Why hasn't BP been given the corporate death penalty?

The 2010 BP oil disaster released about 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and according to a new study, about 2 million barrels are still trapped on the ocean floor. The study, called Fallout Plume of Submerged Oil from Deepwater Horizon, was conducted by researchers from the University of California, and led by geochemistry professor Dave Valentine.

The scientists analyzed sea sediment from the Gulf and discovered what they called a “bathtub ring” of oil the size of the state of Rhode Island. Despite the obvious link to the 2010 explosion and subsequent leak, BP denied a connection to Deepwater Horizon, and issued a statement saying “The authors failed to identify the source of the oil.”

However, the authors of this recent study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, say that the 2010 spill's impact could be even worse than they have indicated. The study reads, “We also suggest that a significant quantity of oil was deposited outside this area, but so far has evaded detection because of its heterogeneous spatial distribution.” In other words, oil that spread in different directions still may not be accounted for.

It's been over four years since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and began spewing oil into our Gulf, and we still don't know the full extent of the damage, or whether it will ever really be cleaned up. Yet, BP is still raking in profits and more wells are being drilled off our shores.

What will it take to make us wake up to the dangers of oil drilling? And, how much must a corporation destroy before they lose the privilege of doing business in our great nation? For the sake of our planet, and our species, we must answer those questions before we find ourselves dealing with an even bigger disaster.

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