Apparently BP can't do much right except fail. At failure, BP excels! 80 days after the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon oil is still escaping from the well head. The last hope rests with the two relief wells being drilled in an effort to kill the original well. We can expect, if history is any example, that once BP succeeds with stopping the leak that they will expect to be touted as heroes and Saviours of the Gulf; all of the lies, cover-ups and efforts to impede clean-up and relief efforts will magically evaporate and life on the Gulf Coast will go back to normal. Wrong. What stands out instead is the callousness and disregard for the impact to the environment and livelihoods of the residents who live there.
Residents of the Gulf Coast have long memories. If BP thinks that they'll be able to quietly slip into the background they're wrong. Expect new legislation and stricter regulations on off-shore drilling and forget about any chance of allowing drilling off of Florida's coastline. Florida's health and well-being depends on a healthy tourism and fishing industry and there's no room for error from oil companies. The other oil companies can thank BP's fiasco for giving all gulf drilling companies a black eye — maybe they should file a claim with BP.
Economic impact aside, BP has also made enemies of animal and nature lovers. The images of oiled birds, dead dolphins and sea turtles will haunt BP and other oil companies for decades. Animals may not have voices but their advocates do. The long term effects of the oil and dispersant dumped into the Gulf are yet to be known. Already the impact on endangered species and those species of special concern have been devastating. The oil companies are wrong if they think that they can continue to operate as haphazardly as they have done in the past. The free ride is over.
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