The Oil Spill the World Forgot

Shell OilAs the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to dominate headlines around the world, public outrage is being focused more intensely upon BP and its gaffe-prone CEO Tony Hayward. But amidst this crisis, the public should not forget the atrocities committed by other massive oil companies. For example, Royal Dutch Shell's drilling operations have been spilling oil into the Niger Delta in Nigeria since 1958. Because Nigeria is an impoverished nation and oil revenues fund a majority of government operations, Shell and other companies have been able to drill and pollute without serious oversight for all these years. It is estimated that 13 million barrels of oil have spilled into the delta, making life even more difficult for the region's destitute residents. Shell blames the constant spills on attacks from "rebels," who are in fact minority ethnic groups who feel they have been exploited and displaced by foreign oil companies. But Shell would never consider pulling out of the region or finding ways to avoid ethnic strife. Instead, Shell has proceeded with business as usual, and spilled a record 14,000 tons of crude oil into the delta last year.

Different Continent, Different Story

While Shell has allowed oil spills to become the norm in Nigeria, it tries to appear as a compassionate and environmentally-conscious company to the American public. To assist with the Gulf cleanup efforts, Shell has lent six vessels to BP. This morning, Shell president Marvin Odum told a Congressional panel that it's offshore drilling operations were safe and the BP oil spill is an aberration. In addition, Mr. Odum argued that the six-month moratorium on deep water drilling will create too many hardships for the American people. Mr. Odum and the rest of Shell know that they must seem concerned for the well-being of the American public and the environment if they want to receive permission to drill in American waters. But in Nigeria, where the people are poor and powerless and the government is corrupt, Shell does not have to make such an effort. Anyone who looks at the devastation of the Niger Delta can see that Shell is concerned with its bottom line above all else.  


Make up your mind. Do you want the federal government regulating the banks to prevent casino style gambling with federally guaranteed FDIC protected deposits; or do you want no FDIC, so when banks gamble with your deposits, if they lose - you lose your deposits; or do you want tax dollars protecting your deposits and then paying for their gambling losses; or do you want there to be regulations against risky investments with federally Insured accounts? Make up your mind - government hands off or not. Do you want the government regulating the oil industry which may raise the cost of fuel/energy but protect the environment or will you whine about that? Do you want the government to employ experts, research, develop and require legitimate safety plans which also costs money or will you whine about that? Do you want cheap fossil fuels and all their subsequent consequences and costs or not? Make up your mind - government hands off or not. It has been NOT for quite some time a la Reagan and friends "government IS the problem" The deregulation frenzy and evisceration of oversight brought us the likes of Enron, the financial meltdown, the BP spill just to mention a few. Make up your mind - government hands off or NOT and then live with (and hopefully learn from) the consequences of that choice without whining.

that leak should have been plugged a long time ago, it shows how much people know about stopping this.

We are in Florida on the east coast. We are not concerned with the oil until it reaches the gulf stream. But; our friends live on the west coast and are already dealing with tar balls on the beaches. BP should have dealt with this quicker. Now we have to wait and the shops and beaches are not as crowded as in the past even though there is no oil on the east coast.

I am in Florida on the east coast and we are preparing for the oil - if it comes. The indiactions from scientists are that the oil 'will' reach the gulf stream and then we will have even bigger problems because the whold state will have oil on the beaches. Of course there is the threat of hurricanes which usually for in the gulf and that would push the oil everwhere. BP should have acted much quicker and shuld be paying the residents of the gulf states who are lossing their jobs and livelyhoods. All we can do is sit and wait. It's sort of like watching paint dry; but more nerve wracking.

Typical, when it affects the rich countries everyone is up in arms - we forget that we are constantly causing the same damage elsewhere, out of sight, out of mind. Learn lessons and punish the people involved.

Typical, when it affects the rich countries everyone is up in arms - we forget that we are constantly causing the same damage elsewhere, out of sight, out of mind. Learn lessons and punish the people involved.

it's way to easy for them to blame the people .. they say that the oil companies are the ones who sabotage themselves in order to cover up their messes and it's not illogical to think so, but it would be illogical to think that the citizens are purposely making more oil spill. we must not let them manipulate us and even if it were true, they should simply get their butt's out of there !!

The underlying problem lies with the lobbying power of the Oil cartels and of political grandstanding. In the US, if Obama had not responded the way he did, he would surely have suffered at the midterm elections. However, his rhetoric has possibly been very heavy-handed causing an enormous dip in BP's share price. At the end of the day, this was an act of political grandstanding. On the other end of the spectrum, the lobbying power of the oil firms operating in Africa is so immense that you would never hear of the crimes committed by Shell in Nigeria. Furthermore, the oil rich Delta region has a governor who is facing corruption charges for embezzling millions of dollars of state funds!

It's amazing how there always seems to be different standards when it comes to Africa. For some reason Africa is forgotten about and no-body cares. But if it's North America then it's a tragedy. I hope lessons will be learned from this spill.

This is very tragic, we need to make actions about this to prevent it from happening again. Let's help together to save mother earth.