The April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will forever change the way Americans view deepwater oil drilling. No one could have foreseen that BP’s well would spew into the Gulf waters for over 80 days before it was successfully capped. Over the years, many articles have been written about the disaster, and many different viewpoints given in the articles. This essay discusses the oil spill’s effect on Gulf coast animal and plant life, plus whether the government is implementing effective legislation regarding the spill.
Naomi Klein’s article “After the Spill” in the January 2011 edition of Nation magazine discusses a scientific excursion by boat in the northern section of the Gulf of Mexico. According to David Hollander, the marine geochemist from the University of South Florida, the trip’s purpose was to go “fishing for oil” and, if oil was present, to assess its effect on the water and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico (Klein 12).
Klein’s assertions in the article are that the water in the Gulf of Mexico still contains oil, that Gulf marine life is being exterminated, that BP is paying off coastal colleges to prevent negative publicity, and that the government is not doing enough to protect the environment (Klein 12-17). Klein’s argument that oil was found in the Gulf waters is plausible. Scientists did find “black gunk” in the water that testing confirmed was petroleum hydrocarbons, but no proof exists that it came from BP’s well (Klein 17). It is also true that some of the marine life in the Gulf is dying. However, Hollander ruined his case for blaming BP when he stated that “Something caused an environmental and community change,” but the change may have been the result of a tremendous amount of items falling down to the bottom of the ocean floor (Klein 17).
Klein also alleges that BP has been paying off coastal colleges directly impacted by the oil spill to prevent negative publicity.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the most outspoken scientists dong this research come from Florida and Georgia, coastal states that have so far managed to avoid offshore drilling. Their universities are far less beholden to Big Oil than, say, Louisiana State University, which has received tens of millions from the oil giants. Again and again these scientists have used their independence to correct the official record about how much oil is actually out there, and what it is doing under the waves. (13)
Not only does Klein not back up her remarks with facts, but her allegations are so scandalous that this writer is surprised they were even published.
The federal government also takes a direct hit from Klein. Although toxicity in the Gulf did not even reach 1% of EPA standards, Kelin was still unhappy with the Unified Area Command’s report (18). Next, she aimed her sights on NOAA’s National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. The NRDA process collects scientific information that will assist the government in assigning a dollar figure for damages...