Sunday, May 30, 2010

Terrible News From the Gulf

From the NYT:
In another serious setback in the effort to stem the flow of oil gushing from a well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers said Saturday that the “top kill” technique had failed and, after consultation with government officials, they had decided to move on to another strategy. BP Prepares to Take New Tack on Leak After ‘Top Kill’ Fails

BTW, it is fascinating to watch the live feed from the bottom of the Gulf, which you can see on a post several down beneath this one. Sometimes you can see the robotic arms working, trying something, machinery moving around the jets of oil, sometimes it's just a constant gush of black oil into the cold saltwater. This is a terrible disaster that should shape American political philosophy for decades to come. You can't let corporations regulate themselves, because they exist only for profits. You can't treat them as people, because they are not personally accountable. You can't trust them, because they will cut corners and save money whenever they can. After years of letting the oil companies make their own rules, you now discover that a foreign company has the ability to destroy a critical US ecosystem because our government became too weak to monitor the situation and government failed to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to take control. BP created this disaster, and nobody but BP can do anything about it.

This is a good time for "lower-taxes-smaller-government" libertarians to re-think their position. It's fine to point fingers at the President and say he's not doing enough, but not if you are constantly complaining that taxes are too high and government is too involved in business. Do you want what we have now, government as spectator, or do you want people you elect to be in control of the situation? Everybody wants government to stay out of our personal lives, everybody hates paying taxes, but most of us agree that a government should govern. The stories coming out about the Minerals Management Service are mind-boggling -- this disaster was inevitable.

Last night Rockville's Hometown Holidays main concert featured groups from Louisiana. I went to see Tab Benoit and was not disappointed, his three-piece band rocked. He took some time during his set to talk about the tragedy in the Gulf, and I'm sorry to say he was not sufficiently articulate. He had two big points to make. First, he said, the people who you think are in charge are not in charge. He said it was the same after Katrina, you think the government is running things but they aren't. Benoit said the people need to hold the government accountable, but in my opinion it sounded more like talk borne of desperation than a real plan. He also said that things along the coast are much worse than we realize. He urged people to go to Louisiana (maybe not the best idea) and see for themselves, he said the situation is much worse than what you see on the news. And I have the feeling he's right about that.

Oddly, BP and the US Coast Guard are stopping journalists who are trying to cover the situation. It is understandable that BP would want to control the public relations aspect of this mess, but the Coast Guard? This is a situation where you cannot trust the media, there is just too much money involved for them to be objective. Wikipedia says BP is the fourth largest company in the world, you can be sure a TV network will be careful in criticizing them. You can be sure their donations to politicians are well appreciated. You can be sure those poor people who live along the Gulf coast are going to suffer for a long time.


Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

We haven't allowed another nuclear reactor to be built since the Three Mile Island disaster and we will most likely not allow another deep sea well to be dug for at least that long. The oil industry needs to spend as much time and money developing safe and effective ways to seal leaks as they do digging wells at greater depths.

But more importantly, we need to wean ourselves off of our dependence on dirty fuels like oil and coal, and we need to develop safe and renewable sources of energy like the Nantucket Sound Wind Turbines. President Obama has already laid out plans and requested funding in his 2010 budget for more than $200 billion in clean-energy development.

May 30, 2010 12:54 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Yes, this is a perfect opportunity for BP Solar

May 30, 2010 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You've got to be kidding, Jim! BP shouldn't be on any list of potential recipients of federal money unless it's in the "NOT WORTHY" section IMHO.

I sincerely hope our government doesn't give BP *anything* another dime in tax breaks or any other source until BP caps their gusher and cleans up every drop of crude they have ever spilled.

May 30, 2010 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but they will pay almost the entire bill for solar panels bea, even though otherwise they would take ten years to recoup !

have you been to cape cod ? we drove up there and went camping.. it is gorgeous and the nantucket sound is gorgeous and I completely understand why folks would not want wind turbines there !

June 01, 2010 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I'm sure the residents of Dauphin Island, Alabama, Santa Barbara, California, and Grand Isle, Louisianna preferred their ocean views to be pristine too.

Unlike oil platforms, even if a windmill tips over into the ocean, there will not be a massive leak of oil to foul the shores.

June 03, 2010 9:25 AM  

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