Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors April 21. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon's 126 person crew.

Crude oil drilling is an everyday phenomenon in the fossil-fuel driven world we live in. In the 21st century, we obviously need fossil fuel energy, a source of energy that is readily available and quite cost-effective. However, the drilling of crude oil can be accompanied by devastating environmental consequences – crude oil spills. The effect on marine life by crude oil spills can thus not be understated. The world has seen quite a lot of oil spills, but could the worst of them be the BP Oil Spill that occurred in 2010? Scientists seem to think so. They are backed by a survey that estimates the economic effects of the spill to be worth a whopping 17.2 billion dollars.

One might therefore ask how this survey came about. The survey was set up by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency commissioned 18 researchers to look into the damage caused by the oil spill in monetary terms one month after the spill had occurred. The survey was also to be the first-ever natural resource survey.

The researchers went about their survey by interviewing American Adults telling them the circumstances of the oil spill. They then proposed a program where they told their subjects to place a one-time tax payment for prevention of similar future occurrences. Approximately 53% of the respondents supported a $15 tax increase while 44% supported a $65 tax increase if the oil spills had a minimal amount of injuries. This, however, went up to 57% for the former and 49% for the latter respondents if significant number of injuries were caused by the spill.

The researchers thus concluded a payment of $153 could be paid by the respondents and thus calculated 17.2 billion dollars worth of damage caused by the oil spill. BP was fined $4.52 billion dollars by the Justice Department which was agreed to by BP. BP, however, in July, 2015, agreed to a 18.7 billion dollars settlement, the largest corporate settlement in history.

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