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With the oil spill in the gulf still acting as an unstoppable environmental disaster, who is to blame? This article will discuss several groups that have been identified as the cause of the spill.

People are filled with sorrow and outrage about the tragedy of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred April 20, 2010. With their outrage comes the question: Who is to blame? In this article we’ll take a look at various groups that have been assigned blame.

I will not take any sides in this argument and allow you, the readers to make your own decisions.

BP (British Petroleum)

BP has been blamed more than almost any other potential culprit in this oil spill. They are an easy target, as it was their oil well that caused this spill (leased from Transocean). BP has been called in the gas/oil industry what the blood diamond industry is called in the jewelery world. In other words, BP has been accused of doing what makes money first and what is right/safe second. It has also been reported by the staff of Deepwater Horizon that a BP executive made decisions on site prior to the spill that put the site in jeopardy. A supervisor on the site wanted to close the well off, but a BP executive who was on site said, “Well my process is different. And I think we’re gonna do it this way.” It showed a breakdown in the chain of command and BP overstepping their boundaries. An executive doesn’t know what is safe and what is not. That is not their job. Also, BP had ordered an increase in the speed of the drilling, which caused several problems. So, is BP to blame for this spill by overstepping their boundaries and putting profit before safety? Or, are they simply receiving blame due to being the owners, for lack of a better word, of this oil well?

Deepwater Horizon Staff

As I just mentioned, the Deepwater Horizon staff had been ordered to increase drilling as well as other such things that caused problems on the site. Although the orders came from a BP executive, the staff is arguably responsible for the decisions made. They always have the ability to say no. Also, when chunks of the seal (what’s used to stop a catastrophic blowout) were found in the drilling fluid a supervisor on site said to the man who brought forth this information said, “Oh, it’s no big deal.” This appears to be negligence at its worst. So, are the staff members of Deepwater Horizon to blame because of their poor decisions on the rig? Or, did they have no choice under the pressures of BP executives or did they even realize the dangers?

Obama Administration

President Obama has taken a lot of effort to show that the government will be working to help clean up this oil spill, but also that the cost of this spill will be paid by BP. However, there have also been rumors about a rise in taxes to pay for this spill. That is neither here no there however. Why should we blame President Obama and his administration? Obama’s administration has made no attempts to change the regulations or safety procedures of offshore oil drilling. It is the government’s job to regulate the practices used in offshore drilling, and the safety violations that were made on the Deepwater Horizon could have been taken care of had there been stricter legislation about offshore oil rigs. So, is the Obama administration to blame because they did not put forth any effort in better regulating offshore oil drilling? Or, is the administration simply receiving blame because the government is always the scapegoat?


Conservatives, as well as other select demographics, have recently been putting the blame for the oil spill on environmentalists. How can people who care so much for the environment be the the cause of this spill? Well, the thinking behind this is that because the environmentalists have made such a push against drilling in Alaska and other places in the U.S., offshore drilling has had to go deeper into the sea and been forced to step up production to accommodate the U.S.’s need for oil. In other words, the claim is that if environmentalists simply allowed for drilling in Alaska and certain nature preserves then the spill could have been averted. So, are the environmentalists to blame because they’ve forced the oil rigs deeper into the ocean and to more unsafe sites? Or, would the oil companies have drilled in the ocean anyway even if Alaska and other areas were being drilled at?

Bush Administration

A viewpoint most prevalent among democrats, some have placed blame for the oil spill on the previous administration. There are still many questions unanswered about the relationship that the Bush administration had with the oil companies. This has led some to believe that the Bush administration let many violations and issues simply slide by. So, did the Bush administration’s close relationship with the oil companies set up the events that caused the oil spill? Or, is the Bush administration simply falling victim to the blame because they are such a popular target due to many other accusations about their administration?

Oil Industry

A group that has had little blame in most media outlets, the oil industry is still being blamed by the average Americans. The industry is seen in a very negative light as a group seeking only profit, without any regard for the environment or the safety of its workers. People that blame the oil industry also blame BP because BP is part of the oil industry, however they place the blame on the organization as a whole, rather than on one particular piece. Some feel that the offshore oil drilling has gone too far and despite the new depths that are being exploited for oil, prices have still risen for oil. They are still below where they about a year ago, but they are slowing creeping back up. So, is the oil industry to blame for drilling so far out in the first place and creating an industry bent on profit without concern for long-term consequences? Or, are they simply a group of corporations that are seeking to meet the world’s need for oil, and this is an unfortunate accident?

America’s Morality

By far the least supported and most far-fetched claims, some religious groups have blamed America’s morality for the oil spill. They feel that this is divine punishment for America’s growing acceptance of gays, abortion, and other similar ideas/practices. So, is America’s morality to blame for the oil spill and is this divine punishment from God? Or, is this simply the deranged ravings of people who need to learn tolerance?

You Decide!

That’s all for now folks! I was a little opinionated here and there (especially on that last one), but I hope you gained some information from this article and know a bit more about the candidates to receive blame for the oil spill. Perhaps the blame falls a little on all of us? Well, that’s not for me to decide. Either way, feel free to comment and let me know who you think is to blame.

Oh, and here’s link to a very cool interview from 60 minutes with a man working on the Deepwater Horizon when the spill occurred.