A summary of events Tuesday, June 29, Day 70 of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that began with the April 20 explosion and fire on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and leased by BP PLC, which is in charge of cleanup and containment. The blast killed 11 workers. Since then, oil has been pouring into the Gulf from a blown-out undersea well.
BP and the Coast Guard sent oil-scooping skimming ships in the Gulf of Mexico back to shore because nasty weather is churning up rough seas and powerful winds. Although Tropical Storm Alex was projected to stay well away from the spill zone before possibly making landfall as a hurricane near the U.S.-Mexico border, its outer edges were causing problems out in the Gulf. Waves were as high as 12 feet Tuesday in some parts of the Gulf.
AT THE PUMP
BP says it will give cash and other help to the the owners, operators and suppliers of the gas stations around America that bear its name. They say they have been struggling because of boycotts prompted by the oil spill. John Kleine of the BP Amoco Marketers Association says outlets will get cash based on volume, with the rates being higher for outlets in the Gulf than for those elsewhere in the country. They also will see reductions in credit card fees and get help with national advertising.
BP PLC says it had nothing to do with Facebook's decision to briefly take down a page set up by users that advocates boycotting the oil giant over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BP spokesman Toby Odone told The Associated Press on Tuesday that BP did not complain to Facebook about the "Boycott BP" page that had been set up using the popular social networking site.
An attorney for the advocacy group Public Citizen said in a statement that the page, which boasts nearly 23,000 monthly active users, was shut down late Monday and restored early Tuesday.
Facebook says its automated systems disabled the profile of the page's administrator, which removed all the content that had been created. Facebook reinstated the content after determining the profile was mistakenly removed.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans will hear the government's appeal of a ruling overturning the deepwater drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico on July 8. The six-month moratorium was ordered in late May by the Barack Obama's administration after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. A group of offshore petroleum service companies sued, saying the moratorium would inflict long-term economic damage. A federal judge agreed with the companies and barred the government from enforcing the ban.
Vice President Joe Biden says the federal government has reached an agreement with Gulf Coast states to set safety levels for seafood coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Food and Drug Administration say the effort is designed to reopen closed fishing areas as soon as possible. Biden says "we want one single standard so you all don't have to worry about where you fish, if you can fish and if the waters are open."
Gov. Haley Barbour says containment and cleanup efforts in the state will now be controlled from a Coast Guard office in Biloxi. The efforts had been directed by an office in Mobile, Ala. The governor says the change will make cleanup more efficient, as communication problems have hampered work. Before, any information first had to go through Mobile. Then it was sent to Biloxi, and Barbour says that extra step cost precious time. The move is especially crucial as rough weather starts pushing more oil toward Mississippi.