Environmental Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill

594 words | 2 page(s)

Gulf Oil Spill

Over the course of 87 days, nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil flowed from a damaged underwater well, owned and operated by BP, 40 miles from the Louisiana coastline (Fowler, 2012). According to the National Wildlife Federation, approximately 1,100 miles of Gulf shoreline were oiled (Schleifstein, 2013). Furthermore, oil slicks covered approximately 68,000 miles of open water. These statistics aid in demonstrating the magnitude of the BP gulf oil spill. Ecological as well as economic damage reaching incredible proportions resulted; by the time litigation finishes, it is estimated that BP could pay tens of billions of dollars in reparations to restore the damage the oil spill incurred. The majority of the money has been used to implement environmental recovery plans designed to address both the immediate and longer-term effects (Fowler, 2012).

puzzles puzzles
Your 20% discount here.

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
"Environmental Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill".

Order Now
Promocode: custom20

Environmental Effects
The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused extensive and lasting harm to the naturally occurring ecosystems present. It greatly exceeded the scale of any prior oil spill, and the aftermath of necessary environmental reparations continues to grow (Fowler, 2012). Assessments of the environmental damage incurred by the BP Gulf oil spill can be separated into several categories: coastal wetlands, fisheries, marine mammals, and deep sea. Each of these four components of the Gulf’s ecosystem sustained both immediate and long-term damage. Some of the damage incurred temporary ill effects’like the oil accumulation in areas where it did not destroy root systems. Worse damage instigated longer lasting ill effects’an example would be the oil accumulation in areas where it destroyed root systems and the consequent erosion converted wetland areas into open water (National Academy of Sciences, 2013).

The National Wildlife Federation has recently submitted a report detailing the current state of the areas affected by the BP oil spill. Within the report, specific environmental concerns were scored based upon their condition; these various concerns have been monitored periodically since the spill occurred. Coastal wetlands, sea turtles, and bluefish tuna received ‘poor’ ratings. The immediate effects on the coastal wetlands precipitated further detriment. An example of this is evident in the marshland areas that were transformed into open water; thus, entire ecosystems were irrevocably destroyed. Bottlenose dolphins and deep sea coral warranted ‘fair’ ratings as they continue to demonstrate behaviors inconsistent with those denoting healthy development and growth. Lastly, the shrimp and brown pelican populations earned ‘good’ ratings. However, both shrimp and brown pelicans remain adversely affected by the lingering effects of contaminated wetlands. Populations of both species continue to be affected, alongside hundreds of other marine and coastal wildlife (Schleifstein, 2013).

All in all, the lack of data on the ecological conditions in the Gulf of Mexico prior to the BP oil spill limit the exactness of researchers attempting to precisely quantify the extent of damage sustained (National Academy of Sciences, 2013). However, extensive harm undeniably occurred. Strides have been made to ameliorate the environmental situation, and undoubtedly, further measures will be undertaken. In cases similar to the BP oil spill, ‘reopener clauses’ are assigned to ensure the company will be held responsible should further damage related to the catastrophe be discovered in the future (Schleifstein, 2013).

  • Fowler, T. (April 2012). Experts weigh spill’s lasting effects. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303624004577339943866694420
  • National Academy of Sciences. (2013, July 10). Assessing impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710122004.htm
  • Schleifstein, M. (April 2013). National Wildlife Federation says environmental effects from BP oil spill far from over. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved from http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2013/04/national_wildlife_federation_s_1.html

puzzles puzzles
Attract Only the Top Grades

Have a team of vetted experts take you to the top, with professionally written papers in every area of study.

Order Now