On April 20, 2010, a semi-submersible exploratory offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded after a blowout and sank two days later, killing eleven people and causing a massive oil spill threatening the entire Gulf coast from South Texas to southwest Florida. The rig is owned and operated by Transocean Ltd. on behalf of BP, which is the majority owner of the oil field.
The company originally estimated the size of the leak at about a thousand barrels a day but later accepted government estimates of a leak of at least five-thousand barrels per day. On April 30, BP stated that it would harness all of its resources to battle the oil spill, spending $7 million a day with its partners to try to contain the disaster.
But that hasn’t happened.
What is happening in the Gulf is an absolute mess, in more ways than one. It’s effect is tentacled and wreaking havoc with every crab trapper, shrimper, oyster shucker, fisherman, fisherwoman, gumbo cook, surfer, restaurant owner, shell enthusiast, pelican and some guy who’s now only ‘temporarily’ calling 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home for the next year and a half. In fact, many have said Obama’s response to the oil spill, or the lack thereof, will end up being his Katrina.
Obama’s response to the situation in the Gulf reminds me in many ways of Jimmy Carter and the extremely ineffective political lassitude he demonstrated during the Iranian hostage crisis in ’79. That didn’t end well for Carter and I think the spill, plus a few other misfires and miscues will guarantee Obama’s one term presidency, as well. I would probably feel this way even if I were a Democrat, which I’m not. The reality is this spill and attempts at containment are not being handled well. That’s my opinion and it is one that in this case, isn’t negotiable.
And to those who say cut Obama some slack; he’s doing it all away from the glare and behind the scenes—okay, let’s pretend for one minute that this is absolutely a true statement. Governmentally speaking, many things are done without a network camera crew, but where was that argument when the Right tried to convince the Left of the same thing post Katrina? Post 9/11? In the fact that this country hasn’t seen another terror attack since that fateful September morning? Funny how we can’t possibly be fair or balanced or willing to budge an inch when our side isn’t manipulating the puppet. By the same token, as long as our guy is slacking off, it’s OK. We’ll defend his nonchalance vehemently.
Sadly, this is true of both parties.
But politics aside, the environmental disaster of the BP spill will affect far more than Katrina…and for far longer. True, thousands of people didn’t die as they did in the 2005 storm, but hundreds of thousands livelihoods will be egregiously affected. We’re talking five states being directly impacted and the 45 other seafood lovin’, oil burnin’ states suffering peripherally. You can say pish posh, I’m a thousand miles away from the spill; what do I care? Well, griddle cakes, you should care. See, it doesn’t matter if you live in Spokane, as long as you drive, wear rubber sole shoes, use Vaseline, stuff trash bags with your refuse or store your leftovers in Tupperware, this spill will affect you. You’re going to feel the affects and they will be far reaching.
And as for BP? The worst job in the world has got to be Director of Corporate PR for that energy giant. Man, I think BP should just hang a “Closed” shingle on the front door and deal with all the billions of dollar worth of laws suits and ecological remediation cases it will be facing quietly and at some place far, far away from the glare of so much global animus.
And then BP isn’t exactly helping itself. There are horrendous things that BP’s loose cannon/CEO, Tony Hayward has been saying. Among them: the calamity of the spill in the Gulf has been oh so exacting and suppressive for him and that he’d really like his life back. But after a few days, this walking nightmare apologized for the statement, saying that he was “appalled” to read his own words and singled out the families of the 11 rig workers who died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
I made a hurtful and thoughtless comment on Sunday when I said that “I wanted my life back.” When I read that recently, I was appalled. I apologize, especially to the families of the 11 men who lost their lives in this tragic accident. Those words don’t represent how I feel about this tragedy, and certainly don’t represent the hearts of the people of BP — many of whom live and work in the Gulf — who are doing everything they can to make things right. My first priority is doing all we can to restore the lives of the people of the Gulf region and their families — to restore their lives, not mine.
The apple, they say, never falls far from the tree. Well, then the old adage must be true in this case because everything I’ve ever heard come out of this man’s mouth in the past three months indicates he’s just as spoiled, petulant and arrogantly bloated as the company he oversees.
I don’t know why he’s so smug. He represents a corporation that has a reprehensible past. If it were a country, the United Nations would’ve condemned it for a multitude of civil rights violations. BP has been found guilty of numerous infractions that have literally cost life and limb and a whole assload of money.
Look at their rap sheet:
1993–1995: Hazardous substance dumping
In September 1999, one of BP’s US subsidiaries, BP Exploration Alaska agreed to resolve charges related to the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes on the Alaskan North Slope, for $22 million. The settlement included the maximum $500,000 criminal fine, $6.5 million in civil penalties, and BP’s establishment of a $15 million environmental management system at all of BP facilities in the US and Gulf of Mexico that are engaged in oil exploration, drilling or production. The firm illegally discharged waste oil, paint thinner and other toxic and hazardous substances by injecting them down the outer rim, or annuli, of the oil wells.
2005: Texas City Refinery explosion
The fall-out from the accident continues to cloud BP’s corporate image because of the mismanagement at the plant. The company pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act was fined $50 million, and sentenced to three years probation.
2006–2007: Prudhoe Bay
2006-2008: Texas City refinery fatalities
From January 2006 to January 2008, three workers were killed at the company’s Texas City refinery in three separate accidents. In July 2006 a worker was crushed between a pipe stack and mechanical lift, in June 2007, a worker was electrocuted, and in January 2008, a worker was killed by a 500-pound piece of metal that came loose under high pressure and hit him.
2007: Propane price manipulation
Four BP energy traders in here in Houston were charged with manipulating prices of propane in October 2007. As part of the settlement of the case, BP paid the US government a $303 million fine, the largest commodity market settlement ever in the US.
2009: North Sea helicopter accident
Big company equals big problems, right? I get that, but come on! And as for this latest calamity? The legit question here is “What’s being done?” Lots of things or so it would appear, but nothing is working and oil continues to hemorrhage from the earth. People from all over have sent in ideas for ways of either stopping the deepwater gusher or at least cleaning up the oil. Emotionless actor, Kevin Costner proposed some new take on a centrifuge vacuum device to separate the oil from the sea water.
BP said thanks, but stick to movie acting.
Oscar wining director and serial narcissist, James Cameron offered BP and the feds his expertise in monitoring the situation close up and personally. Cameron is considered something of a master when it comes to underwater filming and in the use of remote vehicle technologies. He even claims to have designed pressure-resistant camera housings, lighting towers that could be dropped to the seafloor two miles down and other high-end deep-sea gear themselves.
BP told him thanks, but stick to movie making.
He then promptly called everyone at BP “morons”.
Other suggestions have included oil-eating bacteria, bombs of various kinds and a device that resembles a giant shower curtain. These are just a few of the 10-thousand fixes people have proposed to counter the growing environmental threat. BP is taking a closer look at roughly 700 of them, but the oil giant has yet to use any of them in any real sense in the nearly three months after the deadly explosion that caused the leak.
Well, you know me. I have no background in oil spill containment or reclamation of an area engulfed by a spill, especially one this massive or politically hot buttoned, but I like being part of the ‘in crowd’, so I’ve also given the BP situation a great deal of thought. I’ve come up with what I think is a superb way to plug the massive undersea gusher, but I’m afraid my idea will go unnoticed and unappreciated and like Kevin and his Costner, will ultimately be deemed inapplicable, as well.
It’s a pity too because I do believe my solution would solve two problems in one..