British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform on fire in the Gulf of Mexico, April 2010.

Oil Rig Burning

It is the worst man-made ecological disaster since the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill of 1989. When British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform ignited, burned, and sank, it left in its fiery wake an uncontrollable gusher of crude oil beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Even now — three weeks after the disaster began — the severed wellhead on the sea floor continues to spew oil at a rate estimated to be as high as 60,000 barrels per day, producing a slick that is far too large to contain. Eleven workers on the rig died, 26 more are missing and presumed dead. The spill has already decimated 20% of the U.S. seafood industry. It will have a long-lasting impact on tourism along the Gulf, and it will cause unimaginable harm to the wetlands, marshes, and barrier island ecology across hundreds of miles of coastal backwaters, home to migratory and aquatic birds, mammals and reptiles that will suffer and die from this awful calamity.

The catastrophe has silenced the ill-conceived slogan, “Drill, Baby, Drill!” popularized during the last election by Republican cheerleader Sarah Palin. If it was not already obvious (Remember the Exxon Valdez? Remember the Massey Energy Coal Mine Explosion just one month ago?) that reckless call to exploit our nation’s fossil energy resources comes at an awful cost to the environment and to human life. This should be a wake-up call for the millions of backwards-looking flag-waving “patriots” who place their hope in ever more remote and dwindling supplies of fossil fuels to sustain our bloated American way of life. Furthermore these are not “accidents” — they are the inevitable result of commercial greed waving off safety and good common sense in order to maximize short-term profit at the expense of all else.

There is no better time than NOW for our nation to make a renewed commitment to using abundant renewable energy sources — wind and solar, to start with — and start putting the era of dirty carbon fuels behind us.

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2 Comments on Spill, Baby, Spill?

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tame Bear. Tame Bear said: blogged: Spill, Baby, Spill? (direct link) […]

  2. Tame Bear says:

    Ridiculous but true: BP is attempting to disperse the oil slick by spraying it with a chemical that breaks the oil up into tiny drops and causes it to sink below the surface of the water. Is this an out-of-sight, out-of-mind strategy? The dispersant chemical is called “Corexit” (think about it) which actually does nothing to correct the problem, but just allows it to dissolve into the water or sink to the sea floor. We don’t know if it poisons the food chain when fish eat the chemically-dispersed oil droplets, because the company making the stuff says the forumula is proprietary, so they can’t tell us what’s “IN Corexit.”

    More about the toxic properties of Corexit can be found in a well-researched article at Grist: “Chemical Dispersants Being Used in Gulf Clean-Up Are Potentially Toxic.”

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