by Robert Randle
7/12/2010 / Politics
For nearly two months, oil from an explosion on April 22, at British Petroleum's deepwater rig has been pouring into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate estimated to be as high as 200, 000 gallons a day. In the meantime, there have been the usual finger-pointing as the CEO of BP has been brought before members of Congress and sharply criticized by Legislators for not doing enough to contain the spill and possibly underestimating the amount of oil being lost, the serious damage to the environment and marine life, as well as the economic impact on the Gulf Coast region. This just might be President Obama's "Waterloo" and certainly not his finest hour because he essentially lost this battle from the very beginning by not getting on top of it. It is too late to address the Nation when there are pictures of Sea Turtles, Whales, Sea Birds, Plankton, shrimp, oysters and other marine animals coated with a layer of black, sticky oil. There are critics of the President who refer to this as "Obama's Hurricane Katrina," but in some ways it is even worse than that. Barack must be feeling the political pressure because the usually cool and in-control President lost his cool during a press conference when he quipped about, "Knowing whose ASS to kick." Doesn't that statement sound like it's coming from "An Angry Black Man" instead of the Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States?
And passing the buck toward the beleaguered federal agency under the Department of Interior, The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is not helping matters, and is only just a distraction and not a step toward solving the real problem, or better yet, of looking at how the spill got to be so unmanageable almost from the start. Outside of some rather unthinkable 'Draconian' legislation to nationalize British Petroleum, which might even be unconstitutional, there is at least one step that should have been taken, the very better-late-than-never proposal that actor Kevin Costner and his company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, who got the idea from his movie, "Waterworld," which is, use giant centrifuges or cyclonic devices which are engineered to separate oil from water. There are only a few of these companies with the technology to separate a few hundred gallons to thousands of gallons of the oil/sea water slurry per day. Why did the government not contract with these companies to start sucking up and separating the heterogeneous mixture, along with BP trying to plug the leak before all of this disruption and destruction to the delicate ecological balance in the Gulf Coast aquatic universe? But like most things, hindsight is just water-under-the-bridge and what lessons have been learned are yet to be known. It is uncertain whether the effect of having controlled "burns" under the auspices of the Coast Guard will be successful and it must be remembered that oil is a complex hydrocarbon which contains other chemical substances, like methane and others, which may pose just as harmful and toxic to the environment as the visible slick, gooey, black stuff.
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June 18, 2010
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