The Associated Press: Scientists find damage to coral near BP well

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico - ...

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The Associated Press: Scientists find damage to coral near BP well.   <—Full Article

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For the first time, federal scientists have found damage to deep sea coral and other marine life on the ocean floor several miles from the blown-out BP well — a strong indication that damage from the spill could be significantly greater than officials had previously acknowledged.

Tests are needed to verify that the coral died from oil that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, but the chief scientist who led the government-funded expedition said Friday he was convinced it was related.

In early August, a federal report said that nearly 70 percent of the 170 million gallons of oil that gushed from the well into the sea had dissolved naturally, or was burned, skimmed, dispersed or captured, with almost nothing left to see — at least on top of the water. The report was blasted by scientists.

Most of the Gulf’s bottom is muddy, but coral colonies that pop up every once in a while are vital oases for marine life in the chilly ocean depths.

Coral is essential to the Gulf because it provides a habitat for fish and other organisms such as snails and crabs, making any large-scale death of coral a problem for many species. It might need years, or even decades, to grow back.

Using a robot called Jason II, researchers found the dead coral in an area measuring up to 130 feet by 50 feet, about 4,600 feet under the surface.

All photos from the Lophelia II 2010 research expedition

Email From Congressman Daniel B. Maffei (25th District of NY)

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I have been signing e-petitions on and Sierra Club and this is the first time anyone has made an effort to contact me back. Kudos to you Maffei!!

August 16, 2010
Dear Ms. Cardone:

According to the Constitution, my job title is “Representative,” and I want to make sure that is my job description, as well. To do my job, I need to know the opinions of my constituents, and your input regarding legislative issues is crucial. Thank you for contacting me regarding domestic oil drilling and lifting bans on drilling at American sites, including on the outer continental shelf.

Oil continues to be our country’s primary energy resource; however, our nation has a unique opportunity to change our current dependence on oil and move towards a more economically and environmentally sustainable future. I believe that expanding our capability to harness wind, solar, natural gas, nuclear and biomass energy has a greater potential to solve our energy problems than does expanding domestic drilling

I am very concerned about the Gulf Coast oil spill that occurred on April 20, 2010. The impact of the spill on the environment and economy of communities in the Gulf Coast region, as well as on the entire nation, is devastating. I firmly believe that British Petroleum (BP) must be held accountable for their negligence and untimely response. The burden of responsibility to repair the region should not be placed on the American people, but on those who are directly responsible for the disaster.

Congress has already held several hearings to conduct a full inquiry to determine the cause of the accident, to clarify BP’s plan to stop the leak, and to ensure clean-up efforts are carried out quickly to protect coastal communities.

I am also a proud cosponsor of several bills that have been introduced regarding the Gulf Coast oil spill. H.R. 5503, the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability (SPILL) Act was introduced by Representative John Conyers (MI-14) and passed the House by a voice vote on July 1, 2010. The bill is currently pending before the Senate. If enacted, it would reform outdated maritime liability laws to ensure that the families of those killed or injured in the BP oil spill and in other similar tragedies are justly compensated for their losses.

Another bill Congress recently voted on was H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act. The bill was introduced by Representative Nick Rahall

(WV-3) and passed the House on July 30, 2010 by a vote of 209 to 193 with my support. If enacted, this legislation would help restore the Gulf Coast by increasing safety standards for offshore drilling companies and requiring they demonstrate the ability to respond to future spills. In addition, it would create strong new ethics standards for the oil and gas industries, increase the liability cap to $300 million and create a trust fund so that money raised from drilling in our oceans will also go toward protecting them.

Being a member of Congress means I have to consider tough decisions and votes every day. I am humbled by the responsibility of representing you, as well as some 650,000 other people. I want you to know that I will continue to advocate for government accountability and transparency as I fight to bring jobs to Upstate New York and turn our economy around. You may also want to visit my website at, where you can sign up for my e-newsletter, find out how I have voted on legislation and keep current with my latest congressional activities and policy statements.


Daniel B. Maffei
Member of Congress