Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Things I want to know, but probably never will.

I want to know why oil companies aren’t required to have emergency shut-off mechanisms in offshore oil rigs. I am required by my insurance company to have an emergency shut-off earthquake valve on my home’s gas line. Seems like the scope of the prospective disaster should dictate the scope of preventive measures, right? Here’s a hint: the company in charge of Deepwater Horizon “objected in 2000 to a proposed requirement to use blind-shear rams, a type of blowout preventer which seals out-of-control oil wells by pinching off the pipe.” Their excuse? The rate of accidents was “approaching zero”. (Read more here.) Approaching.

I want to know why BP didn’t get out there THE INSTANT that oil rig blew to stanch the flow of spilled oil.

I want to know how many times BP can be responsible for spilling oil and killing workers without somebody going to jail. 2005: 15 dead, 170 injured in Texas. 2006: 267,000 gallons spilled in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, after ignoring warnings to check the pipeline for FOUR YEARS. Just an example.

I want to know what BP is going to do to compensate the fishermen and tourism industry for their loss of income. What are they going to do about the devastation to the ecosystem? I want to know how you put a number on the economic destruction this event has created. Did you know that BP has generously (sarcasm) offered Gulf Coast residents a $5000 payoff if they promise not to sue? Five grand? Really? From a company that earned over 70 BILLION dollars in revenue in the first quarter of 2010 alone?

I want to know if Sarah Palin and her “drill baby drill” cohorts have got their waders on yet. No, of course not. Sarah’s response to the disaster? Blame foreign oil companies. Yeah. That really helps with the clean up.

I want to know where the environmental groups are. I support Greenpeace, but I’d sure like to see them helping out instead of being indignant.

I want to know why some people are calling this “Obama’s Katrina”. How is the negligence of a money-grubbing oil corporation in the same category as negligence by Bush’s administration? Answer: it’s not. So, why, Rush?

And while I’m at it, what kind of person would actually posit that President Obama is happy about the death and destruction so he can now cancel his offshore drilling plans? Or that the explosion was the result of an evil plot by "hardcore environmentalist wackos"? Oh yeah… Rush again.

Most of all, I want to know how many people have to die (coal miners, oil rig workers, Americans with no health care), and how many people have to go bankrupt because of unscrupulous financial institutions, before Americans will realize that the unfettered greed of unregulated free-market capitalism will utterly and completely destroy this country. I’m all for responsible capitalism. I want to know what happened to the “responsible” part.


  1. Dear Spinning Head Lady:

    While I can't answer most of your questions, I think I do know the answer to just one. I think it was referred to as Obama's Katrina because it happened while he is the sitting President. The oil spill is not his fault any more than Katrina was G.W.'s fault. Given how poorly Katrina was handled by the previous administration, though, I believe it should be viewed as an opportunity for the President to shine.

    Great article - very thought-provoking.

  2. Funny, I too have these same questions in my mind. It seems as though that we, as individual citizens, have more responsibilities (i.e. emergency shut off switches) than corporations. I have a HUGE problem with this.

    I feel your anger Leanne!