29 March 2012
Source: Deep Sea News
Author: Rick Mac
On May 20th, 2010–one month to the day after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig (under lease by British Petroleum) exploded and caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico, beginning what would become the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry–the U.S. government and numerous environmental organizations accused BP of falling short in the information it had provided about the spill. While oil literally gushed from the Macondo blowout, information on what was happening beneath the water surface was not so free-flowing. Allegations were made that BP had engaged in a “cover-up” about the extent of the damage and the amount of crude flowing unchecked from its ruptured well at a water depth of approximately 5,000 feet (1,500 m).
U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D, Massachusetts) was one of the most vociferous critics in calling bullshit on the lack of information,
“BP has stonewalled on releasing the video [of the submerged blowout site] for 23 days. … If you look at the video you can see plumes of oil spilling into the Gulf far in excess of 5,000 barrels per day.”
It wasn’t simply questions and concerns about the rate and volume of oil gushing from the drill site that were being unanswered. Of equal import was the extent to which BP was employing dispersants at the Macondo well which carried their own environmental hazards. But with the blowout nearly one mile below the ocean surface, and with readily available (and suitable) submersible technology primarily owned and operated by petroleum interests, the need for independent verification and monitoring of BP was simply not a reality. BP effectively limited real time information which ultimately stalled independent assessments of the true severity of the disaster. The U.S. government, international media, and the public operated in a data deficient environment manufactured by the petroleum industry.
But I think that James Cameron’s historic Deep Challenger submersible descent last Sunday into the Marianas Trench could signal a new era of independent deep sea surveillance and oversight.
For more, go to: http://deepseanews.com/2012/03/james-cameron-and-the-dawn-of-deeptruth/