Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thoughts and Observations on the Gulf Oil Spill

We have now entered Day 79 of the BP/Deep Water Horizon oil spill and as per the last 78 days, there seems to be no end in sight. The rig exploded and sank for many reason, including but not limited to Halliburton's shoddy workmanship on the cement work for the rig and Transocean and BP's failure to install and maintain the proper and necessary safety measures to prevent such an accident from ever happening. Because of those reasons, our country is facing the worst environmental disaster in its history, far surpassing the infamous Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Every state in along the Gulf of Mexico has now been affected by the spill, with tar balls now washing up on Texas shores. The oil spill for the most part has shut down the Gulf fishing industry, cut tourism revenues, and has destroyed the livelihoods of thousands along the coast.
First off, I am tired of hearing people blame President Obama for the spill response, or lack there of at times. The government didn't respond right away because BP assured everyone that they had the situation under control. After it was apparent they didn't however, the President stepped in, but by then it was too late to fix the problem because BP had screwed it up even further. Even with Federal control, BP is still assuring the public that everything is under control, and underestimating the flow of the leak.
Now, there are some solutions to lessen the damage of the spill, not necessarily to fix it. In the Middle East, the Arab's devised an ingenious method of controlling oil spills. They use supertankers as large ShopVacs; they suck up the oil and water mixture, take it port, drain the tanks and then separate the mixture on shore. BP refuses to to use this method because they don't want to tie up their tanker fleet with cleaning up the mess. Another method that is proven to work is peat moss, especially a type of dehydrated pear moss (MarketWatch Blogs). A company in Canada produces peat moss just for that very purpose. One pound of peat moss can absorb four pounds of oil. An added bonus is microbes in the peat moss will then break down the oil. BP's reason for refusal, they can't retreive any of the oil. Another theory about the refusal of both methods is that they didn't think of them, so they can't be good. That is a load of bunk. The supertankers could pick up a large amount of oil before it hits the shores. And then the oil that already hit the marshes and shore can be taken care of using the peat moss. Unfortunately, it might be too late, even for the relief wells being drilled, as there are fears of the pipes below the surface starting to leak, which would be the feared doomsday scenario. If the undersea pipes give way, the leak would continue until the well dries up, rendering the Gulf an environmental waste land.
No matter your political affliation, we all have to agree that this is the worst disaster our country has faced and that BP needs to take full responsibilty for it.

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