The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

2353 Words Nov 23rd, 2016 10 Pages
The e Deepwater Horizon oil spill at the Macondo well began on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect. An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on 20 April 2010 killed 11 people and caused almost 5 million barrels of oil to flow into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill covered 68,000 square miles of land and sea and triggered a response effort involving the use of nearly 2 million gallons of dispersant chemicals (Pallardy). Considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS) resulted in widespread environmental and economic damage, the exact nature of which is only beginning to be understood (Shultz 59). This paper will address the causes of this unmitigated ecological disaster and discuss steps that need to be taken to prevent a similar disaster from occurring again.
There were a number of causes for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, most of which had more to do with the human element that with any technology itself. The four biggest ways that humans contributed to the disaster, as explained by journalist David Coburn, was the fact that British Petroleum’s (BP) past success built a sense of complacency, the shifting the burden of proof, the normalization of deviance and the fact that promoters for an industry also serve as that industry’s regulatory enforcers. One might ask themselves how being continuously successful can make a person or agency more likely to suffer a disaster. If they…
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