BP Paper - Mitch McMichael Professor Schulze AEM 4140...

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Mitch McMichael Professor Schulze AEM 4140 Tuesday, November 21, 2011 The Leak That Will Be Remembered There are minimal decisions that we make today that will have very little affect on future generations. Although many catastrophic decisions are made quite frequently, very few of them have the ability to have any serious, long lasting effects on our society. While one might be quick to conclude that Hurricane Katrina and the following response was the most devastating event in the Gulf Coast in recent years, the BP oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig is a disaster that will affect this planet for generations to come. When Hurricane Katrina hit residents of the Gulf Coast the devastating effects were felt around the world, but with the events of the BP oil spill, its devastation will reach generations for years to come. The environmental impact of the millions of barrels of oil that poured into the ocean could devastate marine life mating patterns and have overwhelming effects on the food chain. Due to migration patterns, the effects could be felt on a global scale and there could be very real consequences of the largest oil spill and environmental disaster in United States history. The most unfortunate part of this devastating event is that it all could have been prevented. A series of poor decision-making is what ultimately led to all the proper factors being in place for the inevitable, ill-fated culmination to the Deepwater Horizon’s short-lived presence in the Gulf of Mexico. Several behavioral anomalies can be noted in the events leading up to and following the disaster in the many different parties associated with it. Substandard safety practices have been a characteristic of BP for a very long time. For example, the PBS Frontline documentary outlined several failings in the recent past that show a culture of greediness and disregard for safety. Another example, in their 2005 Texas City disaster they failed to heed several warning from different consulting firms and their own employees. They chose to use outdated and cheaper technology to save money, rather than install newer and more commonly used safety equipment. Unfortunately, this neglect to provide a safe environment to save $150,000 was the precursor to the deaths of fifteen people while injuring an additional 170 more. BP also had to pay over $1 billion in settlements and fines in the aftermath of the ensuing investigation. Furthermore, BP faced further fines from federal investigators after it was found that they did not improve safety procedures at the refinery. At the largest oil field in the country, BP faced even more scrutiny over an oil spill in the beautiful state of Alaska. Not long after the Texas City disaster, an oil leak was discovered coming from a corroded pipe on Alaska’s north slope. This leak can be directly linked to BP’s concern for its bottom line over safety and regulations. While the triple bottom line of profit, people, and planet is becoming more popular in today’s society, BP clearly neglected theirs. In an
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This note was uploaded on 01/08/2012 for the course AEM 4140 at Cornell.

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BP Paper - Mitch McMichael Professor Schulze AEM 4140...

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