For 87 days, over the Spring and Summer of 2010, we watched as over 4.9 million barrels of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico - the largest marine oil disaster in US history.
4.9 million barrels of crude oil, equaling 205.8 million gallons of crude oil from the Macondo Well site, flowing into the sea water after BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20th of that year, killing 11 people in the explosion and fire……….
Jason Anderson, Senior tool pusher
Dewey Revette, Driller
Stephen Curtis, Assistant driller
Donald Clark, Assistant driller
Dale Burkeen, Crane operator
Karl Kleppinger, Roughneck
Adam Weise, Roughneck
Shane Roshto, Roughneck
Wyatt Kemp, Derrick man
Gordon Jones, Mud engineer
Blair Manuel, Mud engineer
……….and causing billions of dollars of damage.
The world watched as BP and Haliburton (let’s not forget Transocean) prats – prancing and preening as they pointed fingers of blame at everyone but themselves - tried to hide their incompetence and negligence - destroying documents, spinning facts, and hiding damage figures reporting only a fraction of the leaking crude while refusing to allow journalists and scientists into the spill area to see the real damage. BP refused to admit they never had a plan to handle a spill and Haliburton denied the failure rate (and failure) of their equipment.
Lives lost, beaches and wetlands destroyed, small businesses now belly-up, families with no hope of recovery but BP and Haliburton still getting government contracts, still making billions of dollars and still drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while spinning the spill clean up as their own magnanimous and charitable gift to the people and lands of the Gulf Coast:
The site of the spill was “permanently sealed” by September 19, 2010 – Sealed but still leaking.
In February, 2012, after all the “clean up,” Al Jazeera photographers did a “fly over” the killing fields of the Gulf of Mexico and found oil slicks, still streaking the waters of the gulf, from the continuous seepage of the Macondo Well:
The pilot, Bonny Schumaker, a retired career physicist with NASA, now the owner and pilot of “On Wings of Care”, (from their website: “nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife, wild habitat, and natural ecosystems; to the sustainable coexistence of them with humans and domestic animals; and to the humane care of domestic animals.” ), took photographers out to observe the continued seepage, the lack of visable marine life and the poor clarity of the water still experienced in the Gulf over 2 years after the explosion.
From the Al Jazeera article covering the flight and their subsequent investigation:
New Orleans attorney Stuart Smith, who litigates against major oil companies, believes the burden of proof on the oil’s origins lies with BP. “Our worst fears have proven true. We have a chronic leak scenario caused by the Macondo well, and it is time for the Feds and BP to come clean and tell the American public the truth. Unless/until the government and BP explain in a verifiable manner what the source of this oil is, in my opinion any thoughts of settlement are way premature”
The toll of the spill - to property, environment, and economy – is in the tens of billions of dollars – but what about the toll on the health and lives of the people of the Gulf Coast?
As reported by Al Jazeera , October 27, 2013, the toxic effects of the crude in the water (and BP’s dispersants), in the fish, in the wetlands, and to the people who live, work and clean up after BP, are being felt and it isn’t pretty:
New Orleans, United States of America - Peter Frizzell never thought his watersports off the coast of Florida would destroy his health.
“After sea kayaking after BP’s spill happened, I was sitting at my desk and started coughing up loads of blood,” Frizzell, an avid outdoorsman, told Al Jazeera. “My doctor ran a scope down to the top of my lungs and said my bronchi were full of blood.”
Frizzell’s medical records bear out that he was exposed to toxic chemicals, and he is far from alone.
Since the spill began in April 2010, Al Jazeera has interviewed hundreds of coastal residents, fishermen, and oil cleanup workers whose medical records, like Frizzell’s, document toxic chemical exposure that they blame on BP’s oil and the toxic chemical dispersants the oil giant used on the spill.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists the toxic components commonly found in chemicals in crude oil, and several of these chemicals have been found in the blood of people living in the impact zone of BP’s disaster.
Several toxicologists agree, and now one accuses both BP and the US Environmental Protection Agency of knowingly placing people in harms way since they both had prior knowledge of the harmful effects of the oil and dispersants….
“BP told the public that Corexit was ‘as harmless as Dawn dishwashing liquid’,” Dr Susan Shaw, of the State University of New York, told Al Jazeera. “But BP and the EPA clearly knew about the toxicity of the Corexit dispersants long before this spill.”
Shaw, a toxicologist in the university’s School of Public Health, has been studying the health effects of chemical exposure for 30 years. She is also the president and founder of the Marine Environmental Research Institute, and explained that BP’s Material Safety Data Sheets for Corexit warned that the dispersant posed high and immediate human health hazards.
“Five of the Corexit ingredients are linked to cancer, 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns, 33 are linked to eye irritation, 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants, and 10 are suspected kidney toxins,” she added. “BP’s own testing found that workers were exposed to a possible human carcinogen from the dispersant.
“We predicted with certainty the widespread human health crisis we are seeing in the Gulf today,” Shaw said.
It seems there is more evidence of the toxic effects to those who have lived, worked and played in the Gulf since the spill…A new study released by Houston’s University Cancer and Diagnostic Centers and reported in the American Journal of Medicine indicates that the blood tests of workers, involved in the clean up, show altered blood profiles that put them at risk for developing leukemia, liver cancer and a variety of painful, nasty disorders..
It indicates that the problem was made exponentially worse by BP’s use of Corexit dispersants.
According to Dr Shaw, thousands of people in the Gulf – clean-up workers, fishermen, residents – have now reported multiple severe symptoms related to chemical exposure from the spill.
“What ties them together as a group is their spill-related health problems, which are also typical of the health problems reported from previous oil spills,” she said. “Some of these include: blood in urine, heart palpitations, kidney damage, liver damage, migraines, multiple chemical sensitivity, neurological damage, memory loss, rapid weight loss, respiratory system damage, skin lesions, muscle spasms, seizures, and temporary paralysis.”
And the response….
Still waiting for the response…..
For New Orleans and the Gulf, the BP gift of toxicity just keeps on giving…..