As widely reported the attempt to stop the hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday was a failure. Oil is still leaking into the Gulf, and now has reached 4 million gallons. With no end in site BP seems to be getting desperate, and before all is said and done this most certainly will be the largest oil spill in American history. The ungodly impact on communities and ecosystems is yet to be determined.
At the site of the leak the chaos continued as BP recieved permission to try and dilute the oil spraying into the Gulf:
At the site of the ruptured well a mile below the surface, a remote-controlled submarine shot chemicals into the maw of the massive undersea leak to dilute the flow, further evidence that BP expects the gusher to keep erupting into the Gulf for weeks or more.
Crews using the deep-sea robot attempted to thin the oil - which is rushing up from the seabed at a pace of about 210,000 gallons per day - after getting approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, BP PLC officials said.
Two previous tests were done to determine the potential impact on the environment, and the third round of spraying began was to last into early Tuesday.
The EPA said the effects of the chemicals were still widely unknown.
Gee, that is comforting is it not?? First, the fact that BP obviously expects this disaster to drag on for much longer, and secondly the fact that they are diluting it with chemicals that they do not even know the effects of!! Are the folks at the EPA just hoping that these chemicals are not worse than oil??
If you are looking for any comfort at all from the folks at BP as far as solutions go, well you are going to be sorely disappointed:
BP engineers, casting about after an icelike buildup thwarted their plan to siphon off most of the leak using a 100-ton containment box, pushed ahead with other potential short-term solutions, including using a smaller box and injecting the leak with junk such as golf balls and pieces of tire to plug it. If it works, the well will be filled with mud and cement and abandoned.
"This is the largest, most comprehensive spill response mounted in the history of the United States and the oil and gas industry," BP chief executive Tony Hayward said in Houston.
The new containment device is much smaller, about 4 feet in diameter, 5 feet tall and weighing just under two tons, said Doug Suttles, BP PLC chief operating officer. Unlike the bigger box, it will be connected to a drill ship on the surface by a pipe-within-a-pipe when it's lowered, which will allow crews to pump heated water and methanol immediately to prevent the ice buildup.
Now, that might be true, but it seems to me like this response from BP is a lot like when Wile E. Coyote strapped the rocket to his ass and shot away to parts unknown. The real response is on the front lines from those who are not only fighting for their livelihoods, but are desperately trying to preserve a way of life on the Gulf Coast:
In Grand Isle, at the tip of the Louisiana boot, a small army of heavy machinery - civilian and military dump trucks, Army jeeps and Hummers, front-end loaders and backhoes - scurried to fortify a breached section of beach. National Guard helicopters had dropped sandbags on the breach, and later piles of dirt were being pushed together to make a dam, keeping oil from reaching the marshes.
As the sandbags plopped in place, workers farther inland used pumps and other structures to divert fresh water from the Mississippi River into the marshlands, hoping it would help push back the oily salt water lapping at the coast. The floodworks had been installed to help rebuild Louisiana's shrinking wetlands by injecting sediment-rich water from the river.
"We're trying to save thousands of acres of marsh here in this area, where the shrimp lay their eggs, where the fin fish lay their eggs, where the crabs come in and out," said Chett Chiasson, executive director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission. "We're trying to save a heritage, a way of life, a culture that we know here in recreational and commercial fishing."
Above the oil leak, waves of dark brown and black sludge crashed into the support ship Joe Griffin. The fumes there were so intense that a crew member and an AP photographer on board had to wear respirators while on deck.
Oil - be it a surface sheen, globules or balls of tar - has washed up west of the Mississippi River and as far east as Dauphin Island, three miles off the Alabama mainland at the mouth of Mobile Bay.
With all of this going on, BP has said they have spent $350 billion dollars so far and estimates are running into the tens of billions. Before it is said and done this will be the largest oil spill ever in America and promises to be one of the most devestating environmental disasters in recorded history.
With all of this in mind we need to focus on a few things. First, I think this shows that offshore drilling, despite the oil that can be found has finally shown us all that it simply is not worth the trouble. Instead of depending on out-dated, dangerous means for our energy it is time to invest in finding a truly sustainable way of producing energy in the modern age. How many lives have been lost to coal and oil in the last few months?? How much damage to the devestated Gulf region??
Secondly, ALL costs should be brought to bear upon BP. They should pay for all the cleanup, and livelihoods lost out of their own pockets and should not be bailed out by the taxpayer or allowed to drive up the price of gasoline to cover it. They caused this mess cutting costs to begin with, and now it is time for them to suffer the consequences of their foolhardy actions right along with everyone else.
Lastly, hopefully this will finally drive a truth home to the American people over the talking point. Some government regulations are a GOOD THING!! Our country is a country of laws that should be enforces and those laws are in place to keep the strong from preying on the weak. The Government is there not only to protect the American people from attack, but in the case of Corporate America and the big coal and oil companies to protect them from themselves. We need regulations on these industries and others and we need them to be enforced.
How many times will Americans pay the price before they stand up and demand that our government protect us not only from terrorists but from the uncaring Corporate irresponsibility that will sacrifice all things, human or unhuman for the almighty profit?? If we do not learn this time I fear that we never will.