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|BP Oil Spill
and its aftermath
This complete history and analysis of the BP oil spill, coauthored by Maryam Wagner, a Research Coordinator for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), can be found at:
BP Oil Spill Updates, starting 5/11/2010
These updates below are primarily brought to us by my friend J Beck, who keeps up with the news behind the news of the BP oil spill. I have added links to significant background materials, such as RFK Jr.'s article about the Bush Administration's rollback of the protections that would have prevented the spill. I have also included a CQS Health Alert I issued regarding protecting yourself from potentially contaminated fish, and, if you live in the Gulf region, air in your home.
The BP Oil Spill beginning with the explosion of oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010 and deaths of workers aboard the rig is quickly becoming the largest oil spill in the history of oil drilling and transport. It resulted directly from a combination of safeguards being cut by the Bush Administration (on behalf of the entire oil industry), combined with BP's and Halliburton's historical practices.
Ironically, while oil industry executives met with the Bush Administration to relax federal oil drilling regulations to save money, BP began a campaign to create an image of BP as a progressive, clean, environmentally responsible "energy" company, with a massive TV and print marketing campaign, including cute little cartoon characters, children learning about their "carbon footprint," and environment-friendly gas stations (an interesting concept, to say the least). Called "Beyond Petroleum" it promoted BP as abiding by four "core values" which, in retrospect, have become dark, oily humor:
Progressive: BP is always looking for better ways to conduct business...
BP's primary response to the accident and spill, besides their bungling attempts to stop the massive well leak, has been to attempt to shield its public image from self-destruction, by restricting reporter, photographer, and scientist access to the spill, and to dump toxic petroleum-based dispersants onto the oil slick so as minimize its visual impact. This last action - the dropping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of kerosene onto the oil slick from airplanes - has made beach and marsh protection, as well as cleanup efforts, extremely difficult or impossible; it partially dissolves and sinks the oil, so that ordinary booms typically used to trap oil spills at the ocean's surface are useless.
It is now become public that BP had encountered grave difficulties with the well as early as February, 2010. Apparently the well casing had cracked, and BP had patched the cracks with cement. The problem was serious enough that it was reported to the Minerals Management Service, because such cracks can leak explosive methane gas into the well casing, putting the entire oil rig and crew in extreme danger. In addition, current and former BP executives, as well as Goldman Sachs, apparently dumped large amounts of their stock holdings in BP several weeks before the disaster.
Avoid fish from in or near the Gulf of Mexico
The health impact of the BP Oil Explosion and Leak has now reached monumental proportions. The estimates are now that since the leak began at least 1.5 million gallons of oil per day have been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Making matters worse, BP oil executives, hoping to downplay the leakage in media - purely public relations - ordered the use of chemical dispersants on the oil slick so that aerial photos would look less ominous. They doused the oil slick with hundreds of thousands of gallons of an extremely toxic oil dispersant (trade name Corexit), which forced the oil plume underwater, dispersing the oil into huge underwater plumes. The result is that ordinary coastal surface booms do not work, and it makes it extremely difficult to contain or track the oil.
The effect on fish and wildlife is horrifying. No one is reporting - and probably no one knows - how far the dispersed oil plumes have gone. The Gulf Stream flows into the Atlantic Ocean and up the eastern coast, so that it may eventually affect fish off the eastern coast.
For now, I would advise avoiding fish caught anywhere in or near the Gulf of Mexico. Ask you fish dealer for details on where your fish is caught. Try finding Pacific or North Atlantic fish.
Use carbon filtered air if you live near the Gulf
If you live at the Gulf you probably already know: crude oil is very toxic. If you get it on your skin, wash off with gentle detergent quickly, take lots of vitamin C for detoxification. Wear protective clothing, sealed gloves, and an OSHA-approved organic toxin respirator if working on an oil-soaked area. If you live in an area where the air is contaminated by oil aroma, please obtain or build a DIY carbon-filter fan for fresh air for your home to protect the health of your family.
BP's greenwashing and environmental regulation:
BP (SourceWatch, includes detailed analysis and history)
Oil Spill Updates:
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