Environment

The Deepwater Horizon Disaster — Four Years Later

Despite what BP would like you to think, the Gulf is still struggling with the effects of that massive oil spill.

Photo Credit: Katherine Welles

This past Sunday was the fourth anniversary of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite what we’ve heard from BP, the wildlife, the environment, and the residents of the Gulf are still dealing with the effects of that massive oil spill. A new report from the National Wildlife Federation found that many animal species are still struggling to recover from the 2010 disaster, including Bottlenose dolphins, Bluefin Tuna, sea turtles, and many others.

Residents who live near the spill, and those who worked in clean-up efforts say that they’re still dealing with skin boils, respiratory illness, and depression. Many coastal environments that were once home to birds and wildlife are now just stretches of barren land and dead mangroves. And, just a couple weeks ago, Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials discovered more than 350 tar balls on the beaches of Escambia County.

The oil isn’t gone. The environment isn’t restored. Residents’ lives aren’t back to so-called “normal.” Yet, BP continues to claim that they fixed the Gulf and reports that show otherwise are just “political advocacy – not science.” The fact is, there was no way to completely clean up the 210 millions of gallons of oil that spilled in the Gulf, and there’s no way to bring back the millions of plants and animals that died as a result of that spill.

We should have learned our lesson from earlier oil disasters – like the Exxon Valdez in Alaska – but instead, even after these massive events, we just keep drilling for toxic sludge. Four years after the BP spill, we’re still repeating the same mistakes. We can only hope that there won’t be a bigger, more deadly disaster before we finally end our addiction to fossil fuels.

Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is "The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It."

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