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Six Months After The Gulf Oil Spill, Has Any Progress Been Made?

Six Months After The Gulf Oil Spill, Has Any Progress Been Made?

Wednesday marked the six-month anniversary of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling rig operated by BP, exploded killing 11 workers and launching the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Before it was finally sealed, the deep-water well belched 206 million gallons of oil into the fragile ecosystem, and threatened marine environments thousands of miles away.

Six-months later, the media crews and investigative reporters have all gone home, and many Americans have started to forget about the disaster that captured their attention for so many weeks.

To the Gulf Coast families and businesses that are still picking up the pieces, however, it’s hard to tell whether any progress has been made toward cleaning up the mess that Big Oil left behind.

What’s Been Done

Seven lawsuits have been initiated in response to the Gulf Disaster: One lawsuit, to stop the burning of sea turtles in “controlled burns” of surface oil slicks, met with rapid success: just days after it was filed by the Center for Biodiversity this summer, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard agreed to protect turtles in those burn areas.

Under the direction of Kenneth Feinberg, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has paid $1.08 billion of a $20 billion fund to about 50,000 claimants as of Oct. 6, according to statistics posted on its website.

According to the International Bird Rescue Research Center, more than 8,100 birds were officially affected by the spill. Of those, 6,100 were collected dead. The IBRRC worked with Tri-State Bird Rescue to help stabilize, treat and clean as many oiled birds as possible. More than 1,200 birds were released back to the wild.

The Interior Department issued new rules governing areas like well casing and cementing, blowout preventers, safety certification, emergency response and worker training (NY Times).

The deepwater drilling moratorium put in place by president Obama in the midst of the spill was lifted weeks before it’s November 30th deadline.

What’s Needs To Be Done

True clean up of public beaches and marsh areas. While the oily goo may have been skimmed away from the surface of the waves, BP and the Federal government would rather you didn’t realize it’s still lingering in the water (in tiny “dispersed” droplets) and under the sand.

Scientific research has only just begun into the real impacts of the spill on seafood and agricultural industries. Many members of the Louisiana Oystermen Association report that their oyster beds are all dead or dying- yet members of the NOAA continue to tell the public to eat Gulf seafood and let their children play in the water.

Despite the fact that oil may have visibly disappeared, independent researchers say they are discovering significant amounts of crude below the sea’s surface, including on the ocean floor (MNN).

All new drilling needs to be halted until more is known about how sick the Gulf really is, and until oil companies can guarantee that a repeat oil spill won’t happen (hint: they can’t).

Take Action:
Prevent Another Oil Spill: Rethink Offshore Drilling

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Image Credit: Flickr - deepwaterhorizonresponse

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49 comments

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6:37PM PST on Nov 7, 2010

How soon we forget and move on!

7:41AM PDT on Oct 29, 2010

I voted as leaning no, but, the ocean can recover from this...but it's gonna take a LOOOOOOOOONG time!

4:19PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Exactly.....When the ocean is able to recover from this huge damage.....We may not be able to see it.

5:30AM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

Actually the Gulf of Mexico will recover eventually, but not in my lifetime.

1:11PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

From the Gulf shores to the California coast BP/ British Petroleum , MARCHES ON ..
( Google ; Ruby Pipeline and/or BP and El Paso Corp )
Despite, Continuing Public Outcries to THE Government ..and Lawsuit after Lawsuit , (Note, THE .. For I am hard put to find it is OUR Government !! )
The American colonies defeated the FIRST British landing ..
But it will indeed be a MIRACLE if the same holds true for America of this SECOND one ..

2:05AM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

Everyone who wanted progress MUST go out and vote against the G NO P! The Republicans are accepting $75 million from unknown sources who refuse to reveal themselves. Call it legalized(by the 5 conservative members of the Supreme Court) bribery. But it is clear that the Republican agenda is simply to gain power at the expense of the middle class. It was Bush and deregulation of the Banks, mortgage companies, and Wall Street that caused this economic mess. Not even Iron Man could repair it with a snap of the fingers. The Party of NO has sabotaged efforts to improve it just to keep things bad so they could manipulate anger into power. You MUST defeat this cynical, money accepting party from giving back to their corporate sponsors their soul for $$$$ (75 million worth). DO NOT SIT THIS ONE OUT. If you do, EVIL and GREED will prevail! VOTE! Damn it, YOU MUST VOTE!
(COPY AND SPREAD THIS IF YOU AGREE…WHEREVER YOU FEEL IT WILL BE READ AND RECEIVED.)

6:41PM PDT on Oct 23, 2010

Forty years ago there was an oil spill near Cape Cod. The oil is still in the marshes--you can smell it on a warm day. Do not trust the agency in charge of environmental standards--they don't enforce them. Yeah I drive a car..many concerns..no answers.

8:46AM PDT on Oct 23, 2010

Il aurait fallue des milliards d'anneés pour façonner la terre et
la rendre habitable pour les humains,avec toutes ces catastrophes
que les pétrolières ont causé et celle de BP,même si tout les
ingégneurs essayent de rassurer toutes les populations que tout
est revenue a la normale,je ne croit pas que se soit le cas,nul ne peut savoir si un jour tout reviendrait comme auparavant.»»»

6:04AM PDT on Oct 23, 2010

Not just BP, or WhiteHouse, or Sen. candidate Johnson, or Republican. Has any one of us stopped driving since the spill? Or purchasing our favorite whatever that required petroleum product to be made? It's a widespread systemic illness and will take time to clean. Changing just to get off plastic is a BIG step in the right direction. No more plastic in our lives ... it is nearly impossible to shop for what we need or think we need without bringing home a bunch of plastic. I love the website, Fakeplasticfish, because she is doing it, and it's not easy to get off plastic. As for the Gulf's widespread contamination, we could shift some of the military dollars over to hire companies to really clean up the waters and beaches as much as possible, collaborating with Mother Nature. Negative thinking about BP, or leaders, just gives us more trouble. Positive thinking moves us in the right direction.

9:05PM PDT on Oct 22, 2010

We have to keep the pressure up -- we will need to demand to know what is going on in the gulf.

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