It's been three years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster that poisoned the Gulf of Mexico with oil, and the ultra-toxic chemicals that were and still are illegally being used to clean up the disaster. Former CEO of BP, the company that operated Deepwater Horizon, Tony Heyward, became the face of the big oil polluters of the world. Deepwater Horizon became popularly known as the worst oil spill in U. S. history, even exceeding the ecological damage done by the Alaskan Exxon-Valdez tanker spill. It was determined that the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon was caused by a negligent lack of safety measures and legal requirements...legal requirements that weren't in place, and have since been defeated, because of pressure from the Big Oil lobby. That is correct. To this day, the deficient safety requirements that were directly responsible for the worst oil spill in U. S. history have been left in place, unchecked and unregulated.
An entire nation standing in solidarity could not sway Congress to stand up to Big Oil. Instead, they focused their ire on BP. As responsible as BP may have been, the fact remains that Big Oil's insistence that it not be made to spend a dime of its obscene profits on safety is entirely to blame, and BP is only a part of that structure. I began reporting in the Examiner on the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster the moment it broke. I followed the publications of scientists as they argued whether or not oil soaked birds could be saved. There is a general belief that once a bird has made contact with oil, it is doomed to death regardless of conservation efforts due to a bird's cleaning habits and it's reactions to being handled by humans. Even the scientists who disagree with this belief concede that, while some do survive, the number is extremely small. I watched the videos of Sea Shepard violating the no fly laws that Big Oil rammed through on the Deepwater Horizon disaster to show the world exactly what BP was doing. The video showed disturbing footage of a fleet of ships in a small area burning the oil, and nowhere else. The pilot, Steve Roest was able to capture all activity in a single frame. None of BP's excuses for this have ever held water.
We watched the Deepwater oil well hemorrhaging oil into the Gulf, Tony Heyward and his cronies pathetically impotent in their efforts to mobilize any kind of attempt to stymie the flow. While this disaster was going on, another Texas oil rig exploded under near identical circumstances. This one was successfully covered up, but there are still pictures of the devastation it caused. While nowhere near as bad the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it still polluted a massive swath of Texas coastline, finding its way into inlets and streams.
Then, BP uses corexit, a highly toxic dispersant that the EPA ordered them not to use. This dispersant worked by bonding to oil molecules and breaking them down to their base molecular structure, causing it to sink to the ocean floor. The idea was that this demolecularized oil would be little more than dust, but the terrifying truth has been very well covered up by Big Oil, although you can still find the complaints if you know where to look. According to a Nov. 30, 2012 Live Science report , Corexit combined with oil is 52 times more toxic than oil by itself. Corexit has made most of our seafood from the Gulf poisonous to eat, yet it is still sold in our grocery stores due to Big Oil's preference to cover up disasters instead of take responsibility. Meanwhile, diagnoses of cancer in the Gulf region has increased significantly, especially for environmental cleanup crews, volunteers, many of whom weren't paid for their services, and weren't told that they were handling a substance so deadly that it was banned in the United States, with no required protection.
BP's culpability in this is far greater than what the nation's courts imposed upon them. They were ordered to clean up the Gulf at their own expense, but no oversight was provided. Their willful disregard of a direct order from the EPA, a federal agency, has been completely dismissed, and not a single victim of poisoning from the Gulf has been compensated, and we still have no way of knowing if the seafood we purchase from the store is from the contaminated Gulf, fish that has been deemed unsafe to eat.
Finally, BP was simply burning endanger species alive, including the green sea turtle and the highly endangered loggerhead turtles in their oil capture nets. When conservationists mounted an effort to rescue these creatures, BP bitterly fought for the right to continue their policies of burning these animals alive until the court had to require that BP wait before any burns until conservationists had a chance to rescue stranded animals in the nets. Even then, BP used every method they could to keep them out in most cases. All of this was an effort to cover up the extent of the damage from the Deepwater Horizon. My wife reported on the burning of turtles and the court order to make them stop three years ago. I was horrified to find a report from Feb. 11, 2013 in which conservationists are still reporting it.
Never let it go in the back of your mind that BP is tied to a larger structure that has cooperatively worked to ensure that they can act as they desire without impunity. It's not just BP. These policies come from a general agreement on how to operate within the Big Oil structure. If it had been Chevron, or Shell, we would have seen no difference in behavior.
Now, I have written well into the second page of this article and I still haven't gotten to the point of this article, such is the list of Big Oil's wrongdoings during the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Now, here's what's compelled to me to write today:
I receive newsletters from as many political publications as possible and you wouldn't believe the level of anti-party rhetoric that inundates both sides. Still, the report I received from dccc.org was shocking to say the least.
“It's unbelievable that more than three years after the BP spill, Republicans in Congress have yet to enact a single legislative reform to improve the safety of offshore drilling. And now, Republicans want to allow even more unsafe drilling rigs to pop up off of beaches in California and across the East Coast.”
While I'm fairly certain that a fair number of democratic votes went into this as well, it is curious that this vote should take place the day after the Koch brothers gave the Tea Party the largest donation in the party's history.
Essentially, Congress has voted to allow Big Oil to drill anywhere in the U. S. controlled ocean it likes.