Deep Horizon Still Gushing

28 May


This photo was taken from an elevation of 3,500 feet. It shows the sheen of oil which indicates a column of oil 10 miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

The attempts to plug the Deep Horizon oil gusher has apparently been failing, and the 17-39 million gallons of oil that has already leaked into the Gulf of Mexico is getting worse.

While the rhetoric is moving on to a moratorium on offshore drilling for the next few months—”Until we can be sure that it’s safe.”—we wonder what it’s going to take to show people the insanity of the situation. This spill has already caused irreparable damage:
– 150 threatened or endangered sea turtles are dead along with 316 sea birds, mostly brown pelicans and northern gannets
– Gulf Coast wetlands are swamped in oil right now, and oil is likely to reach the Florida Keys, Cuba, the Everglades and so on.
– Humans are getting sick – particularly fishers – due to exposure to the toxic chemical dispersants that BP has dumped on the oil (in spite of pleas by the US to stop). These dispersants give animals brain lesions with prolonged exposure.

We are tempted to ask “How can people expect a moratorium to solve the problems of offshore risks? How can anyone talk about offshore drilling being “safe” ever again?” but this does not go deep enough. Several dozen offshore drilling permits have been granted since the declaration of a supposed moratorium by the President and Secretary of the Interior. The real question is, “How can people watch the television and believe anything that they are seeing/hearing out of this administration?

Cut back to the oil spill, where political and economic reactions have been predictable:
– Transocean, the company that owned the busted drill reported making a $270 million profit from insurance payouts after the disaster. They had insured it for twice its value, because they knew it was busted in the first place.
– BP’s new “Oil Spill Response Plan” is literally a copy&paste job from the Exxon Valdez plan, with no attention paid to the bioregion of the Gulf of Mexico—it even mentions seals and walruses!
– The Secretary of the Interior went ahead and fired the boss of the Minerals Management Services department that was overseeing offshore drilling regulation, fine. But he is replacing the guy with Bob Abbey, head of the infamous Bureau of Land Management whose heinous oversight of horses and burros has drawn the ire of pretty much every environmentalist on the planet.

As oil continues to flood into the Gulf, BP’s final idea is to shove a bunch of mud and cement into the broken pipe. This idea, originally conceived of by Homer Simpson, is their best idea? The only thing they can come up with after this is to put a tanker above the spill, and try to let it soak up the oil that comes out! As dreads move into hurricane season, some meteorologists fear a horrific storm surge of crude oil flooding major cities, and this is the best that the coordinated efforts of the world’s financial and political elites can do?

Actions and protests have already begun, challenging the stagnant businesses and officials at fault for this disaster and others like it. They will only intensify and grow as the oil continues to flow, and the country will be galvanized towards the struggle against the systems of pressure and oppression that destroy our environment. The more environmentalists can do to bring the discussion out on the streets and away from the corporate media, the better—we will prevail.

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