Once again, it’s important to remember that you can’t believe everything you hear on TV (or on the internet for that matter), and that what you’re not hearing is probably the most important part of the story.
Since the offshore drilling platform Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank almost two weeks ago, officials from British Petroleum (the oil company responsible for the rig’s operations) and the federal government claimed that the open well was only leaking about 1,000 barrels of oil a day.
Subsequent monitoring and analysis of the spill via satellite and aerial data has shown that this was a gross (and probably deliberate) understatement, and that the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico is probably five times that amount.
Five thousand barrels a day is “a bare-bones limit,” John Amos, the president and founder of the nonprofit firm SkyTruth, told OnEarth.org. SkyTruth specializes in gathering and analyzing satellite and aerial data to promote environmental conservation.
By SkyTruth’s calculations, 12.2 million gallons of oil had already spilled into the Gulf of Mexico by May 1st.
As a result of the potentially deadly threat this poses to marine life throughout the area, the NOAA decided yesterday to begin an immediate ban on all recreational and commercial fishing in the area.
BP was quick to enlist the services of out-of-work fisherman, using their boats to help deploy containment boom. But this move has proven to be more self-serving than first meets the eye.
It turns out that all volunteers were being forced to sign Master Charter Agreements (MCAs) that compromised their existing and future rights- including the right to speak freely about their involvement in clean up efforts.
The MCAs also prevented volunteers from holding BP accountable for any accidents that might occur, and required them to give the oil giant a month’s notice before filing any legal claims.
The Commerical Fishermen’s Association was quick to spot the compromising language of the agreements, and convinced a federal judge in Louisiana to order BP to stop using them.
BP has already been mandated to take 100 percent responsibility for the oil clean-up, but time will tell whether or not they’re really up to the task.
Find full Care2 Coverage of the Spill here.
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Please stay tuned to Care2 Causes for more information about the Gulf Spill as it develops.
Deepwater Horizon skimming operations
Image Credit: US Coast Guard