BP Oil Spill

Courtesy Photo

More than two years after tar balls washed ashore on Gulf Coast beaches, then-President Barack Obama signed the RESTORE Act into law on July 6, 2012. 

Geoff Livingston/Flickr

In 2010, Grover Robinson was serving his year as chairman of the Escambia County Commission, and representing the district containing Pensacola Beach. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon exploded off Louisiana, killing 11 and sending crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

“I don’t think anybody in our part of the world really focused on it too much,” said Robinson. “We thought, ‘Hey, there’s something out there that’s not going to be that big of a deal and they’re going to get it taken care of.”

I still remember standing at Casino Beach in the late spring of 2010 as the ugly sheets of oil washed ashore from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It seemed incomprehensible that a rig accident 100 miles from Pensacola could shut down our beaches, our tourism industry and our sense that the Gulf of Mexico was so large, so resilient that even our worst efforts couldn’t tarnish it.

We were wrong, and the evidence was washing ashore in the gentle swells.

Opinion: Florida Cannot Afford Another Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Jun 17, 2020
NOAA

When BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010, one of us was governor of Florida. The other was a sixth-generation Floridian about to dedicate his career to protecting this state’s environment. Both of us were horrified to learn that 11 Americans lost their lives because of an offshore drilling disaster, and for months after oil gushed unchecked into our precious Gulf of Mexico.