Gulf Oil Spill Disaster
Fire In The Gulf
In April 2010 the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform exploded into flames in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven lives were lost in the initial explosion although rescue efforts lasted for three days in a 10 mile radius. Seventeen people were injured in the explosion. Some might call it the wake up call heard around the world. The environmental impact on local gulf coast habitats cannot yet be measured and may not be recovered for years. Adding to the tragedy on April 22, 2010 the platform sank in 5000 feet of water leaving a gushing leak of crude oil to spill into the ocean endangering the entire coastline of the Gulf Coast that includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas and Mexico. Wildlife habitats are in danger as well as all levels of ocean plant and sea life.
In the aftermath of the worst oil spill disaster in history BP initially estimated that merely 5000 gallons of crude was leaking into the gulf. Over a period of days in early June estimates grew until scientists took their own readings and now the estimates are a staggering 2.52 million gallons every day! It is believed that during the attempt to place Top Hat, the cap that was expected to cut off the flow, workers cut off a kinked pipe that was restricting the flow. With the pipe now gone the oil is now free to gush into the gulf thus compounding an already disastrous situation.
Protecting the Coast
Workers Brought in to Protect the Coastline
In an attempt to stop the oil from reaching the shore oil booms have been placed off the coast of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida as the 100,000 square mile oil slick approaches beaches and endangered habitats that if destroyed may not be recovered in a lifetime, if ever. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a republican, and the first Indian governor to serve in the US worked tirelessly to protect the Louisiana coastline from the oil. The governor's request to build barrier islands off the coast was refused by the government. Governor Jindal states that the oil has already penetrated ten miles into sensitive marshlands so vital to the Louisiana habitat.
Obama Administration on the Oil Spil
The Obama Administration took their time responding to the oil spill. It is unknown whether they underestimated the damage to the environment or initially trusted BP to be truthful and do the right thing. It has emerged during the ensuing investigation that BP has a history of safety violations that overwhelms the one or two safety violations of every other oil company. During 2006 BP was cited with 760 safety violations in one year. CEO Tony Hayward was brought in to get the safety situation under control but in view of this historic spill that initial investigation appears to have resulted from another safety violation or lack of maintenance on equipment does not look good. This week it was revealed that the battery attached to the blow out protector was dead and did not respond during the incident. This is an egregious violation that reveals that consistent maintenance was not being performed on the drilling platform.
CEO Tony Hayward and BP board members were summoned to a meeting with the White House where President Obama instructed them to set up a $20 billion dollar fund to compensate the victims of this disaster. While everyone believes BP should be made to pay dearly for this mega-disaster, controversy erupted around the manner in which the Obama Administration handled the request . Pundits cry foul because in a free society the government does not order business to make restitution. According conservatives it would be more appropriate for the regulators and legal institutions to issue this demand.
In spite of the controversy the people of the Gulf Coast are already suffering from job loss and business loss. The economy of the entire region is being affected during this busy tourism season. Tourism is dead and vacationer are not flocking to the beaches a they have in former years.
Prayer For The Gulf Coast
The combined governors of the Gulf Coast States, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida issued a call to prayer for protection and healing of their states.
Louisiana: Governor Bobby Jindal's Prayer Proclamation
Mississippi: Governor Haley Barbour's Prayer Proclamation
President Obama Meeting With BP CEO Tony Hayward
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