Back in the 90’s, one of my favorite commercials used the tagline, “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy; we make a lot of the products you buy better.” Well my friends, when thinking about our government’s response to the continued pouring of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, I can only think that our government didn’t make the crisis in the Gulf; they made the crisis in the Gulf more catastrophic.
First, let’s ask the most simple question. How much oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico?
We don’t know. Right after the explosion, we were told that 42,000 gallons per day were leaking into the Gulf. Shortly after that, the number was corrected to 210,000 gallons daily. On Thursday, May 27th, that number was increased to more than 500,000 gallons a day (with some estimates at more than 1 million gallons daily).
Now, here’s the kicker. The spill at this time, with whatever semantics we want to call it, is under the control of BP. Right now, it is what it is. It’s BP’s mess and they’re the ones that have been told to fix it. Now, when you have the same person in charge of reporting about and cleaning up the problem they created, I would think that a reasonable person would expect the problem to be under-reported.
Why wouldn’t it be? I mean, let’s think look at the Tennessee coal ash disaster of 2008. Remember it? It was described as the biggest natural disaster in US history and was originally estimated at 1.7 million cubic yards. It was actually 3 times that — 5.4 million.
But, any idiot with a problem knows that sometimes, you may not be the most qualified person to clean your own mess. If you cause a small fire in the kitchen, you might be able to handle it with the fire extinguisher. Hopefully, you’re smart enough to realize when it’s time to call the Fire Department. If you’re not, chances are any one of your neighbors will do it for you.
Of course, we don’t have an Oil Department. Oh wait, we kind of do. You know the one that approved the permits (while watching porn and accepting gifts and jobs from the oil companies). We also have a coast guard, a military, an Environmental Protection Agency, and countless other governmental entities paid by our tax dollars. Are we saying that our government, the United States Government that put humans on the moon, doesn’t have any capabilities of stopping this leak? Is the only entity with the technology and resources to stop this issue British Petroleum?
If this is true, then we’re fucked. Stick a fork in me. Throw in the towel, and get Aretha Franklin a microphone (if it’s time for a fat lady to sing, it might as well be good).
Is there a reason that while we were sitting, watching BP try this “top kill” that we didn’t tell them to star to drilling relief wells just in case? Is there a reason our government cannot start drilling one or two wells themselves? I mean even Bruce Willis knows that you don’t just send one team to drill (and he was right, because Ben Affleck saved his ass… well not his ass, but the world’s ass. Yes. Armageddon. And, yes. I liked that movie.)
BP is effectively in charge of the entire Gulf cleanup and I see us doing nothing. We have a live feed from their cameras. Their cameras. Their feed. I’m thinking step one should have been sending our own crew down there and installing our own monitoring, but that’s just me.
Of course, BP would never limit access to the media or the government, right?
Oh wait… there was that CBS team that was threatened with arrest if they didn’t leave a beach. And that photographer who wasn’t allowed to fly above the Gulf at lower than 3,000 feet. And that 500 foot zone around any BP vessel, and…
Obama promised to “…establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.” It hasn’t happened yet, and he’s not doing shit about it. Not doing jack shit.
Of course, I’m not looking at Obama to waive a magic wand and make this better. Although I am not looking to him to make this worse, either.
So what do I want him to do?
At this point, anything. Just DO something. Don’t talk about what you’re going to do. Don’t tell me what you’re planning. Just shut up and do something. Whatever credibility the government had, is eroding at the rate of a Grecian dollar. I value talk from government in bullshit. More talk, is more bullshit. Unless this bullshit can be used to plug the leak, I respectfully ask that the bullshit stop. Dig some wells. Get a sub down there and monitor it. Do something and then tell us what you’re actually doing.
The government didn’t make this crisis. But they surely helped make it more catastrophic.
- ‘Top Kill’ Fails to Stop Flow of Oil From Gulf Leak (The Wall Street Journal)
- Oil Spill May Be Still Bigger (The Wall Street Journal)
- Gulf oil leak rate much higher than reported, professor says (Los Angeles Times)
- Flow Rate Group Provides Preliminary Best Estimate Of Oil Flowing from BP Oil Well (US Dept. Of Interior)
- Limits on access to oiled waters, coast frustrates journalists (nola.com)
- Oil spill taking toll on BP’s credibility — and the government’s (Miami Herald)