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3 Things Suck about the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

I wonder what would incentivize companies to act responsibly. What would it take to ensure that firms act with society's best interests in mind and with a sensitivity toward the environment?

Photo Credit: Mindful Walker on Flickr

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, a rig leased to and under the direction of British Petroleum (BP), experienced an explosion that killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others. As a result of the explosion, an estimated 1-3 million gallons of oil have been spewing into the ocean every single day ever since. It is estimated that, at this pace, damage the size and scope of the Exxon Valdez disaster is occurring once every week or two. The 4-story containment dome that BP has recently been touting as the solution to this disaster has been reported as being nothing more than "pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration," according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources. A report, worded in such an inflammatory manner, and produced by federal entities, certainly provides a different sense of how bad it is. Already having been declared the largest disaster in U.S. history, isn't it about time that some important questions be asked?

Photo Credit: Deepwater Horizon Response on Flickr

Why is BP still in charge of fixing the leak when it has been so unsuccessful at it?

There doesn't seem to be any reasonable degree of urgency toward fixing an oil spill that some say may have already caused "IRREPARABLE damage" to the ocean ecosystems in the gulf. Wouldn't it have made sense for the U.S. government to have established a fine for every day the spill remains untreated? What about engaging multiple engineering groups for proposals on potential remedies instead of leaving it in the uncapable hands of BP? No matter what other options exist, browbeating seems to be all that the White House has up it's sleeve to motivate a quicker fix while the clock is is DAY 85 of the spill.

For more on this, have a look at an article by Sea Shepherd who is reporting from ground zero presently:

Why is there such a huge coverup of the environmental damage in the gulf?

Many mainstream, reputable media agencies including CBS, Newsweek and Jean-Michel Cousteau, Fast Company, and The San Francisco Chronicle, have reported how there has been a coverup and media blackout in the gulf. You can click on those agency names to read the articles for yourself. These agencies have sent journalists and photographers out to the gulf to capture this event for the public and have been turned away by both BP security officers and the U.S. Coast Guard who has reluctantly pointed to BP as the party dictating the rules of passage.

Since when does the U.S. Coast Guard answer to BP?

The following excerpt was taken from

It’s understandable that British Petroleum would not want the American public to see pictures of birds soaked in oil. Pictures of animals struggling to survive underneath a heavy coat of crude is bound to elicit compassion and indignation on the part of Americans, and those are emotions that don’t serve the financial interests of British Petroleum. So it makes sense (in a purely selfish way) for BP to use heavy-handed methods to prevent photographers from taking wildlife pictures. What’s hard to understand is why federal and local officials would cooperate in this media blackout. Has BP’s money really bought that much influence?

Why aren't criminal charges being brought against BP and it's CEO?

It stands to reason that a congressional hearing which does little more than levy the anger of a few righteously indignant senators against a CEO standing in as a verbal punching bag for one week of bobbing and weaving does little to inspire confidence that the offender and future offenders stand to lose something dear for carelessness of this magnitude. If a company can bounce back from a catastrophe like this and a CEO faces little or no reprimand from the firm's board of directors, leaders of large companies can continue to take abusive levels of risk without ever being held accountable. So, my questions is this...why isn't BP held accountable criminally for this? Wouldn't that be the only reasonable leverage to use in a case where benign fines are typically the full extent of punishment levied?

I'm interested to hear other opinions...leave a comment!

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Reader Comments (2)

Hey Nathan -- just read your post. There are no easy answers with this monster, but I can say that as a Coast Guard officer with over 18 years (9 active/9 reserve) of service, as well as one who greatly values and cares for God's creation; quite honestly, man is in over his head with this thing and there is no one one to blame but ourselves, each and everyone of us that drives a car, that uses plastic products, make up, you name it -- almost everything these days is petroleum based and today it is the lifeblood of our global economy. Understandably, there is a great deal of frustration and there should be -- of course, there are always things that could have been done better, but let's face it -- man is not God and is not perfect. We can only do our best and I truly believe that the best and brightest are trying to stop this thing. I too have a bad taste in my mouth for BP but really we are all just as much to blame. I commend the Coast Guard and all those that have volunteered there time and talents to help solve the problem, I refuse to point fingers unless I can first pull the plank out of my own eye -- tomorrow I must fly to Seattle on business, so much for pulling out that plank. I will however keep praying for I know that God's heart is grieved for his creation.

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mower

The first photo is really shocking.
I first thought it's some kind of bronze sculpture, but then realized I'm looking at living and breathing birds...
What a disaster.

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIlan (@ilanbr)

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