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Gulf Oil Spill: the Secrets BP Won’t Share

British Petroleum or BP has had a tough time of it as of late, and with little wonder. Still reeling from the gulf oil spill of 2010, the petroleum giant seems to be ensnared in a myriad of secrets relating to the incident that’s been noted as the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Their lack of swift action in the April 2010 catastrophe drew heavy criticism from the public, environmental agencies and the White House, prompting President Barack Obama to begin the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the leak and say “Plug the damn hole” in an unusual show of force and irritation on the part of the usually even keeled president.

Let the Finger Pointing Begin
There’s been a lot of finger pointing in the days since the explosion and eventual fix, with Transocean’s CEO stating at one point that it wasn’t their fault because the blowout preventer had just been tested successfully only a week before the accident, but was it? Back in May of 2010 the New York Times reported that a half-dozen of the agency’s scientists both currently and formerly working for the Minerals Management Service or MMS claimed that they were pressured regularly by agency officials to alter their findings of internal studies if it was suspected that an accident of any proportion or the harming of wildlife was likely to occur.

The article went on to state the Minerals Management Service had allowed many hundreds of these oil drilling projects without ever obtaining the legally required permits to do so. So if they were “forced” to do so, who else might be being less than honest about their actions in regards to the events leading up to the disaster?

The Blame Game
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing back in May of 2010 where reps for all three oil companies involved in the Deepwater drill began to blame each other for the fateful event. Dick Cheney’s Halliburton was responsible for cementing the well and claimed to have met the requirements of British Petroleum for the job and went on to cite the epic failure of the blowout preventer Transocean was responsible for.

Transocean’s CEO in turn denied this stating emphatically that their blowout preventer had been successfully tested just a week prior to the accident, as mentioned earlier, and he blamed both British Petroleum and Halliburton for their less than adequate cement job which was believed, in their opinion, to have led up to the resultant explosion.

British Petroleum’s president stated the responsibility lay with Transocean as they were the owner/operators of the rig itself and as such were responsible for its safety. It was so painful it was like something straight out of the annals of a slap-stick comedy worthy of Laurel and Hardy or Buster Keaton or better yet the Keystone Kops.

Lies and More Lies?
The congressional hearing holding the inquiry was told that the three groups ignored significant safety warning signs prior to the blast, once again prompting criticism from President Obama who didn’t mince words when he stated he didn’t appreciate what he considered to be a “ridiculous spectacle” during the actual hearing itself with executives of the three groups falling all over one another in an effort to try and point the “finger of blame” at the others. He further stated that he thought it was clear that not only had the system failed, but that it had failed badly.

The Cameron Connection & the Whistle Blowers
Then there was the thwarted effort of Oscar-winning director James Cameron whose offer of help was turned away with a blind eye by BP, but why? They refused to say, instead politely denying the offer in a short and unapologetic statement refusing to give a reason whatsoever. What were they afraid of? What secrets were they hiding or trying to hide? We’ll most likely never know.

Eventually in August of 2010 a whistle blowing group would reveal that scientists in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had had fears about Corexit, the chemical dispersant BP was using in the cleanup effort, and as a result of those fears had raised concerns with the upper echelon within the agency that the chemical dispersant that was approved for use in the gulf oil spill was not safe. BP sprayed nearly 2 million gallons of Corexit on the slick itself and at the site of the leak on the ocean floor.

So, all in all, how much did BP really know about any of these things concerning the gulf oil spill, and why have they been so secretive throughout it all?