The BP Oil Spill: Not the Company's First Environmental Disaster
British Petroleum (BP)’s Deep Horizons oil spill is looking to be the worst environmental disaster in US history. In April of 2010, an exploratory offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sank, blowing open a subsurface oil well. Eleven people were killed. Originally, the company estimated the oil well was gushing approximately 1,000 barrels of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico; today, current estimates put the total at around 35,000-60,000 barrels per day—with no end to the spill in sight.
The spill has already seriously damaged fish populations as well as the fishing and tourism industries in the area—but the full economic and environmental effects have only begun to be felt. And of all the oil companies out there, it’s no surprise that BP was the one behind this disaster. The company’s environmental record is less than stellar—and while this may be the biggest oil spill in the history of oil spills, it’s not BP’s first environmental disaster. Between 1997 and 1998 alone, according to PIRG, BP was responsible for over 100 oil spills. Here are a few of its bigger environmental disasters.
Sea Gem Offshore Drilling Disaster (1965)
Landunvez Oil Spill (1978)
In March, the crude carrier Amoco Cadiz ran aground near Landunvez in France. At the time, this disaster was one of the largest oil spills in history. BP Amoco was ordered to pay $120 million in damages over ten years after the disaster.
Hazardous substance dumping (1993-1995)
BP settled in 1999 for $22 million for illegally dumping hazardous wastes on Endicott Island in Alaska’s North Slope from 1993 to 1995 on a continuous basis. The culprit was BP’s contractor in the area, Doyon Drilling, which dumped paint thinner, waste oil, and other hazardous materials into the environment, and BP didn’t report it—in violation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
Texas City Refinery Explosion (2005)
Prudhoe Bay Oil Spill (2006-2007)
There’s no question that BP’s safety measures leave something to be desired. In addition to the above disasters, workers have been killed at several discrete accidents at BP facilities; several scientists who all worked in the same BP facility were found to have developed brain cancer from work-related causes; and there was another BP plant explosion in the 1980’s. The Deep Horizons oil spill may be the result of a long tradition of lax safety in the interest of cutting costs—a tradition that has claimed lives and been disastrous for the environment.
A Focus On Oil Spill Prevention and Clean Up
There are plenty of online courses that have been made available over the last few years that focus on training individuals on the prevention and clean up of tragic disasters like the one in the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a small selection of online courses that will help anyone to develop a better understanding of the environment, how to take measures to prevent environmental incidents, and, unfortunately, what to do in the case of an environmental disaster.
Spill Prevention, Control, And Countermeasure Plan
The online spill prevention and containment training program has been created to aid individuals in developing their understanding of various components of the Spill Preventions, Control and Countermeasure Act.
Spill Prevention and Release Reporting
This course presents an in-depth view of the federal requirements for Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. It also provides a complete analysis of the development of SPCC rules and regulations.
HazWoper 24-Hour Moderate Risk
This self-paced HazWoper education course on the Internet meets the OSHA/EPA training requirements for workers performing hazardous waste site functions in accord with the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.120.
Environment Boot Camp
The online Basic Environment Boot Camp Program was created to offer students a flexible method for developing an in-depth understanding of a broad range of environmental laws regulations and their application to today's industries.
This class covers the Compensation and Liability Act, which governs companies’ responsibility to clean up contamination from hazardous waste disposal. This class helps students gain a basic understanding of the regulatory process, how disposal sites are assessed and how remediation is handled. You’ll learn about the Superfund program, hazard ranking systems, the National Contingency Plan, and cleanup and abatement orders.
Save the Arctic.org: Green Words, Dirty Deeds: A PIRG Expose of BP Amoco’s Greenwashing
BP.com: BP to Shut Down Prudhoe Bay Oil Field
CBS News: The Explosion at Texas City
Politifi.com: BP Exploration Alaska Pleads Guilty to Hazardous Substance Dumping on Endicott Island
Chemically Green: BP Amoco: Accidents Not Waiting to Happen
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