Environmental Protection

oil spill

Is the Deepwater Horizon Incident a Game Changer?

When my day finally intersected with my husband's last night, he wanted to talk about the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I did not.

Then when I got to work this morning, I received an e-mail from a colleague who wanted to hear my views on the impending devastation. Nope, not interested.

There are plenty of opinions out there; some are even expert, but even they don't seem to have all the answers. (To be fair, the issue is complex and new complexities seem to develop by the day.) The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible oil rig happened 10 days ago. Now you can find more than 8,000 blog postings on the incident through Google. I can add mine, but I'm not convinced that it will make a difference in the outcome.

So, what's going on? We are saddened by the fact that 11 people died in a terrible explosion that shouldn't have happened. We are angry that the light medium crude oil from an exploratory well is flowing into the ocean at the estimated rate of 5,000 — not 1,000 — barrels a day (affecting wildlife, habitats and the fishing industry), and making landfall where the damage, many say, will be much greater, especially in the estuaries. We are frustrated that the blowout preventer malfunctioned and has not taken care of the problem tout de suite. We are stumped by our inability to gauge the potential for catastrophe and efficiently squash it.

Now, we want someone to blame. That would be BP Plc, Transocean, Cameron International Corp., Halliburton, the U.S. government…. Wait a minute, is the U.S. government us? Is that what we really should be thinking about as we drive home from work today or take the boat or the four-wheeler out for a spin this weekend? (By the way, BP is involved in alternative energy projects.)

Did you see that even though government officials have tried to dissuade the press, many in the media already are making comparisons to the Exxon Valdez spill? Why do we have to compare? They are both intolerable.

I'm sure I have missed something, some feeling you have that I have not expressed here. Please feel free to share.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Apr 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM


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