significantly impacted" its business.