Six months later the oil is still here, and so are we

Blog post by Peter Brabeck, LABB staff member

It has been six months since we watched the Deepwater Horizon rig burning, which led to the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history.  We have seen too many failed efforts to cap the gushing well, as well as a woefully unprepared government and industry reaction. We have borne witness to images of islands blanketed with dead seabirds, turtles and marine life. Too many Gulf Coast families now bear the weight of our oil addiction as they watch their fishing grounds get destroyed. These same families, many of them dependent on the seas for generations, will be impacted by the effects of this spill for decades.
It is now that we must point the finger not just at BP and the Federal government, but also at ourselves so that we may act to insure the restoration, retribution and safety of our Gulf coast, its residents and eco-systems. After all isn’t it our own addiction to oil being fed to us by companies like BP with poor oversight and even poorer safety records that has brought the need to drill deeper, into these increasingly risky wells? As Americans we must take ownership of this disaster and demand accountability form BP and our government. We must demand for monitoring and documenting this disaster by us, the people, to insure that we have ownership disaster.

Here are some facts about the BP disaster

  • 76 days – How long it took for BP to stop the Macondo well from spewing oil.
  • 60,000 barrels – or 2.5 million gallons – of oil a day.
  • 800,000 barrels – The total amount of oil that has leaked from the source since the beginning of the accident.
  • 14 – The approximate number of Exxon Valdez spills it would take to equal the BP spill.
  • 1,000 barrels a day – BP’s original estimate of the rate of oil spilling from the site.
  • 5,000 barrels a day – The long agreed-upon estimate by both BP and the federal government.
  • 250,000 barrels, or 11 million gallons a day – The size of the spill that BP’s response plan claimed it could effectively contain.
  • 1 million barrels – The amount of dispersants used to break up the oil. BP has continued deploying this dispersant even after the EPA issued a directive demanding it stop.
  • 6,104 birds were collected along the Gulf of Mexico that perished due to the oil spill, more than 2,000 were covered in oil.
  • 467 endangered sea turtles killed.
  • $75 million – The amount BP can currently be held legally liable for cleanup costs under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act.
  • $20 billion – Tentative size of the fund BP has created to pay entitlements to those impacted by the spill.
  • 74 percent – Percent of Americans who consider developing clean energy more important than offshore drilling.
  • 65 percent – Percentage of Americans who think BP should face criminal charges.


The Virginia University Commonwealth poll

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