03-29-2020  8:59 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Vote by May 19: Oregon’s Primary Election Continues as Planned

Oregon’s vote-by-mail system keeps May Primary on schedule

A Black Woman Is Leading The Charge To Create A Vaccine For The Coronavirus

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett and her team have begun running the first human trials of the vaccine in Seattle

Make a Mask & Support a Whole Community

Cascadia will be coordinating a mask donation project for community members who are willing to get out their sewing machines and create homemade masks

Federal Coronavirus Stimulus Package Covers 7 Major Areas

Oregon State Senator James I. Manning Jr. has provided a summary of what the Federal Coronavirus Stimulus Package looks like

NEWS BRIEFS

Waterfront Blues Festival Cancelled for 2020

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NAACP Calls COVID-19 Stimulus Package a Necessary Step, but Calls Upon Congress to Do More

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CARES Act Must Prioritize Nation’s Most Vulnerable Communities

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law says the new bill puts the interests of corporations above the burdens faced by...

33 Attorneys General Warn Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, Craigslist: You Aren’t Exempt from Price Gouging Laws

The letters list several examples of price gouging including a Craigslist ad selling a bottle of hand sanitizer for 0 ...

OHSU Hotline to Answer COVID-19 Questions

Patients who call the hospital will have the option to be routed directly to the new hotline ...

Trump approves major disaster declaration for Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Oregon due to the coronavirus outbreak, the White House announced Sunday.The declaration orders federal assistance to aid state, tribal and local recovery efforts. The order is back-dated to Jan. 20...

Inslee: Washington needs more coronavirus test supplies

SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that Washington state still has a shortage of coronavirus testing kits and again suggested the shutdown of most businesses and extreme social distancing would likely have to be extended to fight the disease.Inslee appeared on CNN's “State of...

The Latest: 2 Madison Square Garden boxing cards called off

The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak's affect on sports around the globe (all times EDT):10 p.m.Two boxing cards at Madison Square Garden have been called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.A few hours after announcing the fights would proceed without crowds, promoter Bob Arum said Thursday...

Former AD, All-American center Dick Tamburo dies at 90

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Dick Tamburo, an athletic director at three major schools and an All-American center at Michigan State, has died. He was 90.Michigan State announced that Tamburo died Monday.A native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Tamburo served as the athletic director at Texas...

OPINION

The ACA Has Never Been More Critical

Today I'm honoring the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law. ...

NAACP/Black Community: A Model for Resiliency

As America enters perhaps the most uncertain period in modern history, we will all be tested in new and unpredictable ways. ...

What the Government Can Do Now to Lessen the Impact of COVID-19

Dr. Roger Stark says during this pandemic the administration must give states more flexibility ...

The Homelessness Crisis – We Are Better Than This

Julianne Malveaux says this is not just about homelessness. It is about an economic crisis that has made affordable housing, jobs and economic security difficult to obtain ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Counties without coronavirus are mostly rural, poor

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — As the coronavirus rages across the United States, mainly in large urban areas, more than a third of U.S. counties have yet to report a single positive test result for COVID-19 infections, an analysis by The Associated Press shows.Data compiled by Johns Hopkins...

Tech boom, MLB programs helping women find jobs in baseball

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Rachel Folden figured something out early on during her first spring training with the Chicago Cubs — long before the coronavirus pandemic wiped out team activities.None of the players care all that much that one of their coaches is a woman. As for the girls she...

Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader and MLK aide, dies at 98

ATLANTA (AP) — The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery fought to end segregation, lived to see the election of the country’s first black president and echoed the call for “justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” in America.For more than four decades...

ENTERTAINMENT

Brooks, Trisha Yearwood to perform requests on live special

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Garth Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood will be taking viewer requests during a live prime-time show this week filmed at their home.CBS will air the special, “Garth and Trisha: Live!” on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern.In an announcement Sunday, CBS says the...

John Prine in critical condition with COVID-19 symptoms

NEW YORK (AP) — The family of John Prine says the singer-songwriter is critically ill and has been placed on a ventilator while being treated for COVID-19-type symptoms.A message posted on Prine's Twitter page Sunday said the “Angel from Montgomery” singer has been hospitalized...

Singer-songwriter Jan Howard dies at 91

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer-songwriter Jan Howard, who had a No. 1 country hit “For Loving You” with Bill Anderson and wrote hits for others like Kitty Wells' “It's All Over But the Crying,” has died at age 91, according to the Grand Ole Opry.The Opry, of which...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Largest US dam removal stirs debate over coveted West water

KLAMATH, Calif. (AP) — The second-largest river in California has sustained Native American tribes with...

Instacart workers seek strike as jobs get busier, riskier

NEW YORK (AP) — A possible strike by Instacart workers highlights the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on...

A missing boy and a freezing swamp test tracker's instincts

EDGERTON, Wis. (AP) — Austin Schumacher parked his unmarked squad truck and watched pheasant hunters work...

US-led forces pull out of 3rd Iraqi base this month

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdrew Sunday from a military base in the country's north...

In Somalia, coronavirus goes from fairy tale to nightmare

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — At first, the coronavirus was just a fairy tale, a rumor along the dusty lanes of...

Off to the cafe: Sweden is outlier in virus restrictions

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The streets of Stockholm are quiet but not deserted. People still sit at outdoor cafes in...

McMenamins
Ed Lavandera and Jason Morris CNN

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- A titanic courtroom showdown with billions of dollars in the balance opened in New Orleans on Monday, with oil giant BP arguing it shouldn't face the government's steepest penalties for the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

BP already pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to a record-setting $4 billion fine for the spill. But it could face more than $20 billion in additional environmental penalties if found to have committed gross negligence in the disaster.

In a packed federal courtroom Monday afternoon, BP attorney Mike Brock said blame for the disaster wasn't the oil company's alone. A string of bad decisions by Transocean, the company that owned the doomed drill rig Deepwater Horizon; well cement contractor Halliburton; and BP all led to the blowout, he said.

"We do not believe that men and women of BP behaved in willful misconduct," Brock said. "It was a multiparty event."

But Halliburton attorney Don Godwin said BP ignored the contractor's recommendations about the cement job and that Transocean didn't move fast enough to contain the blowout.

Transocean settled with the government last week for $1 billion in Clean Water Act penalties but could face additional additional liability in the case that started Monday. Transocean lawyer Brad Brian said that last week's settlement was not an admission of gross negligence and that last-minute changes to the well design by BP had the rig's crew "at wits' end" before the disaster.

All three companies have been pointing fingers at each other since the April 20, 2010, blowout that sank the Deepwater Horizon, killed 11 men aboard and uncapped an undersea gusher that spewed for nearly three months. The spill's effects on the environment are still being cataloged.

The plaintiffs in the civil case that opened Monday include five Gulf states, individuals, businesses and the federal government.

"Evidence will show BP placed huge financial pressure to cut costs, cut corners, and rush the job," attorney James P. Roy, who represents the coalition of plaintiffs, said during opening arguments on Monday.

And Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said the oil giant "was blinded by their bottom line."

"The spill was tragically inevitable due to BP's corporate culture," Strange said. "The evidence will show that, at BP, money mattered most."

If it is found to have been "grossly negligent" under the Clean Water Act, it could be fined as much as $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. If it's found "negligent," the company could be fined about $1,100 per barrel.

Attorneys will also likely square off over how much oil gushed into the gulf, another key figure that will be used to calculate how much money BP might owe. Officials have said 4.9 million barrels -- about 205 million gallons -- of oil spilled, while BP says that number is overblown and that authorities should use a maximum figure of 3.1 million barrels of oil when calculating the fine.

The trial will also determine what fines the company faces under National Resource Damage Assessment, which aims to restore environmental damage caused by the spill. Environmental groups want to see those fines -- which will put a specific price tag on damage to plants and wildlife -- total around $25 billion.

With so much money at stake, each side has brought an army of lawyers to the fight. With almost 60 lawyers filling the courtroom, the judge created a seating chart for all the attorneys. Lawyers representing the federal government and other plaintiffs sat on one side, while the BP lawyers and other companies' lawyers sat across the room.

Three overflow courtrooms were also packed on Monday.

BP says it has already paid billions in spill-related cleanup and compensation costs and has been barred from new federal contracts. Though Halliburton and Transocean could also face penalties, much of the criticism from environmentalists before the high-profile trial has focused on BP, the undersea well's owner.

"The damage done here is real, both to the environment and to the people," said Brian Moore, of the National Audubon Society. "And BP should not have the chance to get off cheaply on this."

In his statement before the trial began, BP General Counsel Rupert Bondy said the company would push for the court to consider lower penalties, arguing that BP made efforts to do the right thing and "immediately stepped up" and acknowledged its role in the spill.

"To date we've spent more than $23 billion in response, cleanup, and payments on claims by individuals, businesses and governments," he said. "No company has done more, faster, to meet its commitment to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the wake of an industrial accident."

CNN's Vivian Kuo and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

 

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