REAE 5303 Spring 2013
Nepa Case Study
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (BP Oil Spill)
On April 20, 2010 a catastrophic explosion on the Deepwater Horizon off shore drilling platform caused the largest single release to the environment due to oil drilling. This explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17. This oil spill is very controversial because it can be questioned if this spill could have been prevented and what exactly went wrong. There is much debate on who is to blame, what could have been done to prevent it and who is going to pay for all the damage. Many are not happy with the settlement BP is signing that will keep them from further criminal prosecution if they agree to pay the settlement amount. Paying retribution is fine, but what about the future damaging effects that we have no way of even knowing about now. Who will take care of that? These are some of the basic questions people are asking about this case and my responses.
What can this accident teach us?
This accident should teach us all that there is a great responsibility taken on when you go into the earth and try to harvest chemical products that have potential for negative effects on human welfare and health. The government needs to be in charge of regulating these activities to preserve the future of our environment.
Had you been in charge of granting permit for this, what measures would you have prescribed to prevent or mitigate the impacts of such an accident?
Policies need to be in place that ensures that properly trained personnel are on site at all times to ensure the safety of the drilling process. Only experienced personnel could properly react to an emergency and possibly be able to mitigate further damage. Knowledge and experience are required to recognize potential hazards in time and prevent even bigger negative effects. BP engineers were supposedly aware of variations in the pressure prior to the explosion. These engineers