In April 2010 the BP Oil disaster began with the blowout of a well on the floor of the ocean in the gulf of Mexico. The oil continued to leak for 87 days until it was finally capped in July. The event began when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded & sank claiming the lives of 11 individuals. After which oil gushed out of the hole consecutively for nearly 3 months. The estimated total oil lost was 4,900,000 barrels or 210,000,000 gallons. Some reports show the spill site did not fully stop spewing oil until much later if it stopped at all.

There was a huge response to help protect the surrounding areas wetlands & beaches from the quickly spreading disaster. An entire fleet of workers descended on the area in an attempt to help relieve some of the damage. Skimmers & booms were used during the cleanup on the water as well as strategic controlled burns & almost 2,000,000 gallons of oil dispersant were used in an attempt to rid the water of oil. Due to the spill there was extensive damage to the marine & wildlife habitats, the fishing & tourism industry was nearly destroyed & human health problems have continued to take their toll on the entire area. Years later balls of tar are still found on beaches all along the coast. There was even an entire mat of tar weighing in at 40,000 lbs. found in Louisiana which prompted commercial fishing to halt.

When all was said & done the credit for this incident was split between guilty parties found to be involved. The US investigation points towards faulty cement walls & holds BP, Transocean & Halliburton responsible. There was mention of cost cutting measures which effected the overall safety of the crew & ultimately led to this disaster. BP & the Department of Justice agreed to record breaking fines & payments totaling over $4,500,000,000 but there are still legal proceeding taking place & the figure is likely to change. Not only that but there is still some question about whether or not the spill has completely stopped leaking & it has been made clear they will be held responsible for any further damage as well. As of February 2013 the total amount of payments made to a trust fund set up for the incident was over $42,000,000,000.00 including fines, fees & payouts.

This is easily the worst oil spill caused by humans in history. The effects of this disaster, both short term & long, are still far from being known yet. We do know that the greatest impact was on marine species there has been a noted death of marine life around the spill stretching out 30 to 50 miles & during the first dolphin birthing season after the spill 10 times more dead baby dolphins washed up on shore in Mississippi & Louisiana than during any regular birthing season.

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