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Is enough being done to prevent environmental disasters?

11:20 UK time, Thursday, 29 April 2010

Oil giant BP has encountered problems with the device it was using to stop the flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Is enough being done to tackle the crisis?

BP's chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the 98-tonne concrete-and-steel containment box had to be moved, after ice-like crystals began accumulating inside it. He said BP's engineers hoped they could find a solution to the problem.

Some 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) of oil a day has been leaking for 19 days from the well, 50 miles (80km) offshore, since an explosion destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig last month, killing 11 workers.

Are you affected by the oil slick, or have you seen it spreading? Is it right for oil companies to foot the bill? Should we all take responsibility for cleaning our environment? What measures should be taken to reduce the number of environmental disasters?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    <RICHPOST>Big business always put profit before the environment and people.<br><br>Companies should be made to pay for the damage that they do. <br><br>Ordinary people always end up paying for the greed of big companies. <br><br></RICHPOST>

  • Comment number 2.

    People can prevent a number of environmental disasters, however, it’s not profitable… as we got used only to take from our nature, but nothing in exchange. We’ll take and take and then tidy up after another disaster…To my mind, environmental disasters are inevitable, ‘cause we’ve got what we deserve. We can only talk that measures should be taken to prevent something and then forget about it till next happening. It’s an irony of our life

  • Comment number 3.

    As long as we are extracting resources in demanding conditions there will occasionally be accidents like this.

    Although it would be helpful, if, in future, the petro-chemical companies who own the rigs are completely open about the scale & circumstances of the problem and don't sucumb to the modern temptation to put a positive spin on things.

  • Comment number 4.

    Oil companies should pay big time for disasters like this. This is going destroy the ecology of any area it hits, but I'm sure they will get away with it. They always seem to get away with detroying the environment and displacing indiginous peoples, so i'm sure it won't affect the wallets of the oil company bosses much. Profit before people/environment as always.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course not! With margins decreasing, the first thing to suffer is the safety budget. Even the government's National Risk Register implies that some "accidents" will happen and there will be a residual effect on the environment.

    However, the alternative is, to avoid damaging the environment, we significantly reduce our standards of living. How many of us would do that?

  • Comment number 6.

    The irony, have we as a species got a death-wish? What is the point of setting climate 'targets' if 'accidents' like this happen? So it's 'cut out the middleman' now is it? Extract oil and burn it immediately, instead of putting through our cars and burning it! If any aliens are watching they'll be laughing both their heads off! (thats a joke moderators)

  • Comment number 7.

    #5 "However, the alternative is, to avoid damaging the environment, we significantly reduce our standards of living. How many of us would do that?"

    I would and do. I scrapped my car last year and walk or cycle as much as i can. We're not a happy society where everyone has to work long hours to pay for the mortgage, tv's, holidays etc.. A better quality of life would be had by all if we consumed less and had more free time to enjoy lifes simple pleasures.

  • Comment number 8.

    Oil is black gold. The oil spillage in New Mexico is a gross case of neglect and laxity. Even if it is the fault of the workers, the oil companies should be held accountable and made to recoup the loss as they represent the front.

  • Comment number 9.

    Many writers feel that they have no voice or the ability to affect the big oil companies who are still booking record profits while they are allowing animals to die in wretched conditions in their environment. They are wrong. Boycott.

  • Comment number 10.

    Very good point made by logal motf (5) - environmentalism (like charity) begins at home. If we are prepared to curb our energy-hungry enthusiasm, we would put less pressure on the need for deep-water oil exploration and perhaps leave it where it is for future generations.
    The reality is that accidents will happen, but it would be better to come clean from the beginning and limit the damage sooner rather than later. The money which will be spent in law suits, should be better spent upfront to contain the damage.
    Oil companies do put their profit first, this is to a large degree their raison-d'être. We should not complain too much about it though as practically all our pension funds have a certain amount invested in the likes of BP and we (ought to) benefit from their profitability.

  • Comment number 11.

    It seems like they should put the emergency recovery domes (or some king of back up to the emergency measure in place, that did not work) in place first, that way if something happens, they can contain the leak. Someone didn't do their job right. The Oil Companies should pay for this, which ultimately means us, as they will pass the bill onto us. The first news reports said this rig was not pumping oil, it was just exploring. That's a lot of oil for "just exploring", did they hit "black gold" and not know it? Something is amiss here.

  • Comment number 12.

    Re #1 and #4
    Its a great idea but unfortunately we would just end up paying for it through the till.
    I think this is an unfortunate accident and little more; I don't actually think a corporation would risk the millions if not billions in revenue from oil thats now leaking into the gulf, for the sake of saving a few hundred thousand in safety cuts and if they did I would imagine those that made that decision have already been asked to clear out their desks.

  • Comment number 13.

    We'll destroy the ecology sooner or later - might as well be oil pollution as exponentially increasing population. We'll push the ecology beyond the point that it can support humanity. Then it's over. Won't be too long before Nature starts weeding her garden.

  • Comment number 14.

    This makes me feel physically sick and I wish companies could put the environment before profit. In my view, there are not enough safety measures in place to prevent events like this happening- too many risk factors, all uncontrollable. Renewable energy is the only way disasters like this can be prevented. Just awful.

  • Comment number 15.

    It would be nice if these offshore wells had automatic or remotely operated valves near the sea floor that could immediately shut off the flow in case of an accident.

  • Comment number 16.

    And people say nuclear energy is dangerous. How many people died in this one incident alone? How much of the local ecology is going to be decimated by the imminent oilslick?

  • Comment number 17.

    What sort of a daft question is this? If we were doing enough then there wouldn't be any to talk about would there!

    What measures should be taken to reduce the number of environmental disasters?

    It's only a matter of how many "what if" situations they can can think of AND how many they are willing to pay for AND how much effort they put in.

    Unfortunately something has to give.

    They can't anticipate EVERYTHING, they don't pay or the effort they need to put in outweighs the advantages.

    And lastly Accidents Happen.

  • Comment number 18.

    No it is not. While the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is a tragedy we have to recognise that if the costs of exploration is polution oil prices have to rise to cover protection of the environment.

    Govenments want taxes not increases in business costs irrespective of their claim to environmental credentials as and when it suits them.

  • Comment number 19.

    Firstly, to be picky, this disaster seems to have occured because of a mechanical fault with the rig. The rig is not owned by a pertrotechnical company, it effectively rented by them, so don't point the finger too quickly.

    Secondaly, i'm pretty sure the 'big companies' WILL end up paying for this. Incredibly strong health and safety regulations are in place for incidents such as this and the big companies tend to come off worse from them, as they probably should. This is an extremly rare event and will be scrutinised to the smallest detail.

    Thirdly, as pointed out previously, oil and gas aren't available in easy places now. The search is becoming more and more dangerous. And why do these greedy companies continue to search? Because we greedy people want more and more. And you may be using your bike rather than your car, but unfortunately millions aren't.

    Supply and demand makes the world go round, it shouldn't but unfortunately it does. Solution - reduce the demand.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Is enough being done to prevent environmental disasters?"
    Are there strict safety and environmental laws from at the state and federal levels? Yes. Even as a graduate student in the US, I remember the very strict chemical, biological and radioactive regulations despite the tiny amount of such materials handled by researchers.
    Do companies follow them? Many probably don't, considering oil is thicker than water, and profits over people.

  • Comment number 21.

    We have just finished a debate on climate change, which many including me put forward their concerns with pollution as a whole.

    Measurements of pollution in sea life are found to be increasing yearly, what we do to overcome this is increase the acceptable limit. Bottom feeding life have unnaceptable levels of mercury and cadmium in them as per 60 years ago - now acceptable.

    Areas of India and China have a constant soup of pollutants over their major industrial areas (chemicals banned from being released into the atmosphere in the western world), highlighted by satellite photo's. Many of their rivers are dead, some so toxic that they are causing many 1000's of deaths, in some reports it is stated that 25% of deaths are due to pollution, that is millions.

    75% of industrial waste and sewerage goes into their open rivers, they are also the source of their drinking water which is untreated.

    So when there is real problems in these low cost countries, who will foot the bill.

  • Comment number 22.

    Humans are having to take ever increasing high risks to gain the resources that growing unsustainable world populations demand to sustain themselves.

    The risks are real, so are the growing dangers and as these risks are multiplied in number it is enevitable that a certain percentage will result in disaster and catastrophy.

    Most people just go on with their lives and do not understand the preasures of supply and demand, they tut tut and condemn when something goes wrong but are blind to the obvious fact that they themselves are part of the problem. There is not much in their lives which is NOT reliant on oil. Whether it is fuel for cars or the plastics that cover and protect practically everything they buy, or other oil derived materials in so many of the other materialistic products they buy. From mobile phones to tvs, from shoes to zips from car parts to garden furniture, we are ALL surrounded with oil based products, which meet the 2 main elements of economic demand to be so very convenient and also cheap.

    The world is what we make it and the personal demands and wants of every individual are just as responsible for ecological and environmental damage as those who are ultimately responsible for extracting the resources humans demand.

    This oil well is around 2 MILES under the sea, and a few years ago it would have been impossible to tap into this resource.

    The rise in oil prices has actually benefitted many, because many previously expensive and unaffordable oil reserves were just NOT economically viable to pump out of the ground because they are so deep below oceans.

    USA has HUGE oil reserves offshore, but due to depth and costs of retrieving them up until recently they were just not economically viable.

    Then suddenly, BANG, conditions change to facilitate HUGE rises in oil prices which then make it economically viable and profitable for USA to get to these reserves. The USA can make a huge dent in its balance of payments just by utilising it's offshore oil reserves. Due to economic conditions USA basically has no economic choice but to attempt to retrieve as much oil as possible to feed it's economic monster and direct much more of it's income back into the USA.

    Call me cynical, but there are certain economic conditions and situations presently being played out in the world that are actually enabling specific narrow defined outcomes, like a pre-arranged game or military strategy.

    A seious point of FACT, if you want to prevent ecological and environmental disasters, then ACTUALLY STOP AND THINK ABOUT PRODUCTS/PRODUCE YOU PURCHASE and RESOURCES YOU USE, and DONT hypercritically deny your OWN responsibility and just ignorantly and selfishly lay blame at others.

  • Comment number 23.

    Is the right action being taken to tackle the crisis?
    No, the time for right action came and went. As BP defended its handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, documents are showing that it argued against new, stricter safety rules proposed last year by the US agency that oversees offshore drilling - US MMS (Minerals Management Service).
    In a separate letter, BP said the current voluntary system of safety procedures was adequate.
    In a letter published on the US Government website, “”, Richard Morrison, BP's vice-president for Gulf of Mexico production, wrote that BP was supportive of companies having a system in place to reduce risk, accidents, & spills, but that BP was not supportive of the extensive, prescriptive regulations as proposed by this rule.
    He added that he believed the industry's current safety and environmental statistics demonstrated that the voluntary programs…”have been and continue to be very successful."
    Further, he challenged the need for companies to file regular audits of their safety programs with the agency, saying that would be "an administrative burden".
    The Transocean rig that drilled a well for BP in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire and sank. Eleven crew members are missing - the worst such accident in the Gulf in more than 25 years. BP has moved another Transocean rig to the site to drill a well to provide relief. That could take two to three months, and cost $100M.
    I guess the incident is digging into BP's strong first-quarter profits. The company's profit for the quarter had more than doubled to $6.1B.
    What measures should be taken to reduce the number of environmental disasters?
    BP and Transocean, along with dozens of other members of the oil industry, have vigorously opposed new safety regulations.
    Should this be an option?
    The new regulations, which have been attacked by the industry in over 100 letters sent to the agency, were prompted by a study showing many accidents on such rigs from 2001 to 2007.
    Should compliance have been an option?
    Now, members of Congress are demanding answers from the companies and the agency and administration officials have launched a full investigation of the incident.
    Should compliance have ever been an option?
    Sen. Robert Menendez (D. NJ) wrote a letter to MMS, demanding that the agency "stand up to industry pressure, and finalize its proposed rulemaking" for offshore oil and gas development.
    It’s a little late to DEMAND compliance, isn't it?

  • Comment number 24.

    We should use more clean energy sources to avoid all the pollution and destruction of nature and in the end of human life.The polluters should be held responsible and pay for their capital sins.

  • Comment number 25.

    The decision to ignite the oil is a good one but comes too late. It's not a new idea by any means. I have personal experienec of this in Abu Dhabi over 30 years ago. We had no 'activists' or environmental people - just people anxious to stop the il spilling out of the hole in the sea bed. we tried to cap the well but eventualy ended up directional drilling and causing an underground cave-in. No propblem - except having to abandon the platform a few times due to fire and smoke!

  • Comment number 26.

    What a surprise that the company scientists thought it was less of a disaster at first! “He who plays the piper……..”

    The company will be made to pay for short term issues, see Exxon. But long term!

  • Comment number 27.

    I understand the severity of this leak, but it appears to me that BP isn't doing all they can, nor is President Obama. They should have tackled this problem, or at least given a greater attempt to, as soon as possible. It appears the US Coast Guard has handled all the planning and effort in attempting to contain this problem, with the help of other agencies of course. Bottom line, BP and the US Gov't need to step up their efforts to contain this disaster!

  • Comment number 28.

    I see the usual string of idiotic comments blaming big business & corporate greed etc,etc. The fact is, that extracting oil from offshore wells, is an inherently risky business, but at the end of the day, the demand for oil requires it. I don't see those blaming corporate greed, selling their cars and going back to pushbikes.

  • Comment number 29.

    No disaster can be bigger than oil spill for the world under the sea. It cannot be cleared in the very near future. Many years back I have witnessed such an oil spill at Karachi Sea Shore, the memories of which are still fresh in the hearts and minds of Karachiites.

    It is equally important to investigate the matter as how did it happen? Why precautionary measures were not taken before time to avoid the oil spill? Is it a human error or natural disaster?

  • Comment number 30.

    Can't we get a balance between the economy and the environment?Up to now ,we chose to sacrifice the environment for developing the economy.Though we have the high developement of economy now,our environment have been destroyed.We have only one earth and we should try our best to protect it.I hope we can use our new technology to develope a new kind of the economy.Let our world be better again.

  • Comment number 31.

    Just like with the banks... WE suffer the consequences of corporate greed!

  • Comment number 32.

    Hopefully this will make Sarah "Drill, baby, drill" Palin think twice.

  • Comment number 33.

    Saying that oil companies should fined is wonderful in theory, but any fines will be filtered back to the cost per barrel which we'll pay anyway.

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh here we go again, the big super power trashing the ocean.

    You can bet corners were being cut as regards to H & S.

    Why are they so slow to act on the clear up, when are they going to have a task force ready to go at short notice to sort such things out?

    And I dont just mean off the U.S. coast.

  • Comment number 35.

    I am truly sickened by the disaster. I could not sleep last night thinking of all of the aquatic life that will be killed because of this oil spill, and what does the oil company have to say for it self? Sorry? The same day they put out record profits! There had better be some HUGE fine!!! I mean a tremendous amount of money!

  • Comment number 36.

    28# never had a car to worry about , but i would like to ride my bike but am afraid of the traffic : safety before profit should be made the rule we have enough elf and safety in our everyday lives ...pity the big companys don`t , we need to step back away from oil oil oil its about time to try other means but of course its not just the car drivers it is the big corps wanting big profits , they dont mind its as if they think because they have a few billion bucks in the bank enviroment problems wont affect them .

  • Comment number 37.

    First the refinery in Texas and now an oil platform. BP's safety record stinks. Yes, BBC, I'll know you won't post this since it's BP once again.

  • Comment number 38.

    It would be naive to lay the blame at the "big greedy" company. The company is doing everything to avoid incidents like these. It is bad publicity and it is extremely costly (millions $ per day). Accidents do happen and except not drilling for oil at all, statistically unavoidable. The latter is not an option; the company is merely supplying for a demand. This does not mean that tax payers need to fork for the costs. The company should still be held responsible and pay for all the costs and penalized such all oil and gas companies do their upmost best to avoid disasters like these.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am a proponent of American drilling and oil production but this is a disaster and we need a nationalized effort to confront it. If the President were smart and educated in such matters he would have already assembled a task force to address the matter.
    For your edification, every well is drilled through a device on the sea floor called the BOP Blow-Out Preventor it is hydrallically held in an open position and theoretically closes when the hydralic pressure drops.
    Well when the BOP fails or clogs on a shallow water well, divers and submersables can be easily sent to clear the BOP and close off the wellhead.
    But this is a deep water well very difficult to work on and the oil pool beneath it under great hydrostatic pressure. Because no one wants these things close to shore we have moved them far out where they are less visible but much more dangerous.

  • Comment number 40.

    All of us use amd rely on petrochemicals that's a fact that we need to recognise. As the English philosopher John Hooker said in the 11th century "human beings are frail and falliable and are prone to mistaken judgement and selfish behaviour.' The point being that we should all take responsibility for such disasters through the collective choices that we make in our (consumer driven) decisions that determine our (developed) standard of living and the related social and environmental costs, that presumably we are in a bit of denial about. Of course the oil companies are protecting their interests and profits, but we are the ones who feed their coffers. Let's bestow ourselves a great big Darwin Award whilst we still have the chance.

  • Comment number 41.

    A real emergency, a real national disaster, a threat to America and Mankind in the making, and where is Obama the great Community Organizer from Chicago? Still even now running around the country making campaign speeches, collecting political donations, about talking about Goldman Sachs and other nonsense.
    This is why we prefer to choose our Presidents based on Brains Experience, and past Achievemnts, and not based on skin color and personal charisma.

  • Comment number 42.

    Just read all the comments and it reminds me of a fireworks catherine wheel with blame shooting out in all directions. We are shepherds of planet Earth maybe we should all get fired.

  • Comment number 43.

    I am deeply saddened by this. The loss of life will be horrendous. No amount of money or fines can repair that. If they can't shut the oil off then someone should bomb it to seal it all up. These sort of 'accidents' are completely unacceptable. Environmental damage on this scale is insanity and all for a few dollars more. If they can't get the stuff out with minimum impact, then it should be left there. The continued rape of mother earth will in the end come back and bite us, but by that time those responsible will already be dead and gone. Leaving behind a legacy of an even more burnt-out planet to the next generation.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am a Canadian Coast Guard-trained On Scene Commander for oil spill response. From my vantage point, the response effort seems to be pulling out all the stops and sparing no expense. Having said that, I am perplexed as to why two options I have put forward to stem the flow of oil from the leaky riser don't seem to have been tried. The first, and most obvious option would be to use the robotic arm of a ROV to put a cap on the end of that pipe we keep seeing from an images taken by a ROV several days ago. The second would be to attach a 5000 foot long hose to the end of that same pipe end and then siphon the leaking oil off to the ocean's surface. These are admittedly just stopgap solutions, but if BP is prepared to wait two to three weeks until a huge dome is constucted and then placed over the leaky pipe, why not try these pretty simple techniques in the interim? I wonder whether the authorities have considered these options and, if so, why they don't seem to be trying them out.

  • Comment number 45.

    This is a real tragedy, but I'm not surprised.

    Oil drilling is an extreme industry. It is an extreme environment, a long way away from where you are operating from.

    You never know the pore pressure of the rock you are about to drill into.

    Yes, safety valves (the blow-out preventer) are installed ahead of time. However when there is an explosion as happened here it may not be possible to close it from the rig. The drill string is probably still passing through it, so the rams need to cut through the drill pipe to close. The BOP would need a new hydraulic feed from the surface. We don't know if they have managed to do this yet.

    The oil industry does an incredible job.

    In spite of this we take oil and petrol for granted. The price per litre, extracted, refined and delivered to your local forecourt is less than that for bottled water. And the product is seen as a convenient cash cow by governments, with around 300% tax applied.

    Not to worry though, our cars are very comfortable and we wouldn't change them for the world.

  • Comment number 46.

    No...but enough has being done to cause then...look at the further one today, watch out for another one tommorrow...& by the end of the year you'll be able to count an alphabets number of them. In other words, we are earth disaster prone accidentalness thickos...& we don't even need natures help in causing most of them.

  • Comment number 47.

    I live on the west coast of Florida in an old fishing village, Tarpon Springs. In 1993, there was an oil spill (223,000 gallons of #6 crude) off St Pete Beach, 25 miles south of here. It took several years to clean up the mess and even 5-10 years later, after a storm on the Gulf, tar balls would wash up on the beach. This leak is 210,000 gallons PER DAY. They say proudly that they have already removed "a quarter million gallons of 'oily water'".. oil mixed with water.. They are not even staying even with the leak. The economy of Florida is largely dependent upon tourism and fishing. The lack of preparation and cavalier attitude of BP shows their disregard for the people in the quest for the almighty $. Our government allows, even promotes that thinking. The "Drill, baby, drill" mentality promoted by some politicians would allow drilling as close as 10 miles from shore. One cannot even imagine the disaster if this had happened 10 miles offshore.

  • Comment number 48.

    " 3.stated : At 11:57am on 29 Apr 2010, Osric wrote:

    As long as we are extracting resources in demanding conditions there will occasionally be accidents like this.
    Although it would be helpful, if, in future, the petro-chemical companies who own the rigs are completely open about the scale & circumstances of the problem and don't sucumb to the modern temptation to put a positive spin on things."

    If the Petro companies hadn't fought for years against financial compensation to the Alaskans hurt by the Valdez oil catastrophe; if BP and others hadn't fought against US environmental regulations; if they haven't consistently put a "positive spin" on the safety of their rigs, I just might have believed "3. There are far too many accidents. The need for major green energy legislation in the US and Europe
    is Now not in another 5, 10 or 20 years. The planet can ill afford this devastation.

  • Comment number 49.

    knowing people who have and are working on the rigs world wide, I am not surprised this catastrophy has happened. As I have been told by many of the workers, when money is involved SAFETY GOES OUT THE WINDOW! But unfortunately the powers that be will always deny it, be it the oil company or government.

  • Comment number 50.

    These posts about profits before people/environment are ridiculous.

    These oil companies are literally losing millions of dollars of product and profits everyday that this goes on. Between having their product lost at sea and the volumes of poor press being generated, they are paying significant damages. Does greed say avoid a small safety precaution to save on costs, although that precaution could also save millions in lost profits? No! It does the opposite. Greed is why these things don't happen more often. Oil rigs operate in some of the least hospitable places on earth: the volatile North Sea, Hurricane Alley, and in ocean 20,000 feet deep!

    Plus, these record profits are in publicly traded companies. They are probably part of your pension plan and are the reason you can retire at 65 or earlier. They provide the resources that make modern life so great. Never in history have so many people had so opportunities and means to enjoy life.

  • Comment number 51.

    News of a oil slick when was this? , All the news I have heard has been about somebodys microphone being left on . and we play the game ignoring the importent stuff till its too late . This is why we have sealed our fate ,we will go on pushing the oil drug{and please do not tell me its not a drug think of oil withdrawal symptoms try running your car without that fix) until we all die of an overdose. When the drug starts to run out thats when we will see the true face of "The Beast"

  • Comment number 52.

    Make big companies paying for this "accident" - so next time it would be more profitable (less expensive) for them to rather prevent it!

  • Comment number 53.

    Why is it that BP was not prepared to deal with a disaster like this?! Oil companies should be required by law to have action plans and equipment and materials already assembled to deal with these issues--like this dome that is going to take TWO MONTHS to build. There is never any guareentee a disaster won't happen so it should always be an expected possibility.

  • Comment number 54.

    #39 - ONE-SICK-PUPPY - you've answered my question, but why do they not have some massive weight-based cover or valve that simply shuts over the pipe for precisely that reason?

  • Comment number 55.

    First of all we get what we deserve. this is every person on the planets fault. For driving to bottled water oil products are a part of everything. So when this type of horrific disaster happens everyone is looking to blame someone. Go stand in front of the mirror and you will see who's to blame. Now we need to act there are many different plans to fix it.Why are they all being done yesterday this is not a game. And why don't they have every available supper tanker on site filling there hulls. seems to me if there is a risk involved you should of had a couple emergency procedure already to go. Come on you people put a cork in it.

  • Comment number 56.

    I was very disappointed when President Obama announced that he supported more off shore drilling for oil a couple of months ago. This event is the very reason why I oppose it. How long did it take Alaska to recover from the Exxon Valdez disaster? How many more such "accidents" will it take to convince people that off shore drilling is not good and that we should be investing more into solar, wind and other clean energy sources?

  • Comment number 57.

    We are just day after day reminded by Nature that we are just irresponsible kids toying with very dangerous things bigger than us.
    We don't really want to put profits behind people and the environment because whe individually hope to get a share of those profits one day.
    So it is everyone's greed that is to blame.
    For the moment BP and its insurances should pay as much as they can (they made amazing profits last year from increase in oil price).
    But the change in (first) the rich world lifestyles is paramount.
    My family is doing it, many others do, it is feasible, it begets greater happiness, harmony, time for your children, friends and neighbours and it positively affects climate change (and allows to reject suggestions of a return to nukes). What best?

  • Comment number 58.

    And they wanted to put more rigs in that area saying they were safe. Funny how fate shows the reality and stupidity of even one drilling rig in this area. This is the example of the greed of mankind spoiling the lives of other species we live with on this planet.

  • Comment number 59.

    This is what you get when you support government by Corporation. Which, if you support Capitalism in the United States in the 21st Century, is exactly what you support. Profit over America, to hell with the environment, I want my steak well done, and the bring me the '94 Zinfandel, who cares about Louisiana fisherman, believe in Jesus, vote Republican, drill baby drill...

  • Comment number 60.

    Corporate executives and the board of trustees and shareholders must be held liable for acts against humanity when their decisions lead to damaging life. Government justice departments need to try executives and board members with crimes against humanity, take over all assets of them and the corporation and devote the assets to environmental and educational activities, and then sentence to jail for ten years all executives and board members. BP has record profits while seriously damaging our planet. Executives need to be treated like those who commit genocide. Only by seriously punishing those involved in corporate behavior injurious to us all, will corporate behavior be altered.

  • Comment number 61.

    The Current Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a National Disaster 10's of thousands of barrels of crude oil pouring from a wellhead a mile deep. Where is the President? why hasn’t he assembled his National Security team? Why has he not cleared his calendar and demanded the heads of Halliburton British Petroleum, Shell, Exxon, and the finest minds in the petrochemical industry be assembled in his office.
    Anyone any real President with any common sense at all would have already realized the seriousness of this situation and would be working on a National effort to confront it.
    Community Organizer from Chicago and his energy Secretary a clueless theoretical Physics who would not know a puddle of crude if he slipped and fell in it.
    Here this clueless idiot Obama still out there giving speeches on Goldman Sachs while a global disaster unfolds before him.
    Folks we are in a mess here.
    Oh and just where is the News media to ask the anointed one just what the hell he is doing about this?

  • Comment number 62.

    Regulation, regulation, regulation. If Corporate Capitalists dont like it them they can always get a job cleaning toilets which is about thier intellectual worth to society. Hammer Wall street to pay for the clean up. Tax them then tax them. Plough the proceeds back into the enviornment and the ecosystems being raped in the name of excess profit and greed. Mother nature will eventually fight back if she is not already doing so.

  • Comment number 63.

    I've been watching how quickly the US news have picked up the story. Both the BBC and the German ARD ([Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]) made it a lead story from Day 1, but CNN often has it as a 2nd tier story (under the US section). Both the ARD and BBC have made prompt updates to the story while CNN again seemed to lag by 12-18 hours. I live in Florida, and so far, my neighbors don't seem to care much about the spill or the possible impacts. It's really a sad commentary on US media when stories like Sandra Bullock's divorce is 1st tier news while exploding oil rigs and an unfolding environmental disaster goes barely noticed.

  • Comment number 64.

    Many years ago I suggested that that U.S. should convert to nuclear as as a source of abundant and CLEAN energy.

    I was told that nuclear power plants are as much more dangerous than oil powered plants.

    Well, congratulations, morons!

  • Comment number 65.

    Comments above include; this will damage their profits, reputation, and so on. Very Big businesses do not have their reputations damaged they don't care. How many major oil crises’ have there been worldwide in just the past 20 years? Are we using less oil, have oil companies profits come down? NO, NO, No. HOW will this affect the carbon foot print? Until someone invents a FREE means of propelling motor cars and running power stations oil companies and the Arabs will have us by the throat! Just clean up the mess and carry on, a bit like politics really!!

  • Comment number 66.

    This kinda of oil spill was suppose to be impossible with the new technology - so was this incompetence or were is the new technology a big myth? Beats me.

    BP should pay for all damages - and reimburse the American govt for every dime spent on the cleanup. Further - NO BP operation should be allowed near American soil without special oversight funded by BP - in effect a short expensive leach on a foreign company with a lousy track record.

  • Comment number 67.

    I believe we need to start deciding what is more important to us... a healthy planet so we can all live? Or MONEY! CARS, Material possessions. We need to wake up and see how we as human's have ruined this planet, stripping it bare of non-renewable resources and are doing basically nothing. Oh I forgot my city is recycling pop bottles now.
    I feel like this oil spill is as much my fault as BP. I use products made from oil.. there ether isn't an alternative, or I cant afford the alternative.

  • Comment number 68.

    Hey! Off-shore drilling is safe. Who cares about a little oil spill polluting a few gallons of ocean water and killing a few animals. There is still billions of dollars in the ground that need to be extracted. Don't you dare buy electric cars or invest in renewable energy sources until all that oil is gone. And I will drive my Hummer. I don't want our troops to sacrifice their lives in vain. Drill baby! Drill!

  • Comment number 69.

    What ever happened to "Assume the worst, hope for the best"? We're stuck with yet another corp. whore externalizing cost of operations out of irresponsibility. I'd like to see a lawsuit from the U.S. Military against the B.P.

  • Comment number 70.

    I don't believe this is an environmental disaster at all. The oil spillage will have a temporary effect on marinelife and wildlife and will probably cause some disruption for businesses and people who live near the coast but, left to itself, the marine and wildlife numbers will eventually recover, as will the coastline.

    Nature has a way of sorting itself out regardless of the help or interference of humans.

  • Comment number 71.

    It's miles away why should I care?, I think the people who make great tax revenues out of oil should have some responsibility to ensure it is ethically obtained though.

  • Comment number 72.

    In order to prevent environmental disasters such as this one we must have safeguards in place. My first concern with this disaster is that the safeguards failed with devastating consequences. Why will the shut off valves not work? It seems to me that their design and only purpose would be to stop the oil flow in case something like this were to happen. Were these valves ever properly installed or did BP just give us the illusion of safety? This leads to my next concern that no one will be held accountable for this disaster. Without accountability we will not find out the exact cause of this and how to prevent this from all happening again.

  • Comment number 73.

    Well for starters the question is different on the HYS page and the actual blog...

    but the easy way to prevent this specific and far too frequent type of incident is to perhaps stop the production and trafficking of oil, aka black death sludge. is enough being done this time round? one would hope so, it's an entirely man made catastrophe.

    This disaster would hopefully be regarded as a further nail in the coffin of industrial era energy and should prompt further millions to turn towards increasingly available renewable alternatives. LOOK AT YOUR SOLAR OPTIONS!!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    So, how are are you going to post on this Pentagon (ARPA) invented Internet unless it's powered by nuclear plants you, PC-folks, so vehemently oppose?

  • Comment number 75.

    The City of Vancouver, BC,Canada puts 75% of sewage after only primary treatment into the Fraser River, Victoria 100% into the Pacific Ocean. Have we advanced in comparision to other countries?

    This american incident calls for a ban on ocean drilling for oil as effects are up to chance!!

  • Comment number 76.

    Poor Gaia

  • Comment number 77.

    Isn't that the same spill that they instantly declared as "no threat to the environment"?
    After all, they do want to drill, drill, drill baby in a lot more places in the future and the tax payer is happy to pay for the resulting damages.
    Don't tell me that everybody is fed up with paying all those "taxes" because, where I live, the people passed !!! the last three ballot measures to (voluntarily!!) increase taxes (Property tax, School tax, Levy tax).
    So just cut all those communist social programs and pay for the Oil spills, Bank failures, Automaker failures and their CEO's bonuses. Because, if you don't, the country, or at least the CEO's and the attached politicians, local and national, will go under! And nobody would like to see that.
    So: Drill, drill, drill Baby and let the tax payer pay, pay, pay!

  • Comment number 78.

    businesses who are not cognizant of the tbl approach and hence do not fulfill corporate social responsibility they should be penalized

  • Comment number 79.

    We will never prevent these types of disasters from occurring while corporations have so much influence over politics.

    Several of the worlds biggest oil companies have larger budgets than many of the worlds nations, even some of the richer nations, and this means that they can buy off any member of the government or civil service in order to prevent legislation being passed that would ensure that they have to pay the full costs of any clean up that results from their negligence plus a big fine.
    We have some of the best of this legislation in place in Europe but it is still a long way short of what would be required to ensure these companies took their responsibilities seriously enough to prevent events of this type from ever happening again. Had this happened in Europe then the company responsible would be required to pay for the clean up operation but in most cases this is less expensive than ensuring proper safety measures are in place from the start.

    The only way to change this is to ensure that any company responsible for such an event not only has to pay the entire cost of the clean up operation but is also faced with a prohibitively large fine after the event that it would make them take their responsibilities seriously.

    I live near to one of Europe’s largest oil refineries and its owners are regularly dumping their waste into our local rivers because the fines they receive for this cost a fraction of the cost of building an overflow storage system that would prevent excess waste being dumped into the river.
    The owners of this facility are never going to pay the millions of pounds it would cost to build the emergency waste storage facility when they're only given fines of a few thousand pounds every time they dump waste into the river and the government are never going to change the legislation when every major party receives millions of pounds worth of party donations from this company every year as well as the countless directorships etc that so many cabinet ministers appear to get from them.

    As the old saying goes;
    Only when we've cut down the last tree, polluted the last river and killed the last animal will humans realise that you can't eat money !

  • Comment number 80.

    Accidents are always an associated factor as and when we attempt to do anything anywhere but keeping it into minimum or to nil reflects the excellence we acquire over time in doing so. Why there was a sudden rise of pressure within the well bore? We possibly neglected the prior inform monitored at the surfaced of happening so unless there is a premature failure of the Casing.

    Since capping of the well head is the solution available to us with enough of venting points provided for releasing the instant development of pressure within it by the flowing liquid as we successfully did it in the Middle East for temporarily solving the Problem, we must possibly require to drill a standby well as nearest as possible to take over the current well from flowing unstopped under sea for permanently capping it. Since water currents underneath the ocean are often unpredictable, there are chances that the oil spill might become uncontrollable from spreading around the area in absence of the flow, following a pattern of release. Otherwise the burning the same in the sea itself would have bring the damage to the minimum to inflict less harm to the entire creatures living in the deep sea instead of allowing it to it to come to near shore where there is greater possibility of damage. Possibly with some stricter monitoring; we might still continue to do so with much less damage done to us. We only hope that damage shall remain controlled to the minimum through successful execution of both collection as well as igniting of it in the sea itself.

    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA, PhD)

  • Comment number 81.

    Tragic as the spill is accidents will continue to happen unless we are willing to use alternatives. Even if we were to make it illegal to have offshore oil wells the risk of ships transporting crude would remain. The answer is land based resources - wind power, solar power, nuclear power and much greater use of natural gas. Natural gas is abundant in North America for example, and is a relatively simple replacement for many of the current uses of oil.

  • Comment number 82.

    Drill Drill Drill, that was the slogan of conservatives before the elcetion. I hope that they are happy, now that there is an envrionmental disaster in their own back yard. There should be more research & development in the contruction of Oil rigs, and, how to avoid anything similar or more dangerous than this. There has to be a system to avoid oil spill even if the rig goes down as in this this...

  • Comment number 83.

    As Rome burns and a 600 mile circumfrence pool of crude oil threatens the coast of America, my idiot President plays the fiddle giving endless meaningless speeches and collecting campaign donations.

  • Comment number 84.

    This news is doing wonders for my misanthropy...

  • Comment number 85.

    It will be a great day when the last drop of fossil fuel is burnt. I wonder who will use it and what for?

  • Comment number 86.

    With Obama having joined George Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Larry Kudlow, and other "Drill, baby, drill" advocates it appears that too many American politicians are in the pocket of Big Oil regardless of their political parties. And with the U.S. military now being involved it seems that the taxpayers may well end up paying for the cleanup of this spill, with another irony being that BP is controlled overseas from the U.S. Some things never change - its the politicians together with their politics and the consequences as usual.

  • Comment number 87.

    1.OnTv BBC news the spill details appeared.To stop spread of oilwaves-I suggest spray 0.2-0.5% Pyridin -C6H5N as foam in water for coagulation of tarry matter &settlement on floor of sea, otherwise ScoopOUT semisolid mass. Similar case happenned in Greece/Alaska.
    2. Kill the well undergoing undergroundblowout using loaded explosives on the spot ,bydropping on the exact spot &remote detonation. The wellshould cavein to stop further activity. Urgent technicalteams under controlroom directions should coordinate the work.
    In offshore drilling things like this happens.


  • Comment number 88.

    Environmental disasters caused by Nature is one thing?

    Environmental disasters, caused by us human species, is 70% preventable and hardly ever genuine accidents?

    No, don't do conspiracy - but environmental disasters (the recent foreign oil tanker spilling pollution on the famous (and apparently poorly guarded/protected) Australian Barrier Reef?

    Perhaps all countries; and their governments and citizens, that genuinely care about the planet should 'up their game' and rethink what matters to human, wildlife and ocean life right now?

  • Comment number 89.

    Stop using so much oil instead of complaining when the person who is getting it for you drops some.

  • Comment number 90.

    It seems a little odd that so much money is spent trying to get to oil in teh most inhospitible places on earth yet there is nothing in place to recover it when its floating around on the oceans.

  • Comment number 91.

    Virtually everything we use in our homes and cars needs oil to manufacture it, so unless you want to go back to the stone age we have to live with the risk of pollution.
    Accidents do happen in extracting oil and minerals, its dangerous and 11 people have died in this accident. I agree with the principle that the polluter pays, its there mistake and yes they have a duty of care to there employees and the environment. In this case its BP a British company thats at fault, and considering the record profits that have just been announced send the clean up bill to them!
    They have had explosions at refineries now its an oil rig thats blown up so something is wrong with the safety procedures in this business.

  • Comment number 92.

    The oil and gas industry has over 60 million acres of land under lease that are not being used for drilling and production in the US. They lobby for offshore drilling leases in very sensitive locales, such as in the Arctic Ocean and just offshore from Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware (Delmarva), impacting both seashores and the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay estuarine nurseries. It's astounding that nearly 50% of the world's seafood can be produced from these places, and that a catastrophe like what is happening now in the Gulf of Mexico could easily happen in these other places. We don't need the oil that badly (only a week's worth is offshore of Delmarva). Should we do more? Yes. We should stop the insanity of drilling and production offshore and shift the effort to conservation and alternative energy production. This is true not only here in the US but in every country.

  • Comment number 93.

    The number of people who keep saying that this company should pay for this accident is ridiculous. How sad is it that no one realizes that BP is going to pay through the nose for years to come, just like Exxon continues to do for the Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska so many years ago.

    Most everyone complains that not enough was done to prevent this but in reality it must always be assumed that life involves risk and that if no risk is ever taken then life will not progress very far.

  • Comment number 94.

    I can hear the immortal words of the American intellectual, Sarah Palin, in my head - "Drill, baby, drill!" Clearly a visionary - a woman ahead of her time.

    Tongue firmly in cheek....

  • Comment number 95.

    This is desgusting, first of all because these types of things are allowed to happen with little concequences to the partys at fault. Sure they will get fined and charged for the crime, but if these were realistic punishment for the crime, drilling would not be worth the risk. Secondly, their plan for the moment is to burn all of the oil they can before it reaches the shore. Maybe will stop the slick from washing up on shore, probably not, but burning raw crude oil? How in anyway does that sound like a good idea? We all know that oil is going to be our downfall, yet we continue to look for it in more and more interesting places, most of which are more and more dangerous and costly (tar sands, deep water drilling). Why do we do this? There is no where else to look. If instead of putting so much effort, money, and destruction into finding oil, we all came together to come up with a way that we could forget about oil all together!

  • Comment number 96.

    One way of pushing the oil price up is to cut supply.
    We lost one oil tanker and now an oil rig is this not cutting the supply?
    I hate to say its deliberate but it does make you wonder if accidents only occur at a time of over supply.
    Consumption of oil has gone down as we all restrict our spending, some refineries are being sold because again you have over supply.
    Its interesting theory, its also true that the number of businesses which go up in flames at times of recession also increases. Owners bailing out I guess when times get hard.

  • Comment number 97.

    Demand and choose items for your home not manufactured from oil and plastic. Don't waste money on total tat items which you do not need. Think about where that useless piece of junk has come from and the damage it has caused only for it to end up in the bin. Use some brain power, show some awareness, show some restraint, pathetic weak earthlings.

  • Comment number 98.

    That's the end of BP. I fully expect BP to be banned from the US (and elsewhere) after this latest horrible disaster -- let BP prospect for oil on the British isles only.

    Not to mention that they will have to pay the clean-up costs and by the look of it it could finally break their humped back.

  • Comment number 99.

    British big oil is killing Americans and ruining the environment.

    First the BP refinery explosion in Texas in 2005, killing 15 and injuring 100. The worst oil refinery accident in a decade.

    Now, 11 dead and a huge oil spill spiraling out of control. The worst off-shore rig accident in more than two decades.

    Now that the true magnitude of the oil spill is becoming clearer, only the US military can contain this catastrophe and clean up the mess.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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