Environmental Report Card on the BP Oil Spill
One year has passed since the catastrophic BP oil spill began. Today, record numbers of dead sea turtles and dolphins are still washing up dead on Gulf beaches, oil is still getting hauled up in nets by fishermen, and offshore oil drilling in the Gulf has resumed without any new laws to prevent a duplicate catastrophe or ensure that the Gulf will be fully restored.
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Federal response actions have failed. They’ve failed to protect the marine and coastal environment from the deadly impacts of offshore oil, failed to earn respect and trust from Gulf coastal communities, failed to act quickly in the interest of the public and natural resources, and failed to make meaningful change to correct the physical, emotional, environmental and economic losses in the Gulf.
Congress; F, fail
One year after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and Congress has not passed any new laws to change a corrupt and broken regulatory approval system for offshore oil operations nor has it taken steps to secure funding for restoration.
Environmental Protection Agency; D, dismal
The EPA published many warnings on the effects of oil, volatile chemicals, and chemical dispersants. They then proceeded to ignore their own warnings. EPA approved chemical dispersant use near coastal communities and released a flawed risk statement on Gulf seafood safety that grossly underestimated weekly average seafood consumption by Gulf locals and therefore their oil intake exposure.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation & Enforcement; F, fail
BOEMRE’s complete lack of new environmental protections for oil and gas leasing in the Gulf prior to issuing new offshore drilling permits has earned them the moniker “BUMMER” by oceans conservation workers.
National Marine Fisheries Service; D, dismal
Dead sea turtles by the hundreds were linked to fisheries interactions during the spill as experts were drafting rescue plans that were not fully implemented until the end of the oil spill. Re-opening of fishing areas where oil was pulled up with shrimp likely resulted in tainted seafood at local markets. Lessons were learned, but no new laws exist.
Unified Command; F, fail
Assembled with the best intentions, this military-industrial partnership silenced the voices of locals, forced workers to into unsafe conditions, perpetrated policies in violation of the U.S. constitution, and worked under a blanket of secrecy.
President Obama; D, dismal
The President’s Commission report called for “systematic changes” to improve offshore oil safety, a step in the right direction, but failed to implement any significant new environmental safety laws before offshore drilling in the Gulf was re-opened for business.