+ The legislature’s special session has come and gone. Lawmakers plan to return sometime in the fall.
At a press conference after the session (which, all told, lasted roughly two hours and 20 minutes), Gov. Charlie Crist blasted the “do-nothing legislature.” Speaker Larry Cretul wrapped up the House’s meeting in less than 50 minutes and said he was prepared to return in September (when it would be too late to propose a drilling ban for this year’s election), while Senate President Jeff Atwater said he was ready to return “in one week, two weeks, three weeks,” or whenever Crist could craft an agenda that nobody could dare walk out on.
+ BP has been caught doctoring photos of its crisis command center.
+ The company is weighing new options to deal with the leaking oil, now that the cap has failed to provide a total fix.
+ Scientists are trying to assess the integrity of the well. Details are due later today.
+ The Obama Administration has announced the creation of a National Oceans Council to sort out federal regulation of oceans and coastal areas.
+ ProPublica notes that the Deepwater Horizon rig was due for hundreds of repairs and the blowout preventer was even leaking, but that didn’t stop BP from drilling.
+ The oil industry has launched an astroturf campaign to fight for its taxpayer subsidies.
Florida researchers snubbed?
State universities have yet to receive lucrative contracts from BP to study the spill’s effects, contracts that are accompanied by non-disclosure agreements.
Dick Snyder, director of the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation at the University of West Florida, said the center had not been approached by BP, but he is leery of the requirements for secrecy in contracts offered to other researchers.
“In this case, I think we’re looking at (BP) trying to control information about an environmental catastrophe,” Snyder said.
Fun in the sun for cleanup workers
As touted by this new ad from Visit Pensacola:
Scientists find high methane levels
Scientists from SRI in St. Petersburg have reported that methane levels near the well are now 100 times higher than normal, and reaching higher points in the water column than ever before.
The findings from SRI are not the first to suggest that Deepwater Horizon is gushing methane as well as oil. Scientists from Texas A&M who tested the water within 5 miles of Deepwater Horizon reported finding methane concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal.
However they do suggest that the methane may be spreading throughout the gulf just like the underwater plumes of oil found by oceanographers from the University of South Florida and other academic institutions.