Gulf Oil Spill

Investigating the Impact of the BP Spill

The 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest in U.S. history. ProPublica's coverage focused on BP’s safety and cost-cutting record, the environmental and health effects of the spill, the efforts at cleanup, and how it affected workers and the communities in the region.

Read Documents Showing BP's Pattern of Neglecting Its Own Safety Policies

Documents detailing BP's internal reports on safety problems show how pervasive the problems were in its operations in Alaska, California and Texas.

Gulf Judges' Oil Ties May Present Conflicts of Interest

Finding a judge to hear federal cases against BP could be daunting because of conflicts of interest. More than half of the senior judges in the Gulf districts have ties to the oil industry, AP reports.

Four Reasons Why Measuring Flow in BP's Spill Matters

Having a lower estimate for the amount of oil that has flowed into the Gulf could mean BP would be subject to fewer financial penalties, from royalties on the lost oil to fines for spilling it, as well as helping its public image.

Former Valdez Cleanup Worker Warns of Toxic Dangers in the Gulf

Workers cleaning up the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 reported the same health problems the workers in the Gulf are now reporting, and oil company officials are making the same excuses about why those problems aren’t important.

BP, Prior to Gulf Accident, Said Measuring Oil Flow Was 'Critical' to Effective Response

BP has resisted efforts to reassess the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, saying more accurate measurements would be irrelevant to fixing the problem. That contradicts a spill response plan prepared by the company before the disaster.

Air Sampling Finds a Compound in Toxic Dispersant Is Also in the Air

Air samples taken near workers in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have indicated the presence of butoxyethanol, a component in the dispersant used by BP, known as Corexit. Though no causal relationship has been made, some workers have reported symptoms similar to those caused by 2-butoxyethanol.

A Mystery: When Did Gov’t Exempt Gulf Drilling from Detailed Enviro Reviews?

The Minerals Management Service waives environmental studies for oil drilling in much of the Gulf of Mexico. But even the government seems unsure how that decision came about.

Mixed Messages as the Oil Continues to Spew

As oil continues to spew into the Gulf of Mexico, BP, cleanup crews and the EPA differ on the health risks for workers there. One EPA official likened the situation to the World Trade Center cleanup.

Did BP's Acts to Save Time and Money Set the Stage for the Gulf Disaster?

BP made decisions to save time and money with the Deepwater Horizon well that may have contributed to the accident, including its choice of design for the well and its preparation, testing and finishing methods, news reports say.

Director of Offshore Drilling Regulatory Agency Fired

Reports say that Elizabeth Birnbaum has been fired as director of the Minerals Management Service after less than a year in the job. The agency, which regulates offshore drilling, has come under criticism during the Gulf oil disaster.

After Removing Mud Before Accident, BP's "Top Kill" Injects Mud to Stop Oil

BP's "top kill" maneuver to try to plug its ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico uses mud to stop oil from surging up. But after arguments with the rig owner Transocean just before the explosion, BP decided to remove mud from the well.

More Reports of Illness Emerge Among Gulf Cleanup Workers

Fishermen hired by BP to help with the oil cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico are coming down sick after working long hours in oil- and dispersant-contaminated waters. Some cleanup workers said they were not given protective equipment.

Read Congressional Memo That Confirms Warning Signs Before Rig Explosion

Findings released by a House committee look at problems leading up to the Gulf oil disaster. A memo from the committee describes signs of danger that have been mentioned in several hearings.

Gov't Subsidizes Deep-Water Drilling With Big Tax Breaks

Federal incentives for expanding deep-water drilling have cost taxpayers billions of dollars. But the tax breaks and other subsidies, which began when oil prices were low, have outlived their purpose.

Read the Govt's Report Blasting Drilling Regulators on Ethics, Drugs and Porn

A new inspector general's report cites ethical violations and other problems at a Minerals Management Service office on the Gulf Coast. The agency, part of the Interior Department, regulates offshore drilling.

BP Continues to Apply Toxic Dispersant

The head of the EPA has criticized BP's response on the use of oil dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico disaster. BP argues that despite an EPA order to switch to a less toxic dispersant, the product being used, Corexit, is the best option.

BP Resists EPA's Order to Use Less Toxic Dispersant

With oil still flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP says it will keep using a dispersant that has been linked to health problems. Now the government is warning that it could push BP aside in the effort to solve the problem.

Coast Guard Flagged Potential Problems With Spill Response in 2004

Coast Guard officials have known for years about potential problems with federal and industry response to an oil spill, the Alabama Press-Register reported, and the Deepwater Horizon may have had less scrutiny because it was registered under the Marshall Islands.

BP: Oil Flow "Might Be a Little More" Than Earlier Estimate

BP says it's collecting about the same amount of oil as it had earlier said was spilling into the Gulf, acknowledging, at least obliquely, that its earlier numbers were off. The company insists there is no reliable way to measure the flow.

After Approving Toxic Dispersants, EPA Orders BP to Use Less Toxic Ones

The EPA has given BP 24 hours to choose less toxic dispersants to apply to the Gulf oil spill, a published report says. The products being used appear to be more toxic and less effective than other approved dispersants.

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