Drill, Baby, Drill?
The impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be felt for decades to come. With the spill generating from 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil a day, it now surpasses the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 and is called the worst environmental disaster in American History. The spill started from an oil well blowout on April 20, 2010 at the Deepwater Horizon offshore platform. It killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others. Visible from space, the spill covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles with immense underwater plumes not visible from the surface.
The oil well lacked a remote-control shut-off switch, called an acoustic switch, that could have prevented the impact of this disaster. The device is used by Norway and Brazil, two of the world’s major oil-producing countries. The U.S. considered requiring this shut-off mechanism a few years ago but quaked under pressure from Big Oil, who cited the “cost” of such a device. An acoustic trigger costs around $500,000, which is a drop in the bucket for BP, which reaps in $93 million in profits every single day, with $5.6 billion in the first quarter of 2010 and $17 billion in 2009.
While U.S. regulators have called the acoustic switches unreliable, Inger Anda, a spokeswoman for Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority, said otherwise: “It’s been seen as the most successful and effective option.” The effects of this criminal act by BP have far-reaching consequences. More than 400 species live in the areas at risk, including the endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle. Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia indicated that the oil could adversely affect the ecosystem of the gulf and could take decades to fix.
Meanwhile, BP chief executive Tony Hayward dismissed a catastrophe and insisted to lie to the people saying the impact would be “very, very modest.”
The economic impact on this is anothe r factor in the disaster. On May 24, the federal government declared a fisheries disaster for the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Initial cost estimates to the fishing industry were $2.5 billion. The President’s response was less than satisfactory, his speech on Thursday was eloquent but amounted to nothing said, with an equally irrelevant “commission” to investigate the “root causes” of the spill to “prevent and mitigate the impact of any spills that result from offshore drilling.”
BP’s multi-billion dollar “clean-up effort” involves burning the oil, removing toxic billows from the water and sending toxic plumes into the air, even as the U.S. government said to use a cleaner alternative. So what is the response to BP’s negligence? Essentially nothing. The Obama administration’s response to BP’s refusal to listen was an independent commission to investigate the oil spill. James Carville, usually silent on the actions of the Obama Administration on CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “I think they actually believe that BP has some kind of a good motivation here,” he goes on to say, “They’re naive! BP is trying to save money, save everything they can… They won’t tell us anything, and oddly enough, the government seems to be going along with it! Somebody has got to, like shake them and say, ‘These people don’t wish you well! They’re going to take you down!'”
The Obama presidency could have prevented this mess if he stuck with his campaign promise of Green Jobs that Economist Robert Pollin states could create 18 million jobs in 3 years by investing in “public transportation, electrical grid upgrades and the creation of a competitive renewable-energy manufacturing sector.”
We call on all our readers and supporters to sign the petition to seize BP’s assets to provide comprehensive compensation and relief for all affected people and for cleaning up the environment.
As well as writing their congressmen:
Any ordinary worker would be jailed and made to pay reparations for anything done as nearly as bad as BP. The American Party of Labor calls for the BP company men to be put on trial for gross negligence and manslaughter and for the seizure of BP’s assets to compensate people this spill has harmed and the states involved.