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BP Hauls in $7.7 Billion in Profits, Gulf Fishermen Haul in Shrimp with No Eyes

Peter Lehner

Posted February 17, 2012 in Moving Beyond Oil, Reviving the World's Oceans

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Oil giant BP, the company behind the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, reported profits of $7.7 billion for the last quarter of 2011. Company executives and industry analysts sounded bullish about the company's future in a recent New York Times article, saying they had set aside enough money to compensate victims of the Gulf spill and had plans to expand drilling operations in the Gulf.

BP seems to be recovering nicely after the disaster, which killed 11 people and pumped 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But stories from the Gulf suggest that the region is anything but healed.

The Gulf has been plagued with a suite of unexplained afflictions. Gulf fishermen say this is the worst season they can remember, with catches down 80 percent or more. Shrimp boats come home nearly empty, hauling in deformed, discolored shrimp, even shrimp without eyes. Tar balls and dead dolphins still wash up on beaches. Scientists report huge tar mats below the sand, "like vanilla swirl ice cream."

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These shrimp without eyes were caught off the Gulf Coast in late 2011

Fishermen, cleanup workers, and kids report strange rashes, coughing, breathing difficulty, eye irritation, and a host of other unexplained health problems that have persisted in the years since the disaster. Many of them have shared their stories with my colleague Rocky Kistner, who worked at NRDC's Gulf Resource Center in Buras, Louisiana.

According to the presidential oil spill commission, there were 79 serious accidents involving loss of well control in the Gulf from 1996 to 2009. These accidents are hardly one-in-a-million occurrences. Yet nearly two years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Congress has still not passed comprehensive safety regulations for offshore drilling. Oil companies continue to rely on decades-old oil cleanup technologies, such as the booms and skimmers that picked up just 3 percent of the Gulf spill.  

Our ability to prevent and respond to an oil spill hasn't improved much since the BP disaster two years ago. We are still skating on thin ice, yet Congress appears keen to expand drilling.

Expanding drilling might help boost BP's stock prices, but it won't do much to bring down oil prices. Oil is a global commodity, and America simply does not have enough of it to control its price, no matter how much we drill.

A smarter way to use our oil resources is to focus on efficiency. By driving better cars and trucks, improving public transit and using cleaner fuels, we can save eight times more oil than we could get by expanding offshore drilling.  

BP and their allies in Congress might want us to forget about the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but residents of the Gulf cannot. Their experience should be foremost in our minds when we think about energy development in this country.

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Comments

robert evansFeb 19 2012 03:57 AM

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans With Disabilities Act, and prior Supreme Court cases, require that the new fund set up to compensate Plaintiff Steering Committee attorneys, that withhold 6% of settlements, as ordered by Judge Barbier, http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/OilSpill/OilSpill.htm BE JUSTIFICATION for these attorneys to provide extended representation to disabled claimants! Please bring this to the attention of others

Darla RooksFeb 20 2012 01:52 PM

I am a fisherman in the Gulf of mexico. I worked primarily in Barataria Bay, La. This area collected 1/3 of the oil not recovered. Not only oil, I am sad to say 1/3 of the COREXIT 9500 along with it. We now have nueroligical damage beyond comprehension. Our babies are having to live with birth defects, if they live at all. Our habitat and food source is poisoned. I personally heve witnessed these things. WE HAVE BEEN THREATNED REPEATIDLY for telling the TRUTH. TRUTH What a shame that we can no longer tell the TRUTRH, in America.. If I die in this ACTION I am taking in the name of JUSTICE for my fellow man, let it not be in vein, I PRAY! Remember that evrything I did was not for fame, nor financial gain. IT WAS FOR YOU, MY FRIEND.

JosekunFeb 20 2012 05:11 PM

Money, oil worth more than life, the planet? As the power and money corrupts. And you can even destroy planets, enough.

The life is better that the Oil. The life human and animal is most important that the power.

Sheila MelanconFeb 20 2012 07:15 PM

I am a commercial fisher woman based in Leeville, La. I have ran across these same type of photos taken just offshore of Grand Island, La.
I am very concerned about these problems with my product, as well as my livelihood. As for my customers I would feel scared to sell them any seafood that I would not put on my own families tables. I am concerned that these chemicals that have caused these shrimp & other sea creatures could cause humans if they were consumed.
I have forwarded similar photos to my attorneys just to let them know just how my product & my livelihood has been effected by the negligence of the CEO's of B.P. & their companies that were contracted with them and all the cover-ups & down rite fraudulent documents to further fill their pockets while they knew that they would be in the process of taken food & money out of the mouths of my family.
Their greed is so horrible that hell would be too good for them to spend eternity. They need to pay for that greed while they are still alive to feel the suffering & pain that they have costs to millions of people in the process!
I hope that the day will come that the B.P. Corporation will no longer exists and that for all their greed that they suffer bankruptcy! That goes for every single company/person who had knowledge of these cover-ups!

Mach 5 JeepFeb 20 2012 11:54 PM

This can also be cause by fishing at deeper depths. Eyes are not necessary at lower depths and have been genetically phased out of some species.
Or possibly these shrimp have come to up from lower depths in order to escape oil that has worked its way to much lower depths than we imagined.

Susan Hayden DanielsFeb 21 2012 11:45 AM

It is a fact that the Macondo well is still leaking and BP is still spraying the oil dispersant Corexit to sink the oil. The oil and the Corexit follow the Gulfstream. The Gulfstream is created by the heat of the Sun near the Equator and it goes all around the world. Everywhere the Gulfstream goes is now corrupted with oil and Corexit. The Oil, Solvents and heavy metals have a life of about 1600 years. Hundreds of thousands of people will die from inhaling, ingesting, or absorbing the oil and Corexit through skin contact. It cannot be cleaned-up, it can only be avoided. It takes 100 days for anything in the Gulfstream at Grand Isle, LA to travel to the Jupiter Inlet, Florida, on the east coast of Florida where the Gulfstream is about 3 miles off the coast. Once the people get sick, the only thing to do is de-toxify as soon as possible, eat raw vegetables, hot baths in epsom salts and dry saunas--then avoid further exposure by moving inland and avoiding seafood or food grown near the coast.I've written about this so many times I almost can't write about it anymore because I can't fix it. The oil and Corexit cause mutations, not birth defects, the women get sick first because of estrogen and it is ultimately cancer that kills those exposed usually within 10 years.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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