BP Covered Up Another Well Blowout 2 Years Before Gulf Disaster
Two years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, news from the Gulf isn't getting better. Lisa Kaas Boyle reported on AlterNet today about "shrimp with no eyes and fish with cancerous tumors born long after the gulf was declared 'safe' for fishing."
It turns out that testing water and fish flesh under the surface oil after the spill was not very telling about long term impacts as oil and water don't mix and the chronic, toxic impacts were delayed until long after BP was put in charge of the "clean up." When BP sprayed chemical dispersants containing a slew of toxic heavy metals including arsenic, the oil didn't magically disappear. It sank into the sediment. Disturbingly, the allowable levels set by the government for the toxins in our seafood are based on health impacts for a 176 pound adult eating less than 2 medium shrimp a day. The testing is for 1 chemical out of a crude oil mixture containing thousands of chemicals. No synergistic effects are considered. This in no way protects children, fetuses, people who weigh less than 176 pounds or anyone who eats seafood on a daily basis like the folks here on the Gulf Coast.
Will BP ever get more than a slap on the wrist for the deaths of 11 workers, and the sacking of an ecosystem and economy? So, far the answer is no, but perhaps that could change. Writing today for EcoWatch Greg Palast reported that BP actually failed to report a similar well blow out at the Caspian two years before the Deepwater Horizon. "The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP's Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers 'could have had a chance' of survival. But BP's insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate."
It seems the culprit in both cases was a shoddy cement job. Palast reports:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, said, "We have laws that make it illegal to hide this kind of information. At the very least, these are lies by omission. When you juxtapose their knowledge of this incident upon the oil companies constant and persistent assurances of safety to regulators, investigators and shareholders, you have all the elements to prove that their concealment of the information was criminal."