Posts Tagged ‘Deepwater Horizon’
A pox on both their houses. Legal battles surrounding the Deepwater Horizon 2010 drilling disaster will be just as messy—and way lengthier—than the spill incident itself.
The latest shots in what bids to be a never-ending exercise in passing the buck and liability were fired last month when oil giant BP went to court in New Orleans claiming that the U.S. contractor Halliburton (you know – Iran, Dick Cheney? That Halliburton) botched the cement work on the doomed oil rig. Read the rest of this entry »
This is the time of year when writers, journalists, bloggers or whatever we scribblers have become in an age where communication and connection occurs mostly in 140-word snippets or less take a look back and ahead. Top Ten lists abound; crystal ball thumb-sucking dots the landscape and cyberspace.
I’ll leave that listing and prediction stuff (mostly) to the experts, or at least to those who have managed to stay gainfully and reliably employed over the last 12 months. They must have greater insight, or skills or something.
I do have some observations, for what they are worth:
- The usual word to describe the recovery is fragile but I prefer chimerical. Corporate profits are rebounding, Wall Street’s escape act was hugely successful and Republicans proved once again that America’s short-term memory disorder is firmly entrenched and that lies, inaccuracies, misrepresentations, denials, polarization and fear-mongering is a winning strategy. Well, winning for them – for many the economic recovery is mostly non-existent: unemployment hovers stubbornly around 10 percent; wages continue their decline; the housing market remains in the toilet; energy costs are increasing; the stranglehold of Big Oil and Big Coal continues unabated.
- Whatever the emerging ‘new normal’ is, it’s not much fun – it’s really pretty raw, stressful and uncertain.
- On a personal note: Freelancing should never be construed as working for free! OK? Are we clear?
- Environmentally-speaking, when electric vehicles hit the market in a major and consumer-friendly way—and one, the Chevy Volt, wins Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award—that is stunning and hopeful progress.
- Environmentally-speaking, when a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon occurs and little to nothing occurs to change our dependence on fossil fuel, or regulation of Big Oil, that is stunning and disturbing progress of an entirely different sort.
So ‘here’s to the new boss, same as the old boss.’
Here’s to the New Year, same as the Old Year.
When the Exxon Valdez crashed into Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989 it caused the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Out of that terrible event there was some good: New standards for tanker construction such as double hulls; new laws covering oil spill liability and compensation and a comprehensive regime for oil spill response, cleanup, training and equipment.
For the most part these changes were enacted in a bipartisan fashion – we were shocked, briefly, out of our complacency and ignorance about the danger of supertankers feeding our oil addiction.
We did something then and for the most part it has worked.
Now we’re faced with the Deepwater Horizon disaster and what is the new worst environmental disaster in U.S. history by far. People have died. The “experts” don’t seem to have a solid clue about what to do.
The challenge is enormous – we’re dealing with a well spewing oil more than one mile below the surface of the Gulf. Stopping that flow and dealing with the catastrophic environmental effects is and will be a harder task than going to the moon.
Is there an opportunity here? Will there finally be a realization that breaking the hold of the oil companies on our economic, environmental and security future is a necessity that must begin now? Is it conceivable that oil companies could change their spots and become energy companies or even (dare it be whispered?) renewable energy companies?
If you dare to dream you might as well dream big.
But this nightmare occurs in a time of partisan and political extremism, with corporations and their legislative minions calling the shots. Is it possible that the level of discourse, influence and the ability to act quickly and collaboratively in this country can be turned on its head?
Of course anything is possible. As Thomas Friedman said on Sunday, “A disaster is a terrible thing to waste.”
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