I guess offshore drilling is safe and environmentally friendly….until something goes wrong.  As you probably know, over a week ago a BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 employees.  Beyond the deaths and injuries, BP initially downplayed the impact of the explosion, but as the water obviously started turning black, even they had to admit this is a pretty big deal and ask for help (it was either that or say “Um, the water was black when we got here!”).  Some estimates put the amount of oil being leaked per day at a whopping 25,000 barrels (over a million gallons!).  And they are having no luck in stopping it.  Yeah, this is going to be pretty bad.

You would think that given the risk involved that the system would be built with some redundant safety measures to make sure that if a leak does happen, they would be virtually 100% sure of being able to shut off the oil from the well.  But unbelievably that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Such things cost money you know (this shows how short-sighted free market private companies can be in the interest of cutting expenses).  Interestingly, BP submitted an environmental impact analysis to the government in 2009 that stated that the risk of a spill occurring from this rig was highly unlikely or virtually impossible.  It further stated that any spill that did occur would have minimal impact due to the distance from the coast and its “response capabilities” (wow, they were just off the mark with that!).  I do wonder about the purpose of this report.  Had BP indicated that there was a risk of a spill and environmental impact, would they have had to taken additional measures?  In other words, did BP have incentive to maybe fib on the report?

At any rate hopefully, before we go forward with more offshore drilling, we do take steps to make sure it really is safe.  Even if you are not an environmentalist, everyone has to recognize that the impact is going to go far beyond that and have a great economic impact as well.  After all, I believe Red Lobster tried to add special oil spill selections to their menu before:

Mmm….yummy!  Yeah, it turns out that most people just don’t have any desire to eat seafood covered in black oil.  Weirdos!  So the fishing industry is going to take a huge hit!

And I guarantee you gas prices are going to go up (Just in time for my vacation!  Yes!  It’s not like they even need an excuse, and now they have one!).  I would also think that swimming, surfing, and boating in oily water is not very appealing either, so tourism along the gulf (and perhaps beyond, as this leak may even impact the Atlantic coastal areas) could take a hit as well.

You know what, whatever.  Let’s just drill, baby, drill!  What are the odds this would happen again?  BP would probably say it is “virtually impossible”. 🙂



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