Saturday, May 29, 2010

How To Stop The BP Oil Spill

From the beginning, from even BEFORE the beginning, BP lied about the oil spill, now the worst oil spill in US history by far. Or, being generously charitable, they at the very least stupidly deceived themselves passing that along to the public.  However, in view of BP's history heretofore, I’ll still go with the lying - see below.

First, everyone was told not to worry; there were all kinds of safeguards and that a spill was not even possible.  Forget about it!  This in spite of the fact that the company was effectively operating in ‘unknown territory’ and deeper than they had experience with.

Then, after the blowout on April 20, everyone was told not to worry, only about 2000 barrels per day - which seemed like right much to me - was being spilled and they would soon have things under control.  Then, after video feeds of the leak were assessed by other experts - other than BP’s - they admitted that well, yes, maybe up to about 5000 barrels per day were pumping into the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts now say up to 5 times that and maybe even more are pulsing into the gulf, akin to a huge bathtub drain in reverse.  Estimates now range from 12,000 barrels a day up to 25,000 barrels per day, maybe more.  Given the history of the estimates heretofore, I won’t fault anyone for using the highest estimate.

Be that as it is, all remedial efforts have failed so far.  All of them.  Shutting off remote valves didn’t work.  Putting a 500 ton ‘cap’ on things did not work.  Placing a smaller ‘vacuum’ line into the pipeline to siphon off the oil did not work.  Now, they are trying something called a ‘Top Kill’ maneuver which we’re told seems to hold promise, but the jury is still out on that - and the timeline keeps extending.  I have been watching the BP live video feed for the past few days off and on and there still seems to be an awful lot of crude pumping into the gulf.  Hopefully, the top kill thing will work.  (It has NOT as of 2PM EST 5/29/10) Otherwise the consequences are unthinkable. 

Drilling ‘interceptor wells’ will take up to 90 days or more they say.  Two have been started, but the earliest won’t be in position to interrupt the flow until at least early August.  In the meantime, using the various flow estimates, an estimated.1,632, 000 to 3,400,000 barrels of crude oil will have polluted the gulf.  In gallons at 42 gallons per barrel, the numbers are staggering. Something like 68,544,000 to 142,800,000 gallons total, maybe more.  That’s as in, One Hundred and Forty-two million, Eight Hundred thousand gallons of crude oil.  Whoo-ee!

Now, after the jackass is out of the barn we are learning more about BP’s history.  They have a long, long record of ignoring safety and environmental regulations over the years.  In fact, “Two refineries operated by BP account for 97 percent of all "egregiously willful" refinery citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration since June 2007” says the Center For Public Integrity.

BP has engaged in all sorts of malfeasance including price gouging, ‘egregious and willful violations of OSHA regulations, felony violations of the Clean Water Act (for which they were put on ‘probation’), criminal manipulation of the California electricity market, a la Enron, criminally and illegally discharging waste oil and hazardous substances, etc., etc., etc.  The list goes on and on and on.

Apparently BP finds it more profitable and expedient to simply ignore the rules and pay the fines, even though their negligence has now been directly responsible for dozens of workers’ lives.  We should only be thankful all the other companies don’t do as they do.

I am upset because the people responsible for seeing the rules are kept have allowed these things to happen. I am angry because of the cynical attitude of the executives who make the decisions to allow these things to happen.  I suppose it is only coincidental that the Halliburton Corporation had a part in this fiasco.  After all, birds of a feather do seem to flock together, don’t they?

But, what to do?  My wife has a suggestion.  She says we should gather up all the responsible people, shove them all in a big net bag and use THEM to plug the hole in the pipeline.  She says she’s sure that many stinking turds shoved into any pipeline is bound to plug it up.

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