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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.”

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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.

“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.

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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.

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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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘It’s basic, basic, basic’: Liz Plank hilariously mocks Trump’s reality show behavior as recession looms

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President Donald Trump is distracting from the potential of his reality TV show behavior an MSNBC guest explained on Tuesday.

"The Beat" host Ari Melber reported, "the Trump Administration first pushing back on the criticism they have no plan for a recession. Emergency tax cuts is now something they’re offering or maybe rolling back Trump’s tariffs. And these reports, if nothing else, they concede there could be a downturn. This is important. Trump’s allies in the press have found some bizarre ways to spin the jitters claiming it’s rich coastal elites who want to lose money in a recession."

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Plutonium found in Colorado soil at five times higher level than acceptable radioactive level

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Why is there plutonium in the soil of a national wildlife refuge that is five times higher than the rate that demands a "clean up?" It's a question Colorado state health officials are examining Tuesday after their soil sample readings showed 264 picocuries-per-gram found in Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

The Denver Post reported the findings of the radioactive substance, but toxicologists at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said they don't believe "there is an immediate public health threat."

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Trump supporters are furious about Trump’s anti-Semitic comment because now they can’t criticize Democrats anymore: CNN correspondent

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President Donald Trump continues to suffer fallout from his anti-Semitic claim on Tuesday that Jewish Democrats are guilty of "great disloyalty."

As CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins noted on "The Situation Room," he is even facing blowback from his own party — which spent months trying to paint Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as rabid anti-Semites for far less.

"He's ... being criticized by people on both sides of the aisle for this comment," said Collins. "Not just the president's usual critics who don't like things that he says or say he oversteps the line, but people who are on his side are saying, by making this comment, he doesn't realize why they have been critical of people like Rashida Tlaib, like Ilhan Omar for their in the past."

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