It has been 5 years since the DeepWater Horizon Drilling Rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico causing the Oil Disaster that changed the lives of many forever. On this tragic anniversary we want to remember the 11 men whose lives were lost on April 20, 2010. We hope that their families and loved ones have found some sense of peace since their passing.
Since the spill, LEAN’s work has focused on the human health impacts of the BP Disaster and even now, five years later, many people feel their health impacts continue and have gone unaddressed. Below is a small collection of current sentiments from Gulf Coast residents.
Its been 5 years and things have only gotten worse. People in my community are dying and some have died. What happened to the Medical clinics? What happened to the physicians? It was all just a big PR show. Living here you have to learn how to live sick.
Kindra Arnesen – wife of commercial fisherman, mother and coastal Louisiana resident
The Gulf is still sick. Everything that lives in it is still sick. The people that make a living in the Gulf are still sick. Yet BP claims it is recovered . Question is: Have they told the truth yet?
Captain George Barisich – President United Commercial Fishermen’s Association, Board Member of La. shrimp Association
I kept away from the beach for the last 5 years. I decided to take my family to Orange Beach this year. After I swam in the water, my family became ill. I found tar balls all over the beach. My wife got hives, my daughters had swollen eyes and I got rashes and became very ill. BP has changed my life and my families life forever.
Jorey Danos – oil spill clean up worker
I feel betrayed by NOAA and the Federal Government. I feel abandoned by my state and local government. I am diving and still seeing oil in oysters,crabs and sea foam . We don’t know anymore then we did in 2005
Scott Porter – Professional Diver and Environmental Forensic Biologist, Eco-Rigs
BP would have the public believe that all is well, the Gulf has recovered, and that the company’s recklessness will leave no long-term scars. We all hope that this will be the case, but unfortunately we have no idea what the long-term impact of the BP spill will be. Like cancer, it takes years to show itself. We can only wish that BP’s response was nearly as good as its public relations effort. Unfortunately it has not been. Even in regard to the short-term impact, even today some of the most direct victims of the spill have received little or nothing from BP.
John M. Barry – Author, Historian, New Orleans resident
The past five years have been full of challenges and hopefully some progress. As a reminder of the human suffering caused by this disaster, here are two short but powerful video testimonials recorded in 2011 of individuals who suffered health impacts from the events of the BP Oil Disaster:
Below are just a few of the efforts LEAN has been involved with since the beginning of the oil spill:
On June 14, 2010, LEAN published the health warnings related to exposure to Louisiana sweet crude oil and dispersants: Health Impacts Associated with Dispersants and Louisiana Sweet Crude
On May 24, 2011, LEAN and 153 other signees sent a letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) demanding the health crisis in the Gulf be addressed: 154 Environmental, Fishing, Chemical Reform, and Community Groups Demand Public Health Attention in the Wake of the BP Oil Disaster
On April 20, 2012, LEAN releases a report outlining the health impacts reported by Gulf Coast residents: Results of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) Survey of the Human Health Impacts Due to the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster
As many individuals became ill and were receiving no relief, LEAN partnered with Dr. Mike Robichaux in an effort to address the growing health concerns along the Gulf. Hear Dr. Mike describe his experiences in dealing with this situation in this video released on May 2, 2012: Dr Michael Robichaux speaks about Gulf Coast Detoxification Project
On August 6, 2012, LEAN and a coalition of many other groups filed a suit in an effort to ensure the safe use of dispersants in accordance with the Clean Water Act: Conservation, Wildlife, and Health Groups Seek Dispersant Rulemaking File Clean Water Act lawsuit against lagging EPA
On April 19, 2013, the Government Accountability Project(GAP) partnered with LEAN to release an extraordinarily important report outlining the health impacts of the BP Oil Disaster: Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups?
On April 22, 2013 LEAN, along with many other signees, sent a letter to EPA, OSHA, CDC, NIOSH, HHS and NAS once again outlining the health crisis in the Gulf and demanding it be addressed: 3 Years After the BP Spill and We Are Still Sick
Additionally, LEAN engaged in an extensive sampling effort following the BP Oil disaster. This effort and the growing health concerns documented by LEAN ultimately helped to inspired the creation of the Gulf Coast Health Alliance: Health Risks Related to the Macondo Spill (GC-HARMS). GC-HARMS is a 5 year, NIEHS funded collaborative research project utilizing community-based participatory research(CBPR). This on-going effort is a collaborative response to characterizing environmental health risks and building community resiliency after the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Learn more about GC-HARMS here: https://leanweb.org/issues/gc-harms-update-september-2013/ More updates coming soon.