The Best Writing on the BP Oil Spill

best BP oilspill journalism photo
Photo: Wilson Bilkovich/Creative Commons
What We Read and Learned from The Deepwater Horizon Disaster
A year ago today, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and setting off a chain of events that would eventually become the worst oil spill in the history of the United States. In order to better remember this terrible disaster and remind us of the lessons we should have learned in the aftermath, we're building a list of the best writing about the BP oil spill. Below is a start to that list, but I hope you will help us expand it by suggesting your own additions. Some of the best pieces of journalism are visual, and we'll gladly accept a photo or video suggestion, whether it's an early report from just days after the initial explosion, an update from months into the cleanup process, or a great overview from just this week. Post submissions as a comment below, on Twitter with the hashtag #OilSpillJournalism or email me at chris at treehugger dot com to suggest an additional link to add. We'll update the list as new submissions are received.

The Best Writing on the BP Oilspill

Abrahm Lustgarten, "Chemicals Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Present New Environmental Concerns." ProPublica, April 30, 2011.

Joseph Romm, "Is BP's remedy for the spill only making it worse?" Salon, May 5, 2010.

Greg Palast, "Slick Operator: The BP I've known too well." Truthout, May 5, 2010.

David Biello, "Slick Solution: How Microbes Will Clean Up the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill" Scientific American, May 7, 2010.

John McQuaid, "Anatomy of the BP Oil Spill: An Accident Waiting to Happen." Yale Environment 360, May 10, 2010.

Ariel Schwartz, "Former Shell Oil Chief, Engineer: Supertankers Could Save the Gulf, So Why Won't BP Listen?" Fast Company, May 13, 2010.

Elizabeth Kolbert, "Oil Shocks: BP and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill." The New Yorker, May 31, 2010.

Marian Wang, "Former Valdez Cleanup Worker Warns of Toxic Dangers in the Gulf." ProPublica, June 4, 2010.

Karl Tate, "Infographic: Tallest Mountain to Deepest Ocean Trench." Our Amazing Planet, June 7, 2010.

Tim Dickinson, "The Spill, The Scandal and the President." Rolling Stone Magazine, June 8, 2010.

Ariel Schwartz, "Read This Before You Volunteer to Clean Up the BP Oil Disaster." Fast Company, June 8, 2010.

David Roberts, "Retrofitting 75,000 houses would save as much energy as in the Gulf spill." Grist, June 15, 2010.

Christie Wilcox, "Reflections on the Gulf Oil Spill - Conversations With My Grandpa." Science Blogs: Observations of a Nerd, June 15, 2010.

Alex Steffen, "Seeing Past the BP Spill." Worldchanging, June 16, 2010.

Joe Romm, "Conservatives to Obama: Leave BP alone!" Climate Progress, June 17, 2010.

David Biello, "Is Using Dispersants on the BP Gulf Oil Spill Fighting Pollution with Pollution?" Scientific American, June 18, 2010.

Sean Flynn, "BOOM." GQ Magazine, July 2010.

Ben Jervey, "How Much Oil Spilled in the Gulf? Less than Six Hours' Worth." GOOD, July 21, 2010.

Jeff Goodell, "The Poisoning." Rolling Stone, July 21, 2010.

Mac McClelland, "Mainstream Media Helps BP Pretend There's No Oil." Mother Jones, July 28, 2010.

Philippe Cousteau, "Dispatches from the Oil Spill." TreeHugger, May 24 - July 29, 2010

Brian Merchant, "Why the BP Spill Hasn't Invigorated Environmentalism." TreeHugger, July 29, 2010.

Brooke Jarvis, "A Crisis of Democracy: Riki Ott on Real Solutions to the BP Oil Spill." YES! Magazine, August 23, 2010.

Julia Whitty, "The BP Cover-Up." Mother Jones, Sept./Oct. 2010.

Jennifer Washburn, "Big Oil Goes to College." Center for American Progress, October 14, 2010.

Abrahm Lustgarten, "Furious Growth and Cost Cuts Led To BP Accidents Past and Present." ProPublica, October 24, 2010.

Terry Tempest Williams, "The Gulf Between Us." Orion Magazine, Nov/Dec 2010.

David Barstow, "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours." The New York Times, December 2010.


National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, "Final Report." OILSPILLCOMMISSION.GOV, January 12, 2011.

Riki Ott, "Diary of a Disaster: 6 Months in the Gulf." YES! Magazine, January 11, 2011.

Farron Cousins, "What Was Missing From the Oil Spill Commission's Report." DeSmogBlog, January 14, 2011.

Janet Raloff, "Gulf Floor Fouled By Bacterial Oil Feast." Science News, February 20, 2011.

Bryan Walsh, "A New Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico--and Insight into the Causes of the Old Spill." TIME, March 23, 2011.

Story Corp, "Stories From the Gulf." NRDC, Bridge the Gulf, Planet Green, April 2011. (DVR alert: Watch on Planet Green, Saturday, April 23rd at 2:30 pm e/p.)

Kate Sheppard, ""Safety" Bonuses for Deepwater Horizon Rig Owner?" Mother Jones, April 4, 2011.

Antonia Juhasz, "BLACK TIDE: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill." April 2011.

Chris Kromm, ""WHAT SPILL? Congress has done 'virtually nothing' to address issues raised by BP disaster." The Institute for Southern Studies, April 11, 2011.

Rep. Ed Markey, "Opinion: Safety helps energy independence." Politico, April 15, 2011.

Rocky Kistner, "Gulf Residents: Please Take our Dolphins and Turtles Away." Switchboard, from NRDC, April 14, 2011.

Suzanne Goldenberg, "Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill." The Guardian, April 15, 2011.

Katie Howell, "A Year After BP's Oil Spill, Congress Sits Idly By." The New York Times, April 15, 2011.

Craig Pittman, Sick fish suggest oil spill still affecting gulf." St. Petersburg Times, April 17, 2011.

Campell Robertson & John Schwartz, "Victims of Gulf Oil Spill Feel Caught in Legal Limbo." The New York Times, April 18, 2011.

Daniel J. Weiss & Valeri Vasquez, "Fossil Fuels: A Legacy of Disaster." Center for American Progress, April 19, 2011.

Kate Sheppard, "10 Reasons to Still Be Pissed Off About the BP Disaster." Mother Jones, April 19, 2011.

Eric Niller, "BP Oil Spill Anniversary: Where Are We Now?" Discovery News, April 19, 2011.

Brian Handwerk, "Gulf Oil Spill Surprises: 6 Things Experts Got Wrong." National Geographic, April 19, 2011.

Editorial page staff, "The Deepwater Horizon's first victims were our people: An editorial." The Times-Picayune, April 20, 2011.

Dahr Jamail, "BP's criminal negligence exposed." Al Jazeera English, April 20, 2011.

Rep. Ed Markey, "One year after the BP oil spill, drilling is no safer." Grist, April 20, 2011.

Jessica Marshall, "BP-Like Spill in Arctic Would Be Disastrous." Discovery News, April 20, 2011.

Jeff Donn, "3,200 Gulf wells unplugged, unprotected." The Associated Press, April 20, 2011.

Brian Merchant, "The BP Gulf Spill Was Our Fault, and We're Going to Do it Again." The Utopianist, April 20, 2011.

Sue Sturgis, "Poisoned in the Gulf." Institute for Southern Studies, April 20, 2011.

Allie Wilkinson, "Guest Blog: Seafood At Risk: Dispersed Oil Poses a Long-Term Threat" Scientific American, April 20, 2011.

How to Submit an Article
This is a working list, so please suggest other pieces of journalism that should be added using one of the following methods.

Twitter: Tweet @TreeHugger with a link to your suggestion and include the hashtag #OilSpillJournalism
Comment: Leave a comment below.
Email: Send a link to chris at treehugger dot com

I want to note that this post format is inspired by a list Kevin Kelly built and curated called The Best Magazine Articles Ever, which is remarkable and worth bookmarking. We thank Kevin for giving us his permission in putting this spin on his idea!

And thanks to everyone reading that will submit articles for your help in curating this important collection of historically significant and inspiring writing!

Like this post? Follow me (@ChrisTackett) on Twitter.

The Best Writing on the BP Oil Spill
Photo: Wilson Bilkovich/Creative CommonsWhat We Read and Learned from The Deepwater Horizon DisasterA year ago today, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and setting off a chain of events that would