BP Oil Spill Follow-Up

By Julie M. Dedebant


April 20, 2015 marks the five year anniversary of the largest oil disaster in U.S. history. The Deepwater Horizon spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, our own backyard. It killed 11 people, injured 17 and upset the gulf’s ocean life and ecosystem. For 87 days, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed into the gulf until it was finally capped. The oil was saturating our coast and crippling businesses everywhere in the gulf coast region.

This has been devastating for many of the industries, agriculture, beaches, and estuaries along the gulf. As a result, it has affected all sorts of lifeforms that rely on this region to survive. A large part of our natural surroundings were taken too soon. Most importantly, it has been detrimental to us as residents of the gulf coast where this disaster continues to linger in the lives of people, who for the last five years remain desperate to clean up and be compensated for their loss. The deadline for medical claims pertaining to the Deepwater Horizon spill was February 12, 2015. However, economic claims besides those relating to seafood compensation will be accepted until June 8, 2015.

Yet, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill wasn’t the first catastrophe that has been linked directly to the oil giant BP. In 2005, an explosion at the refinery in Texas City, Texas took the life of 15 workers and injured an additional 180. BP admits that this happened because “safety procedures were ignored.” It was followed by two pipeline leaks in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska which dumped over 200,000 gallons of oil onto the frozen tundra in 2006. A leak at its adjacent Lisburne field in November of 2009 saw an additional 46,000 gallons of an oil mixture invade that state’s environment.

Since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, there have been 4 other, albeit less deadly occurrences with BP. The first was another leak at the Lisburne field in 2011, which amounted to approximately 4,000 gallons of the previously mentioned oil mixture making its way onto the tundra, once again. A pipeline explosion in June 2012 at their natural gas compression station in Bayfield, Colo. killed one person and injured two others. Last year at the company’s refinery in Whiting, Ind. there was an accident which spilled 1,600 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan. Finally in August, that same facility suffered an explosion which thankfully caused no deaths, injuries, or significant environmental consequences.

Since 2005, BP has paid an estimated 71 Billion between criminal penalties, civil settlements and fines imposed by regulatory bodies such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Where does it end with the negligence of BP? These disasters could have been prevented; instead we are left with a disrupted environment, the unsettled livelihoods of humans, and wildlife whose natural habitat is consistently in peril.

What are the actual effects of this damage? Will we ever truly know? What are the long-term repercussions upon the organisms that dwell on our ocean floor? Scientists from all over the world have different theories, but the truth remains to be seen.

For more information on settlement claims visit www.deepwaterhorizonsettlements.com.

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