On April 20, BP’s offshore oil-rig Deepwater Horizon exploded off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers are missing, presumed dead, while 17 more were injured. The ensuing pipeline breach has garnered extensive media attention, as around 210,000 gallons of oil a day gush into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying local wildlife and the fishing industry.
Louisiana, responsible for a third of the country’s fish catch, are already seeing massive loss of marine-life as the oil sheen enters the South Pass, a major channel for fishing. In addition to the loss of marine life, oil threatens to destroy the wetlands, making states more vulnerable to events such as Hurricane Katrina – especially if currents push the oil further up the East Coast.
This disaster has thrown the relationship between government and big business into stark relief, as US President Barack Obama continues to plummet in opinion polls. Sections of the environmentalist movement had placed faith in Obama as a progressive candidate, hoping to see an end to the Bush administration’s dismal environmental record.