The 2010 Great American Oil Spill
BP Offshore Oil Spill Along US Gulf Coast in 2010
Southcoast BP Oil Spill of 2010
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of Crude Oil have poured into the Gulf of Mexico, every day, for days now. The Oil is gushing from a well 5,000 feet underwater. An explosion and fire on a drilling rig on April 20, 2010; left 11 workers missing and presumed dead. The rig sank two days later about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. Immediate States Affected: Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas (basically the Southern Coastline).
The oil slick was 16 miles offshore the Mississippi River Delta, the marshlands at Louisiana where the river empties into the ocean. The Coast Guard and Navy aided BP with 100,000 feet of protective booms have been laid down to protect the shoreline, with 500,000 feet more standing by. Two Air Force C-130 Hercules planes have been sent to Mississippi and were awaiting orders to start dumping chemicals on the oil spill in the water.
Coast Guard Admiral Landry said a scientist from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) had concluded that oil is leaking at the rate of 5,000-25,000 barrels a day, not 1,000 as had first been estimated. At a rate of 210,000 gallons a day, many species are already suffering and worse is expected as the massive environmental disaster barrels toward the Gulf states. Migrating birds, nesting pelicans, river otters and mink along Louisiana’s fragile islands and barrier marshes are all endangered.
Wind patterns pushed the spill into the Louisiana Coast, prompting consideration of more urgent measures to protect coastal wildlife. Among them were using cannons to scare off birds and employing local shrimpers’ boats as makeshift oil skimmers in the shallows. As the vast oil slick spread across the Gulf, driven by winds and currents from the site of the leak, fishermen in coastal towns feared for their businesses and the White House stepped up its response to the worsening situation.
Cleanup crews began conducting what is called an in-situ burn, a process that consists of corralling oil in a 500-foot-long boom, and burning it. Burns will not be effective for most of this spill. 97 percent of the spill is estimated to be an oil-water mixture.
Last week, Forbes magazine published what the top U.S. corporations paid in taxes last year. “Most egregious,” Forbes notes, is General Electric, which “generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.” Big Oil giant Exxon Mobil, which last year reported a record $45.2 billion profit, paid the most taxes of any corporation, but none of it went to the IRS.
Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. Of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas.
President Obama ordered a freeze on new offshore drilling leases until a review of the oil rig accident that caused the spill could be concluded, and new safeguards put in place.
“I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security,” Mr. Obama said on Friday, addressing concerns about whether the administration would continue with its plan to increase drilling in the Gulf.
Even so, he said, “the local economies and livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast as well as the ecology of the region are at stake.”
Mr. Obama, speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, said he had dispatched two Cabinet secretaries to the region to assess the damage. He ordered Secretary Salazar to report within 30 days on what new safeguards were needed to prevent future oil spills.
It is a bad year already for fossil fuels, as this follows the WV Coal Mine Explosion and Collapse that killed 29. The odor of Oil has already extended inland, and Federal warnings for respiratory conditions have begun. It will be many years before clean-up will be finished. So long as we are using Crude Oil to the extent that we are, we are all fucked. But I would rather be fucked by Oil pumped at home, rather than going to new Wars for it in the Middle East and other places abroad, in addition to spills like this. We don’t need any more Wars over this shit, when we have so many other energy sources.
* In August 2010 the Well leak was killed, with a final total of 4.9 million barrels having leaked into the Mexican Gulf