Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday Muse: The BP Oil Spill
Mom: The BP oil spill occurred on April 20th and here it is July and they still haven't found a resolution for stopping the spillage. Now the estimate is that more than 1 million gallons of oil has been spilled.
According to the Clean Water Act "the President shall ensure effective and immediate removal of a discharge, mitigation or prevention of a substantial threat of a discharge of oil or a hazardous substance".
Let's see what the government has done. On April 30th President Obama gave orders that new offshore leases will not be issued until thorough review has determined if more safety measures are needed. He authorized an investigation of 29 rigs in the Gulf to find out the cause of the disaster.
On May 11th a press release from the Department of Interior said that the inspection had discovered no major violations. On May 30th Ken Salazar, secretary of the interior, announced a moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf for 6 months.
June 9th the FAA announced a no fly zone over the Gulf oil spill.
The Obama administration sent a $69 million bill to BP for the government's costs in clean up. And currently BP is to set aside $20 billion in assets to compensate the Americans who have been devastated by the castastrophe. BP has 4 years to pay into the fund.
However, has the President ensured effective and immediate removal of the discharge, mitigation or prevention of a threat? To some extent, yes. To complete fulfillment...NO! My question is why aren't companies supposed to assume responsibility from the start and have a viable plan to enact when such an incident occurs? This event has demonstrated that oil companies are not prepared when catastrophic problems arise. It is yet another example of being reactive instead of proactive.
Grandmother: Did you know that the Earth's ninth largest body of water is the Gulf of Mexico? The Gulf is abundant with fish, shellfish and shrimp and supplies more of these than the Atlantic, New England and Chesapeake areas. Most oil spills are much smaller and the oil stays near the surface and has less impact. This oil eruption will affect the wildlife, fish, shellfish and shrimp.
The wetlands, beaches and barrier islands are breeding and nesting grounds to many birds and they will suffer when the oil gets trapped and settles.Oil is difficult to remove from the soils and may kill the grass. Herons and Egrets will loose their nesting areas and become unable to move when the oil washes up in these areas.
There are over 45,000 Bottlenose Dolphins in these waters, while some may shift into cleaner waters, many will be suffocated. Sea turtles, whales and jelly fish suffer in these oil polluted waters. Fish will drown because the crude will clog their gills.
Shrimp, oysters and clams will not be able to survive the hostile water once the oil settles in their habitats. The Gulf area supplies almost 67% of the oysters we consume, 26% of the crabs and most of the shrimp.
No one can really say how this spill will affect the wildlife, birds, fish, shellfish, shrimp and oysters and how it will play out in our economy. What a shame it would be if there is such a loss of creatures from this oil spill that species are wiped out. We are the stewards of the Earth and we should do all we can to preserve and protect this land!
Daughter: After BP officials confirmed the oil leak, they said the oil would never reach the coast. Here we are two and a half months later and guess what? The oil has reached the coastline and has spread as far as Florida. Yet, BP CEO Tony Hayward has said there would only be a very modest environmental impact on the region. What?!?! Why would he ever say that? This is just another example of BP minimizing the effects of this disaster and skirting responsibility.
In addition, it appears that BP is making money while all of this is happening. According to The Washington Post, BP's financial lost "might be serious, but [it] probably won't be fatal."
As of May 10th, BP had spent $350 million in the first 20 days responding to the oil spill and it paid claims for a total of $3.5 million. In contrast, in the first quarter of this year, the company's profits averaged $93 million a day, The Washington Post wrote. So BP is still making a lot of money
And if BP is anything like Exxon (after the oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989), it will go on to reap profits while contesting its punitive damages every step of the way.
And don't even get me started on BP's numerous attempts to cap the spill. It sometimes seems as if the public is working harder to come up with ideas to clean up the oil than BP is. Check out You Tube, where people have posted videos of cleaning up oil with hay, hair and even Kevin Costner has his own machine. I'm not saying that BP should try these options, I'm just saying that they should be exhausting all options and working around the clock to develop new, viable solutions.