Stephanie Malik

Ethical questions surrounding the BP Oil Spill

Largest oil spill in U.S. history continues to devastate
Gulf wildlife while the press and independent scientists are continually denied access to
spill site and surrounding beaches.

by Stephanie Malik

On April 20 a wellhead on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling
platform blew out in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 40 miles southeast of the
Louisiana coastline. What BP had initially claimed would be a spill with
“minimal impact”, 69 days later now constitutes the largest offshore oil spill
in U.S. history. Today the well is conservatively estimated to be leaking at a
rate of 1,900,000–3,000,000 litres per day—though several expert estimates
based on footage of the spill suggest the actual rate is more likely to be 3 to
5 times higher than this. The unusually wide disparity in expert estimates is
due to the fact that BP has continually denied the requests of a number of independent
scientists to set up instruments on the ocean floor
that could measure the rate
of the leak more accurately. “The answer is ‘no’ to that,” a BP spokesman, Tom
Mueller, said earlier this month. “We’re not going to take any extra efforts
now to calculate flow there at this point. It’s not relevant to the response
effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.

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