The Cost of the BP Disaster, One Year Later

Illustration for article titled The Cost of the BP Disaster, One Year Later

Exactly a year ago, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank to the bottom of the ocean, beginning the slow underwater seep of 5 million barrels of oil. Today, the Gulf is better—but the disaster's damage remains.

The Economist explores the BP spill's longterm consequences so far, and comes up with mixed sentiments. On the one hand, it could have been much worse—ecologists like Thomas Shirley of Texas A&M University say fortuitous weather drove oil away from sensitive marshes, and surprise microbial feasting too helped cut the slick.

But as much as things could have been worse, they were still pretty damn bad. NOAA estimates 40% of the spilled oil—meaning a whole lot of it still made its way into the environment, ravaging wildlife and human populations alike. Poisoned coral beds, rocked food chains, bacterially-induced oxygen dead zones—these are just some of the ecological plagues that continue to disturb the Gulf beneath the surface.


And on land, things have also been grim. Worries over exposure to chemical dispersants, billions of dollars in lost business affecting hundreds of thousands of residents, and a major blow to the region's tourism image aren't easy things to bounce back from. BP's hardheaded corporate mindset isn't helping—this is the same company that refuses to pay to repair oyster beds destroyed by a necessary freshwater release, claiming that the bivalves could have survived the oil. [The Economist]

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It's very strange that today is the 1 year anniversary and there is so little coverage. I honestly had no idea until I saw this article posted. It just goes to show that Americans (in general) only care about themselves and can't give 2 shits about the environment :(

By the way, before anyone starts flaming: I'm from Louisiana and live south of New Orleans. I went through Katrina, lost everything, and then was impacted by the oil spill (minimally, but still impacted). Even here in my own town, the 1 year anniversary of the oil has gone almost completely un-noticed compared to the massive week-long remembrances and special events for Katrina.

I realize that Katrina was far worse and many lives were lost, which is not true of the Oil Spill....but don't you think we should have at least got a mention of it on the radio or news or in the news paper? Just weird...