Deepwater Horizon spill: Three years on, terrible new revelations

 

Dispersant spraying. AP photo.

Dispersant spraying. AP photo.

What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know about the Gulf Spill is a new article by Mark Hertsgaard, and if you have ever wondered how the largest single, accidental oil spill in the world just vanished, don’t miss this story. It is an absolutely shocking recounting of BP’s massive, reckless use of the highly toxic dispersant, Corexit, which effectively “disappeared” much of the spilled oil and in the process caused untold damage to clean-up workers’ health and the ecosystem.

Three years after the spill, Herstgaard writes, the disaster has been largely forgotten. “Such collective amnesia may seem surprising,” he continues, “but there may be a good explanation for it: BP mounted a cover-up that concealed the full extent of its crimes from public view. This cover-up prevented the media and therefore the public from knowing — and above all, seeing — just how much oil was gushing into the gulf. The disaster appeared much less extensive and destructive than it actually was. BP declined to comment for this article.”

The article continues: “That BP lied about the amount of oil it discharged into the gulf is already established. Lying to Congress about that was one of 14 felonies to which BP pleaded guilty last year in a legal settlement with the Justice Department that included a $4.5 billion fine, the largest fine ever levied against a corporation in the U.S. What has not been revealed until now is how BP hid that massive amount of oil from TV cameras and the price that this “disappearing act” imposed on cleanup workers, coastal residents, and the ecosystem of the gulf. That story can now be told because an anonymous whistleblower has provided evidence that BP was warned in advance about the safety risks of attempting to cover up its leaking oil. Nevertheless, BP proceeded. Furthermore, BP appears to have withheld these safety warnings, as well as protective measures, both from the thousands of workers hired for the cleanup and from the millions of Gulf Coast residents who stood to be affected.”

This is a not-to-be-missed story of corporate malfeasance. Hertsgaard’s article makes clear that BP was using Corexit as part of a massive cover-up. The company wasn’t looking to clean up oil, but only to make it “disappear.”  One can only wonder how common it is for oil companies to use Corexit  this way. Last year I wrote about the environmental impacts of the massive Corexit dump in the Gulf of Mexico and I noted that Shell oil had allegedly used an excessive amount of Corexit to “clean up” the Bonga spill off the coast of Nigeria in December 2011.

During the Deepwater Horizon crisis there was much debate about what was worse for the environment: oil washing ashore or dispersants. Hertsgaard gives us the answer, writing, “Nineteen months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, a scientific study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution found that crude oil becomes 52 times more toxic when combined with Corexit.”

Read the story here: What BP Doesn’t Want You To Know about the Gulf Spill

For more information on just how deadly Corexit is, see the Corexit page on BP Oil Spill – Crisis in the Gulf 

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