2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill
In early June 2010, with oil continuing to gush from the British Petroleum-operated well in the Gulf of Mexico and seeming inaction – or at least less-than-definitive action – on the part of BP and authorities, Edward James Olmos headed to the Gulf and coastal communities to get a look at the situation firsthand.
While there, Mr. Olmos was interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper and produced a short documentary film (The Short Film BP Doesn't Want You To See) on the then-nearly two-month-old spill and its impact on the region. The film was made in conjuction with Robert Young, a frequent collaborator with Mr. Olmos, and was subsequently published on YouTube accompanied by the following message and plea from Mr. Olmos:
"Robert Young and I jumped on a plane and went to the Gulf of Mexico just to lend our support by documenting what we saw...
"Well, the people that we met took up all of our time. It was brutal! I was not ready for the human aspect because no one had prepared me for it.
"I thought they would be angry. They are devastated.
"Take a look at this video and see for yourself. People are afraid to talk and you will learn why watching this...
"Please pass it on, recommend it.
"If you feel like doing something, just go down there (anywhere on the Gulf) and support by spending time and energy in the region.
"They need our support. Thank you for Caring."
As an outspoken proponent for the environment, Mr. Olmos, along with dozens of other celebrities, also took part in the CNN/Larry King Live telethon for the Gulf, helping to raise $1.8 million dollars to aid those affected by the spill.
The Deepwater Horizon Spill is said to be "the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry." The spill began following an explosion aboard the drilling rig on April 20, 2010, that left 11 men dead and more than a dozen injured.
The well was eventually capped in mid-July 2010 after more than 4.9 million barrels of oil – roughly 185 million gallons – was released into the warm Gulf waters off the coast of Louisiana. Around mid-September 2010, the federal government finally said the well was "effectively dead."
Sadly, though, the spill continues to wreak havoc on the ecosystem along the Gulf, as well as the fishing and tourism trades. Tar balls were found as recently as November 2010 and more than 320 miles of Lousiana coastline has been affected by the spill. Roughly 665 miles of coastline has been affected in total.