The unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is quickly turning into the worst man made natural disaster since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I don't think that people really grasp the magnitude of what is happening and how horrible it all really is. If the current desperate effort to plug the wellhead doesn't work, the leak could continue till at least July and possibly later. If that worst case scenario happens, damage will be in the hundreds and hundres of billions of dollars with untold generational damage. The fish stocks of the Gulf would be totally wiped out, tourism would crash, the fragile wetlands that protect the mainland from hurricanes would be lost forever and the economy of the United States and possbily the world could plunge back into a deep recession.
I mention these worst case scenarios because they are sadly, the most likely. No one really has a freaking clue how to stop this thing and with each passing day, it appears that the leak is increasing in volume. So, as we take stock of what is happening, just who exactly is to blame for all of this? For that, just read on...
1. British Petroleum (BP) is ultimately the one responsible for cleaning up this mess but don't think for a minute that they will really pick up the tab. A 1990 law caps the liability at $75 million. I assure you, they won't pay a penny more. In addition to BP, Halliburton will also be on the hook as they are the ones that built the rig and drilled the well.
2. All of us are really responsible. Each time we fill up our tanks with cheap gasoline, we contribute to the death of this planet. Our addiction to oil is worse than that of a crack addicts need for his next fix. The fossil fuel industry is dirty and dangerous and until we move away from this form of energy, we will continue to see accidents like this one and the disaster in the West Virginia coal mine last month.
3. The fact that we are forced to drill for oil in the deepest depths of the ocean tells you all you really need to know about the state of oil production in the world. All of the easy stuff has been taken and to feed our addiction we are sticking the straw down into the hard to get sections. We are on the downward slope of oil production and as we move further and further away from Peak Oil, it will become increasingly more difficult to meet our needs. We have two choices here, we can "drill baby drill" and get absolutely nowhere or we can make a full fledged effort to find other energy sources.
4. My bet is that we will embrace the "drill baby drill" mantra. Sadly, President Obama has his head up his ass and is blowing a prime opportunity to have the real kind of change that he campaigned on. His boneheaded decision to open up offshore areas to drilling is coming back to bite him in the ass. This might be a once in a lifetime opportunity to affect real change but as Obama has shown so many times, he won't go for it.
Here are a few pictures to help bring home the disaster that is happening...