By Nicholas Morine
With sightless and clawless crabs (mutated to the point where they no longer have eyes), highly deformed shrimp, and scores of fish being caught with oozing sores and lesions, there can be no doubt that the after-effects of the tragedy at BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform continue to rack up years later. While apologies have been made (and lampooned in recent episodes of South Park where “I’m Sorry” is repeated by a BP spokesman meant to resemble former CEO Tony Hayward, responsible for operations at the time of the disaster), words seem to ring a bit hollow in the face of such dramatic environmental and economic consequences for citizens of the Gulf and the Eastern seaboard.
Real Life, Not a B-Movie Horror Show
The list of mutations collected by Al-Jazeera investigations into the echoes of the spill are numerous, including a laundry list of repulsive finds including: shrimp with tumours on their heads, shrimp with babies still attached to them, eyeless fish and fish without eye sockets, fish with large pink masses hanging from their eyes and gills, crates of blue crabs all missing claws, and crabs dying from within. From their reports including discussions with local fishermen, seafood processors, and scientists the news source indicates that none of these parties have ever seen anything like this before; the unseen consequences from lab results also indicating elevated levels of chemicals in oysters retrieved from the Gulf of Mexico.
Truth and Consequences, Deferred
What sort of punishment has been meted out to BP and other responsible parties so far? Very little that hasn’t been voluntary, though mostly pushed due to extreme public pressure and roiling anger. British Petroleum has paid nearly $4 billion dollars in clean-up costs and is currently facing a class-action lawsuit from over two hundred parties in the United States. In turn, BP is seeking litigation against manufacturers involved with the Deepwater Horizon rig, such as rig owner Transocean, cementer Halliburton, and blowout preventer manufacturer Cameron for an undisclosed sum.
In a suing sea, it seems that very little criminal charges have come forward, although most recently a BP engineer has been charged with deleting text messages about BP’s response to the disaster, to which he has plead not guilty. An ongoing court case between the United States Federal Government against British Petroleum has seen a small victory go out to the oil corp; Judge Carl Barbier has set a court date for January of 2013 rather than the summer court date preferred by the U.S. Government. This means that there is a significant chance of a settlement offer from the Feds instead of a lingering wait for the court case given that the incumbent President Obama is facing a crucial Presidential Election this November against Republican contender Mitt Romney.
Regardless of the continual damage being done to the Gulf economy and environment from this disaster and ongoing oil operations, there seems to be little sign of slowdown in the energy sector, nor the global thirst for black gold.