Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

By: John Saucedo


On April 20, 2010, a final cement seal of an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico failed, causing what has been called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history and taking the lives of 11 rig workers. For 87 straight days, oil and methane gas spewed from an uncapped wellhead, 1 mile below the surface of the ocean.

The Deepwater Horizon, an offshore oil-drilling rig, exploded on the night of April 20, 2010 while working on a well on the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico. The blast occurred 41 miles from the Louisiana coast. For nearly three months, oil leaked from the Macondo well at a rate estimated between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day. Repeated attempts to stop the flow failed until mid-July, when a tighter-fitting cap sealed the well head. In all, the well spilled 4.9 million gallons: the biggest offshore oil spill in history.The oil company BP (formerly British Petroleum), which was leasing the rig, has promised to pay for the cleanup and to compensate individuals for their losses, and has set up a $20 billion fund for that purpose. As of September, the well had been effectively sealed. Long-term effects on marine life in the Gulf remain to be seen.


  • Obama was in charge of making sure that bp was fully responsible for the clean up. He also made sure bp would help out the businesses and families affected by the oil spill. Bp opened a 20 billion dollar fund to help.

  • Since bp was in charge of the clean up the decided to despers Chemicals to break down the oil. Despite the known toxicity of the dispersant Corexit, the Obama administration dumped millions of gallons of the hazardous chemical into the Gulf of Mexico with C-130 aircraft provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Air Force.

  • In addition the federal government took a full week before deciding to burn the some of the oil following the leak.


  • The state lets fishermen reopen fishing areas where the fish test negative for high carbon levels, and without signs of visible oil. So they would test fish for high carbon levels and if they did not test higher than 20% it was ok. The fish were coming out with 10% to 15% and because they did not test high enough they were oked.


  • Police blocked started blocking of coastal areas, and stopped any bout that got to close to restricted areas. When reporters got close enough they saw that there were large amounts of oil under the sand. When they found a bp representative on site when asked if there were any large chunks of oil he said “no only tarballs’’ which the reporters knew was a lie. They had machines move sand of the oil to cover it to make it seem like everything was okay.

Opinion on Federalism...

  • I feel like federalism may have failed in this situation. There should have been regulation about how they are allowed to drill oil and even go as far as to deny drilling on deep waters. It was the lack of safety measures that caused the spill. To speed up the drilling the safety alarms were turned off. The Alarms may prevented the drilling to continue. The federal government hasn't done its part to prevent the spraying a chemical that is illegal in Bp’s home country. So why should this toxic chemical be allowed to be sprayed in the gulf if it is harmful to humans .