The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the Death of Ethics Essay

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On April 20, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded off the coast of Louisiana. The explosion was so powerful that it sent a fireball into the sky that was visible from as far as thirty-five miles away. Eleven workers were killed and seventeen injured in what became the largest offshore oil spill in United States history. Approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil was spilled out of the Macondo Prospect well and into the environmentally sensitive Gulf of Mexico. The disaster of the Deepwater Horizon can be relevantly compared to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant partial core meltdown, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger or the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion. All of these disasters were not the result of one mistake …show more content…
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) was a section of the Department of the Interior. The MMS was officially created on January 19, 1982, during the administration of President Ronald Regan. The Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, was instrumental in the creation of the MMS. In reaction to the ongoing instability in the Middle East and the ever-present state of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the United States government was seeking ways for Americans to produce their own energy sources. Secretary Watt designated the MMS as the agency responsible for executing two missions under the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982. The MMS was tasked with the job of regulating and permitting the offshore oilrigs and oil companies. The Offshore Energy and Minerals Management program of the MMS was responsible for regulating the production of offshore natural gas and oil. The program was responsible for the “development of the 5-year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing program to ensure that leasing, exploration, development and production was conducted in a safe and environmentally sound manner”. (Department of the Interior) In addition to overseeing offshore oil production, the MMS was charged with a second and highly lucrative assignment of leasing federal mineral rights on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and collecting revenue from oil companies from those leases. Through the Minerals Revenue Management program, the MMS distributed

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