BP’s oil spill is a cancer we have all been watching. And each day IT. JUST. GETS. WORSE. My stress levels are out of control. I TRY not to get too consumed, not to read EVERY report, to skip a day of any coverage. But even what little I allow in is too much and I get kicked in the stomach again.
The latest? Here’s what I’ve seen on the news or read in newspapers online:
1. There is some hullabaloo in Plaquemines Parish about the feds giving the Parish authority to dredge small levies (abt 90 miles worth) to keep the oil from FURTHER damaging the marshes. Parish president reports he’s been told NO by the Corps of Engineers, but the Corps say the decision is “still under consideration.” Em, WHAT? How frigging much time do you need? Frankly, the Parish asked for this dredging five years ago post-Katrina to help protect the parish against hurricanes–with that decision likewise apparently still being considered. So it’s not like this is all new to the Corps. I don’t know if dredging is good or bad. Without knowing a thing about it, on face value, it seems good. But if bad, then fine. But DECIDE AND ACT. If NOT dredging, then move your bloomin’ arse on Plan B already! It’s been THIRTY-TWO DAYS and the oil is now onshore. We have no luxury of time.
2. Apparently BP has access to, well, I won’t say “good” dispersants, but let’s say LESS HARMFUL dispersants than are currently being used. They are currently using Corexit WITH THE EPA’S APPROVAL. There is NO DISPUTE this dispersant is harmful, toxic, BAD. So, the EPA got all righteous and has come down on BP and said NO MORE! You MUST STOP USING COREXIT by this Sunday. Wait, what? THIS SUNDAY? Is this a joke? It’s ALL AROUND BAD and the EPA acknowledges that and gives them THREE MORE DAYS of spewing that into the waters? Someone please explain this to me. ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that BP is apparently SITTING ON a small mountain of the “less bad” dispersants in Texas. Really? Why? WHY?
3. BP is reporting that it is now considering BURNING some of the marshes to burn off the oil and keep it from getting further inland. THIS, THIS, BP, THIS IS TOO MUCH. Seriously. You have GOT to be joking. Burn the marshes? BURN THE MARSHES? Not, first, DREDGE. Not first, use better dispersants. Not, um, I dunno, DO BOTH. But instead DO NEITHER? WAIT THIRTY-TWO DAYS and then say, “WHOO! This is getting out of control! We need to consider BURNING the marshes to get a handle on it.”
Here’s a few suggestions lil ole me, non-engineer, bookish she-girl can think of BEFORE you burn my marshes:
1. Stuff the hole with BP executives. Or their money. Or both. They’d be far less missed than the marshes.
2. BOMB the well so that it falls in on itself. Apparently this is a viable option. My theory on why they didn’t do this straight away? It may render the reservoir, THAT LARGE RESERVOIR OF BLACK GOLD, inaccessible down the line. In other words, the gazillions of dollars BP can make from this reservoir CANNOT be put to risk by bombing it. Even if that means MILLIONS in damages. Your classic cost-benefit analysis. This is merely speculation on my part. But it keeps creeping into my thoughts.
3. Use EVERY idea you are given, BP. Kevin Costner’s brother’s gizmo? USE IT. Hair and fur in berms? Yup. Fishermen using their nets to capture tarballs? Absolutely. Let’s face it. You could use ALL OF THESE resources spanning miles and miles and miles of the oil and STILL have uncaptured oil to contend with. Why snub your nose at any of these? You say they may not work? Hmm. Take a peek, BP, your own efforts AREN’T WORKING. Take the ideas.
4. GET BP OUT OF THE DRIVER’S SEAT ALREADY. I was initially saying that this was an industry problem and as such they were in the best place to find the solution. What could government do regarding STOPPING THE LEAK? But now? Well, hell, BP has had a month to dazzle us, impress us, build our confidence. What has it done? Lied about the amount of oil leaking (again, because the more they spill, the more the government assesses clean-up costs to them), lied about events leading up to the explosion, gave double talk to fishermen about compensating them for damages while asking them to waive claims against them if they helped with the clean up. Oh, and they’ve flooded the waters with toxic dispersants. AND they are somehow connected with the animal cleanup efforts to the detriment of the volunteers and the animals. Oh, yeah, and they also tried to stop reporters from having access to the areas where they are doing things onshore. AND there are reports that the survivors from the explosion (let’s not forget that explosion and the 11 deaths) were pressured by BP to NOT TALK.
So WHY, OH, WHY is BP still at the helm? The government says its because under the law, they are “responsible.” No shit they are. But being the “legally responsible party” does NOT mean you are going to ACT responsibly. For example, if you hit me with your car and it is your fault, you are responsible for my injuries. Does that mean YOU get to select my doctors, make my appointments, decide on my treatment without ANY input from me? HELL NO! It means that you will PAY for MY doctors; you will be FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE for my damage. Oh, Obama administration, you are really messing this on up as badly as is imaginable.
So who would I PUT in the driver’s seat? Maybe a government appointed task force, or an Oil Czar. Or the smartest engineer at Shell. Or Kevin Costner’s brother. I don’t know that answer at this moment, but give me 32 days of monitoring a colossal mishandling by BP, and put me in a position the EPA is in, and I could give you an answer post haste.
So let’s get on with this already. Let’s GET SERIOUS about it at last. Let’s stop pretending that Nature can take care of herself. Because Nature is no longer dealing with herself, thanks to the unlimited Corexit that BP, with the EPA’s approval, let’s not forget, has now mixed in with the oil.
And by all means, DO INVOLVE THE LOCALS. They know their marshes, their tides, their complex ecosystems better than an Big Oil man or anyone from Washington.
And put the talk of BURNING out of your minds, BP. It only shows how out of your minds you BP folks are.
This post was originally published on www.nolanotes.com on May 22, 2010.