BP Oil Outrage

On April 20th 2010, a deep sea oil gusher belonging to a BP deep water horizon drilling rig exploded of the coast of the Mississippi Delta River in the Gulf of Mexico.  Currently, it is estimated that 60,000 barrels (2,500,000 gallons) of oil are leaking into the Gulf every passing day that the leak remains unfixed.

The devastating explosion killed 11 platform works and injured 17 others that were on duty at the time of the disaster. As of Wednesday June 23rd, 1,024 birds, 47 mammals and 407 sea turtles have been recovered dead in the Gulf.  It is expected that is number is significantly smaller than the total number of affected animals as these figures only account for the recovered deceased marine life. At this point, it is difficult to predict the final impact on these animals as the Gulf ecosystems has been seriously damaged by the continuing oil flow.  Essentially, there are over 400 wildlife species that depend on the Gulf for food, breeding, and habitat, each of which are becoming increasingly stressed, posing a serious threat to some species’ future development and survival.

On June 21st, BP revealed that they have spent nearly $2 billion in their efforts to help contain and clean the infected waters. The funds have been allocated for the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf States, claims paid and federal costs associated with the spill. However, while this figure seems to be a significant amount, it is merely a fraction of the 20 billion that they agreed to pay in compensation to the disaster victims. Of course, this is cause for concern assuming that a larger and more immediate grant of more funds could increase the pacing at which this disaster is being relieved. BP explains the reduced funding being representative of their declining stock value that has reduced nearly to half its original value, however, claims that it intends to spend the original quote of $20 billion. Regardless of their payment strategy, the promised $20 billion will not even be an adequate sum as some researchers’ state that the final costs might be upwards of $1 trillion.

Currently, BP is working with the US military skimming contaminated waters, dropping plane transported dispersants, and performing controlled oil burns in an attempt to reduce the negative externalities created by the spill. These procedures, however, are not able to properly combat the constant leak as they only remove a very minimal percentage of the contaminants and can actually have detrimental effects in and of themselves.

The Gulf disaster has actually sparked Vancouver protest regarding the Enbridge Pipeline Inc.’s proposal to pump oil from the Alberta tar sands across British Columbia and into coastal supertankers in the Great Bear Rainforest. Local Vancouverites remain relatively unaware that Vancouver has a presence in the oil industry harboring having daily oil tankers that cross the Burrard Inlet that possess enough substance to risk a serious oil spill. The Vancouver oil industry would only grow and become more susceptible to eco-hazards if Enbridge was allowed to pump oil into tankers stationed on our coast.

If you are interested in gaining further incite regarding the BP Oil spill and wish to discuss it openly in a public forum, join the BP Oil spill facebook group to learn about alternative interpretations regarding the issue.

Also, if you want to help the effected Gulf marine life, donate by visiting the National Wildlife Federation website.

David Swanson