How BP Got Me to Watch the News

by Cori Buglrin,, October 1, 2010

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I never really watch the news, and I tend to not read the newspaper either. I know it's horrible but I am never really up to date on current events unless someone tells me about it or I happen to catch a glance at the news when my parents are watching it. I don't like to admit it but I am more up to date on the celebrity gossip. Yet how could a person not have heard about the BP oil spill that happened this past summer? I took an interest in this event because I couldn't figure out why there wasn't a plan put into place that could fix this problem in the first place. What I mean is that there have been oil spills in the past, so if people knew it was a possibility, why wasn't there "an emergency shut off" to fix the problem? I just never understood why it took so long to fix it.

According to The New York Times "An explosion on April 20 aboard the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig working on a well for the oil company BP one mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, led to the largest accidental oil spill in history" (New York Times). This oil spill spread over the Gulf of Mexico and as the months past, it crept all the way to Florida and Louisiana, and eventually went to Mississippi and Alabama (New York Times). The total amount of oil that spilled out of the well was about five million barrels per day (New York Times).

Throughout the summer the BP oil spill continued to be a major headline in the news. It was all anyone was talking about because it went too long without being fixed. No one could believe that it was taking this long. But finally on July 15, BP said they had capped the well and was beginning to work on two relief wells that would help fix the problem (New York Times). Still BP gas stations all around the country were starting to look like haunted houses because people refused to fill up their cars at them.

Many people wanted to know what the long-term damage would be. For the longest time the news was showing pictures of the oil floating on top of the water in the Gulf of Mexico, and all the oil caught in the marshes and on the beaches. It seemed like the oil was everywhere. But what also was showing up on the news were the local business that were affected by the oil spill. Many people that live in the bayous and on the Gulf of Mexico were forced to give up their fishing industries and thus, their entire way of life. Their industries were affected again by this second disaster in five years, the first being Hurricane Katrina.

"O'Neil Sevin is usually busy this time of year selling bait to deep-sea fishermen and seafood to retailers. On a good weekend last year, he said, it was not uncommon for the business to ring up $4,000 worth of sales in a day. Now he tries to fill his days with odd jobs around the dock, about 25 miles inland from the gulf, to keep busy. He might use his free time to learn the dying Cajun art of shrimp-net sewing from his 73-year-old father" (Saulny A12).

People also wanted to know, what was the effect on wildlife? According to an article in The New York Times, "As of Aug. 16, more than 7,000 birds, sea turtles and dolphins have been found dead or debilitated in the gulf since the oil spill began. A majority of the dead were not visibly oiled, and officials have yet to determine why they died. But they have confirmed that many more animals are dying than during the same time period in previous years" (Park). Most of the sea turtles that were found dead are a species called Kemps Ridley, which are also endangered in the Gulf region (Park). The affected dolphins that have been found they have been mostly bottlenose dolphins (Park). Many people believe that the reason that most of the dolphins are dying is because the dolphins surface to breathe and are inhaling the toxic chemicals from the oil (Park). Most of the birds that were recovered are brown pelicans; they are the state bird of Louisiana (Park). The scientists believe that the birds are diving into the oil in the water because it looks calmer (Park).

I have been following the progress of the spill throughout the summer. I have wanted to learn everything I could about it. It just fascinated me that it took this long. After I heard about the oil spill I found myself only buying Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent because they donated money to helping the wildlife. I also encouraged everyone else to buy only Dawn. I believe by doing this small gesture I am helping to do my part to help in the recovery effort.


1- "Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill." New York Times 20 August 2010, Print.

2- Saulny, Susan . "Cajuns on Gulf Worry They May Need to Move Again." New York Times 18 July 2010, New York Edition: A12. Print.

3- Park, Haeyoun. "The Oil Spills Effects on Wildlife." New York Times 16 August 2010, Print.

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