The Big Ooze

from Wildlife Promise

Today, the Big Ooze meets the Big Easy and its surrounding marshes and communities along the Gulf coast. The horrific tragedy unfolds before us in slow motion. Unfortunately, the worst for the Gulf Coast’s economy and wildlife is yet to come. More than a million gallons of crude is dumping into the Gulf every week, and nobody knows when it can be stopped.

The spill response plan for the site of the Deepwater Horizon explosion certifies that “BP Exploration & Production Inc have the capability to respond to the appropriate worst-case spill scenario” – which BP claimed would be a maximum spill of 162,000 gallons per day. Now, we know that the rupture is spewing more than 200,000 gallons per day into the Gulf — exceeding the “worst-case scenario” provided to regulators, and five times larger than originally revealed.

After a similarly unrelenting spill from an oil rig near Australia last year, oil companies went before Congress and promised that this couldn’t happen here in America. In September, David Rainey of BP testified before the Senate that their offshore technology was “safe and reliable.” He pledged that “any release from our operations is unacceptable.” Eight months later, the Coast Guard has set the ocean on fire in an unsuccessful bid to stop the spread of BP’s oil in the Gulf.

For the past two years, oil companies have been pouring tens of millions of dollars into an advertising campaign touting “advanced” drilling technology. You’ve seen the ads. Their message on coastal drilling: “Increasing our energy while decreasing our impact.” These same oil companies have deployed more than 700 lobbyists in Washington to make sure politicians parrot their oil lullaby as the stall congressional action on safer energy alternatives and provide lax oversight of drilling operations offshore and onshore.

The oil companies have had almost everything on their side – money, power, influence. Everything, that is, except reality.

For the latest on the Gulf Coast Oil Spill and how you can help, visit NWF.org/OilSpill.

Photo via Flickr’s SkyTruth