Deepwater Horizon Sinking “Disastrous”
Posted on Apr 30, 2010 in BP Oil Spill
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oilrig on April 20th and its subsequent sinking two days later has left the Gulf of Mexico facing a potential disaster. The explosion has left 11 men presumed dead, and 4 others in critical conditions. However, equally as concerning is the long-term ramifications of this accident. Some fear that this could surpass the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989, the largest oil spill in US history, where 10.8 million gallons of crude oil leaked. It is estimated that the well is currently leaking 210,000 gallons per day with no certain date for when it can be stopped in sight.
Many fear that this massive amount of crude oil will be devastating to tourism and fishing industries in the Gulf. Dr. George Crozier, the head of the Marine Biology program on a small island along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, argues, “This is the fertile crescent, a good percentage of the seafood production in the Gulf of Mexico is east of the Mississippi River. And I am not equipped to tell you it’s going to be this many dollars, but if we are looking at a decade of impact with reduced production I think that’s my long-term concern.” Another major area of concern is for some of the Gulf’s famous populations of oysters, crabs, and shrimp.
The federal government has responded to this incident by placing a moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico until the cause of the incident is discovered. Some experts feel that it is most likely a cementing failure, as this is the most common cause of accidents on rigs from 1994-2007, accounting for 18 of the last 39 blow outs, according to the United States Minerals Management Service. BP (British Petroleum), the company that operated the rig, is liable for the clean up per the 1990 Oil Pollution Act.