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Louisiana looks for ‘smoking gun’ to link Isaac tar balls to Gulf oil disaster

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Louisiana is investigating whether tar balls deposited on Gulf of Mexico beaches by Hurricane Isaac were relics of the 2010 BP oil disaster.

Government agencies and environmental groups this week reported weathered oil in areas which took the brunt of last week’s hurricane – and which were also heavily damaged by the 4.9m barrel gusher from BP’s leaking oil well.

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“I’d say there is a smoking gun,” Garrett Graves, the coastal adviser to Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal, told news organisations. “It’s an area that experienced heavy oiling during the spill.”

State officials shut down commercial fishing and all shrimping in a 13-mile stretch from Port Fourchon to Caminada Pass, after observing tar mats and high concentration of tar balls on beaches.

The Gulf Restoration Network, which has been touring the aftermath of Isaac by air and boat this week, said crew had reported 109 dead pelican in the wake of the storm and oil in a number of locations on the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

“We saw a fair amount of oil sheen and fresh tar balls at Ship Island, one of the Mississippi barrier islands,” said Aaron Viles, a spokesman for the coalition of environmental groups. “The storm really delivered a shock to the ecosystem, and we are seeing BP oil showing up again and we are seeing, unfortunately, real impacts to an ecosystem still struggling to recover.”

The Gulf network had repeatedly warned that powerful storms risked dredging up oil that had been purposely sunk to the ocean floor, by the use of chemical dispersants in the wake of the BP oil spill.

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“When a storm system comes through it re-exposes oil that has settled to the bottom or was buried under sediment, and that newly re-exposed oil is showing up in places that had a lot of oil during the BP spill,” Viles said.

The oil company said the high number of offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico made it impossible to tie the tar mats to the runaway BP well without comprehensive testing.

The US coastguard is investigating about 90 reported cases of oil and chemical leaks following Isaac, including suspected leaks from offshore platforms and a vacated storage terminal at Myrtle Grove.

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Environmental groups have warned of damage to wetlands and a citrus grove from an oil spill from a Conoco Phillips refinery in Plaquemines Parish, which took a battering in Isaac.

There was also a chemical release in Braithwaite, where two people were killed in flooding.

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The coastguard has sent oil samples to it lab in Connecticut for testing, officials said.

BP said in its statement that it would be “premature” to draw any conclusions about the sources of the oil before tests came back.

“It is important to fingerprint the residual oil to determine its origin. If any of it is connected to the Deepwater Horizon accident, BP stands ready to remove it,” the oil company said.

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

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Lindsey Graham promises Fox viewers a new investigation into Andrew McCabe despite the Justice Dept clearing him

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Appearing on the Fox Business channel with host Maria Bartiromo, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) promised viewers he fully intends to use his position as the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee to launch his own investigation into former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe despite the former law enforcement official already having been cleared by the Justice Department.

Complaining that the controversial Steele dossier was based on " a bunch of bar-talk and hearsay," Graham said he plans to call -- at the very least -- McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey in to be grilled by his committee.

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MSNBC guest goes off on Chris Matthews for comparing Sanders to Nazis: ‘He had kin murdered in the Holocaust’

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Time magazine editor Anand Giridharadas criticized MSNBC host Chris Matthews over the weekend for his alleged bias against Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Giridharadas remarks came after Matthews compared Sanders' win in Nevada to a Nazi invasion.

"Last night was a historic win that I think a lot of us are still struggling to understand," Giridharadas explained. "It's historic because we may be seeing that we are paddling through a bend of a river in history here. Something is happening in America right now that actually does not fit our mental models."

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‘Kiss Florida goodbye’: Voto Latino head warns Democrats of coming 2020 debacle

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," Voto Latino CEO María Teresa Kumar said Democrats should not count on taking Florida's 29 electoral votes in the upcoming 2020 presidential election if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the at the top of the ticket.

During a fairly contentious panel discussion on the viability of Sanders as a candidate due to self-identifying as a democratic socialist, Kumar claimed that would not play well Florida's Latino community.

"All I can think about when David [Corn] was unpacking it for us, we can all agree is you can kiss Florida goodbye," she explained. "I say that, Floridians -- Latinos that have fled socialism, they have fled and they are in Florida and they have sensibilities that are different from the rest of the Latino community."

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