Oil Catastrophe in the Gulf

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

After 3 weeks BP is still unable to stop the oil from gushing into the gulf. The leak, a result of an offshore oil rig that exploded breaking a large underwater pipeline and killing 11 people, is gushing tens of thousands of gallons a day. According to the Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, it may take many more months before the pipeline is plugged. This is despite BP claiming that they are throwing everything they’ve got to stop the leak. While the Chairman of BP, Lamar Mckay, claims the spill is a result a mechanical failure, there are questions surrounding how much BP knew about previous problems regarding blowout preventers, the underwater valves that are supposed to shut off the flow of the well in the event of a blowout.
As recently as September, BP was among several companies arguing to the U.S. Minerals Management Services (MMS) that stricter regulations were not needed. BP’s vice president for Gulf of Mexico production, Richard Morrison, wrote in a letter published on the U.S. government web site Regulations.gov, although BP “is supportive of companies having a system in place to reduce risk, accidents, injuries and spills, we are not supportive of the extensive, prescriptive regulations as proposed in this rule.”
While BP experienced its highest profits in its corporate history, it simultaniously implemented budget cuts of 25% in 1999 and 2005 at each of its 5 U.S. refineries. This is depsite the saftey board finding ‘compacency towards serious saftey risks’ at all of them and BP doubling its profit last quarter from a year ago – to $6.1 billion.
However, BP is not the only one to blame. Halliburton, who was in charge of the underwater cementing of the deepwater rig, was also implicated for their cementing work in a massive blowout off the Austrailia coast that dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the sea for 10 weeks.
This is not the first time BP and Halliburton have come under fire for shody saftey records. Because of this, citizens should continute to place pressure on the government and fossil fuel companies to ensure that they take responsibility for their actions. The one good thing that could come out of this spill is less support for off shore drilling and more excitement and innovation for green energy technology.

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