漏油事件兩年後 墨灣海洋生命仍在受苦 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

漏油事件兩年後 墨灣海洋生命仍在受苦

2012年04月25日
摘譯自2012年4月20日ENS美國,華盛頓特區報導;段譽豪編譯;蔡麗伶審校

消防船上的船員與深海地平線的大火搏鬥,2010年4月21日。(美國海岸防衛隊提供)英國石油(BP)的深水地平線鑽油平台(Deepwater Horizon)爆炸事故至今已屆兩周年,當時有11名工人喪生,並造成石油工業史上最嚴重的海上漏油意外。

在爆炸發生當時,BP 正利用深海地平線鑽探一個位於水下5000呎深的探勘井,該井位於路易斯安那州海岸外約41哩處的馬康多石油前景(Macondo Prospect)。

2010年4月20日上午9點45分,甲烷氣從該鑽探井海床下18000呎深處噴出鑽井並且著火。大火吞沒了整個平台,並在延燒36個小時後沉沒。

鑽探井漏油口在三個月後才堵住,期間漏出了約490萬桶的石油,一直到2010年9月19日才被完全密封。

2011年10月,美國國家海洋與大氣管理局(NOAA)發現,海豚與鯨魚的死亡率是平常的兩倍。3月的時候,NOAA一份研究則指出,路易斯安那州Barataria海灣的瓶鼻海豚,接觸到BP 漏油事件的含油海水後生病了。

清潔工正在清除路易斯安那州 Fourchon 海灘的焦油,2012年3月20日。(Elizabeth H. Bordelon 攝影/美國海岸防衛隊提供)本月稍早,科學家們提出報告發現大量的螃蟹、魚蝦發生突變,並認為是漏油發生以及後續清理時所釋出的化學物質所造成。

在漏油事件後的兩年間,焦油球不斷的被沖上墨西哥灣的海岸,研究顯示,焦油內含有致命的細菌 Vibrio vulnificus

墨西哥灣的漁業與旅遊業是首當其衝的受害者,灣區居民的健康也受到暴露在石油汙染之中的影響,造成了像是頭暈、嘔吐、噁心、頭痛與胸痛等症狀。

2010年6月16日,BP 高層與歐巴馬總統會面之後,同意設置一個200億美金的漏油處理基金。

目前為止,已有大約10萬個與漏油有關的企業及個人的賠償申訴案。

美國海岸防衛隊點火以控制墨西哥灣的漏油,燃燒產生的煙霧佈滿天際。(Justin Stumberg 攝影/美國海軍提供)BP在4月18日宣布,已經與原告督導委員會(Plaintiffs' Steering Committee)達成「明確且全面的書面協議」,來解決深水地平線事故與漏油事件中,合乎條件的民間經濟與醫療賠償申訴中的「絕大部分」。

進行和解案之前,BP已經花費了220億美金滿足其對墨西哥灣的承諾。其中對個人、企業與政府機構就支付了81億美金,另外,BP集團行政總裁 Bob Dudley 說,BP也花了約140億美金來處理相應的營運問題。

歐巴馬總統成立了「英國石油深海地平線漏油與離岸鑽探國家委員會」,來釐清發生意外的根本原因,並且對恢復灣區和防止未來發生類似事故的方式做出建議。

在一份報告中,委員會發現BP並沒為了營利而犧牲安全性,但是一些決定使得平台上的風險增加。

2012年4月中旬,委員會成員犧牲自己的時間,發出了一份後續報告,描述其建議的執行狀況。根據漏油事件委員會行動報告(Oil Spill Commission Action),委員會給歐巴馬政府的總評是「B」,石油業者是「C+」,而國會則得到「D」。

在深海地平線沉沒以後,碎片與油汙漂浮在墨西哥灣,2010年4月22日。(美國海岸防衛隊提供)行動報告中提到,「整體來說,我們的結論是,雖然還有很多事情要做,管理當局以及業者都在進行重要的強化,使離岸鑽探更安全,並且提升國家對可能發生的漏油事件之處理能力,」「不幸的是,國會對這些努力沒有領導也不見支持。」

依照漏油事件委員會於4月17日提出的報告,BP 已經對確定了對私人部門所提出的賠償,但對政府的談判仍然未解。

委員會的關鍵提議是提撥依潔淨水源法案(Clean Water Act)罰款的8成,作為恢復墨西哥灣生態系統的長期經費。委員會建議,可以由國會行動或者與肇事者進行庭外和解來達成上述建議。

Gulf of Mexico Still Suffering Two Years After BP Spill
WASHINGTON, DC, April 20, 2012 (ENS)

Today marks the second anniversary of the blowout of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that claimed the lives of 11 workers and unleashed the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

At the time of the explosion, BP was using the Deepwater Horizon to drill an exploratory well at a water depth of approximately 5,000 feet in the Macondo Prospect, located about 41 miles off the Louisiana coast.

At 9:45 pm local time, on April 20, 2010, methane gas from the well 18,000 feet below the sea floor expanded into the drilling riser and caught fire. Flames engulfed the drilling rig, which burned for 36 hours before sinking.

The well ruptured, releasing about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf over a three month period before it was capped on July 19. The well was finally sealed on September 19, 2010.

In October 2011, a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that dolphins and whales were dying at twice the normal rate. In March, a NOAA study found that bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana are sick after coming in contact with oily waters from the BP spill.

Earlier this month, scientists reported finding large numbers of mutated crab, shrimp and fish they believe to be the result of chemicals released during the oil spill and cleanup.

Tar balls continue to wash up along the Gulf coast two years after the spill began. Studies show the tar contains the deadly bacteria Vibrio vulnificus.

Fishing and tourism businesses across the Gulf were harmed and first responders as well as residents experienced health effects of petroleum exposure such as dizziness, vomiting, nausea, headaches, and chest pains.

On June 16, 2010, after meeting with President Barack Obama, BP executives agreed to create a $20 billion spill response fund.

To date, roughly 100,000 claims have been filed by individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill.

On Wednesday, BP announced that it has reached "definitive and fully documented agreements" with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee to resolve the "substantial majority" of eligible private economic loss and medical claims stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill.

Prior to the settlement, BP had spent more than $22 billion toward meeting its commitments in the Gulf. BP has paid out more than $8.1 billion to individuals, businesses and government entities. In addition, Dudley says, BP has spent approximately $14 billion on its operational response.

In addition, President Barack Obama established the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling to identify the root causes of the incident and make recommendations to restore the Gulf and to prevent similar incidents in the future.

In its report, the Commission found that BP had not sacrificed safety in favor of making money, but that some decisions had increased risks on the rig.

This week, the Commission members, volunteering their time, issued a followup report on progress made in fulfilling its recommendations.

Under the name Oil Spill Commission Action, the Commission members gave the Obama administration a grade of "B," the oil industry a grade of "C+," and Congress a grade of "D."

"Overall, we conclude that, although much more needs to be done, the administration and industry are undertaking important enhancements to make offshore drilling safer and to improve the nation's ability to respond to oil spills that may occur," said Oil Spill Commission Action. "Unfortunately, so far, Congress has provided neither leadership nor support for these efforts."

BP has settled with private parties on their claims but, as Oil Spill Commission Action released its assessment on April 17, settlement negotiations with government were still unresolved.

A key Commission recommendation was to dedicate 80 percent of all assessed Clean Water Act penalties to the long-term restoration of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. The Commission suggested that such a dedication could result either from Congressional action or a court settlement of claims against the responsible parties.