For 87 agonizing days during the spring and summer of 2010, “the worst environmental disaster in American history” released torrents of Louisiana sweet crude from the Macondo well into the Gulf of Mexico. "Yet three years later, the BP disaster has been largely forgotten, both overseas and in the U.S.," says Hertsgaard. "Popular anger has cooled. The media have moved on."
"Such collective amnesia may seem surprising, but there may be a good explanation for it: BP mounted a cover-up that concealed the full extent of its crimes from public view. This cover-up prevented the media and therefore the public from knowing—and above all, seeing—just how much oil was gushing into the gulf. The disaster appeared much less extensive and destructive than it actually was."
Hertsgaard focuses on BP's use of Corexit, the “dispersant” substance used to break up the oil, which is thought to have sickened hundreds of cleanup workers and local residents, damaged gulf wildlife and ecosystems, and helped conceal the true extent of the disaster.