Ten years ago, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill began with a horrendous rig explosion resulting in 4 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico and 11 workers killed. This oil spill became the largest spill in U.S. history.
A decade later and the fossil fuel industry and the U.S. government have learned nothing from this catastrophe.
According to The Verge, since April 20, 2010, offshore drilling operations continue to creep farther out into ultra-deep waters — where depths reach 1,500 meters (about 5,000 feet) or more. Today’s drilling rigs can work at depths more than twice as deep as Deepwater Horizon. Drilling at new depths unlocks untapped oil reserves and has become easier with newer technologies. But those opportunities come with greater dangers and less margin for error.
The ocean conservation group, Oceana, released a new publication, “Hindsight 2020: Lessons We Cannot Ignore from the BP Disaster,” which examines the cause and impacts of the catastrophe; how those impacts are still being felt today; and whether the disaster changed the government and industry’s approach to offshore drilling.
“Offshore drilling is still as dirty and dangerous as it was 10 years ago. If anything, another disaster is more likely today as the oil industry drills deeper and farther offshore. Instead of learning lessons from the BP disaster, President Trump is proposing to radically expand offshore drilling, while dismantling the few protections put in place as a result of the catastrophic blowout,” says Diane Hoskins, Oceana campaign director.
The impacts of the 2010 oil spill are still affecting the area dramatically. According to Common Dreams, as many as 800,000 birds died in the midst of and following the disaster. The oil gushing from the ocean floor also devastated bottlenose dolphins—over 75% of all dolphin pregnancies failed in the oiled area. The spill also ravaged frontline communities.
And CNN reports, oil pollution has been detected in thousands of fish in the Gulf of Mexico, including higher levels in popular seafood choices like yellowfin tuna, tilefish, and red drum.
The Trump administration has done nothing as far as strengthening safety regulations in the oil industry. In fact, the Trump administration has softened protections that were put in place after the BP oil spill and is making moves to expand offshore drilling.
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