Two years ago, 11 men lost their lives as a backlash of gas exploded into the night from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In the ensuing months, roughly 5 million barrels of oil and more than 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas spewed into the ocean from the Macondo well more than a kilometer underwater. It took the combined efforts of the U.S. government, the world’s major oil companies and, finally, a lonely hydrologist working through the night from a cellphone picture of pressure reading graphs to cap the spill on July 15, 2010.
Two years later, Gulf seafood remains suspect in consumers’ minds, despite the “sniff test.” Fishermen and scientists report an excess of deformed or sickly sea life, and more than a million barrels of spilled oil remain “missing,” likely never to be found. The Gulf’s dolphins have been dying, deepwater corals remain coated in hydrocarbons and many people involved in the clean-up complain of poor health.
It will take decades to fully reckon the toll of BP’s 2010 oil spill. In fact, science is still grappling with the after effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. It took three years for Prince William Sound in Alaska’s herring fishery to collapse and 20 years to reach a legal settlement.
Meanwhile, an invisible leak of natural gas is ongoing in the North Sea from an offshore platform operated by French oil company Total. Oil spills occur weekly in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. And the oil industry has resumed deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as well as prospecting in the melting Arctic, without adequate oversight or the resources to contain or clean up any future spills in the frigid north.
BP can and should bear legal consequence for its negligence, but the ultimate blame for the Macondo well spill falls squarely on us Americans and our way of life. We consume roughly a quarter of the world’s oil to fuel our cars, trucks and just-in-time shipping. The world consumes a barrel of oil every second. Sadly, more oil runs off U.S. parking lots after rainstorms in a year than spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Macondo well during the three-month blow-out. Oil addiction ain’t pretty.
The riot of colors that erupts on trees each fall drives billions of dollars in tourism and remains a key way for people to connect with nature.
It has become increasingly clear in recent years that ocean waters are eating away at the undersides of the ice shelves that fringe Antarctica and buttress its many glaciers.
A satellite image showing peculiar hexagonal clouds over the ocean area known as the Bermuda Triangle is prompting speculation about whether they may represent a recurring phenomenon responsible for decades of unexplained disappearances in the region.
Solar power capacity in the U.S. will have nearly tripled in size in less than three years by 2017 amid an energy shakeup that has seen natural gas solidify its position as the country’s chief source of electricity.
Researchers have discovered the intact wreck of what they believe to be the HMS Terror, a British naval ship abandoned 168 years ago at the top of the Victoria Strait in Canada, the Guardian reported.
When the world's longest lightning bolt struck over Oklahoma in 2007, it traveled about three-quarters of the length of the state, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Death by lightning strike may seem rare, but lightning has killed nearly three times as many people this year as tornadoes have, the National Weather Service (NWS) reports.
The expanded area is a hotbed for newly discovered and highly unique species.