On April 20, 2010, the BP Deep Water Horizon floating oil rig drilling on the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing eleven crewmen and injuring seventeen others.
The rig burned for three days and then sank in a mile of water fifty miles off the coast of Grand-Isle Louisiana. Over the next three months, the well gushed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into Gulf waters, spanning thousands of square miles, threatening hundreds of miles of coastal wetlands and an abundance of wildlife. It was the largest accidental marine oil spill in history.
While BP struggled to cap the spewing well, they began using unprecedented amounts of the controversial chemical dispersant Corexit, both on the surface and, for the first time, sub-sea injection at the broken well-head 5,000 feet below.
Many locals and a few officials feared BP was only using these chemicals to sink the oil, concealing the magnitude of the disaster.
Since there are no long-term environmental impact studies for the use of Corexit in these amounts or in this manor, the EPA and the Coast Guard responded to public pressure and issued a directive, on May 25, to eliminate the use of surface dispersants, except in rare cases, however BP found ways to circumvent this directive.
By May, the fishing industry was brought to a stand still and in early June oil began hitting the beaches, severely impacting the multi-billion dollar touristbased economy all along Gulf shores. The local state and federal governments now found themselves struggling to safeguard public health and the economy. Of the two, the economy was given priority.
The long-term environmental impact of crude oil mixed with Corexit is largely unknown. Studies are being conducted but only time will tell.
Filmmaker James Fox grew frustrated by the lack of plain talk and BP’s inability to plug a gushing well after its Deep Water Horizon rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. During the summer of 2010, Fox moved among locals across four Gulf states documenting the largest man-made environmental disaster in U.S. history.
He flew over ground zero with Marine Biologist Dr. Carl Safina who warned him that BP was sinking the oil with the chemical dispersant Corexit, sweeping it under the rug, so to speak. Fox investigated this further and conducted his own independent water tests to determine toxicity levels.
The results show that public safety took a backseat to a tourist-based economy and the symbiosis between big oil and government becomes clear. This film is the result of Fox’s work.
For more information, visit the Website for the film.
© 2011 – 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.