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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Try as I might -- and admittedly I'm not trying very hard -- I still can't see the usefulness of constantly excoriating British Petroleum (BP) for the current escape of large amounts of oil from the leaking pipe of a well that had been drilled deep under the Gulf of Mexico. It seems that about half the oil still being emitted from the well is being "captured" under water and siphoned up to tankers, though that still leaves large amounts getting out and spreading to distant places with the water.

The spill is always called the "BP oil spill" and nothing else.   That shows that all the attention is being focused on keeping the blame firmly fixed, with additional attacks being leveled in any direction that various forces can use to bolster their questionable causes.   Meanwhile there's no need to know anything else about the disaster other than BP is involved, important stuff, such as where the well is located, and the notion that people could be trying hard to stop the leak, using all sorts of methods, none of which can be easy or guaranteed to work under almost a mile of that poisonous, corrosive stuff called seawater.

I think people forget that BP and others are not dealing here with a few buckets of water of the kind drawn from their faucets.   Salt water is an acid, a diluted one but an acid nevertheless, miles upon miles upon square miles of it, yet of which we can't even take a few sips without getting into big bodily trouble.

I, however, assume that BP is a big corporation, and I assume that big corporations are interested in only one thing: making huge amounts of money, and I can't see how they can possibly be doing that, behind this.  Instead BP has clearly been losing huge amounts of everything -- cash, good public relations, and the crude -- and efforts are being made to extract gigantic additional funds from them long after the gusher stops gushing.  So, much as I would like to be sympathetic with the seaside dwellers, it's actually more to BP's interest than it is to anyone else to see that this thing is cleared up as fast as possible, and it's hard to see what could be in it for them to be doing anything else.

      (I'm being sarcastic with that "sympathy" bit, remembering how the seacoasts nearly everywhere in the U.S. are basically exclusive sites, covered end to end by owners who make it difficult for people who live elsewhere to get even a distant glimpse of the water, much less to take a romp in it -- have you ever been to Lake Tahoe, at least the California side?  The birds and fish are another matter, and they add to the list of the numerous creatures who throughout have been the victims of humankind's folly in always trying to make things easy and plentiful for themselves, at the expense of the rest of the planet, since they were instructed to do that by God, right?)

     And that leads to the other reason why I don't think BP should bear all the brunt.   It's the fault of us all, of civilization, for relying so heavily on a resource that should've been tapped only with the greatest of care, and not in such large quantities, as if we've trying to use it all up before future generations can get a shot at it.  And especially not by getting it from holes drilled under large bodies of water.   It's just the nature of petroleum and of the industries extracting and transporting and refining and using it that there are always going to be spills and escapes of various undesirable substances into places where they can only do harm, from the wells all the way to the fumes emitted by the cars and the other gas-driven machines that serve us.  Civilization is a pleasant luxury, much of the time, but it involves incurring debts of much more than cash that can only be repaid with extreme pain.


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