Antonia Juhasz writes in The Nation about the health crisis that festers after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill unleashed “an estimated total of 210 million gallons” of oil “plus 500,000 tons of natural gas” into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. An affidavit released on April 24th “suggests that BP knew more oil was coming out of the well in the early days after the explosion…than it was reporting to the federal government or the public,” writes Suzanne Goldenberg for The Guardian.
The Guardian also reported in April that BP expected to pay about $7.8 billion dollars in claims. Read why this is “a lowball figure for many reasons” in Juhasz’s piece. President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar called the news of these settlements “a ‘solid start’ to ensuring that BP and other companies involved on the Deepwater Horizon are held accountable for the spill.”
For more information relating to what Ken Salazar knows about “solid starts,” see Tim Dickinson’s 2010 investigative piece “The Spill, the Scandal, and the President” for Rolling Stone. When Obama nominated Salazar to “clean house” at Bush’s criminally reckless, coke party-ridden Minerals Management Service, his disapproval delivered in-person at the MMS HQ sure looked to be a “solid start.” But he failed to remove key Bush appointees at the agency, and “instead of putting the brakes on new offshore drilling, Salazar immediately throttled it up to record levels…(he) put 53 million offshore acres up for lease in the Gulf in his first year alone — an all-time high.”
Juhasz’s piece in The Nation focuses on what people are physically enduring as a result of this disaster — what a coordinator at the Government Accountability Project is calling “the worst public health tragedies of any investigation in GAP’s thirty-five year history.”
Contamination is endangering marine life, too. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that scores of dolphins in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay are “underweight, anaemic and suffering from lung and liver disease, while nearly half (of the 32 studied) had low levels of a hormone that helps the mammals deal with stress as well as regulating their metabolism and immune systems.”