Sunday, June 27, 2010

The oil "spill"

Controlled burn - helping
air pollution too!
I've avoided making any comment about the oil "spill" because I wanted to give all parties, especially British Petroleum, a fair chance to respond and act appropriately in the crisis.

But here we are, at day 70 - and a huge crisis it is, my friends. It's safe to say that it is the worst man-made disaster in history. All of us will be suffering the consequences for many decades (after all, we still haven't recovered from the >20-year-old Exxon Valdez spill).

The shitheads at BP clearly have no clue what to do now. It has become apparent that they were in no way prepared for a disaster like this. They decided years ago that accidents like this just simply "could not happen," and therefore there was no reason to spend their shareholders' dividends by investing in an appropriate disaster recovery plan. For shame! Even the papers they filed with the government were hideously out of date, much of the content copied from BP's Alaskan disaster in 2006 - how else does one explain the mention of walruses (yes, walruses!) in a disaster "plan" for the primarily equatorial Gulf of Mexico?!?! Walruses my ass! And what about listing a university professor in Miami as a contact in case of emergency - when the man died in 2005? And had retired many years before that? Come on. Let's get real here. [And, btw, for those who blame the government for not catching these anomalies: Get over it. There is no way that you can realistically expect government employees to spend time poring over these documents and checking out each and every detail - it's just not feasible.]

And to those who are trying to boycott BP gas stations:
  • You are destroying the small businesses that run the gas stations, and adding to your local unemployment situation. You are not hurting BP. Research this yourself - I'm not gonna bother educating you here.
  • But, even if you disagree with the above assertion, realize that if BP fails as a company, we are more screwed than ever - who's going to pick up the tab then? We are. While I hate to say it, it really is in our best interest to see that BP continues to be a viable company. That way, they will pay and we can punish them.

And how the hell can we call this a "spill?" Oil is gushing at an incredible rate at the bottom of the seabed, destroying the food chain from plankton all the way up to the wildlife on land. Spill my ass. A spill is something you mop up with a paper towel - preferably Bounty!

Kudos to Obama for making BP deposit $20bbn in escrow. While I very much doubt that that amount will cover the damage, it's at least a good start. It's not only a question of the ecological costs - there's the livelihoods of folks on the Gulf, the fact that the oil is going to spread across the Atlantic over to Europe and Africa, and on and on. Every single one of us is going to be impacted in some way, shape or form.

And, while I hate to say I told you so, when I saw this happen on day one I knew, just knew, that this would be horrendous. Sure as shit.


One silver lining: Maybe, just maybe, this is the wake-up call we need to finally start weaning ourselves off oil, and moving to greener, smarter energy alternatives. One can only hope.

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