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Deepwater Horizon spill: Five years later, endless problems

The oil slick as seen from space by NASA's Terra satellite on 24 May 2010

The oil slick as seen from space by NASA’s Terra satellite on 24 May 2010

Five years have passed since BP’s Macondo well exploded leading to the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The story of the Deepwater Horizon spill no longer draws much media attention, but the problems have not gone away.

U.S. readers can watch the award-winning documentary on the aftermath of the spill, The Great Invisible, tonight on PBS.

In the Nation, an article on the slow pace of BP claims payments shows that small business owners are still struggling. In fact, according to the article, most Gulf Coast businesses are still waiting — five years on —  for damage payments. Many can no longer afford to wait and have closed shop.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang loses his Malibu mansion

Exterior of Malibu home U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement A 2011 photo provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers shows the exterior of the Malibu home of Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the second vice president of Equatorial Guniea.

Exterior of Malibu home — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
A 2011 photo provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers shows the exterior of the Malibu home of Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the second vice president of Equatorial Guniea.

It may be a drop in the bucket, but the Obiang family will forfeit personal property in the U.S. as part of a corruption settlement.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In a settlement filed in U.S. district court in Los Angeles, Equatorial Guinea Second Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang agreed to give up a $30-million house with a view of the ocean, a collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia and other property, including a Ferrari, to settle corruption claims by federal prosecutors.

The settlement with Obiang, who is the son and heir apparent to the nation’s president, is part of an expanding Justice Department effort — officials call it the “Kleptocracy Initiative” — to crack down on corrupt foreign officials who steal money and use it to live the high life in the U.S.

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Oil vs. fishing in Ghana — the conflicts continue

Takoradi fishing port. Photo by Christiane Badgley

Takoradi fishing port. Photo by Christiane Badgley

It has been ages since I’ve posted anything here (more on that below), but it seems that nothing much has changed — at least not for the fishing communities of Western Ghana. I first reported on conflicts between fishermen and Ghana’s new oil industry more than three years ago. Since then, oil exploration and drilling have increased, and the situation for fishermen has deteriorated. In the last few months three reporters have contacted me to talk about conflicts between fishing and oil.

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    Oil...A Pipeline to Prosperity?

    Oil…A Pipeline to Prosperity?

    I have produced a short film for PBS/Frontline World to mark the 10th anniversary of World Bank engagement in the Chad-Cameroon Oil Development and Pipeline Project. The film, “Cameroon: Pipeline to Prosperity?” revisits the story of the “model” oil for development project. Ten years ago the oil companies and the World Bank promised that this project would break the resource curse and prove to the world that oil could be a force for good…

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