Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Time for a change in the gulf.

“Please Mr. President, take over and make things better.” While I sympathize with this quote from another blog on the gulf oil spill, I have to say that the thought of the government stepping in is chilling to me at best. Why? Because the government stepped in on the Exxon Valdez disaster years ago and the Alaskan shores still bear too many sad reminders of what was then the worst oil related disaster in history. The government also stepped in to make things better in New Orleans after Katrina and one has only to drive a few minutes from the French Quarter to know that all is most definitely not better. There’s a better solution ... and it’s a workable one.

The government should step in and this disaster should be taken away from British Petroleum’s now financially failing hands, but the answer is not a full take over, it’s a blue ribbon commission that oversees a repair and recovery effort funded by all of the major US Oil Companies who drill off the coast. Over the last several years, while Americans have suffered through a painful financial collapse, petroleum sales revenues have created sickening profits on the part of the major oil companies. Each quarter we hear about the billions in profits these companies bank. To make us feel better they create beautiful mini-movie commercials to tell us that they’re exploring to find new clean energy sources or that they’re providing healthcare around the world. While I laud these efforts, I can’t help but see them as a little ironic in the face of one of the worst disasters an industry has ever perpetrated on the environment.

This is no longer BP’s problem. Sorry fellas. According to the ‘Journal’ you’re probably headed out of business because of what is happening here, but you yourselves said right from the start that you didn’t have the resources to deal with it. If out of business is where you go that’s fine with me, but I don’t see this as your problem anymore. This problem has rocked worldwide confidence in ALL oil companies. While you all may work hard to avoid mistakes, your history of dealing with it when you do isn’t great. In this case you need to step up, pool your resources and a share of your ENORMOUS profits (tax free if need be) to not just cap this leak, but invest in the years worth of rebuilding that will be necessary to make what you’ve ALL done here right. BP may have been leasing this platform, but if they hadn’t been one of the rest of you would have been and instead of pointing fingers and talking about a competitor’s irresponsibility it’d be your face on the evening news saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ and talking about how the latest fix didn’t work.

The people of the gulf coast have had a rocky few years, first from Katrina and now from this mess. Do I want Uncle Sam to fix it? No. He/She has enough on his hands at the moment and I’d rather not see my tax dollars pouring into solving a problem that the oil companies are much more likely to be able to fix. But would I feel just a little better about the rest of you if you stepped up, pooled resources, capped this leak, made sure the rest of the platforms are rigged with the proper fail safes, and then funded a grass roots effort among the very people who’ve been put out of work by this calamity to restore the gulf coast to it’s pristine, beauty? You bet I would and I wouldn’t even change the channel when the ads that say you’re doing that come on TV.

That’s my two cents.

1 comment:

Chris Williams said...

Thanks for posting this Jim. The BP CEO Tony Hayward declared Sunday "I'd like my life back". Wow, it still seems to be about "I", not we, not the people who may not have a life with this man made disaster. And if BP goes under, what about all the employees/contractors in Louisiana who depend on a paycheck to put food on the table? Does Hayward even pretend to care? Seems not. Guess he's more concerned with his stock options at the moment.

Yes, we've seen the government is not equipped to handle disasters on this scale. Hurricanes like Katrina,Rita, attacks like 9-11, Pearl Harbor, U-Boats destroying shipping in the Gulf during WWII. Or maybe it not the case of being equipped, maybe it's the case of stop ignoring the warning signs which were evident in all the above mentioned. We are lead to believe that no one in government including NASA engineers and scientists do not have the expertise like the oil companies do to handle a disaster on this magnitude. And clearly the oil biz is left scratching it's head - or at least they appear so. Failed "Top Kills" all on the idea of not really plugging or stopping the leak but still being able to pump oil from the leak so money can still be made.

6 Billion profits, and they did not want to "waste" $500,000 on a kill switch that may could have prevented this.

I'm not an expert clearly on any of this but I'm getting just a bit tired of seeing the Louisiana coastline abused by corporations that don't see to really care. No wonder Florida keeps denying oil companies drilling rights off their coast.

Time to stop rambling, it just pisses me off more.