Loyola News

Latest news from Loyola

Loyola marks BP oil spill anniversary with 'Dirty Energy' screening

Loyola at a Glance - April 12, 2013

Marking the third anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and celebrating the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, Loyola University New Orleans’ Environment Program and the Loyola Film Buffs Institute will screen the film, “Dirty Energy.”

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Undergraduate researcher studying effects of oil spill, hurricanes on aquatic life reports unexpected findings

Loyola Press Release - March 29, 2013

One undergraduate researcher at Loyola University New Orleans spent much of the past summer deep in the mud of the Mississippi River Delta studying how major disasters such as the 2010 BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 affect aquatic life today.

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College of Law alumnus oversees BP oil spill trial

Loyola Press Release - March 13, 2013

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, J.D. ’70, was selected to preside over more than 300 lawsuits brought by fishermen, rig workers and others, stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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President's Forum focuses on continued effects of oil spill

Loyola at a Glance - April 15, 2011

As the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill approaches, Loyola University New Orleans will host the 2010-11 President's Forum, "Oil and Water: Spotlight on the Gulf" on Wednesday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Monroe Hall's Nunemaker Auditorium.

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Concert of new music raises awareness for Gulf Coast

Loyola at a Glance - October 8, 2010

The long-term implications brought by the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be the focus of an upcoming concert with John Reeks, instructor of clarinet at Loyola University New Orleans. The event will strive to raise awareness about ecological impacts caused by the crisis.

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Loyola faculty contribute to an online discussion on the BP oil spill

Loyola At A Glance - July 23, 2010

Loyola University New Orleans assistant professor of English Janelle Schwartz, Ph.D., and assistant professor of chemistry Joelle Underwood, Ph.D., joined together in an online presentation on the website In Media Res providing figures and images taken from data relating to the BP oil spill.

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Loyola alumni work to ensure consumption safety of gulf seafood

Loyola At A Glance - July 16, 2010

Loyola University New Orleans alumni Lauryn Sass Bailey ’02, Sarah Ramadan Ruiz ’05, Tho Pham ’05, and Carlos Navarro ’10, are currently working to ensure the safety of gulf seafood consumption at the Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratories facility in Metairie. Bailey, Ruiz and Pham are currently testing water and seafood samples for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, toxic by-products from crude oils like those which were being emitted from the Deep Water Horizon site.

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Law professor publishes timely book on environmental protections

Loyola At A Glance - July 16, 2010

Robert Verchick, J.D., is a Loyola University New Orleans law professor, deputy associate administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation and now, a celebrated author.

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Loyola partners to help area businesses affected by the oil spill

Loyola At A Glance - July 2, 2010

Loyola University New Orleans Small Business Development Center director Carmen Sunda recently testified at a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., on the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s immeasurable impact on small businesses. Since the spill began, the SBDC has reached out to more than 1,000 affected small businesses in the area, offering them assistance in filing claims, counseling and support.

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Law professor available to discuss BP escrow fund

Loyola Press Release - June 14, 2010

Loyola University College of Law Professor Mitch Crusto, an expert on disasters and environmental management issues, is available to discuss pressure placed on BP by President Barack Obama to create an escrow fund to compensate people and businesses for losses related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Crusto is available for telelphone interviews only at this time.

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Loyola radio program to focus on effects of oil spill on coastal ecology and biology

Loyola Press Release - June 14, 2010

On Wednesday, June 16, Craig Hood, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Loyola University New Orleans Biology Department, will discuss the gulf oil spill and its effects on coastal ecology and biology during a special episode of his radio show, "Science Matters."

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Center for the Study of New Orleans co-hosts workshop Gulf oil spill Tuesday

Loyola at a Glance - May 21, 2010

A day of discussions and workshops for New Orleans and Gulf Coast-area stakeholders to learn about the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill and discuss the elements of a comprehensive response strategy will take place Tuesday, May 25, from 8:45 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Ashe Cultural Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., in New Orleans. Lunch will be provided.

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Loyola environmental biology faculty and students research coastal ecosystems

Loyola Press Release - May 6, 2010

The crisis in the Gulf of Mexico has many experts concerned the oil spill will deal a devastating blow to fragile coastal ecosystems still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Loyola University New Orleans environmental biology faculty and members of the Center for Environmental Communication have extensive research experience in the areas affected by the spill and engage students in ongoing state-of-the-art research to study how emergency situations such as this could affect them.

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Loyola experts in the news

BP trial's first week offers glimpse of long fight

USA Today - March 2, 2013

The first week of one of the largest environmental trials in U.S. history drew to a close Thursday after three days of dissecting testimony examining the causes behind the 2010 BP oil spill.

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BP trial update

Louisiana Public Broadcasting - March 1, 2013

The BP trial has started with a flurry of finger pointing. Who is to blame?

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Tough road ahead for BP in Gulf oil spill trial, legal experts

The Times-Picayune - March 1, 2013

Although initial testimony in the long-awaited civil trial against BP and its partners in the ill-fated Macondo oil well offered few surprises, legal observers Friday predicted that the global oil giant will have a steep hill to climb to show it was not grossly negligent for the 2010 accident, a finding that would result in a four-fold increase in the fines it would have to pay.

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BP goes to court

Al Jazeera - February 27, 2013

It was the largest marine oil disaster in the United States, and now BP's trial is the largest and most complex environmental lawsuit in US history.

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BP oil spill trial begins in US

ABC Radio Austrailia- February 26, 2013

The trial went ahead after attempts to reach an 11th hour settlement failed, and could result in the biggest civil fine in history of up to $US 17.6 billion.

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US court begins BP trial over Gulf oil spill

Al Jazeera - February 26, 2013

Nearly three years after a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a multi-billion dollar civil case against British Petroleum and the other companies involved is set to open in court.

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BP execs should answer for Gulf of Mexico spill-lawyer

Reuters - February 25, 2013

BP executives more focused on cost-cutting and oil production than safety should be held responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, a lawyer told a courtroom on Monday as a long-awaited legal showdown began in New Orleans.

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Expert: Gross or Ordinary Negligence the Central Issue in BP Deepwater Case

The Voice of Russia - February 25, 2013

The BP trial over their 2010 oil spill started on Monday with the oil giant and co-defendants facing billions of dollars from lawsuits filed by the Department of Justice, impacted states and additional private plaintiffs.

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As BP Trial Opens, Hints of Progress on a Deal

The New York Times - February 24, 2013

As the trial against BP stemming from the 2010 explosion of a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico began here Monday morning, the details of a settlement offer by federal and state officials to the oil company to emerge.

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As BP Trial Opens, Hints of Progress on a Deal

New York Times - February 24, 2013

As the trial against BP stemming from the 2010 explosion of a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico began here Monday morning, the details of a settlement offer by federal and state officials to the oil company to emerge.

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BP oil spill trial begins Monday in New Orleans almost three years after one of the worst spills in U.S. history

The Times-Picayune - February 22, 2013

The long-awaited civil trial against BP and its partners in the ill-fated Macondo oil well is slated to begin Monday in federal court in New Orleans, setting the stage for a three-month proceeding to assign liability potentially worth tens of billions of dollars for the explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, which killed 11 workers and caused one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

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State claims a wild card in BP civil deal on Macondo oil spill

Reuters - February 4, 2013

It is a question that has lawyers and many others on the U.S. Gulf coast buzzing: Will BP strike a massive deal to settle the remaining claims over the Gulf of Mexico well blowout?

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3 BP executives indicted over Gulf oil spill

USA Today - November 15, 2012

Two employees of the British oil giant BP have been indicted on manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil rig blowout that killed 11 workers.

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$4.5 billion BP fine largest such settlement in US history

News10.net - November 15, 2012

Two employees of the British oil giant BP have been indicted on manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil rig blowout that killed 11 workers.

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After BP spill, information trickled as oil gushed

Houston Chronicle - November 13, 2012

BP and the U.S. government portrayed in public a united front as a runaway well spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Plaintiffs, BP urge judge to approve $7.8 billion spill settlement

Reuters - November 8, 2012

BP Plc and lawyers representing over 100,000 individuals and businesses claiming economic and medical damages from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill on Thursday urged a U.S. judge to approve a proposed $7.8 billion class-action settlement.

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Judge must decide who can withdraw from spill deal

Houston Chronicle - November 6, 2012

Thousands of Gulf Coast residents claiming economic or health damages from the 2010 oil spill have told a New Orleans federal judge they don't want to participate in a class action settlement, and now he has to decide which ones he'll allow to opt out.

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In making disaster plans, we have to imagine the worst case: Robert R.M. Verchick

The Times-Picayune - April 28, 2011

How should government plan for the worst-case scenario? A year after the BP blowout, which claimed 11 lives and spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the question is more than academic.

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Bitterness and anger still spill over from BP's blackest day

Scotsman.com - April 20, 2011

"Families of the 11 men killed in the Deepwater Horizon oilrig disaster will today mark the first anniversary of their loss with a flyover of the Gulf of Mexico site where their loved ones died and the world's worst accidental marine spill began."

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Sunday Edition: Oil spill one year later, with Dr. Bob Thomas

WWL-TV - April 17, 2011

"Dennis sits down with Dr. Bob Thomas, the Director of Loyola University’s Center for Environmental Communication to discuss the overall impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on animals and the environment, one year after the spill occurred."

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Stress and anger over BP oil disaster could linger for decades

Inter Press Service - April 15, 2011

"On Apr. 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, triggering a months-long disaster that would end only after at least 4.9 million barrels of oil, and at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants, had been injected into the Gulf of Mexico. The environmental destruction, while massive, is still only in the beginning stages, and experts warn that it will take decades to see the full consequences."

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AP reports feds considering manslaughter in BP spill

WWL-TV - March 29, 2011

"As we approach the first anniversary of the BP well explosion and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there are indications that the U.S. Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal charges. Sources close to the investigation tell the Associated Press that manslaughter is among the possible offenses. The blast killed 11 crew members. About a month after the April 20, 2010 spill, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the government would be looking at both civil and criminal liability on the part of BP and its contractors on the rig."

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US launches civil action against BP

The World Today - December 16, 2010

"To the United States now where the US Justice Department today launched what could become the biggest and most complex trial in US history. The Department is taking civil action against BP and eight other companies over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and it's not ruling out a criminal case as well. BP says it will co-operate with all investigations. Our North America correspondent Lisa Millar has the latest."

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Restaurants push La. seafood industry back on feet

WDSU - December 3, 2010

"Local restaurants are fighting concerns about the safety of Gulf seafood in their effort to bring back the $2.4 billion Louisiana seafood industry back on its feet. Restaurant owner Chef John Besh said he has not seen any backlash at his restaurants in the city, but maintained that the industry is still trying to rebound from the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “My friends from outside – New York, West Coast – they've seen a huge drop off and great hesitation from people not wanting to eat Gulf Coast seafood,” Besh said."

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Oil spill panel: a push for subpoena power in Deepwater Horizon probe

Yahoo! News - November 9, 2010

"To the sense that anyone is asking for subpoena power, that would mean there's potential that evidence weighs more heavily against some of the players than others," says Sean Cain, an assistant political science professor at Loyola University, in New Orleans. Republicans "say they want to use oversight authority to challenge the Obama administration, so perhaps opposition to subpoena power is intended as a way to allow the House more scrutiny on the president's and the federal bureaucracy's role rather than private companies with a history of support for Republicans."

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Will oil bring death to Gulf's rich web of life?

Herald-Tribune - November 7, 2010

Bob Thomas, director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University, uses a variation of the old "Dry Bones" song to emphasize the interconnectedness of the Louisiana marshes to food produced far inland. "The chicken bone is connected to the marsh bone," he says.

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Loyola department head on oil spill conference panel

The Times-Picayune - October 21, 2010

Lee Yao, chairman of the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance at Loyola University, has been invited as a panelist for the Gulf Oil Spill Conference to be held Nov. 1 and 2 at Marriott Convention Center in New Orleans. The conference is organized by the Louisiana Board of Regents and the city of New Orleans.

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Scientists lower Gulf health grade

Associated Press - October 19, 2010

"The marshland folks I work with don't see it as something that is a major catastrophe," said Loyola University marsh biologist David White, who has studied the quiet stands of marsh for 30 years. The oiling was minimal, but "the jury is still out," White said, on the long-term ecological effects because the massive oil spill may be rewiring the invisible and hard-to-detect inner workings of nature.

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Audio: New Orleans Judge Barbier Will Hear Gulf Spill Cases

NPR - August 16, 2010

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans will preside over more than 300 lawsuits related to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Barbier once held bonds issued by companies that are now the targets of the lawsuits. Law professor Mitch Crusto of Loyola University New Orleans talks to Linda Wertheimer about the long courtroom battles ahead.

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Obama administration releases fund agreement with BP in Gulf oil spill

New Orleans Times-Picayune - August 11, 2010

The escrow agreement released Wednesday details the responsibility of BP and two trustees who will oversee the distribution of money from the company to Feinberg. "It was clearly written by a room full of lawyers," said Mitchell Crusto, who teaches business law at Loyola University Law School. The administration has said the fund amount is not a ceiling and that the company could be required to pay more depending on the size of compensation awards.

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Audio: College of Law professor Dane Ciolino talks about the lawsuits filed for damages against BP

BBC.co.uk - August 11, 2010

College of Law Professor Dane Ciolino talks about the lawsuits filed for damages against BP. Podcast duration: 11 minutes. Professor Ciolino can be heard in the second half of the program.

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New Orleans Judge to Oversee Oil Spill Cases

The New York Times - August 10, 2010

The judge has deep roots in the Gulf Coast. He was born in New Orleans in 1944, attended Southeastern Louisiana University and Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. He was a lawyer in private practice for many years in New Orleans before President Clinton tapped him for the federal bench in 1998.

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Researchers Analyzing Impact of Oil Spill on Ecology

TopNews United Kingdom - August 10, 2010

Bob Thomas, a Biologist at Loyola University in New Orleans, said that what was happening was of the suggestion that the oil had reached a position where it could possibly start moving the food chain and not just keep hanging in the water. Something might consume that larvae full of oil and then that animal will be predated by some other bigger animal.

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Crabs provide evidence oil tainting Gulf food web

Associated Press (wwltv.com) - August 9, 2010

The government said last week that three-quarters of the spilled oil has been removed or naturally dissipated from the water. But the crab larvae discovery was an ominous sign that crude had already infiltrated the Gulf's vast food web — and could affect it for years to come. "It would suggest the oil has reached a position where it can start moving up the food chain instead of just hanging in the water," said Bob Thomas, a biologist at Loyola University in New Orleans. "Something likely will eat those oiled larvae ... and then that animal will be eaten by something bigger and so on."

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Saving the Marshes: La. Fights for its Wetlands

CBN News - August 6, 2010

Sediment from the river settles into the system of wetlands that thrive on the delicate marriage of fresh and salt waters. They're a nursery for shrimp, oysters, and crabs. And they're in danger. Dr. David White, a biologist at Loyola University in New Orleans, has been studying Louisiana's wetlands for decades. He offers a grim forecast.

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Gulf Residents Likely Face Decades of Psychological Impact From BP's Oil Disaster

Truthout - August 5, 2010

"What we find in our field when we study technological disasters, i.e., human made disasters, is that the impacts are chronic," Dr. Anthony Ladd, a professor of sociology at Loyola University explained to Truthout. "They don't really end. With a natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina for Mississippi, although we experienced that as a technological disaster with the levee failure here in New Orleans, the only silver lining with a natural disaster like that is that people move through it. They actually end up building a stronger community, there's more social capital [trust] going on in the community and people find they have to rely on each other."

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La. marshes damaged by oil, but surprisingly resilient

USA Today - August 2, 2010

Built over thousands of years by nutrients deposited from the Mississippi River, Louisiana's wetlands are a unique confluence of saltwater, fresh water and brackish marshes — one of the few places on the planet where that occurs, says Robert Thomas, director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University.

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Special Report - Watching Grass Grow In The Gulf, And Cheering!

The New York Times - July 28, 2010

To conduct their survey of selected sites, Mendelssohn and two colleagues earlier this month launched an outboard-powered Boston Whaler from the marina at Venice, moving out into the eastern part of the delta. The trio -- Mendelssohn, David White of Loyola University in New Orleans and Qianxin Lin of Louisiana State University -- set out at mid-morning for four hours among the reeds.

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Sanctuary under seige

Fox 8 - July 23, 2010

Almost 3,000 dead birds have now been collected on the gulf coast. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that number is double what it was a month ago as more oil washes ashore.

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Official: Oil Spill To Affect Generations To Come

WDSU.com - July 11, 2010

An environmentalist said that even if BP contains the leak, the effects of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be long-term.

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Lessons From a Dirty Coast

Chronicle.com - June 29, 2010

This is the story of two new assistant professors, from two distinct disciplines, teaching one new course, ending in one large disaster.

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Loyola's Mitch Crusto - interview about the court ruling against the moratorium

WWL - June 23, 2010

Spud McConnell speaks with Mitch Crusto, Professor of Law at Loyola University, about the court ruling against the moratorium.

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Loyola's Bob Thomas - interview on the oil spill

WWNO 89.9 - June 21, 2010

Bob Thomas from Loyola's Center for Environmental Communications discusses the latest developments in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with WWNO's Paul Maasse.

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Spill's magnitude fuels fears of BP bankruptcy

The Times-Picayune - June 14, 2010

As President Barack Obama made his case for BP to escrow $20 billion to ensure that environmental and economic damages from the undersea Gulf Coast oil gusher are paid, fears heightened that the company may seek bankruptcy protection in the face of claims that grow every day as more oil billows into the ocean.

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Wetlands impacted by Gulf oil spill feed nation's food chain, professor says

NOLA.com - June 8, 2010

About sixty business professionals gathered at the Hotel Continental in New Orleans Tuesday to hear a presentation by Dr. Robert A. Thomas about the impact of the oil spill on Louisiana's coast.

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Spill complicates forecasts on hurricane season eve

Associated Press - May 30, 2010

VENICE, La. — As hurricane season approaches, the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is taking weather forecasters into nearly uncharted waters.

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Cleaning oil-soaked wetlands may be impossible

3 News (New Zealand) - May 25, 2010

The gooey oil washing into the maze of marshes along the Gulf Coast could prove impossible to remove, leaving a toxic stew lethal to fish and wildlife, government officials and independent scientists said.

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Oil Reaches Louisiana Marshes in Earnest

ScienceInsider - May 20, 2010

After several days of trickles and tarballs, serious oil slicks have arrived on the Louisiana coast. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has 22 biologists in the field taking samples and assessing damage to fish, birds, and habitat. Today was the first day that many of them have reported finding oil, according to LDWF spokesperson Laura Deslatte.

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The oil slick looming off the Gulf of Mexico should reach US coasts within two days

Neftegaz.RU - May 14, 2010

Oil’s Arrival Dreaded: "Right now it’s like being a goalie in a soccer game," said Robert Thomas, professor and director of the Loyola University New Orleans Center for Environmental Communication. "Everyone is the goalie and we are trying to protect everything from every direction."

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BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill: the crude facts of an oil disaster

Telegraph.co.uk - May 4, 2010

"Worst case scenarios almost never happen," Professor Robert Thomas, of New Orleans' Loyola University, was quoted as saying yesterday. "In this case, almost everyone I have known with technical knowledge of oil spills – people who have worked in the industry 30, 40 years – say it is upon us." Others talk of a "Gulf Coast Chernobyl".

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Shifting spill tests sense of optimism: A guest column by Bob Thomas

The Times-Picayune (AP) - May 4, 2010

I am an eternal optimist. When things appear to be going the wrong direction, I describe worst-case scenarios, discuss how we must address them and then usually add that, fortunately, they rarely occur.

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Gulf oil slick will 'impact all elements of people’s lives across the U.S.,' warns professor

Examiner.com - May 3, 2010

As an oil slick of massive, unprecedented volume heads for America’s Gulf Coast, Dr. Robert Thomas, professor and director of Loyola University’s Center for Environmental Communication in New Orleans gave Animal Policy Examiner (APE) his predictions for the spill’s effects.

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First of many, the rescued bird that will be symbol of ‘worst-case’ spill

Times Online - May 3, 2010

Bob Thomas, of the Centre for Environmental Communication at Loyola University in New Orleans, said: “Worst-case scenarios almost never happen. In this case, almost everybody I have known with technical knowledge of oil spills, people who have worked in the industry 30, 40 years, well, they say this is the worst-case scenario . . . it is upon us. I never feel comfortable being Chicken Little, but I have looked at this every way I can and I have at this point at least mild despair, if not sinking depression.”

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Environmentalists Monitoring Oil Spill Impact

NPR - April 29, 2010

Melissa Block talks to Robert Thomas, of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University in New Orleans, about the potential effects the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will have on the wildlife and habitat of the coastal gulf ecosystem.

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