Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kevin Costner to Save the Day?

This has got to be one of the weirdest stories out there this week. You know that BP has made a big mess in the Gulf of Mexico, they have halfheartedly tried different things to stop the leak and clean up the rapidly-expanding mess, nothing is working, there is a lot more oil than they're saying, etcetera. Unfortunately we live in a time when a disaster of this proportion, and the corporate unaccountability that attends it, is just another news story. That's just how it is.

It seems possible that this mess will be cleaned up by the last person you'd expect: Kevin Costner.
Film star Kevin Costner is joining the ranks of scientists, engineers, and lawmakers in an international effort to figure out how to contain and clean up oil streaming into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 210,000 gallons a day.

Mr. Costner appeared in New Orleans last week to demonstrate a $24 million oil extraction device he is pitching to BP and Coast Guard officials. Costner says the device will clean oil from the water at a rate of 97 percent. BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Wednesday that his team will test the device next week.

Costner’s involvement in helping solve oil spill crises is not new. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska motivated the actor to help fund a consortium of scientists to develop technology that mitigates oil-infected water before it hits the coast. The technology is ready to combat the BP spill, he told reporters last week. Kevin Costner oil spill cleanup idea interests BP

Waterworld and the Exxon Valdez incident got him interested in these things, and he has been quietly investing in this technology ever since.

A little more...
“It's not anymore about talk," Costner told WWL-TV in New Orleans. “It's about doing the walk, and that phrase was probably invented down here.”

Costner’s company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, provides multiple machines designed to address spills of different sizes. The largest can clean as many as 200 gallons per minute, Costner said. The company reports it has 20 such machines ready to be employed.

“The machines are basically sophisticated centrifuge devices that can handle a huge volume of water and separate [the oil] at unprecedented rates,” Ocean Therapy Solutions CEO John Houghtaling said last week.

Costner said the machines work by drawing in the infested water where it then breaks it down, allowing the oil to discharge through a separate pipe. His audience, a gathering of local parish presidents, appeared eager to get the device to the Gulf.

The only thing I can think of that is nearly this strange is Doobie Brothers guitar player Skunk Baxter advising the US military on missile defense. I am glad that some Hollywood gazillionaire like Kevin Costner can do his do-gooder thing in his private time for decades, and then when it is needed, there he is. You didn't know he'd spent twenty four million dollars on technology to clean oil out of water, nobody really knew, he just did it. Maybe there are actually good people out there.


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