by Pa Rock
British petroleum has brought in a gusher! Unfortunately, it is nearly a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and the oil is gushing directly into the Gulf - at a rate of around 200,000 gallons a day! And yes, there is one hell of an oil slick that is already lapping the shores of Louisiana and threatening to ruin the beaches, shrimp beds, fishing areas, wetlands preserves, and economies of several southern states.
And eleven people died in the explosion that caused the gusher.
Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago the British Petroleum was airing their irritating "Beyond Petroleum" commercials, bleating about how modern and environmentally relevant they were as an energy company? Why, yes - it was just a couple of weeks ago! That self-aggrandizing propaganda has disappeared faster than the blue waters of the Gulf.
British Petroleum has been spending millions of dollars trying to polish its image. It was BP, after all, that was fined $87 million by OSHA for the 2005 explosion at one of their refineries in Texas City, TX - an explosion that was due to overt safety violations and took the lives of fifteen workers. The next year one of the biggest oil fields in Alaska had to be shut down because of a leaky pipeline that the company owned. The image of British Petroleum needed a serious makeover, and those cheesy "Beyond Petroleum" commercials were intended to do just that.
It's also only been a couple of weeks since that President Obama, playing up to the knuckle-draggers in Congress, announced that he was going to support some limited off-shore drilling. Whoops!
The causes of the explosion at BP's oil rig in the Gulf, the Deepwater Horizon, are still a mystery, but the President is now saying that his people are going to figure out what happened, and there will be no future off-shore drilling until the problems are understood and fixed.
One interesting theory has surfaced over the past couple of days. Cement has to be pumped down the well hole (18,000 feet) to separate the sides of the hole from the pipes that move the oil. If the cementing process is done improperly and develops cracks, an explosion will occur. The well beneath the Deepwater Horizon had recently been cemented. And who did the cementing? Who completed the process that may have cost eleven oil rig workers their lives and created an ecological disaster of biblical proportions? Who? Halliburton, that's who! Yup, those good old war profiteers make eleven percent of their total income doing the cementing process for floating oil rigs!
The President is right. We must learn from this disaster before we allow these greedy corporations any more opportunities to devastate our planet. And until we have the knowledge and ability to safely pump oil from beneath the surface of the oceans, we should be aggressively pursuing other ways of powering the planet. My suggestion is that we tax the thunder out of the multi-national corporations that have their oily fingerprints on this disaster, and use those fines to invest in wind and solar farms. That technology is available now, and it works.
Meanwhile, the words of two famous Americans leap to mind:
"Drill, baby, drill!"
-- Sarah Palin
"That woman is an idiot!"
-- Keith Olbermann (commenting on Sarah Palin)