Thousands of oil spills are devastating the Gulf Coast — and no one seems to care

  • The Gulf Coast is being devastated, and there’s no end in sight for the massive problem.
  • That’s the takeaway from a new investigative report released Friday by Wired.
  • The report sheds light on the tens of thousands of oil spills each year that oil companies under-report and misrepresent as smaller than they actually are.
  • The Wired report highlights Taylor Energy, which owns more than two dozen undersea oil wells damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
  • Those wells, Wired reports, have been slowly leaking for the past 12 years — and they may keep leaking for the next century. Read more

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Gulf Coast Gothic
  • “Its a beautiful day” someone tells you. You look up at the blinding sky. You can feel yourself melting. Sweat pours off you both. If it stays this hot you might die. “Yes,” you echo “A beautiful day”
  • You’ve lived in the south for a few years now. One day without warning it possesses you. The “y’all” grabs your tongue and doesn’t let go. You are one of Them now.
  • You and your friends go to the beach. You take pictures for Instagram. “I love the beach” the caption reads. Your eyes are hollow. You do not love the beach. You have no feelings towards the beach.
  • You attend a Mardi Gras Parade. Everyone reaches their hands to the sky, trying to catch something that will complete them. A man in a hoodie comes out of nowhere and snatches something from right in front of you. You feel anger towards this man. You have no idea he was trying to protect you.
  • Every year like a bizarre ritual people begin cutting thick boards to fit their windows. There hasn’t been a hurricane in years. Why do they do this? No one can remember.
  • Your neighbor waves. You take notice that his lack of shirt signifies the plague has affected him. Every overweight man over the age of 60 catches this plague which seems to rid men of their ability to put on a shirt. You smile uncomfortably and wave back but say nothing. No one mentions the plague.
  • “Its not the same since the oil spill.” says your uncle. You’ve scrubbed your kitchen floor until your hands bled but he won’t let your forget that time you dropped a bottle of vegetable oil. “Never again will I let a family member put in a floor for me no matter how little they charge” you think. Your brother hollers from where he’s fixing the roof. Better bring him some more water.
  • You go over a bridge. “Look to see if there’s any dolphins!” the driver tells you. There are never any dolphins. You look anyway.
  • It is blackberry season again. You have your secret spot to find them, and your family wades through the brambles to find as many as possible. Thorns tear at your clothes and skin. You don’t feel the pain, just taste those sweet, sweet blackberries. Later you will make a pie.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (otherwise known as the BP oil spill) in April of 2010 flowed for 87 days and released an estimated total of 210 million gallons of oil. This spill left a sheet of petroleum on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the most devastating spills in history. In November 2012, BP and the United States Department of Justice settled federal criminal charges with BP pleading guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanors, and a felony count of lying to Congress. BP also agreed to four years of government monitoring of its safety practices and ethics, and the Environmental Protection Agency announced that BP would be temporarily banned from new contracts with the US government.


Did you know a major environmental disaster occurred last week?

Oil company Royal Dutch Shell has begun the massive task of cleaning up nearly 90,000 gallons of crude oil that leaked from a company oil derrick roughly 90 miles off the state’s coast, the Associated Press reported Friday. The poorest residents of coastal communities and Native Americans were likely to feel the brunt of this.

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Blowing out the Fires of Hell with The Big Wind

In August of 1991 the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein conquered and occupied the oil rich nation of Kuwait.  Thus, NATO and Middle Eastern countries formed a massive coalition with the goal of ousting Iraqi forces from the country.  After months of airstrikes which pounded the Iraqi Army, and with the prospect of a massive multinational invasion, it was clear among many in the Iraqi government that the Iraqi Army could not hold Kuwait.  A scorched earth policy was set into motion beginning in January of 1991 in which Iraqi military forces destroyed Kuwait’s oil refineries and storage centers, while also setting alight over 700 oil wells across the country.  The purpose of this policy was not only to deny Coalition forces a valuable Kuwaiti resource, but also to provide a smokescreen to hamper Coalition airstrikes and create an obstacle for Coalition ground forces.  

While Iraq’s scorched earth policies resulted in some modest military goals, the ecological nightmare it created was unprecedented in history.  Thousands of tons of thick black soot was ejected into the atmosphere.  At the time scientist feared that the result would be a change in climate conditions from the soot, chemicals, and greenhouse gasses.  The great Carl Sagan himself predicted that temperatures in the northern hemisphere would drop 5 to 10 degrees.  While none of that happened, what was truly devastating was the resulting oil spill.  Between 25 - 50 million barrels of oil contaminated the sands of Kuwait, with another 9 million barrels contaminating the Persian Gulf.  

The job of putting out the fires was delegated to a number of firefighting and engineering companies.  However the magnitude of the disaster was daunting, and engineers estimated that with traditional oil well firefighting techniques it would take 5 years to put out all of the well fires.  Thus, firefighters and engineers were forced to come with some unorthodox methods to speed up the process.  One ingenious invention was a Hungarian device called “The Big Wind” (top picture).  The Big Wind was firefighting vehicle which consisted of the chassis of a Soviet T-34 tank with it’s turret mounted with the engines of a MiG-21 fighter jet.  Reinforced with heat and fire resistant materials, the massive tank would drive to within 25 feet of the oil well fire, blast the fire with supersonic winds like a toddler blowing out birthday candles, while soaking the well with a 120 gallon a second stream of salt water pumped from the Persian Gulf mixed with fire retardant materials.  Once out, oil workers would cap off the well, preventing the streaming of oil from the earth.

Thanks to the Big Wind and other ingenious technologies, the last oil well was capped on November 6th, 1991, way ahead of the five year prediction of engineers.  The environmental effects of disaster, however, are still being felt today.

When BP made a commitment to the Gulf, we knew it would take time but we were determined to see it through…Many areas on the gulf coast (have had) their best tourism seasons in years!

Iris Cross-BP Community Outreach

Perhaps BP is so determined to “see it through” because the terms of the multi-million dollar settlements with Gulf Coast residents kinda’ fucking REQUIRES them to “see it through.” And “Yay!” for the best tourism season “in years.” Thanks, British Petroleum, for devastating the Gulf Coast tourism industry so thoroughly that a mediocre tourism season ends up being the best in years.

BP Gulf of Mexico fund running out of cash

BBC News:BP’s compensation fund that it set up to pay claims related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is running out of cash.

The oil giant announced that the fund, which originally had $20bn, has just $300m left.

The deadline for business to claim loss of earnings due to the spill is not until April next year.

Photo: Gathered concentrated oil burns during a controlled oil fire May 5, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. (Getty Images)

Did you know that BP wrote off $13 billion in losses for this past year?

That’s 13 Billion that WE THE TAXPAYERS are covering for them.

Wonder why?  Damned if I know - ask the Government.

All the while BP claims that this year was exemplary in the history of their workplace safety record….well, except for that one minor fuck-up in the Gulf, that is.


Watch on

Ryan Reynolds on the Gulf Oil Spill

Actor and environmental activist Ryan Reynolds says the Nissan LEAF™ is a chance for the American public to take back control of ever-fluctuating oil prices. The Gulf oil spill in 2010 is an ongoing tragedy for the people of Louisiana and the vulnerable natural areas affected by the spill. Ryan says, “A disaster we unfortunately didn’t learn enough from, and need to keep front of mind.” Also, “We can’t have anything else like that happen again.” For more videos and blogs featuring the best innovations and innovators in running, cycling, fitness, yoga and wellness from across the country, visit

Sick Gulf Residents Beg Officials for Help

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, Jan 14, 2011 (IPS) - In an emotionally charged meeting this week sponsored by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, fishermen, Gulf residents and community leaders vented their increasingly grave concerns about the widespread health issues brought on by the three-month-long disaster.

“Today I’m talking to you about my life,” Cherri Foytlin told the two commissioners present at the Jan. 12 meeting. “My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the 95th percentile, and there’s a very good chance now that I won’t get to see my grandbabies…What I’m asking you to do now, if possible, is to amend [your report]. Because we have got to get some health care." 

Ethylbenzene is a form of benzene present in the body when it begins to break down. It is also present in BP’s crude oil. 

"I have seen small children with lesions all over their bodies,” Foytlin, co-founder of Gulf Change, a community organisation based in Grand Isle, Louisiana, continued.