Reflection on the Deep Water Horizon accident

Only two years ago this nation suffered from one of the worst environmental disasters in history when the Deep Water Horizon began leaking oil at the Macondo Well. The accident released roughly 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Currently, British Petroleum has claimed that “all of the oil is gone, and the Gulf of Mexico is better than it ever was before.”

Even so, I recently attended a guest lecture at Mercyhurst about the accident and learned that the Gulf of Mexico is no better than it was before despite British Petroleum claims.

The area affected by the oil spill still suffers catastrophic destruction to both the environment and the economy that experts believe will continue into the future.

Dean Blanchard, a big-time shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico, claims there are few shrimp to be caught, and as a result, his town has become “as desolate as a wasteland, and all that is missing is the tumble weeds.”

Fellow shrimper Lisa Corral corroborates Blanchard’s claim by stating that the shrimp being caught in the Gulf often have no eyes and therefore are not consumable.

Since much of the shrimp is not consumable, shrimpers cannot bring their catch to the marketplace, and many have been forced to give up their tradition of shrimping and find other work elsewhere.

Experts believe Blanchard’s and Corral’s current situation is only a precursor to the true extent of the damage that the Deep Water Horizon has caused.

According, to Dr. Sam Joyce, a marine scientist, the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico is no doubt significantly altered, and scientists will not know the full extent of damage caused by the accident “for decades.”

This is due in part because much of the oil was saturated into the bottom, and storms pushed much of the oil inland, and experts are still trying to assess the extent of the damage. Another indication of continued problems is that tar mats are still washing up along the beaches in the Gulf, as recent as March 2012.

While British Petroleum’s claim is clearly false, the federal government should be pressing British Petroleum to continue its efforts to clean up the Gulf of Mexico.

The impact of the Deep Water Horizon accident has clearly affected wildlife, food chains, wetlands, economies and foliage for many years to come, and all I am promoting is accountability for British Petroleum’s actions.