"BP gets it. BP is changing," writes chief executive Bob Dudley in The Wall Street Journal this morning. He's got a tough PR job ahead. A year ago today, a drill on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana hit a pocket of methane gas igniting a chain of events that will affect the people and ecosystem of the Gulf for generations to come. The rig exploded, burned for 36 hours taking eleven lives and on April 22, 2010 sunk to the bottom of the ocean leaving a slick on the water's surface. Then they found the leak.
BP then began their campaign of publicly underestimating the scale of what would become the largest oil spill in U.S. history. And though the company committed to spending as long as it took--and as much as $20 billion--to clean up the spill, repair the ecological damage and restore the local economy to pre-spill levels, it simply hasn't happened. Scientists have been debunking BP's claims of progress in the Gulf from the very beginning, and today's news reports how that victims have gone unpaid, wildlife is still endangered and local economies are struggling. BP has even discussed methods for influencing scientists' findings, according to recently leaked emails. It seems to have worked, too. A day after a team scientists trumpeted the recovery from the spill, the Associated Press released these photos. The images on the left show areas near the spill last May and those on the right show the same locations this April:
Having not passed a single oil spill law, Congress hasn't done much better. Then there's also the campaign contributions several Republican lawmakers and one Democrat accepted this year after an unspoken moratorium against accepting money from BP. The Department of Interior issued a new drilling permit to BP last month. Americans, meanwhile, don't seem to mind; recent polls show that 69% of the public approve of off-shore drilling, a 20 point increase since last June.
Great coverage marking the spill's anniversary is all over the internet today. (Check out our sources below for some of the best links.) But we hope a few facts and figures can illustrate the state of the oil spill recovery effort, the government's lack of action and BP's duplicity:
Initial official estimate of spill volume (April 20, 2010): 1,000 barrels per day
Internal estimates of BP's worst case scenario (May 24, 2010): 60,000 barrels per day
Days needed to cap leak: 85
Total amount of oil spilled: 4,900,000 barrels
Total affected surface area: 2,500 to 68,000 square miles
Amount BP committed to spending on clean up efforts: $20 billion
Amount BP actually spent: $6 billion
Amount spend daily on Google ads for people searching "oil spill": $10,000
Increase in wildlife death toll since spill: 50-fold
Number of Louisiana residents reporting spill related illness: 415
New deep water permits granted since spill: 10
Amount BP spent on federal-level lobbying in 2010: $7,365,000
Amount BP donated to federal candidates: $82,500
Here are those contributions itemized by member of Congress, courtesy of Open Secrets:
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who received $1,000, is the influential chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who received a $5,000 contribution from the BP PAC, is perhaps the most influential Republican on Capitol Hill because of his capacity as House speaker
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), also a beneficiary of $5,000, is the House Majority Whip
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) received $5,000. Upton is the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and received more than $100,000 in contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2010 election cycle
Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) is the sole Democrat to receive BP PAC money this quarter. His contribution totaled $3,000. Visclosky is a member of the Committee on Appropriations and is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
How's BP doing with this catastrophic disaster? Not too bad. The company just announced that they're making profits again.