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Impact Of The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill On Usa’s Environment And Economy

1906 words - 8 pages

Depleting reserves, high oil prices and spectacular offshore discoveries concentrated a global attention to deep water (National Geographic, p.3). Joel and Bourne (2010) claim “the Gulf of Mexico now accounts for 30 percent of U.S. production, with half of that coming from deep water (1,000 to 4,999 feet)”. The U.S. government roughly calculated that the deep Gulf might contain 45 billion barrels of oil (NG, p.44). Hence, this fact gave new reasons for oil companies to drill oil wells in that region. The Minerals Management Service (MMS), the national agency that administrated offshore drilling, used to claim that the possibilities of blowout were less than one percent, and that if one did happen, it would not release much oil (National Geographic, Joel.K, Bourne, JR. The deep dilemma, October,2010, vol.218., no4, p.42). But an explosive blowout of the Maconda well that occurred in late April contradicts MMS’s statement. Since Deepwater Horizon rig explosion caused the most serious accidental marine oil spill in history and instantly acquired major political, environmental and economic importance (Robertson and Krauss 2010). According to Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation Report, a well control incident allowed hydrocarbons to escape from the Macondo well onto Deepwater Horizon oil rig, causing explosions and fire on the rig. The fire proceeded for thirty-six hours until the rig sank (Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation Report). For approximately three months, hydrocarbons escaped from the container through the blowout preventers and the wellbore, resulting in a spill of national significance (Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation Report). Worse still, eleven workers died, 205.8 million gallons of oil gushed into the ocean, destroying marine habitats, poisoning birds and fish and shattering local communities along the Gulf (Greenpeace 2010). After two months Macondo well began gushing crude oil, President Barack Obama addressed to the nation from the Oval Office, he said: “Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.” Through January 25, 2011, there were collected 8,209 birds, 1,143 sea turtles, and 109 marine mammals affected by the spill—alive or dead, visibly oiled or not (Unified Area Command). It is quite apparent that the Deepwater Horizon blowout is both terrible environmental and human catastrophe and it will probably demand not months but decades of nationwide effort to address and recover (Deep water).The specific goal of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework for identifying and understanding the economic and environmental consequences of Deepwater Horizon oil spill and to determine appropriate...

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