12 years later, BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster still reverberates

Media Contacts
Luke Metzger

Executive Director, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center

AUSTIN, Texas – BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded nearly 12 years ago on April 20, 2010. The largest oil spill in American history, the disaster ultimately poured 4 million barrels – or 168  million gallons – of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, killing sea turtles, birds, a record number of dolphins and more. The damage endured, as wildlife populations crashed in the years following the disaster. 

Twelve years later, the Biden administration is due to release a new offshore drilling plan before the nation’s current oil and gas leasing program expires later this year. To prevent disasters such as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, environmental groups are calling on the administration to put forward a plan with no new leasing. 

In response to the anniversary of the BP oil spill, Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger said: 

“Twelve years after the searing BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Gulf Coast remains scarred and the region’s ecosystems have yet to make a full recovery. As we remember the oil-covered wildlife and beaches, it’s a tragic reminder of why we need to avoid offshore drilling, which puts us at risk of another catastrophic spill.

“It would be nice to think that the Deepwater Horizon disaster was a unique or freak occurrence, but sadly, it wasn’t. Simply put, the offshore drilling industry has a dangerous track record: When they drill, they spill. Just last year, the spill off the coast of Southern California near Huntington Beach provided another stark and dark reminder that oil is dirty, dangerous, and can make our air and water too toxic for life. Hurricane Ida triggered dozens of oil spills once again in the Gulf of Mexico. All told, there are hundreds of spills in American waters every year, and while many are small, they add up. 

“The risks of drilling in our ocean and Gulf waters are huge, and the alternatives to oil are too abundant for us to tolerate these threats. The Biden administration is due to issue a new five-year offshore drilling plan. We urge the administration to use this opportunity to chart a better course by rejecting all new offshore oil leasing in the new plan.”