Friday, 28 December 2012

The Big Fix - BPs Deepwater Oil Blowout - Blowback

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The Big Fix movie. Directed by Joshua Tickell

The April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon blowout that killed 11 rig workers and spilled more than 200 million gallons (757 million litres) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Below is an extract from The New York Times article "The Big Spill, Two Years Later" 

published: April 17, 2012  

It's aim along with many MSM newspapers, is to convince you that the problem has gone away and the beaches are mostly clean. 

No mention here of the corruption created by a handful of billionaires who quietly run the political system OR the ignoring of safety issues that created acid rain OR the airborne irritants which have caused long and short term health issues due to dispersal techniques using Corexit.

It reassuringly states that, "Scientists believe that the oil has mostly evaporated, been consumed by bacteria or dispersed in deep water." But as we know scientist were bought off to the tune of $10 million, so we might want to ignore that kind of 'expertise'.

The Big Spill, Two Years Later
Published: April 17, 2012 

Friday is the second anniversary of the explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and spilled upwards of five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks partly to nature’s resilience, some progress has been made. The gulf is open to fishing, beaches are mostly clean and President Obama has resurrected an ambitious oil exploration plan that he shelved immediately after the spill.

But the healing from this extraordinary act of corporate carelessness is far from complete, and there is important work to be done to minimize the chances that such a disaster will happen again. Here are central issues that remain unresolved:

THE GULF Scientists believe that the oil has mostly evaporated, been consumed by bacteria or dispersed in deep water. Yet oil has poisoned Louisiana’s salt marshes and wetlands, which are vital fish nurseries, and visibly damaged deep-sea coral. The toll on the gulf and its marine life may not be known for years. The herring population of Alaska’s Prince William Sound did not crash until three years after the Exxon Valdez spill. Read More 

And three days later...

The Times-Picayune contradictorily reported "Spilled BP oil lingers on Louisiana coast" by Mark Schleifstein
Published April 20, 2012

When a team of scientists from the National Wildlife Federation recently visited a marshy patch along the northern edge of Bay Jimmy in Plaquemines Parish, high winds forced them to beach their boat on the isle's protected side and walk across cordgrass to the Gulf-facing shoreline in search of oil. They didn't have to search long. 

 The marsh edge "was dotted with asphaltene mats of dried oil," said David Muth, the federation's state director and former director of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. "And there was a dead white pelican, and there was oil on the bird's feathers."

When the television crew accompanying them reached the spot, National Audubon Society ornithologist Melanie Driscoll looked down and pointed at the photographer's shoes, Muth said.

"There was liquid oil bubbling around his shoes," he said.

Two years after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, oil can still be found staining as much as 200 miles of Louisiana's jagged coastline. Read More 

Later in the report,The chairman of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Garret Graves said,

"...we still have over 200 miles of oiled shoreline. It's unbelievable that two years after the oil spill, we still have that degree of oiling. And we have BP and the Coast Guard trying get out of here, and that's frustrating."

I'd say those people living in the area are literally and otherwise closer to the truth. And the outcome?

A summation from the article in The Guardian

"BP suspended from new US federal contracts over Deepwater disaster" by Suzanne Goldenberg
published extracts: 28th November 2012

On 14 November 2012, BP and the US Department of Justice reached a settlement. BP will pay $4.5 billion in fines and other payments and plead guilty to 11 felony counts related to the deaths of the 11 workers. The Justice Department also filed criminal charges against three BP employees. BP still faces payouts to thousands of fishermen, businesses and others harmed by the spill, and what may be the largest penalty of all, the fines under the Clean Water Act, which could reach as much as $21 billion. On 28 November the EPA announced that BP will be temporarily banned from seeking new contracts with the US government because of the oil company's "lack of business integrity" during the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. - Courtesy of The Guardian

And finally this latest news from The Hindu "Gulf of Mexico oil spill: US judge approves settlement in BP class action suit" 
published: 22nd December 2012 

BP has estimated it will pay $7.8 billion to resolve more than 100,000 claims by businesses and individuals from America’s worst offshore oil spill. The settlement has no cap; the company could end up paying more or less.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier approved the settlement in a 125-page ruling issued Friday evening and has not ruled on a medical settlement for cleanup workers and others who say exposure to oil or dispersants made them sick just on economic and property damage claims. Read more. 

I really hope this money is tax free and goes some way towards the rebuilding of the many lives ruined by this disaster and that BP continues in it's obligation to safety and healing their open wounds. 

Isn't it about time we all switched to clean energy?

Link: If you enjoyed this movie you'll also like Fuel - Fields of Fuel also Directed by Joshua Tickell.