The Spill Effect

Coast Guard Attempts Burning Off Oil Leaking From Sunken Rig
Source: CBS

On April 20, 2010 British Petroleum had a oil rig explode and sink, killing 11 people and leaked 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Ever since then BP has done their part to try and clean up the Gulf of Mexico as well has become more eco friendly. In February 2013, almost three years after the incident, BP posted this video to show how far they have come and what the Gulf is like now. Along with soft earthly music in the video, a man fishing is shown, blue oceans, full beaches, a claim saying Gulf has seen its best tourism it has seen in years and men and women at work demonstrating the efforts BP is making to right what they have done. This was a smart video by BP. It is short, not too much is shown and it gives off the image that every wrong that was done has been righted.

According to BP’s website, in the studies that they have done it was concluded that in December of 2010 there was no Macondo oil remained in the water column or offshore sediments. In February of 2011 it was concluded that the oil remains in the shoreline area was diluted enough to be well below EPA standards and safe for human use. In May of 2014 it was determined that only isolated areas had oil submerged or burried. No where on their website however did BP mention the impact to wildlife. Nearly all 21 species of dolphins were effected by the oil spill and it will take about 100 years for the population to recover. 167,000 sea turtles were killed, between two and five million larval fish were killed and other fish species were also effected. Contrary to BP’s website, NWF states that it could take hundreds of years for the Gulf floor to recover.

1-oil-covered-brown-pelican
Source: BBC

With their video and research they posted to their website BP tried their best to make it seem like the oil spill was not as big of a deal to the environment as it really was. Which is something not just BP, but many companies have done to try and keep their image up. Can you blame them? BP is a huge oil company in the United States and the spill already cost them billions, they cannot afford to lose more. The Gulf is recovering, people are starting to go back, wildlife is recovering. BP just pick and chose the stats that would make them look better. They understand that if people wanted every detail of the spill that it would not be hard to find. I do not think BP deliberately lied and posted false information on their website and in that video. If they did someone would have caught them and BP would be in more trouble than they would be if they posted every fact about the spill.

Regardless of if you could blame BP for padding their stats, the question is; was it ethical? Should they have done it? The answer to that question depends on what school of thought you believe. Some believe that you say what you need to say without lying, and others believe you say the truth knowing the consequences. Most people believe the latter of the two.

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