It has been a long time coming for residents and business owners in the panhandle of Florida. Governor Rick Scott just signed a bill to distribute the money handed over from BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill back in 2010. It has been seven long years of waiting for some. This wasn’t entirely Governor Scott’s fault, though as Florida only received its first payment from BP about a year ago. The money has been held up in the Florida State Senate for about a year since. That could have been prevented by public officials and Governor Scott, but better late than never. Florida wasn’t originally considered to be highly affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. In reality, a large portion of Floridians were affected by this oil spill. Fishermen from around the state lost money and their life’s work. Not to mention all the spoiled fish and oil remnants that even washed up on Southwest Florida beaches. Tar balls were reported as far south as the Florida Keys.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Credit to Business Insider

A Refresher On The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Back on April 20th, 2010 the disaster began when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig suffered an explosion which killed eleven people and injured a few more. The fires were not put out for weeks and it is not considered the biggest oil spill in history. Numerous investigations were done and all of them found BP guilty of not maintaining this oil rig properly. It was at this point that BP was fined by the U.S Government for relief money to aid people, businesses, and to clean up the overall mess.

Cause & Effect

Since the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico has suffered in many ways. Fishermen find large dead areas containing no marine life whatsoever. With that said, it has killed and still kills a lot of marine life from the petroleum leftovers still in the ocean waters. It could take centuries, not decades for nature to repair itself with our help. Though BP agreed to pay 18.7 million dollars in damages for their reckless negligence and reckless conduct in 2015… Money certainly can’t fix everything. Florida is getting about 2 billion dollars of that money. The problem is that said amount may not be enough for a full recovery for businesses and homeowners on the coast, much less the environment.

The families of those who died certainly won’t think that any amount of money is enough. BP was federally charged with eleven counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanor charges, and a felony charge of lying to U.S Congress. It was also made to comply with four years of government monitoring. Sadly, this is all a little too late for the eleven who died and the health of the Gulf of Mexico waters.

How Are Coral Reefs Impacted?

An oil spill is bad for marine life in general but it is far worse for coral reefs. Oil can travel great distances in the ocean on top of that. A small amount of oil can destroy the ecosystem of any coral reef, big or small. Coral reefs in the early stages of existence are especially impacted by such an event. They are far more sensitive and fragile. A middle-aged coral reef will fare the best but that isn’t saying much. An old coral reef will not do too much better than a young coral reef. How does this happen? Oil on the surface can easily drift down onto coral and suffocate it slowly. For us, it would be like breathing but not getting any oxygen. Oil washing ashore is another matter entirely, and that is even bad for beach goers.

Ultimately, it would be far better just to avoid oil spills altogether. To this day there is evidence that the oil pipe head may still be leaking a little. The wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is definitely still leaking some oil. This honestly couldn’t be worse news for this region of marine life. Whether you are for or against drilling for oil in the ocean, the one thing everyone can agree on is this; if it is going to happen, then better safety protocols need to be followed at all times. It is safer for our oceans, us and oddly.. even the profit margin. You can safely assume that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is not one that anyone will soon forget, even seven years later.