Friday, June 11, 2010

Kill, Baby, Kill

Oil Duck

Back in the 2008 Presidential Election, Sarah Palin was a big fan of the phrase, "Drill, Baby, Drill." I wonder what her feelings on that are now, given the way the British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil disaster is currently destroying the Gulf states for decades, maybe even centuries to come. But Palin isn't in charge, Obama is, and the way he's handled the crisis really makes me question what side he's playing for. A Louisiana resident, Mac Rebennack, said it best, to New York Magazine:
“The thing is a damn crime scene. Who ever heard of the perpetrators getting to run their own crime scene?”
That's my question also. It's clear that pretty much everyone involved with the exploded oil rig cut corners, covered up safety issues, ignored warnings, and was pretty much incompetent. And nothing they've done to try to stop the spill has shown that they've learned their lesson:

-Initial BP estimates stated that the oil well was leaking 1,000 barrels a day. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the leak was likely 5,000 barrels. After the video of the leak was released, those estimates shot up... about 10 to 20 times. Certainly looks like BP was trying to downplay the size of the leak. They've repeatedly resisted attempts to allow scientists to more accurately measure the flow of oil. To go with Rebennack's metaphor, this is like a murderer telling the cops they can't examine the victim, but it's okay because the victim isn't really as dead as he seems.

-BP claimed that the chemical they're using to break up the oil in the water is perfectly safe. Biodegradable, non-toxic, absolutely no carcinogens. So of course the Environmental Protection Agency approved it. But there's just one little problem:
Despite [the seller of the dispersant's] claims that Corexit is safe, biodegradable, and free of carcinogens, it happens to contain substances that--you guessed it!--are dangerous, non-biodegradable, and carcinogenic.
This of course, despite the fact that safe chemicals have been around for decades. BP, saying poison is safe does not make it so!

-BP has announced publicly that they can't understand why their stock price is dropping. This actually makes a lot of sense. See, BP expects the government to twiddle their thumbs before making a largely symbolic, hardly punitive action against BP. They expect the financial penalties to be small. Then the company can go about its business, putting this hiccup behind it. Already, since the spill, the government has approved six deep-water wells. BP knows this. And they know that once you've got an addict hooked, even if you kick the shit out of them, they'll keep coming back for more.

So lets review. The government's letting BP cleanup its own crime scene. It's letting them use a toxic chemical to clean the spill, just because BP says it's safe. And to top it off, BP is so confident that the government won't severely punish them, that they're miffed at investors for getting antsy with their stock.

Does this sound like a company that's learned its lesson?

Does it sound as if our government is going to teach it one?

Maybe if the oil washes up on Martha's Vineyard, those who should be taking charge of this mess will finally do something.

P.S. Does the name of the oil rig, Deepwater Horizon remind anyone else of these three movies: Deep Rising, Open Water and Event Horizon? No wonder there was a blowout: the whole thing sounded like a horror film.

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