The catastrophic storms that occurred April 27 and 28, 2014, left a trail of devastation and lost lives across the South. Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Iowa, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi were among the hardest hit in this recent round of storms. At least 35 people lost their lives as a result of the tornadoes and high winds spawned by this powerful and active storm system. In Louisville, Mississippi, a tornado destroyed a day care center and caused severe damage to Winston Medical Center, the primary hospital for the area. Numerous schools, homes and vehicles were also damaged or destroyed by high winds and tornadoes associated with the massive storm system.
Much has been said about the negative environmental impact of oil drilling, pipelines and techniques like fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. One thing that always seems to get swept under the rug is the steadily increasing rate of oil field worker fatalities. Ever since the oil boom began in earnest in this country in 2009, oil field worker fatalities in most applicable states like Texas has increased sharply. While deaths have decreased in a handful of states, it is clear that working in an oil field is among the most dangerous jobs out there. If this trend continues, there will be a steadily increasing demand for work injury lawyers along with increased fatalities. Between 2008 and 2012, there were 545 oil field deaths in the U.S. This represents a 3.2 percent increase over the previous five-year period, between 2003 and 2007. At a glance, an increase of that size does not seem significant. However, major increases have been experienced in certain areas. For instance, there were 31 oil field deaths in North Dakota between 2008 and 2012, which represents an increase of 340 percent. In Pennsylvania, there were 20 deaths, which equals a 300-percent increase. In Oklahoma, there were 68 oil field fatalities, for an increase of 24 percent. With 216 deaths, Texas experienced an increase of 7.4 percent. The 3.4-percent increase nationwide from 2008 to 2012 also does not reflect the fact that more fatalities seem to be happening from one year to the next. In 2012, 138 people were killed in the oil fields, which represents a 100-percent increase since 2009. Even more sobering is the fact that across all industries, 3.2 out of every 100,000 workers are killed; that number is almost eight times greater when it comes to the gas and oil industry, so it is plain to see that a lot needs to be done to increase safety in the oil fields. Why are oil field fatalities increasing so dramatically? It largely has to do with the dramatic increase in oil and gas production in this country. The boom that started in 2009 continues, and high demand for oil and gas keeps it going. As a result, there is strong demand for oil field workers, and the work is quite lucrative. With so many high-paying jobs out there, many inexperienced, poorly trained workers are taking to oil fields around the country. It stands to reason that with more poorly trained, inexperienced workers, there will be an increase in fatalities. Other factors converge to make working in the oil fields especially dangerous. Workers tend to work 12 to 14 hours per day, and it is not unusual for an oil field worker to work seven to 14 days in a row. Working conditions are extremely tough, and workers are constantly around large, heavy equipment. To make matters worse, many workers resort to drug use to stay awake and alert during their long shifts. This all comes together to create a perfect storm of sorts, and fatalities increase accordingly. As evidenced by these troubling statistics, wrongful death accidents are all too common and may be becoming more common by the year. When combined with chemical plant accidents like the one in West, Texas, it is clear to see that a lot more work needs to be done to improve safety conditions for workers in industrial settings. Government officials and gas and oil industry leaders cannot seem to agree on ways to improve safety. In the meantime, workers in the oil fields are the ones who tend to suffer the worst consequences. Until conditions become a lot safer, and even long after they do, it is up to victims and their families to seek justice with the help of a Houston personal injury attorney in the wake of injuries and fatalities.
A series of high-profile accidents involving oil, gas, and chemical-laden railcars, including massive explosions in North Dakota and Quebec within the past year, have drawn attention to the safety issues that plague the hydrocarbon supply chain. In the past decade, the FELA attorney legal profession has brought many cases against transportation firms and other operators that fail to take proper safety precautions while transporting volatile chemicals. In response, railcar manufacturers and railroad operators have made a number of voluntary improvements to enhance the safety of the nation's rolling stock. Is the Drive to Improve Railroad Worker Safety Stalling? This is an important effort that should help reduce the number of railroad work injuries. Unfortunately, it appears to be stalling out amid growing calls for the federal government to provide clear guidance on the safety regulations and requirements that could be imposed on the railroad industry in the coming years. According to a recent report, the director of the Railway Supply Institute's Committee for Tank Cars - a key trade group with deep ties to the railroad industry - has made it clear that their clients are unwilling to make additional safety improvements on a voluntary basis until North American regulators enter into "an open dialogue about what [the] final regulations will be." Previous Changes To be fair, pressure from train accident lawyers and other sources has spurred the industry to make some important changes that deal with some of the most glaring safety gaps. In late 2011, the industry as a whole adopted a railcar design that included much thicker endcaps, flame-resistant insulating jackets and thicker exterior hulls in cars that transport volatile materials. The end result was a new type of railcar called CPC-1232. It has being phased in slowly but steadily, and more than 50,000 should be moving along the continent's railways by the beginning of 2015. It is worth noting that these changes have not produced a "silver bullet" for railway safety. While it is difficult to prove how many accidents are actually prevented by better safety equipment, it is obvious that the improved measures have not turned chemical transportation into a risk-free proposition. The worst "oilcar" disaster to date, the crash and explosion at Lac-Megantic, Quebec, occurred nearly two years after the changes were agreed. Getting the Government Involved It is also not clear what will happen beyond this point. Since 2008, the number of railcars carrying hydrocarbons or fuel ethanol has risen nearly 45-fold, and the trend does not appear to be slowing. A senior vice president at one of North America's four major railcar manufacturers was recently quoted as saying, "We need a good understanding of what will be acceptable, so capital is not afraid to invest in our safe future," clarifying that the industry is "chasing an even higher standard for safety." Thus far, American regulators have proved unwilling to provide specific guidance. The chairwoman of the NTSB has placed the onus on the industry itself, stating that "it is incumbent on the rail industry, shippers and regulators to ensure these hazardous materials are being moved safely." One regulation that looks likely to be implemented - and for which the industry is already preparing - is the complete phaseout of the DOT-111 railcar model. This vehicle lacks the thick panels, reinforced end plates and insulating jackets that even the industry concedes are necessary to reduce risk. However, the industry's various interest groups are clashing over the specifications of the vehicles that will replace them. Whereas the Association of American Railroads argues for railcar hulls to be at least 9/16 inch thick, the Railway Supply Institute prefers thicknesses of no more than 7/16 inch. Unless the government steps in to provide some guidance, it is unclear that an agreement will be reached. Ultimately, that could set back the cause of railway safety.
For more than 15 years, Texas has been experiencing high demand for new truck drivers because oil and gas production has been steadily increasing, and officials are beginning to understand how this has affected drivers on the state's highways. In terms of driver safety, the statistics are not very promising, and anyone involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer is urged to consult a Texas truck accident lawyer. An 18 wheeler accident lawyer will be able to help determine who is at fault and help the victims obtain compensation for their injuries and other damages. Shale and Oil Drilling Escalates As shale and oil drilling escalates across Texas, thousands of new trucks have been put into service to carry equipment, maintain production facilities, haul raw materials and deliver finished products. As the need for drivers rises, trucking schools are seeing an increase in students graduating from truck-driving programs, and these inexperienced drivers are allegedly causing a record number of accidents. The trucking industry, however, does not agree that its drivers are causing the accidents. Industry spokespeople are saying that the escalation in collisions is caused by the drivers of passenger vehicles who are unaware of how to drive safely with all of the new trucks on the highways. The president of the Midland-Odessa Transportation (MOTRAN) Alliance states that the drivers of passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers "don't exist well together" because the former has no experience driving big trucks while the latter has experience driving both. It takes trucks approximately three times further to come to a complete stop than it takes for automobiles, but many ordinary drivers do not understand this. A Look at the Statistics The statistics have shown an increase in the number of commercial trucks driving on Texas highways over the past several years, and Highway 158 is indicative of many others throughout the state. In 2002, only 497 tractor-trailers drove on the highway, but in 2011, that number rose to 1,318. On FM 1788, the increase was even more pronounced. In 2001, 6,100 big rigs took to FM 1788, but by 2011, the number increased to 16,800. Along with the number of trucks, several counties have experienced an increase in traffic accidents and traffic fatalities. In Midland County, 243 commercial vehicles were involved in collisions that resulted in 11 fatalities in 2011. The following year, there were 342 collisions that left 14 motorists and passengers dead. In Ector County, which is adjacent to Midland County, there were 141 accidents and six fatalities in 2011, and in 2012, there were 197 accidents and nine fatalities. Several other Texas counties also experienced increases in accidents and fatalities. In 2008, McMullen County experienced only four collisions involving commercial vehicles, but that rose by 1,150 percent to 46 in 2011. In La Salle County, which neighbors McMullen County, accidents increased by 418 percent from 2008 to 2011. The increase in accidents in Karnes County caught the eye of the Texas Department of Transportation and local residents. Not a single person died in a collision in the county in 2008, but by the first half of 2011, 12 people had already died. Just southeast of Kenedy, TX on Highway 239, five people died in the first three months of 2011, and nearby residents began calling that stretch of road a death trap. Karnes County is just one of 12 counties affected by the Eagle Ford shale drilling. Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer or another commercial vehicle, do not hesitate to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
While most parents strive to protect their kids from danger, there are some situations that make doing so extremely difficult. Unfortunately, American children may be at risk due to the actions of the same medical professionals their parents trust to keep them well. Codeine, a painkiller with known side effects, is being given to children in astounding numbers of emergency room situations even though it carries well-established dangers. A Widespread Issue Codeine is an opiate drug that is used for a number of purposes, such as cough suppression and the treatment of diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. In emergency rooms, its primary function is pain relief. Statistics collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demonstrate that between 2001 and 2010, codeine was prescribed to children in some 500,000 to 800,000 emergency room visits annually. The main problem with this widespread use of the drug is that due to individual variations in people's genetic makeup, some patients metabolize codeine at a dangerously rapid rate. According to data released by the FDA in early 2013, some children's fast metabolism of the drug can lead to serious adverse effects. Patients have been reported to cease breathing following accidental overdoses, and a pediatrician from Boston Children's Hospital said that it is impossible to know whether a child would respond poorly to codeine without analyzing their genetics in advance. Children who overdose and stop breathing may also suffer other serious complications that necessitate ongoing care. Families dealing with such outcomes and their associated costs may find it helpful to contact a drug lawsuit attorney. Official Confirmation of Risk Given the uncertainty over the use of the drug in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued numerous warnings recommending against the administration of codeine to child patients. AAP warnings are not anything new; initial versions of these guidelines were released as far back as 1997, and they were reissued again in 2007. An injury from prescription drugs lawyer may be able to use the longstanding existence of such recommendations to help establish negligence or malpractice in a civil suit. Following its own review of codeine safety, the FDA also published public warnings. A February 2013 safety announcement specifically recommended that health care professionals cease prescribing codeine for children's pain relief following tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies. In other situations, the FDA said that patients should only be given the drug if the benefits clearly outweighed the risks, and it also recommended that they be monitored for drowsiness, confusion or respiratory reactions that could indicate overdose. Are Emergency Rooms Paying Sufficient Attention to the Warnings? Regardless of the fact that both the FDA and the AAP strongly recommend against codeine prescriptions for children, the CDC statistics still stand. More than half a million children receive codeine in ER settings each year. Although some doctors say the drug can be safe in closely monitored ERs, it remains unclear whether overworked emergency rooms have the capacity to monitor children to the necessary degree or assess their genetics sufficiently before prescribing them the drug. Codeine, like other opioid analgesics, poses a serious risk of respiratory depression, even in adults. For almost 33 percent of patients, the drug may not even have the desired pain relief effects, calling its continued use on children into question and putting a serious damper on any potential benefits. Medical industry experts maintain that too many children are receiving codeine. It remains to be seen whether care facilities will take note or if more families will go through potentially avoidable suffering and seek legal reparations with the assistance of pharmaceutical lawsuit lawyers.
Many doctors have prescribed valproic acid (Depakote) to control epilepsy, but it can have tragic consequences for pregnant or nursing women and for those who may become pregnant while taking the drug. Damage to an unborn fetus is Depakote's most dangerous side effect, and some of the birth defects caused by taking the drug have been:
Highways are dangerous places because there are so many large vehicles traveling on the roads with smaller automobiles. A collision between those of us in smaller cars and a tractor-trailer truck can lead to serious injuries or even death. If this has happened to you, a tractor trailer accident attorney will help you put your life back on track. An 18 wheeler accident attorney is someone who spends a majority of his or her time defending the rights of people who have been hit by these large vehicles. If you have been dealing with the other driver's insurance company on your own and have not had any success, it may be time to hand the reins to one of the many qualified truck accident lawyers in your area. You can even file a claim if you lost a loved in a crash as has occurred in northern California earlier this month. Calls for New Safety Measures A total of 10 people died when a FedEx truck ran into a bus about 100 miles north of Sacramento. As a result of this crash, federal transportation officials have begun to seek ways to minimize injuries and deaths that take place in bus crashes. In 1997, a tour bus went tumbling down a hill and turned over with several passengers inside. The survivors had difficulties escaping through the vehicle's windows, so investigators suggested that officials write new safety measures that would make it easier for passengers to escape from a distressed large bus. Investigators called for these new safety standards 15 years ago, but they were never implemented. The National Transportation Safety Board's Recommendations The National Transportation Safety Board also made suggestions several years ago on how to make bus travel safer. Specifically, this agency wanted to see emergency exits and seat belts in buses. The board also suggested that officials write fire-safety rules especially for bus riders. Like 15 years ago, no one acted on these recommendations. Future Protections for Passengers In the very near future, buses are expected to have more protections for passengers. By November of 2016, large buses and motor coaches will be required to have three-point lap and shoulder seat belts. The bus that was involved in the recent crash was owned by Silverado Stages, and this company is known for having a very good safety record. The bus was manufactured in 2014, but it had seat belts installed. Enforcing Seat belt Use The next concern is the use of those seat belts. As was mentioned above, the Silverado Stages bus had them, but some victims were thrown from the vehicle. Mark Rosekind of the National Transportation Safety Board stated that it's hard for authorities to enforce the use of safety belts when they are not currently required to be in these vehicles in the first place. Larry Hanley president of the Amalgamated Transit Union also expressed his thoughts on the seat belt issue. He believes that it would require something similar to a flight attendant to ensure that everyone on a bus has his or her safety belts fastened. Hanley's organization is a representative of drivers and seeks to reduce driver fatigue through new policies. Tragedy on Interstate 5 On one fateful afternoon near Orland, California, a Silverado Stages bus was transporting a group of high school students to Humboldt University. At about 5:30 p.m., a FedEx truck crossed the median and collided with the bus. Because there weren't any tire marks, investigators determined that the truck driver never applied the brakes. Several of the 44 students managed to climb through the windows to safety. Soon afterward, the bus and the truck exploded and burst into flames. Among the dead were the bus driver, five students and three chaperones.
After an oil spill or some other disaster causes injuries to seamen, they have the right to sue their employers under the Jones Act. In these instances, a personal injury lawyer will not suffice. These are cases for maritime law firms. If you have experienced injury due to an accident that occurred while you were on the job, you and your Jones Act maritime attorneys can take your employers to court and obtain compensation that will pay your medical bills, replace lost wages and offer you compensation for your pain and suffering. Health Concerns Continue for One Cleanup Worker Being one of the workers who helped clean the gulf after the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill had its benefits, but now it has its difficulties. George Barisich was a fisherman in the gulf area who was left without a place to do his job when the disaster occurred on April 20, 2010. To earn money, he offered his boat and his services to the cleanup effort. Nearly four years later, Barisich wishes that he made a different decision. Because of involvement in the cleanup, he believes that his health may have been negatively affected forever. While engaged in cleaning the gulf, Barisich began to experience respiratory issues, and these issues developed into a case of pneumonia. He says that his former state of health has never returned. After his illness, Barisich discovered that he was unable to run for exercise. The British Petroleum Medical Settlement British Petroleum reached an agreement between themselves, residents and those who took part in cleanup efforts. The federal court gave its final approval for this medical settlement in February that sets aside up to $60,700 for those suffering from certain illnesses. Approximately 200,000 people are expected to request funds from this settlement, and George Barisich is one who is considering filing a claim. In order to qualify to receive a portion of the British Petroleum medical settlement, claimants must be able to prove that they were part of the cleanup crew and that they developed respiratory ailments or skin conditions because of it. The money that they receive would be designated toward paying their medical bills. They will also be entitled to a medical exam every three years for up to 21 years. If claimants develop a new infirmity in the future, the fact that they accepted the current settlement will not prevent them from suing British Petroleum over the new malady. Claimants will only need to prove that their new ailments are directly related to their work on the oil spill, and they will be able to initiate a lawsuit. Current Research on the Effects of the Spill The federal government continues to study health developments related to the oil spill, and they are conducting a study with 33,000 people for this purpose. George Barisich is one of the participants. The aim of the study is to discover what the outcome of the oil spill will be in the near future as well as the distant future. Previous studies have addressed this matter. In those studies, researchers learned that after developing respiratory problems, those affected returned to normal within a couple of years. The head of the current study Dr. Dale Sandler wants to take things further. She would like to know what will happen after five or 10 years. Dr. Sandler believes that people are wondering whether or not they have an increased risk of developing heart disease or cancer, and she would like to answer this question for them. In a press conference last Friday, Dr. Sandler announced her preliminary findings. So far, she has discovered that those who participated in cleanup efforts are suffering from depression and anxiety in greater numbers than the general population living in the area.
Texans still have vivid memories of last year's violent chemical plant explosion in West, a small, formerly peaceful town about halfway between Waco and Hillsboro, Texas. The blast, one of the most powerful such explosions of the past decade, completely destroyed the facility and leveled adjacent neighborhoods. 15 people, many of whom were first responders, perished in the carnage. Hundreds more suffered injuries that required medical treatment, and countless victims and surviving family members contacted a refinery explosion attorney to secure justice for their losses. Regulation in the Wake of the West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Given the national publicity that the explosion received and the scars that it left on the tight-knit community of West, observers would be forgiven for expecting Texan lawmakers and regulatory authorities to take immediate action to prevent similar incidents in the future. In spite of obvious gaps in the state's current regulatory framework for volatile compounds, including ammonium nitrate fertilizer, little movement has occurred since last April. As other matters and interests jockey for state lawmakers' attention, the window for action may be closing. "It seems wrong that lives were lost in vain," said Environmental Defense Fund health scientist Elena Craft in a recent Houston Chronicle report on the lack of action. It is still possible that something tangible will emerge from the current legislative session. At the moment, many of the guidelines in place for Texas chemical plants are voluntary or weakly enforced. This reduces their practical impact and allows companies to circumvent or openly flout rules that could prevent accidents and save lives. Members of the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety aim to change that. Unfortunately, their efforts are complicated by powerful business allies in the state legislature. While no one disputes that chemical and hydrocarbon industries in Texas need to remain competitive, there are huge differences of opinion about how to accomplish this. "I want to turn the ought-to-dos into statute," said the committee's chairman in the same Chronicle report, "but I want something that even the staunchest anti-regulation people say is a good idea." In practice, such an agreement may prove elusive. Changes currently being discussed include narrowly focused measures that only improve chemical storage protocols for facilities that process ammonium nitrate. While this would benefit towns like West, it would have little impact on the larger petrochemical plants and refineries that support the energy economy of the Texas Gulf Coast region. Not Just Fertilizer Ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient in fertilizer, is just one of the many explosive compounds that the state of Texas regulates loosely. As a major producer of oil-based products as well as a major hub for the refinery business, Texas is at risk for petrochemical plant explosions that rival the West blast in intensity and destructive power. In 2005, for instance, a BP oil refinery in Texas City suffered a catastrophic blast that killed more than a dozen workers and rendered the facility inoperable for months. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not maintain a precise definition of "industrial accidents" or keep track of deaths that result from such incidents, Texas had the highest rate of workplace deaths in 2011 and perennially finishes at or near the top of state ranking lists in this dubious category. In West, a post-incident investigation found a history of safety violations, improper storage protocols and excess ammonium nitrate stockpiles at the destroyed fertilizer plant. Despite indications that the explosion was the result of such lapses, there remains significant resistance to tough regulation - or any regulation at all - at the highest levels of Texas's government. When the Chronicle asked Governor Perry's office about the need for additional regulation, a spokesperson downplayed the investigation's findings and indicated that strong regulation would not be forthcoming. For now, Texan industrial workers and their families must plan accordingly.
People working in the oil industry are involved in a dangerous business. When accidents occur, these workers can be seriously hurt or even killed. If a petrochemical plant accident has affected your life, it may be time for you to consider filing a lawsuit. Specifically, if your employer is not paying you the monetary compensation that you are entitled to receive, then an industrial accident attorney will be necessary. This will also be the case if there has been wrongful death in industrial accident fatalities. The Increase in Oil Production The oil and gas industry has suffered great losses in recent years. The year 2012 was particularly difficult because deaths due to industrial accidents reached a 10-year high. Over the years, there has been a surge in drilling. Because of this, people are concerned that even more workers are going to be at risk as production increases. The Chemical Safety Board and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are two agencies that want to reduce the risks that industrial workers take every day that they show up at their jobs. Officials with these agencies believe that strengthening safety regulations is the right thing to do in this situation. In opposition is the oil and gas industry. According to companies and trade groups in this arena, current rules and regulations are sufficient. Current Rules and Regulations OSHA's rules and regulations apply to the manufacturing side of the oil and gas industry, and these companies are required to do the following:
Dwelling pays if your house is damaged or destroyed by a covered loss. Homeowners should have a COMPLETE understanding of what is actually covered. READ your policy. Familiarity is always good.
Personal property pays if the items in your house (such as furniture, clothing, and appliances) are damaged, stolen, or destroyed. Note: There are certain limits, so assumption of complete replacement could be incorrect.
Other structures pays to repair or rebuild structures not attached to your house, such as detached garages, storage sheds, and fences. Note: Depends at times, on HOW the structure was damaged. Know your policy.
Loss of use pays your additional living expenses (housing, food, and other essential expenses) if you must temporarily move because of damage to your house from a covered loss. Your policy will pay either a percentage of the amount of your dwelling coverage (typically 10 to 20 percent) or for a specific period after the loss (such as 24 months). Note: Again, depends on what caused the damage and whether or not the cause of damage is COVERED in the policy.
Personal liability pays to defend you in court against lawsuits filed against you or someone in your house and provides coverage if you are found legally responsible for someone's injury or property damage. Note: Not all legal fees are automatically covered.
Medical payments pays the medical bills of people hurt on your property. It might also pay for some injuries that happen away from your home, such as your dog biting someone at the park. Abasic homeowners policy pays $500 in medical bills, but you may buy up to $5,000 in medical payments coverage.
Despite several recent disastrous rail accidents involving trains carrying crude oil, the oil industry continues to refuse to provide information needed by the United States Department of Transportation (USDT) to help regulate this potentially devastating process. Transportation officials are paying strict attention to the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, where trains carrying the crude oil have exploded and caught fire, leading to unnecessary deaths and the loss of valuable resources. Although the USDT requested information several months ago from local oil industry members, only a few individual companies have bothered to make their data available. With the recent derailment and explosion of trains transporting crude oil, it is little wonder that the Department of Transportation is pushing for some answers to the question of industry safety. Workers who are victims of train wrecks caused by the oil industry's lack of cooperation may have legitimate claims for compensation. Trained FELA attorneys are able to point out the feet-dragging of the oil industry that may have led to injury or even death. These railroad accident lawyers and the victims that they represent can put a lot of pressure on the uncooperative oil companies, and government officials are hopeful that data will soon be forthcoming that can make oil shipments safer and will help save people's lives. The issue with the Bakken oil is similar to other crude found elsewhere in North America and around the world. This crude oil is highly volatile and therefore is unpredictable for safety reasons. It is a compound of large amounts of natural gases mixed with other unstable substances that creates a dangerous petrochemical mix. In addition to the already unpredictable nature of this crude product, the oil is typically not refined before it is transported by rail. When the oil remains unrefined, the natural properties can vary greatly from shipment to shipment. This means that one portion of a transport train could be carrying a product that is significantly more volatile than another railway car. However, without refinement, the exact properties of each railway car's contents remains unknown to the crew of the train and anyone receiving the product at the destination point. This lack of knowledge can lead to horrific mistakes and accidents at any time during the shipping process. While this and similar forms of crude oil are available internationally, it is the Bakken region that has revolutionized the process of drilling and transporting the oil at an impressively fast pace. By uncovering such massive quantities, railway cars are moving millions of gallons of crude oil in single, mile-long trains. Putting such a large quantity of this combustible substance on a single transport vehicle is tempting the odds against safety and security. In addition, a well-known and strongly documented defect exists in many of the railway cars used for carrying the volatile oil. Safety technicians and oil industry experts are aware that many of these railway cars will rupture and explode when there is a train crash, leading to increased levels of danger and devastation. However, despite these considerations of unsafe railway cars and volatile compounds being transported, the oil industry continues to block the efforts of the Department of Transportation to provide increased safety measures and regulations. As the number of train wrecks continues to increase, the United States Government, as well as other bodies of regulators and labor unions, are pushing members of the oil industry even harder to provide the necessary information to create mandates for employee and public safety. The availability of data concerning the crude oil could lead to new standards for testing the product before it is placed in the railway cars, as well as regulations for safer transportation.
Tractor-trailers and other large vehicles are sharing the same highways with smaller automobiles. This can mean devastating consequences if you are riding in a small car that is involved in a collision with a larger vehicle. If you have experienced this situation and have been seriously injured as a result, the services of an 18 wheeler accident attorney may be warranted. Owners of 18-wheelers are notorious for denying responsibility when their truck drivers cause serious crashes on the road. These companies do not want to have to offer large settlements for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. If you are experiencing something like the scenario described here, a tractor trailer accident attorney can force the other side to take your case seriously. Truck accident lawyers have experience in fighting against the tactics that owners of 18-wheelers and their attorneys use, and they will tirelessly work toward an outcome that is in your best interests. The victims in the latest crash between a FedEx tractor-trailer and a bus are an example of those who may need to hire a tractor trailer accident attorney in the near future. A Fiery Crash in Northern California At around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, a FedEx tractor-trailer truck collided with a bus on Interstate 5 near Orland, California. According to investigators, the tractor-trailer crossed over the grassy median between the north- and south-bound lanes to avoid hitting the vehicle in front. As it crossed into the other lane, the truck drove straight into oncoming traffic. The tractor-trailer collided with a bus that was carrying between 44 and 48 high school students, four chaperones and the bus driver. A massive explosion occurred after the impact and both vehicles burst into flames. Fortunately, some students were able to escape from the bus by dislodging a window and climbing to safety. They managed to make their way across the freeway before the bus exploded. The Unfortunate Side The fact that some people were able to make an escape saved a majority of the passengers on the bus, and this is why one chaperone and most of the students are alive to tell their tale. However, those who were unable to exit the bus were not so fortunate. After the first explosion, two more followed, and students could do nothing but watch as the bus was overtaken by flames with people still inside. The fire was clearly visible as thick black smoke surged forth into the late afternoon sky. Three chaperones, the bus driver and five students perished at the scene. The FedEx driver also lost his life. As of last night, 10 people have been pronounced dead. Investigations into What Transpired Experts from the National Transportation Safety Board left for the area Friday morning to begin a thorough investigation into the crash. The multi-disciplinary team is comprised of experts in the area of highway crashes. A FedEx spokeswoman stated that officials with her company would participate fully in the investigation as they are needed. The tour bus company Silverado Stages that owns the bus also made a statement that night. On its website, the company asserted that executives are helping to gather the information needed to begin the investigation. Injuries Around 36 or 37 people sustained injuries, and these included lacerations to the head, broken noses and legs, and burns of all levels of severity. Enloe Medical Center in Chico accepted 11 of the victims where two were classified in critical condition. Mercy Medical Center in Redding received five of the victims who were described as being in fair condition. Two critical patients were sent to UC Davis Medical Center, and three people received treatment at Oroville Hospital in Oroville.
Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices may mean well, but patients can still be hurt when they use these products. One example is the da Vinci Laparoscopic Surgical System. Currently, some patients who underwent surgery with this system are suing the device's manufacturers. You may be in a similar situation as the patients described above because you took a drug or used a device that actually harmed you instead of helped you. If this is the case, you can do what the da Vinci patients did; you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. For this purpose, you will need a pharmaceutical lawsuit attorney. When you hire an injury from prescription drugs lawyer, you will be able to demonstrate to the court how the medication or medical devise injured you. You may receive monetary compensation for the pain that you suffered. You may even be awarded a sum of money that will pay future medical bills. If a number of people were harmed in a similar manner by the same drug or medical devise, you may be able to hire a class action lawsuit lawyer or become part of a class action lawsuit with other patients like yourself. The da Vinci Laparoscopic Surgical System The da Vinci Surgical System is technology that assists surgeons in the process of performing laparoscopic procedures. The system contains several surgical arms that are manipulated directly by the surgeon. It "helps" by translating the doctor's larger movements into near-microscopy movements that would be impossible to attain in regular surgery. Certification Although the da Vinci Surgical System was seen as an improvement in the medical industry, several people have voiced concerns about its safety. Apparently, the manufacturers skipped a few steps to have this technology approved by the FDA. In order to do this, the manufacturers claimed that this new system was similar to technology that has already received FDA approval. As a result, the FDA did not spend enough time assessing the da Vinci Surgical System before permitting its use. Inadequate Training Contrary to some people's beliefs, critics of the da Vinci Surgical System think that it has the potential to be more dangerous than ordinary laparoscopic surgery. Popular thought amongst these people is that the manufacturers are not providing practitioners with adequate training on the device. In medical centers around the country, surgeons must perform a pre-determined number of procedures with the da Vinci Surgical System under supervision. However, some people have suggested that the manufacturers are convincing medical centers to reduce the number of required supervised procedures that must be done before physicians can use the system on their own. Using the System People also have concerns about the way the system is used. It contains cutting tools, and some people believe that these cutting tools could do damage to the patient and the patient's organs as the tools are placed inside the body and also as they are removed. Another way that they may injure the patient is through electrical discharge. Da Vinci Lawsuits Because of the matters described above, some people have found it necessary to file lawsuits against the manufacturers of the da Vinci Surgical System. They are alleging the following:
A chemical plant accident takes place on a regular basis, and anyone can be affected. If this has happened to you, you may have suffered injuries that make it impossible for you to go to work. If the guilty parties are not taking responsibility for your injuries, this makes things even worse. In this case, you will need an industrial accident lawyer. You will need money for your medical bills and payment for lost wages. If you were an employee and were involved in an accident, you can also hire a refinery accident attorney to make sure that your employer offers you a fair settlement. Two Oil Spills in Galveston Bay The unfortunate truth is that oil spills into the Galveston Bay practically on a daily basis. For example, crews have been cleaning up an oil spill that occurred on March 22, but the bay experienced another spill on March 30. This added 160 gallons of light crude oil to the 170,000 gallons that were spilled previously. Since 1998, oil spilled into the bay approximately 285 times every year according to the Houston Advanced Research Center. The center studies Galveston Bay's ecosystem and publishes a report on its findings on a regular basis. Why Frequent Spills Are Dangerous Although the oil spills are typically very small, people are concerned because they happen so often. The average amount spilled is around 103 gallons, and most spills amount to less than one gallon, but because of the frequency, these spills can jeopardize the bay's well-being. The reason is because oil is not the only danger in the area. According to marine scientist Lisa Gonzalez who is vice-president of the Houston Advanced Research Center, "It's like death by a thousand cuts, especially when you combine the oil spills with all of the other stressors to the bay." The Latest Spill Right before 12:00 p.m. on March 30, equipment began to malfunction on a storage tank located in the bay. According to Scott Gaudet of the Texas General Land Office, the high-water alarm failed, and this allowed oil and water to spill into around 300 yards of marshland. This latest incident occurred right across the bay from where the March 22 spill transpired. In 1990, three barges collided with a tanker, and 700,000 gallons of heavy crude oil spilled into the Houston Ship Channel. The land office found that the 1990 spill was larger than all of the spills that occurred in the bay since 1998 combined. That year, there were 284 oil spills. The highest number of incidents occurred in 2001 with 397 spills. Accidents have been decreasing since that time, and the lowest number occurred in 2011 when officials reported 184 spills for the year. The Bay's Health Galveston Bay is more productive than any other estuary system and commercial center in Texas. It is a major contributor to the state's $2 billion fishing industry and because of this, experts believe that the bay's health is not in question. However, they are cautious because the ecosystem is constantly being altered, and scientists are lacking pertinent information. Texas A&M University at Galveston marine biologist Antonietta Quigg has studied the bay's plankton to determine the health of the bay. She and her team took samples of the water after the March 22 spill and discovered that there is a population of oil-consuming bacteria in the water. These beneficial bacteria are helping to clean up the bay. Also aiding the situation are the wind and the waves. The wind and waves have been advantageous because they pushed the oil in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico rather than into the bay's fragile estuaries.
The disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought changes to offshore-drilling regulations, including new rules intended to avoid similar problems in the future. These rules require offshore companies and subcontractors to create and document plans covering work safety and emergency practices along with improved facility information. Further work was clearly needed as a series of Gulf incidents in 2012 and 2013, including a fatal platform fire and a natural-gas well explosion prompted the federal government to consider tracking near-miss events that might indicate larger safety issues. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) worked together to create a voluntary reporting program that relies on oil and gas companies to submit confidential reports of close calls. Despite this promise of confidentiality, industry representatives have expressed doubts about how the information will be used. To help promote confidence, the BSEE will hold workshops with companies this month to encourage participation and gather ideas about what types of information to collect. Any injury at sea is a clear concern, but investigations into the Deepwater Horizon explosion four years ago noted that offshore drillers sometimes pay too little attention to "process safety management" and instead focus too closely on individual injury prevention. Maritime attorneys will continue to protect the rights of seamen injured on the job, yet a program that ultimately helps prevent offshore-drilling injuries and fatalities through improved safety processes is surely beneficial, if the oil and gas companies will cooperate. Federal regulators have faced such reluctance before. The aviation industry showed similar resistance over 30 years ago when their reporting program began, but the assurance of confidentiality turned it into a successful venture. Now railroad regulators are trying to overcome the fears of that industry. Its 2011 voluntary program has had limited success with only one out of the 26 railroads serving commuters fully engaged so far. Still, the BSEE is stressing the confidential nature of this new endeavor. The BTS will collect the data and handle analysis before turning over aggregated information to the BSEE. No identifying details that could expose individuals or companies will be included, and the information will not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, offering further protection from disclosure. The BSEE has also stated that it will not use any information for enforcement purposes. While the upcoming workshops will generate ideas for data tracking, the episodes known as kicks may be one area to consider. Kicks occur when fluids, including oil and natural gas, enter wells, and they have the potential to erupt into well blowouts. Currently, there are few requirements for reporting them. Tracking their frequency, as well as crews' response times, could lead to better training and better equipment to handle these incidents before they become disasters that necessitate the intervention of an offshore injury lawyer. The BP Macondo well that exploded in 2010 experienced a kick just a month before that disaster, and it was not noticed for 33 minutes. On the night of the explosion, another kick occurred in the well; it was 40 minutes before anyone realized it, and that led to explosive gas entering the rig. As a consequence, BP was prevented from bidding on any new federal contracts. Now, the company will be the only one required to participate in the safety-tracking program as a condition of an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to end BP's contract suspension. BP is required to collect data on injury rates and on the breach of primary containment in wells, which they must report to their board and to the BSEE. Time will tell if federal regulators will need to make the near-miss reporting program a requirement for all offshore companies.
Industrial accidents seem to be occurring on an increasing basis. You may be the victim of an accident that was not your fault? If you have been hurt or a loved has been injured, a personal injury attorney is going to be necessary to make sure that the guilty party takes responsibility for your injuries. If your loved one has died, you will be able to file a wrongful death claim. An industrial accident attorney can also help you obtain money for funeral expenses, lost wages and payment of medical bills. Criminal Charges in 2010 Blast In 2010, a pipeline exploded in the San Francisco Bay area. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company was charged with violating safety regulations set by the federal government. Specifically, the utility company has been formally charged with 12 felony counts of violating pipeline safety laws. In the event that the company is found guilty on these charges, the court could levy a fine as high as $6 million as punishment. However, the possibility remains that the fine could be even higher. The court has the privilege of increasing the fine if the prosecution can demonstrate that the company received some financial benefit from this catastrophe. Evidence Against the Utility Company According to the federal government, officials with Pacific Gas and Electric Company were aware that the information that was used to assess the pipeline's safety was incomplete and erroneous before the explosion occurred. The government came to this conclusion because the utility company received warnings from its own inspectors that there were problems with the pipeline. The company neglected to address the inspectors' concerns at that time. Furthermore, in 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the company's negligence was directly responsible for the blast. Even more incriminating is the fact that the board made a point of stating that the failure was definitely not a mechanical one. Instead, this explosion was an "organizational incident." Soon after the final safety assessment, the pipeline ruptured and a fireball destroyed 38 houses in San Bruno. That day, eight people lost their lives and dozens of people sustained injuries. The neighborhood has yet to recover from this tragedy although nearly four years have passed. Agreement With the Charges City Manager Connie Jackson agrees with the government's actions. The city's position is that the utility company failed to manage its operations in a responsible manner and was negligent in protecting public safety. California's Attorney General Kamala Harris also agrees. She believes that this indictment is a step in the direction of bringing closure to the victims of this incident. Disagreement With the Charges The one dissenting voice comes from the parent company of the defendant. Officials with Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation believe that Pacific Gas and Electric Company's employees did not perform any actions that are in violation of the Pipeline Safety Act. They acknowledge that some people made mistakes but that keeping the public safe and providing affordable and reliable energy were the employees' top priorities. A Previous Indictment Although it does not happen every day, the federal government has filed similar charges in the past. For example, in 1999, a pipeline explosion that occurred in Washington State led to an investigation and subsequent prosecution of Olympic Pipe Line Company. A ruptured pipeline caused 225,000 gallons of gasoline to spew into the creeks of Bellingham, Washington. Three officials associated with the company received prison terms or probation. The company was required to pay a $112 million fine and make safety improvements. Officials with Pacific Gas and Electric Company have apologized to the community and said they are doing everything they can to help those affected by the blast.
A large explosion that occurred at 8:22 a.m. PDT on Monday rocked a rural farming community in southern Washington State. The blast, which could be heard 20 miles away, took place at Northwest Pipeline, a subsidiary of Williams Partners, in Plymouth, an unincorporated community located in the Tri-Cities metropolitan area and 230 miles southeast of Seattle. Flames reached 30 feet into the air, and black smoke poured from the blast site. The smell of gas that emanated from one of this area's largest industrial explosions in recent memory caused many residents who were situated within a mile of the site to become nauseous. The explosion also created a fire that was extinguished a couple of hours later. Fourteen of the company's employees were on site when the blast occurred, and all have been accounted for. Five of those individuals were injured. One was taken to a hospital in Portland, Ore., and treated there after suffering non-life-threatening burns to his hands and face, while the other four were treated at and released from a hospital in Hermiston, Ore., a city located 10 miles away on the other side of the Columbia River. These employees may decide to request the services of an industrial explosion lawyer to protect their rights and receive just compensation for any lot wages and medical bills.. The explosion sent shrapnel into a nearby 15-million-gallon tank that was nearly half full of super-cold liquefied natural gas. The two holes that were formed caused the tank to leak at a slow but worrisome pace as a second and much larger explosion would have resulted if the vaporized natural gas was mixed with the right amount of oxygen and ignited. For these reasons, about 1,000 residents and agricultural workers were evacuated, and nearly 100 of those went to the Umatilla County Fairgrounds in Hermiston where the American Red Cross provided food, water and shelter. Few were expected to stay the night, however. People were kept away from a 2-mile radius surrounding the blast site until Tuesday when that radius was reduced to 1 mile and then removed entirely later in the day other than for the plant itself and a nearby intersection. These reductions took place once it became clear that the chances of a second explosion were slim. A nearby portion of the Columbia River and railroad tracks in Plymouth had also been closed on Monday, but they have since reopened. After crews finish plugging up the tank's two holes, they will start determining what caused the initial explosion. It is believed that the blast took place in a storage building. The groups heading this investigation are the Department of Labor & Industries and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Emergency personnel, firefighters and authorities will remain in the area through at least Wednesday to ensure that the area is safe and that residents and others are taken care of. Residents were warned upon returning to their homes to avoid any perlite, a chemical that has the appearance of dust that may have settled in the area. It can cause irritation if touched and aggregate respiratory conditions if inhaled. This facility provides supplemental gas when the demand is high. It opened in 1975 and is inspected on an annual basis by the UTC. Its last inspection in November was clean. In fact, Michele Swaner of Williams Partners told the Tri-City Herald that her company goes beyond what is required and ensures that all of the company's pipelines are well-maintained and regularly inspected. Tank ruptures are rare, and one had not occurred in the Tri-Cities area in the past several decades. However, when they do occur, workers at these plants may require the services of a refinery explosion attorney.
According to the Federal Railway Administration, approximately 400,000 car loads of crude oil were shipped across the U.S. and Canada via freight trains in 2013. Of those, 99.9 percent reportedly made it to their destination without incident, but it the other 0.1 percent that has railroad workers, this FELA claim lawyer and government officials alike calling for stricter regulations to be imposed on freight shipping of crude oil. Recent Crude Oil Freight Train Spills In February 2014, a Norfolk Southern train carrying cargo that included crude oil and liquefied petroleum derailed in western Pennsylvania, spilling at least 3,000 gallons of oil. No one was injured, but the clean-up required the assistance of a local HAZMAT team, a remediation firm hired by Norfolk Southern, and the state Department of Environmental Protection. The Pennsylvania incident pales in comparison, however, to the July 2013 incident in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people. A 74-car train carrying 1.6 million gallons of crude oil that had been transported from North Dakota derailed and entered the town at a high rate of speed. About half of the city's downtown was leveled in the resulting explosion. It was the fourth worst train accident in Canadian history and posed an environmental contamination hazard as well as significant personal injury and property damage. The clean-up bill for the incident exceeded $200 million, and the railroad company involved, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd., filed for bankruptcy. Train accident lawyers have filed multiple lawsuits stemming from the incident on behalf of accident victims and their families. Outdated Safety Regulations Following these accidents, as well as a December 2013 North Dakota explosion that fortunately resulted in no human casualties, several organizations have petitioned for stronger safety regulations to be imposed on freight trains that are transporting crude oil. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the large-scale shipment of crude oil via freight did not exist 10 years ago, and the current regulations regarding oil spills and response plans are out of date. They reportedly have not been updated since 1996. Currently, federal rules require trains that are carrying toxins or poisons to avoid populated areas, but crude oil is not regulated in such a way. In addition, most HAZMAT standards regarding railroad transport are voluntary rather than required by government regulations, and railroads are not required to file a safety contingency plan with the FDA unless the tankers have a capacity of more than 42,000 gallons, according to industry experts. The NTSB Recommends New Regulations About 95 percent of the crude oil transported by freight is carried by DOT-111 tank cars, which have a 34,500 gallon capacity, so no emergency response plan needs to be filed. These cars may be liable to puncture during an accident, however, leading to fires or explosions, and the NTSB mentioned DOT-111 cars in their 15-page recommendation that was released in January. In the safety recommendation document, issued jointly with Canadian authorities, the NTSB also suggested that trains carrying crude oil avoid populated areas and other "sensitive regions," according to an NTSB spokesperson. It also called for audits of rail carriers and shippers to ensure that adequate response plans are in place in case of a spill, crash or explosion. Under to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to have contingency plans in place in case of inland oil spills, and many authorities, railway professionals and railroad accident attorneys believe that immediate action is needed. The EPA is looking into the spills, as well as reviewing recommendations submitted from the NTSB and New York State officials, and will reportedly make a decision on further action by the end of April 2014.
More details have emerged in the ongoing class action lawsuit against Boehringer Ingelheim, the maker of Pradaxa, and they suggest that the company may have been well aware of the potentially deadly side effects of its medication. The blood-thinning medication, which is usually prescribed to help reduce the risk of stroke, was touted by Boehringer Ingelheim as a more convenient, simpler alternative to Warfarin and Coumadin. However, documents suggest that the pharmaceutical company may have concealed serious bleeding risks of the drug from the FDA, and those actions may have contributed to the suffering and death of thousands of people. As the class action lawsuit has proceeded, every plantiffs drug lawsuit lawyer and other professionals have pored over the documents that were submitted to the FDA during the approval process. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the makers of the drug were less than forthcoming about some of its possible side effects. Most notably, the drug company was apparently aware of the risk of serious bleeding episodes and "bleed-outs," which can lead to death, but failed to be completely straightforward about these serious side effects in the documents that it submitted. The most troubling thing of all is that, unlike Warfarin, there is no antidote available to treat bleeding episodes that are caused by Pradaxa use. It also appears that Boehringer Ingelheim did not just withhold information from the reports and documents that it provided to the FDA while awaiting approval. The company appears to have been less than forthcoming about the results of the clinical trial that it performed. The study, RE-LY, is reportedly riddled with errors. The most telling point of all is that when it was originally presented to the FDA, it was rejected. Changes were made and it was resubmitted. Just eight months later, Pradaxa was approved based on less-than-forthcoming information about its serious side effects. Some of the clinical data that was withheld from summaries and other documents suggests that some people may metabolize the drug differently. Furthermore, it revealed that some patients may require more monitoring than others. This flies in the face of the promises that were made by the drug company, which claimed that less monitoring is needed for Pradaxa than for alternatives like Coumadin and Warfarin. As a result, people who may have needed additional monitoring and those who may have metabolized the drug differently for various reasons were not fully apprised of the risks. Sadly, research from the University of British Columbia has concluded that Pradaxa should have never seen the light of day. The hundreds of people who suffering from excessive bleeding, including many who perished from such episodes, could have been spared if Boehringer Ingelheim had been transparent and forthcoming about its findings with the FDA. Instead, it appears that the company was more concerned about releasing a newer, better blood thinner, which also suggests that the company's top priority was padding its bottom line. Unfortunately, those extra profits came at the expense of people's health, well-being and lives. All of the claims that have been made so far in the class action lawsuit have been consolidated in Illinois. A judge has already fined Boehringer Ingelheim nearly $1 million for destroying and withholding important information. There is still time for victims and their survivors to participate in the lawsuit. For best results, they should retain an injury from prescription drugs lawyer. As the case works its way through the legal system, it will be joined by numerous other wrongful death lawsuits and other types of litigation. By retaining a qualified pharmaceutical lawsuit attorney, victims and their heirs can protect their rights while making the strongest possible case against Boehringer Ingelheim. This is yet another example of how lawsuits continue to be among the best ways to fight back against unscrupulous pharmaceutical drug companies.
The infamous oil and gas company BP just recently received permission to begin working again after the spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The result is that another oil spill has happened, and it demonstrates that BP is not ready to enter into operations again without endangering the environment and human safety. You may have experienced a chemical plant accident similar to the one that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico that is due to the negligence of your employers. In that case, you have the option of hiring a refinery accident attorney. The executives at your place of employment have expensive lawyers that help them keep from admitting responsibility for your injuries. By hiring your own industrial accident lawyer, you will have an advocate who will fight to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering. Oil Spill on Lake Michigan The latest BP oil spill occurred on March 24, and this time, Lake Michigan was affected. At that time, BP officials reported that nine to 18 barrels of oil spilled from Indiana's Whiting refinery into Lake Michigan. However, the company was forced to amend these numbers just three days later. In actuality, approximately 15 to 39 barrels spilled into the lake. It occurred because a new distillation unit malfunctioned and caused the oil to be released into a sealed cooling system that subsequently spilled into the water. Workers based their original estimate on the oil sheen that they observed on the surface of the water. After workers were able to collect oil in their cleanup efforts, they discovered that approximately 1,638 gallons of oil had spilled into the lake. Compared to the last disaster that BP was involved in, this is a negligible amount, but it is still significant. The spill caused about 2,700 square feet of shoreline to be affected, and it left oil sheen on the surface of the water for a length of about 5,000 square feet. The Results of Cleanup Efforts Refinery employees discovered the oil sheen on the water's surface at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, workers managed to stop the leak that day at around 9:00 p.m. Cleanup crews were in the area cleaning up the half-mile stretch of shoreline, and between 630 and 1,638 gallons of oil have been recovered so far. The Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and BP stated in a joint report that additional oil has not been discovered in the water or on the beach as of Thursday. Cleanup crews had plans to return to the area on Friday to search for additional oil. Reaction from Politicians Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk expressed some concerns about the fact that BP increased its oil production right before the spill occurred. They wished to know what BP is planning to do to prevent future disasters such as this one. They are worried about safety at the refinery and the reliability of expanding production. The senators have asked top BP official John Minge to meet with them to ensure that increased production does not lead to future negative incidences. The Spill's Long-Term Effects Although Lake Michigan supplies drinking water to 7 million residents of the city of Chicago and its suburbs, the water is not believed to be adversely affected by the spill. Fortunately, the oil does not appear to be drifting in the direction of the 68th Street water intake crib. Senior biologist Philip Willink of Shedd's Aquarium does not believe that the spill will have any long-term effects on wildlife. The Environmental Protection Agency's lawyers are investigating whether or not BP violated the Clean Water Act.