The largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, British Petroleum’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico covered the news for months. From scientists to national guards, companies and people repeatedly failed to stop the oil spill for months. As millions of gallons of oil spilled into the ocean, the government continued to rely on BP to clean up the ocean and save the environment. However, BP consistently downplayed their responsibility every chance they could. After 5 months and 206 million gallons of gasoline, the gushing oil was finally contained.
How could we allow such a catastrophic event happen when we know the dangers of oil spills?
The catastrophic event caught millions of people’s attention all around the world. The public was outraged at the negligence and the ignorance of BP’s practices, before and during the cleanup. However, many people failed to investigate the larger picture. People neglected to consider deregulation of the oil industry and both Bushes and Obamas offices assigning ex-oil industry leaders in charge of the departments responsible for safeguarding the environment from oil drillings. This deregulation and conflicting leadership assignment allowed BP to ignore the lenient environmental laws that we did have, while also creating a culture at BP that surrounded profit. This culture caused BP to focus on consistently make profit and ignore the multiple warnings of the tragic oil spill that occurred. BP’s history is full of tragic oil spills that they chose not to learn from because they were only focused on profit and had no one regulating them making sure they adhere to environment laws.
Like Lehman Brothers, Walmart, Nike, Apple, BP focused on making profit over ethics. Even though BP’s history revels numerous oil spills and environmental ignorance, the government and people chose to ignore their behavior because they wanted to maintain the status quo. BP’s chose to act unethically by drilling in a risky place, ignoring mandatory policies and downplaying their responsibility throughout the spill. As a result, millions of gallons spilled into the Gulf killing thousands of fish and birds and causing many people to lose their jobs and land (ruined beaches). Overall, BP’s unethical behavior resulted in a catastrophic event that could have been prevented through government intervention and a change in culture at BP.