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One Year Later
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
One year ago, on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded, killing 11 people. The oil leak lead to the worst environmental disaster in American history.
The BP disaster spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil and released 225,000 tons of methane into the Gulf.
Over 2 million gallons of toxic dispersants (mainly Corexit) were sprayed onto the Gulf. As well, unknown amounts of dispersant were applied directly into the blown-out well a mile below the water's surface. Dispersants merely break the oil into smaller particles, they do not dissolve it. (No studies have ever been done as to the long term health effects of these chemicals.)
According to the Center for Biological Diversity more than 82,000 birds; about 6,000 sea turtles; about 26,000 whales and dolphins; and an unknown, but surely staggering number of fish (500 species including bluefin tuna), fish larvae and invertebrates (crabs, shrimp, bivalves) have succombed to the effects of the spill and the use of dispersants. "Scientists estimate that the number of marine mammals harmed may be up to 50 times higher than the number that have been collected." www.biologicaldiversity.org
Scientists have reported massive deep-sea coral die-offs. news.nationalgeographic.com
New research by the University of Georgia has found most of the BP oil is still lingering on the Gulf floor, as only 25% of the oil was collected or burned, a lot of oil remains. www.guardian.co.uk
Researchers say fresh oil is still leaking from BP's Macondo Formation more than 16 months after the well was declared sealed. "The only explanation is that there has been damage to the seafloor because of the blowout" For more: www.courthousenews.com
What have we done to tighten regulations in the past year?
Even after the worst environmental disaster in American history...our government has not been able to pass one law to protect our environment.
In July of 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) lacked the votes needed to pass a comprehensive climate and energy bill through the Senate. The bill would have removed or increased the $75 million liability cap oil companies are currently responsible for, and placed tighter restrictions on offshore oil rigs. The Democrats scaled back the bill...but have yet to make any headway...all is stalled...
On April 8, 2011, on a 50-50 vote, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment to the Small Business bill that would have blocked EPA climate action. The measure by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma would have repealed a 2009 finding by federal scientists that climate change caused by greenhouse gases endangers human health and would have prevented the agency from using existing law to regulate the pollution. www.sustainableagriculture.net
On the next day, the U.S. House of Representatives created a stand alone bill and voted 255-172 to block the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing climate pollution from America's largest emitters. The president has given notice that he will veto this bill when it moves forward. A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants in the U.S. rose 5.56% in 2010 over the year before, the biggest annual increase since the EPA began tracking emissions in 1995. Source: www.environmentalintegrity.org
The currently proposed 2011 budget deal struck by the President and Congress will cut the EPA's budget by 16%. Source: www.reuters.com
The International Energy Agency reports that governments around the world give 312 billion annually in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, 6-times more than the 57 billion they gave to the renewables industry. Source: www.physorg.com
The U.S. slipped to third place in terms of the amount of private investment directed to the clean energy sector, according to a new report released by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Until 2008, the U.S. had been 1st, but China and now Germany have surged ahead. Source: www.pewenvironment.org