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4 Years After Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, EPA Lifts BP’s Gulf Drilling Ban
Nearly four years after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil and gas disaster in the Gulf of Mexico—an event that blew away the record books for the nation's worst accidental oil spill—BP is fully back in business, and drilling is booming in the Gulf of Mexico.
Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifted the ban that prevented BP from engaging in any contracts with the federal government, paving the way for BP to resume bidding on leases for oil and gas development on public lands and waters, including the Gulf.
BP already holds more than 600 lease blocks—more than any other operator in the Gulf—and they currently have ten rigs working to drill new deepwater wells, like the Macondo well that failed in 2010.
But they're not the only game in town. There are dozens of other operators working in the Gulf, in deep water and shallow. One of our fans just tipped us off to a nifty dataset that shows just how busy things are offshore here and around the world: the locations of active Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs). Here's a look at the MODUs working right now in the Gulf of Mexico:
Not to be confused with the thousands of fixed offshore oil and gas production platforms, MODUs are the rigs that get towed from place to place to drill new wells, and do maintenance operations on existing wells. They range from the relatively small and simple jack-up rigs that work in shallow water, to the huge and complex semisubmersible rigs, like the Deepwater Horizon, that handle the technically challenging deepwater work.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.
By Jeff Turrentine
Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?