Today the Coast Guard set fire to parts of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico to prevent the Deepwater Horizon rig's spill from drifting closer to Louisiana. A Slate Explainer points out that the oil recovered from the leaking oil well (at a rate of 42,000 gallons per day 5,000 barrels per day) off of the Louisiana coast can still be used. But one question that has yet to be answered* (and in fairness, to be asked): does BP still owe royalties to taxpayers for any of their natural resources that have been spilled and/or burned? Does it matter that BP opposed stricter safety rules for offshore drilling? Or that Food and Water Watch has raised concerns about the potential for a similar disaster, based on the allegations of "a whistleblower and former company contractor" that another platform "has been operating without a large percentage of the engineer-approved documents needed for it to operate safely"?
The Associated Press reports that industry officials have said that replacing the Deepwater Horizon will cost $700 million, and that BP is paying $6 million a day to contain the spill, and there are predictions that the cost of the disaster could easily exceed $1 billion. We don't yet know what the costs will be taxpayers. The Interior Department and Homeland Security Department announced a full investigation into the Deepwater Horizon rig incident yesterday.
-- Mandy Smithberger
*Okay, I'm well aware that I'm probably one of the only people with this question.