UPDATE: So what now? plan C or D? (I can’t keep track) The top kill and junk shot techniques have not worked, so now BP will try once more to cap the underwater well that is spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but that could take up to a week, it was reported Saturday evening. And still no solid feeling that the United States government is really on top of something that should be considered national emergency number one at the current time.
Short of war, the BP Gulf oil disaster may become the longest running news story on record. Just checked the web and the news was that once again efforts to plug the underwater gusher have been halted. It seems that throwing mud and cement and golf balls and everything but the kitchen sink into the hole is not yet doing the trick.
Meanwhile, millions of gallons of oil are polluting thousands of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico and the threat is that it will spread as the result of the BP underwater oil well blowout. And scientists are saying that underwater plumes of oil are posing an invisible or hidden threat as well.
But the messages in all this are mixed (beyond oil and water). Even though residents of the areas affected so far in Louisiana desperately call for help and blame President Obama for not acting quickly and forcefully enough, there are also concerns expressed that a shut down of offshore oil drilling would endanger the area’s economy, just like the oil spill at sea endangers it too.
And while Republicans (well not all) claimed George W. Bush did what was called for during the Katrina incident, and Democrats (and others) claim he did not, now Republicans are criticizing Obama for not doing enough (and so do many Democrats), while Obama claims he has been in charge of the emergency response from day one.
While conservatives rail against big government, some of them now take the opportunity to criticize Obama (whom they see as liberal) for not using all the power of big government to deal with the emergency, and while they are usually against big government interfering with business, many think he ought to take over the emergency effort from BP, which is seen as not acting quickly or effectively enough.
I also read a column by one of those writers who makes it his profession to oppose nearly all things Obama criticizing his moratorium on new offshore drilling. He said that restrictions on offshore drilling closer to the coastlines, but somewhat safer because they are in shallower water, and on-land drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge is what has prompted drilling further out to sea and a mile deep into the ocean where things are harder to control, as BP was doing, and where, indeed, they can’t yet control things.
And while we hear the cries of devastation to beaches (resort areas) and ecologically valuable and sensitive wetlands, we also hear the complaints that while only three beaches on the Gulf are affected right now, all the negative news has discouraged tourists throughout the Gulf region to the detriment of the tourist trade.
And the fishing industry in the Gulf is shut down and in peril of being destroyed forever or for at least a generation.
Although Obama made his second trip to the Gulf Friday, he was immediately criticized by some for not staying longer and still not sounding all that convincing that he is on top of things and is in charge — even though he said he is in charge and is willing to take the blame — the buck stops here and all — in the response.
Meanwhile, BP had stopped the top kill efforts, for 16 hours, as I understand it, to shut down the underwater gusher and no one outside of BP, not even the government, it seemed was aware of it. It was also reported that BP put on a show of white-jump suited for-hire clean up workers on the beach when Obama was present and then sent them home once he had gone (BP subsequently vowed the cleaners would be back in the morning, it was reported).
But from what I am hearing and reading, I get the impression BP is still leading the government around by the nose.
As I blog this, this thing has been going on for more than five weeks and although the top kill and junk shot techniques BP is said to be using now — pouring mud and cement and golf balls and old tires and stuff down the hole — may be working (well I just learned they are not at this time), they may also not be and it might all go on until August when it is said the relief wells could be finished — or it might go on for decades (at least one scientist I heard said).
We’ve all learned a lot. We’ve learned that the governmental agencies, most notably the Minerals and Mining Management Agency (or whatever it is called) is corrupt with inspectors taking payoffs and with personnel going back and forth in employment between the industry and government. We’ve found that BP went out and drilled a mile deep without enough knowledge or even concern as to what to do should it hit a gusher and things got out of control. We’ve found out that no one was in charge and no one knew what to do on that Deep Horizon oil platform (well that’s what the headlines said) on which eleven men were killed. That’s not a criticism of the poor workers (and it’s a dangerous job and accidents will happen). It’s an indictment of BP, notorious for playing fast and loose with safety procedures and environmental concerns over the years.
But let’s get back to the big government thing. Very few people would say they are in favor of “big government”. But in a disaster, suddenly big government becomes desirable, a necessity. But how do you just create big government suddenly when you need it.
And in a world where we still value wealth and comfort and status over everything else, corruption flourishes.
I am fortunate to currently live in a place in Northern California far away from oil spills and to have one of the best views of nature anywhere in the world.
But the money-first pave-everything-over crowd is always ready to destroy it all.
And if they got their way, too many people locally would support them under the mantra: “We must have jobs”.
And one more thing, there are reports that some are getting sick in the cleanup efforts, presumably from the oil and oil mixed with toxic chemical dispersant.
I am not at all convinced that we have to spoil our nest to survive — that seems sort of a contradiction anyway.
Just what does it take to get Barack Obama excited? And why doesn’t the leader of the world’s only superpower take it directly to BP (in person)? He should demand that the CEO meet with him (summon him, so to speak) and there should be a photo op of both of them together. And Obama should take that opportunity to say (demonstrate) that he really is in charge. I also think a television address directly to the people (aside from a news conference) on this one would be in order and quite valuable.
I realize there is some reluctance by Obama, probably, to take complete ownership of this thing because then when things go from bad to worse he takes all the blame and it also might leave BP and out in future legal claims — but the facts are plain to see — it is all BP’s fault and liability, but the government has to be there to protect the interests, the life of the people.
OH, AND HAVE A NICE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!