Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico environmental disaster shows (above all) the tragic unpreparedness of oil companies and sate regulators in dealing with big scope catastrophes. Years of willful neglect or orchestrated neglect by the Bush administrations in the US and Harper’s government in Canada led to ‘wild west’ attitude: you drill, mine and we pray that nothing will happen. In the meantime the only gush that was expected was the gush of money in form of corporate profit.
The sheer scope of the pollution in the warm waters of Gulf of Mexico is mind boggling. But the scope of total and unexplainable unpreparedness of BP (British Petroleum) is tragic, criminal and abhorrent. Huge swath of water, hundreds of miles of coastline encompassing few states is being polluted. And weeks after the initial explosion almost nothing tangible is being done.
Disarray, chaotic attempts to try unchecked and unproven ways to mitigate and stop the flow of oil – these are the words coming to mind. How was it possible that there was not a sensible plan to react to such catastrophe? How was it possible that something like that was not contemplated and a sensible rescue plan developed, tested and approved?
Today federal and BP officials tried to answer to mounting criticism with words that everything is being done and that the depth of the drilling created a situation never encountered before. The depth of the drilling? Did they not know how deep they are going to be drilling!? I have been involved in marine industry for years and have been trained in the use of oil spills and ways to contain it. When I saw (for days) the deployment of long containment booms as main way of rescue operation I couldn’t believe my eyes. Booms to stop that scope of oil contamination? On an open ocean with waves and strong currents? What a sad joke. Things like that work only as localized attempt with small leaks, there are almost meaningless with this scope of contamination. And now they are using a dispersant with largely unknown long therm consequences for the environment. All of it proves that deep sea drilling should be either abandoned or totally revamped with stringent state regulations in place. The oil companies should never be left in charge of protecting the environment and in charge of contingency plans. They should fully finance it – but not be in charge of it. Yes, oil is a commodity. But the environment is not. Environment is the atmosphere we, humans and all life on Earth depend on. It is the air we breathe, the food we consume. It is what sustains us. No private business should be allowed to destroy it in the name of profit or falsely advertised development and progress.

About Bogumil P-G

publisher, essayist, poet lived (and born) in Poland, later England, Italy, presently in Canada
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