BP only making a bad situation worse

More than two months after the BP oil rig explosion, I am compelled to ask: does ANYBODY at BP know what they are doing anymore? After the initial April 25 estimate of 1,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) leaking into the Gulf and the subsequent estimate of 5,000 bpd only three days later, it makes me question whether BP is really taking this issue as seriously as they should be.

The YouTube video entitled “BP Spills Coffee” is a hilarious, and pathetically accurate, rendition of what seems very likely to be happening with BP behind the scenes. It seems as though the so-called “obvious” fixes to the problem are simply being overlooked for the sake of spending less money to fix the leak.

The oil dispersant that BP has been using, called COREXIT, is considered to be extremely toxic. The purpose of a dispersant is to break up the oil on the water’s surface. However, BP has poured well over 500,000 gallons of this chemical into the gulf despite the environmental precautions on the material safety data sheet.

The dispersant is meant to be sprayed over the slick rather than being poured into the ocean, which is what BP has done. The distributor of the dispersants cautions that long-term exposure can cause serious health problems including injury to the liver, kidneys and red blood cells. If the Gulf water is still being treated and turned into drinking water, then who knows what the long-term effects of this stuff might be.

After two months of leaking, the Obama administration is losing support and attracting immense criticism. Should the government be doing more? Should BP be in charge of the operation or does the government need to take over?

On top of the blame that is already being thrown around, according to the New York Times, offshore drilling projects have been halted for the time being. However, BP has been permitted to go ahead with what has been said to be a “risky” drilling operation two miles off the coast of Alaska because it sits on an artificial island that BP built.

The type of drilling that will be used is a method (like that used in the Gulf) more prone to the problems that caused the Gulf well explosion. Really, BP? Really, government? Do we really think this isn’t going to cause controversy? Is this really the most intelligent decision we could have made right now?

Instead of playing the blame game about who is responsible for the oil well explosion, we need to be focusing on the solution. It’s apparent that this disaster calls for a major reevaluation on our energy needs. What we do not need right now is for BP to push other drilling operations. We need to first fix the problem and then figure out how things like this can be avoided in the future—like, maybe, not drilling offshore or actually having a plan in place in the event that the wells fail.

BP needs to take responsibility for the fact that one of their oil rigs failed and is leaking thousands of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico ever day. One Purdue University researcher, Steve Wereley, estimated that the well may be leaking somewhere around 70,000 bpd. Honestly, at this point I don’t think I’d be surprised to hear if this estimate is true. If it is, it would be nice not to be left in the dark. BP has done everything in their power to mislead the public about the severity of the situation, but a greater sense of urgency from the public is ultimately what will push them to fix the leak and the associated problems.

Being somewhat of an environmentalist, it baffles me that a company is more concerned with saving money by using cheap, harmful chemicals to try and hide the oil rather than putting all of their resources, money and man-power into solving the problem in a way that will not further detriment our environment.

It is human nature to look out for the good of the species. It is the nature of major monopolies to look out for their pockets. It is extremely disappointing that the latter means forgetting about the former.

BP first needs to fix the leak and do whatever they have to in order to do so. Then they can worry about who’s to blame for the explosions and the death of a dozen people. The inhabitants of the Gulf have a rocky road ahead of them, and it would be nice if BP would act with a bit more class than has been done thus far. It’s time to step up to the plate and accept your mistakes, BP.