Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How is BP taking responsibility for the Oil Spill?

Responsibility. If my dog uses the bathroom outside, my neighbors expect me to pick up its mess. No one wants to see canine refuse littering our beautiful lawn. Likewise, if I were to spill a quart of oil into my community swimming pool, I would be expected, if not forced, to make reparations. The law of common courtesy mandates that when I make a mess, I clean it up. British Petroleum has not learned this lesson.

On April 20th 2010 the Deep Water Horizon oil rig exploded killing 11 workers. Upwards of 40,000,000 gallons of crude oil have since gushed into the Gulf of Mexico affecting coastal wetlands, native wildlife, and local economies. What has been done to quell the flow? A barrage of outlandish quick fixes which sound as childish as the attempts. Initially, BP postulated that a 125-ton containment dome would suppress the flow. Methane freezing at the top of the dome rendered it ineffective. What followed were feeble, and somewhat far-fetched, attempts to add smaller domes (the top hat), force mud and golf balls into a relief line (the junk shot), and an underwater robot, equipped with a diamond saw, intended to remove a ruptured riser to make room for a containment cap. True to form, the saw became lodged in the pipe and the plan was aborted. What has been BP’s response to these failures? Chemicals.

When I want to remove impurities from my drinking water, I run it through a filter: I do not add chlorine. BP chooses the later. 650,000 gallons of Corexit EC9500A, a dispersant that could cause 'unprecedented underwater damage to organisms’ and 'may cause injury to red blood cells, kidney or the liver' in humans,’ have been dropped into Gulf zero. Consequently, underwater plumes, extending upwards of 22 miles in length, have formed nearly a mile below the surface, further endangering the Gulf food chain. Over 400 species call the affected area home, and their habitat has not only been ravaged by the spill but also by the cleanup. On June 3rd, four days after the failed robot mission, BP aired $50M in commercials featuring Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, asserting, “We will get this done. We will make this right.” Mr. Hayward you are not getting the job done, you are not making it right.

Between BP’s misleading estimates, laundry list of safety violations and accidents, and apparent ineptitude in dealing with oil spills, you would think every effort would be made to remedy this disaster. Instead, we find Tony Hayward telling the press that he “would like his life back.” When your company skips inspections, bypasses safety protocols, and cuts corners to save money and thereby causes unprecedented environmental damage, you owe us your life until it is fixed. The only acceptable response to this disaster will be for BP to cap the gushing well, cleanly remove the oil, establish a wildlife fund, and make full reparations to all those affected.

Mr. Hayward, you want to make this right? You have our demands.

1 comment:

  1. So, we don't own a TV, and I had no idea when the oil spill happened until I saw the date you posted above. Now it all makes so much sense. 4-20. I think we both know what the responsible parties were really doing that day instead of making sure oil didn't spill into the ocean.