Strong storms and rough water in the Gulf of Mexico kept oil skimming boats idle Tuesday morning, as BP’s oil reached Texas beaches for the first time. The oil has now reached every Gulf state.
About a dozen tar balls were found Saturday on Crystal Beach and about five gallons of oil were found Sunday scattered along eastern Galveston Island and Crystal Beach, officials said.
The Houston Chronicle reports that some of BP’s spilled oil and other waste is also making its way to Texas for disposal in underground salt domes and injection wells. Texas is among the states recycling or disposing of oily refuse collected during cleanup efforts, but BP and most of its contractors are unwilling or unable to disclose details on the process.
As of Monday, the Washington Post reports, about 2 million barrels have gushed into the Gulf since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. The skimming operations have averaged less than 900 barrels a day, for a total of 67,143 barrels. Burning of the oil has removed 238,095 barrels, and BP has recovered about 632,410 barrels directly from the leaking well.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune compares the current oil spill disaster to the 1979 Ixtoc I oil well blowout. Last week, the current spill surpassed the Ixtoc spill as the largest spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico.
American Public Media’s Marketplace reports on how the British government has been preparing for a worst-case scenario over increasing concern that BP could collapse. Reports say BP is seeking help from sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia to stave off hostile takeover bids.
The BBC reports that a leading Libyan oil executive has said he will recommend that the country’s sovereign wealth fund buy a stake in BP.
Obama, Netanyahu to Meet
President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday. Netanyahu’s last scheduled visit was canceled when Israeli commandos killed nine people aboard an aid ship headed for Gaza in late May.
President Obama and Netanyahu are expected to discuss Israel’s decision on Monday to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip to let in most consumer goods, Netanyahu’s endorsement on Sunday for direct talks with Palestinians and a moratorium on new housing in the Jewish settlements.
The Christian Science Monitor’s Joshua Mitnick explains why a housing freeze is a crucial decision:
“Extending the building moratorium is risky for Netanyahu because of potential criticism from his right-wing and religious coalition partners, and he is expected to request a quid pro quo from the US. But if he renews building, he could risk losing the center-left Labor party, which would destabilize his coalition and shift the administration to the right.”
Foreign Policy’s Michele Dunne says the two leaders must discuss the Palestinian political system:
“Obama has continued Bush’s efforts to isolate Hamas and Gaza while also pumping economic and security assistance into the West Bank. But the desired results of such policies are as elusive now as they were in 2006.”
Politco’s Amy Wilentz sees the Israeli-Palestinian situation as dire:
If, by the end of this summer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot be convinced to sit down and negotiate seriously with the Palestinians, the two-state solution may well be doomed, and eventually — one can perhaps argue — so may the state of Israel.
Queen Elizabeth to Address United Nations
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to visit New York City to address the United Nations for the first time in more than 50 years. The queen is also expected to make her first visit to Ground Zero. She will also visit a garden memorial to British subjects who died on 9/11. About 50 families of victims will meet with the queen.
BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell writes:
“Queen Elizabeth is the most experienced head of state in the world, outlasting dozens of presidents and prime ministers….She, more than anyone, knows that you cannot accept an invitation from the UN’s secretary general to address the General Assembly (in her case for the first time since 1957) and not have something worthwhile to say.”
The New York Times Robert McFadden recounts the last time Queen Elizabeth visited New York:
“Cheering throngs lined Broadway for miles, showering Queen Elizabeth II with affection as blizzards of ticker tape engulfed her entourage. She waved from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s bubble-top limousine, a tiny woman suspended in time.”