By Jim Snyder - 04/23/10 12:50 PM EDT
* Oil workers feared dead as rig sinks below the surface, raising pollution fears
The 11 workers missing after an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico erupted in flames on Tuesday night are feared dead, although search and rescue efforts continued Thursday. The workers may not have been able to evacuate from the rig after the fire erupted, officials fear.
Meanwhile, officials at BP raced to try to contain the pollution hazard from the rig, which sunk beneath the surface yesterday. David Rainey, BP vice president, said the well had the potential to be a major oil spill but added that it wasn’t clear how much oil was seeping into the gulf.
The blast could have political ramifications too.
From the Wall Street Journal:
"The combined catastrophe of loss of life and potentially significant environmental damage comes just as the Obama administration had embraced the possibility of opening up new sections of the Gulf and some other parts of the U.S. coastline to offshore drilling for the first time in nearly 30 years.
"Even if the spill is contained quickly, the sight of the rig engulfed in flames and black smoke already might have had an impact. 'These images are going to resonate for a long time,' says Allan Pulsipher, executive director of the Center for Energy Studies at Louisiana State University."
* Senate climate bill to be unveiled next week
On Monday the Senate climate legislation being put together by Sens. John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman is expected to finally be unveiled.
Bloomberg has a run-down of what it might include: a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020; a “hard” price collar of between $10 and $30 to limit fluctuations in carbon markets; and federal preemption of state climate laws.
Still uncertain was how the bill will deal with the transportation sector now that the “linked” fee idea appears to have been jettisoned.
“A new solution to the oil-fee quandary was being negotiated yesterday by Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman as they try to revive stalled efforts to pass legislation aimed at curbing global warming. The senators, who said they will outline their proposal publicly on April 26, have faced dozens of such challenges in the past year as they tried to win over both businesses and environmental advocates," according to Bloomberg.