environment

A government witness at the trial to determine civil penalties against BP for the 2010 oil spill says the disaster hurt a wide array of industries over a broad geographic area.

Charles Mason also testified yesterday that the harm was only modestly countered by BP's spending and investment in the region.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys are pushing for the maximum $13.7 million Clean Water Act penalty for BP.

BP says the figure should be less.

Skylar Primm / Flickr

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says a female whooping crane released about a year ago has been shot in Vermilion Parish and had to be put to death.

Spokesman Adam Einck said Wednesday there's a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of whoever shot the endangered bird.

He says the bird was found Nov. 2 with an apparent bullet wound in her upper left leg and was euthanized the next day at the Louisiana State University veterinary school.

Activists calling for an immediate safe disposal of M6 explosives at Camp Minden in Webster Parish lodged an official complaint with the state Wednesday.

A group delivered more than 3,600 signatures to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s Northwest Regional office in Shreveport. They also delivered copies to the local offices of Louisiana’s congressional delegation.

Eve Troeh

Louisiana faces the highest relative rates of sea level rise in the world. As policy and funding debates rage over how to best restore and protect our coastal communities, local leaders also look for allies elsewhere.

Lawyers for BP and the government are set to begin the third and final phase today of the trial over its 2010 oil spill. A Tulane University expert on maritime law says there are billions of dollars at stake.

Federal judge Carl Barbier has been overseeing the complex litigation over the 2010 disaster.

Tulane law professor Martin Davies is director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center. He says that process has proven much faster than scheduling jury trials. Barbier has already made key rulings in the case.

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Madhusudan Katti / Flickr

Elevated lead levels in the environment can cause a number of health problems for children and adults, and parts of New Orleans have consistently tested high for lead pollution.

Researchers at Tulane University are experimenting with a new way to test for lead exposure — by listening to bird songs to find out what they can tell us about heavy metals in the environment. 

Tulane researcher Renata Ribeiro spends a lot of time out in the field, recording the songs of Northern Mockingbirds.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

Jesse Hardman is the Coastal Reporter and Laine Kaplan-Levenson is the Coastal Producer for WWNO’s Coastal Desk. The desk launched in June, and with the end of 2014 the team curated a recap of coverage thus far.

Listen to the Coastal Team talk with WWNO News Director Eve Troeh:

Starting Out:

Almost 2,700 people have signed on to a Facebook group in recent days to oppose an open burn of millions of pounds of M6 propellant deserted at Camp Minden by a bankrupt munitions recycler in 2013.

The group, Concerned Citizens of the Camp Minden Open Burn, wants to stop the open burn that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to carry out over a number of months in Webster Parish.

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