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Is Legislative Involvement In Oil Spills Beneficial Or Detrimental?

1167 words - 5 pages

On April 20th, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig owned by British Petroleum (BP) exploded. The explosion was caused by pressurized methane gas that bubbled up from 18,360 feet below the sea. The explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17 others. Two days after the explosion the oil rig sank and an oil gusher, which is an out of control oil well, at the sea-floor released oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Over the course of these 87 days the gusher leaked an estimated 205 million gallons of oil and the oil polluted thousands of square miles of ocean water (Kennedy 351, 379). The oil even washed up on Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama shores, which were 50 miles away from the site ...view middle of the document...

The Torrey Canyon oil spill in England during 1967 caused the United States to set up a national emergency response plan for oil spills in 1968 called The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan. (NCP) Over the years the NCP has been amended, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) caused the NCP to undergo major revisions. The NCP basically states that whoever the polluter is, they are the one who cleans up the pollution and pays for it. If they are unwilling or unable to do that, then the federal government steps in to do it, and the OPA also reinforces this rule.
Although the government had the NCP set up for 42 years before the Deepwater Horizon and it had undergone many revisions leading up to this particular oil spill, it took the government 10 days to act or even responded to the oil spill. Before the government declared Deepwater Horizon a Spill of National Significance serious events had occurred and many actions and been taken and failed. The oil rig sank, the Coast Guard’s efforts to find the eleven missing crew members ended, underwater robots were used to try an activate a blowout preventer, and oil removal began. A blowout preventer is a line of defense to prevent a blowout and leaking of oil, they are designed to shut off an oil well (Blowout). Once the efforts to activate the blowout preventer failed the government declared the spill a SONS and assigned a National Incident Commander (NIC) who works in conjunction with the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) who is in charge of the procedures and actions that occur after the oil spill first begins. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the first time that a SONS was declared and a NIC was assigned, but a FOSC is present anytime an oil spill occurs (Kennedy).
Though The Flow of Authority to Stop the Flow of Oil by Fredrick J. Kennedy, Jr. and Melissa A. Hamann is an accurate source on the flow of authority during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and is very detailed in it’s the description of the oil spill, it is a biased source. The end of the journal is a summary of their recommendations on how to improve the government’s involvement. By doing this they confirm that they believed the government’s actions in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill were detrimental, but by making recommendations on how to improve their involvement, they do believe...

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