Deepwater Horizon oil spill

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The Deepwater Horizon on April 21


The Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010 with a methane explosion that killed eleven crew on the Deepwater Horizon, an oil exploration rig operated by BP off the coast of Louisiana, and caused a blowout at the wellhead 1500m (almost a mile) below the surface. The rig continued to burn despite intensive fire-fighting, and sank two days later.

It is the worst US oil disaster in history, eclipsing even the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989.



  • 2009-09-21 NOAA urges cutbacks in the lease schedule for oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, citing ecological concerns
  • 2010-01-14 two US CongressmenBart Stupak and Henry Waxman – send a letter to BPXE (BP's Alaskan exploration division) noting several safety concerns
  • 2010-04-20 methane blowout causes explosion, killing crew and setting oil rig on fire; oil begins spilling
  • 2010-04-22 oil rig sinks
  • 2010-05-02 Transocean's Development Driller III starts drilling a relief well to reduce the flow from the blowout
  • 2010-05-05 BP announces that the smallest of the three known leaks has been capped, allowing them to narrow their focus
  • 2010-05-07/08 BP deploys a 125-tonne (280,000 lb) dome over the largest of the well leaks in an attempt to contain the spill, but it fails due to the formation of methane hydrate crystals (it's not clear from the available sources, but it sounds like the crystals were blocking the exit tube -- so the containment worked, but since they couldn't suck the oil out of the dome due to blockage, it rapidly overfilled the dome and resumed spilling)
  • 2010-05-10 the EPA gives BP permission to use toxic dispersants to break up the oil. "The EPA said the effects of the chemicals were still widely unknown."
  • 2010-05-11 BP lowers a smaller "top hat" containment dome to the seabed but not over the gusher; it is apparently a backup plan for the tube deployed 3 days later
  • 2010-05-14 BP deploys a suction tube 6 inches in diameter in an attempt to siphon or vacuum up some of the oil from a leaking pipe before it can spread; the attempt fails, but BP says it will retry on the 15th

Political Deaths

-Jackson. "It's astounding. We have lost some of our best people." [1]

  • 2010-08-08 Matt Simmons, oil industry whistleblower and critic [2] and a former energy advisor to President George W. Bush. He died in his hot tub.[1]
  • 2010-08-12 Ted Stevens "an elderly senator from Alaska, who some say received communications regarding BP's faulty blowout preventer, died in a plane crash. BP had donated $1 million to the University of Alaska to catalog papers from Stevens' political career."[1]
  • 2010-10-06 Roger Grooters "who was on a cross-country bike ride to draw attention to the Gulf Coast oil disaster, was hit by a truck [...] and was killed instantly in front of his horrified wife.[1]
  • 2010-11 Dr. Jeffrey Gardner "of Lakeland, FL, who was an expert on swans and was also investigating unexplained bird deaths near Sarasota, disappeared."[1]
  • 2010-11-15 "Chitra Chauhan, who worked in the Center for Biological Defense and Global Health Infectious Disease Research and was studying the effects of the BP oil spill on humans, was found dead of cyanide poisoning in a Temple Terrace, FL, hotel on Nov. 15, 2010. It was officially ruled a suicide, even though she left behind a husband and three-year-old child."[1]
  • 2010-11-15+? James Patrick Black, "director of operations for BP's restoration organization for the oil spill [,...] died near Destin, FL, in another small plane crash." (the week after Chauhan's death)
  • 2010-12 John P. Wheeler III, Dec. 2010. Wheeler was beaten and thrown into a garbage dumpster. His body was later found in a landfill.[1]
  • 2011-02 Gregory Stone, a scientist at Louisiana State University and "an outspoken critic against BP, died suddenly [...] of an 'unknown illness.'"[1]
  • "soon after" [[Joseph Morrissey, a scientist "who was studying the effects of the BP oil spill on cells, was shot to death during what police concluded was a home invasion robbery. No one was ever arrested."[1] I can't find any sources for this one; I keep running into reports of another Joseph Morrissey, a Nova Southeastern University (Florida) scientist who was studying the use of radio frequency waves in cancer treatment, in a home-invasion robbery on 2010-02-09.[3][4][5][6]
  • 2011-01-19 Dr. Thomas B. Manton, "who was one of the first to warn the public that far more oil than what BP had reported was gushing into the Gulf, was murdered in prison after being sentenced to 15 years on what some say were trumped-up child pornography charges. Similarly, Anthony Nicholas Tremonte, an officer with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources on the Gulf Coast, was also arrested on one count of possession of child pornography."[1][7][8][9]
  • 2012-11-27 Bennie Turner (D) - age 64 - brain tumor [2]
  • 2012-12-06 Alice Harden (D) - age 64 - undisclosed, lengthy illness [10]
  • 2013-01-13 David Gibbs (MS House D) - age 76 - cancer - resigned for health reasons 2013-01-08 [11]
  • 2013-02-04 Joe Gardner (D) - age 68 - apparent heart attack [12]
  • 2013-03-24 Jessica Upshaw, R-Diamondhead, MS: "Upshaw was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to be a part of the board tasked with planning how to spend billions in RESTORE Act fines BP will pay as a result of the 2010 Gulf oil spill."[13] The death, by gunshot to the head[14][15], appears to have been a suicide[16], which is consistent with the fact that she was known to have suffered from depression.[17][18][2]





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  • 2014-04-20 [L..T] [[2014/04/20/EPA Gives BP Get Out of Jail Free Card|]] "The EPA ruled that the corporation could start bidding on lucrative new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico after having been suspended from doing any new business with the government ever since the accident. [..] That suspension was lifted on March 13 less than a week before the yearly government auction for drilling rights."
  • 2010-06-09 [L..T] Efforts to Limit the Flow of Spill News Journalists struggling to document the impact of the oil rig explosion have repeatedly found themselves turned away from public areas affected by the spill, and not only by BP and its contractors, but by local law enforcement, the Coast Guard and government officials.

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