Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Did that oil spill stop?

Tragedies in America affect everyone in America. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, more commonly known as the BP Oil Spill, is the greatest off shore oil spill that the U.S. has ever experienced. The U.S. media coverage has been overwhelming, and yet at the same time there were limitations on how much they can cover. Many journalists found themselves “turned away from public areas affected by the spill, and not only by BP and its contractors, but by local law enforcement, the Coast Guard and government officials.”

The media coverage that Americans did get was not critical. Many journalists pushed for the sentimentality of the event by discussing how the event will disrupt the ecology and environment of the Gulf, and of course, only BP responded to that and only to a certain extent. Imagine if the journalists pushed to discuss the core of the problem and held someone accountable? If journalists told the American public that BP knew there were cracks in the pipes awhile back when the coverage was heavy, maybe BP would have acted differently and more responsibly.

Due to the kindness Americans across the country, thousands of people are volunteering to help clean this mess. Louisiana had 3,000 volunteers sign up for a beach cleanup. Many states are having the same turnout. But despite Louisiana’s past tragedies, the people still have faith that should inspire every American. To be fair, BP has created the Vessels of Opportunity program which hires local boatmen to assist in this fiasco. According to the Official Site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, the tasks that these local boatmen take on include “response activities, including transporting supplies, assisting wildlife rescue and deploying containment and sorbent boom.”

Like many times in today’s media, one avoids necessary analysis about the event. Have we forgotten that someone is responsible for this event? This oil spill is not only going to haunt our past, but our present and future. This spill is not only affecting the sea food business, fishing and offshore energy production, but is “fouling other drivers of the economy like lodging, casinos, real estate and governments.”

Will BP ever be able to adequately compensate the victims of the spill? BP created a $20 billion compensation fund administrated by Kenneth Feinberg, of the Feinberg Rozen law firm. This is a similar fund to the fund that was set up for the victims of the 9-11 attacks. The $20 billion will not go unnoticed, but it is hard to even compensate for what has happened. According to the U.S. government, between 90.4 and 178.6 million gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf. How can one compensate for all that Oil that has been lost, lives that have been lost and the environment that is suffering? Oil is a resource that has been fought over through international wars, and yet there seems to be negligence of BP’s behalf.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 was also a tragic event, where about 11 to 32 million gallons of oil was spilled. Twenty years later, there are still many areas in which you can find oil on the ground. Consider the number of gallons that the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill released and there can be no comparison between these two spills. Imagine the years it is going to take to clean. The Exxon Valdez spill happened over 20 years ago and it is still an issue today.

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