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.
BP has been tightly restricting public access to details about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. And in some cases, the federal government has deferred to the oil company when asked for information.
The oil dispersants that BP is using after the Deepwater Horizon disaster are more toxic than other such products, EPA data indicate. The dispersants have not been allowed in Britain for more than a decade.
In the weeks before the Deepwater Horizon spill, a worker on the rig told "60 Minutes" that part of the blowout preventer's seal broke in an accident weeks before the explosion that caused the Gulf spill, and that a supervisor said it was "no big deal."
Scientists believe there is much more oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico than the government estimates. But BP says that there is no way to measure the leak accurately, and that efforts to do so are "not relevant."
Pictures of the Gulf oil spill can be more powerful than the words.
The estimates of the amount of oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico keep going up, amid BP statements that the amount can't be measured easily, and aren't important, anyway.
The Minerals Management Service, the agency regulating offshore drilling, would be split, separating its safety responsibilities from its leasing and royalties responsibilities.
Even as oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, companies were granted 27 exemptions from in-depth environmental analysis for proposed drilling, McClatchy reported. The exemptions don't mean the wells will be drilled, and there is a temporary moratorium on new wells.
BP says the blowout preventer whose failure led to the Gulf oil spill has not had any problems in the past, but Minerals Management Service records suggest otherwise.
BP has resumed spraying dispersants to break up the Gulf oil spill with EPA approval, even though the chemicals pose their own hazards to the environment and sealife.
The Gulf oil disaster spotlights the dangers in deepwater drilling, which has been increasing with little regulatory oversight or testing of new technologies to deal with the incredible water pressures the equipment must operate under.
Drilling regulators had concerns about the reliability of blowout protection devices on oil rigs, but accepted industry assurances that they weren't needed, two reports show.
Govt Agency: Offshore Drilling Regulator Understated Risks of Oil Spills in Plans to Expand Drilling
In 2009, the Minerals Management Service submitted a five-year plan for expanding drilling off the coast of Alaska. But the plan ran into criticism from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency the monitors oceans.
In an editor's note, The New York Times has clarified the connections that a group called the Gulf of Mexico Foundation has to the oil industry. In its original reporting, the Times had identified the foundation simply as a conservation group.
An article in The New York Times about the scope of the BP oil disaster quoted the executive director of the nonprofit Gulf of Mexico Foundation. It did not mention that the group has some close connections to the oil industry.
The Minerals Management Service, which regulates offshore drilling, issues penalties for safety violations. But the fines in recent years have been dwarfed by the profits made by oil companies.
The Minerals Management Service, which oversees oil rigs, has had ethical and other problems. It is the agency that decided against requiring an oil-drilling safeguard that is used in some other countries.