In light of the fact that BP was not sufficiently prepared to be doing the kind of work they were doing (at immense and obscene profits), the news yesterday that the rate at which oil is leaking from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico where BP was drilling has likely increased day by day for 10 days now is shocking and damning.
Instead of the original 1,000 barrels per day (42,000 gallons) of oil leaking, pro-environmental groups examining satellite data helped convince the government and BP to revise that estimate upwards dramatically – to 5,000 barrels per day (~200,000 gallons). Further examination indicates that a worst-case scenario is developing that far outpaces that 5,000 barrel per day estimate.
A Florida State University professor has come out with an 8 million to 9 million gallons of oil already leaked estimate. The Exxon Valdez oil spill back in 1989 totaled 11 million gallons of oil. This newest spill could easily become the largest oil spill disaster in American history. That well head isn’t expected to be capped for weeks to months. How much environmental damage will occur in the meantime as oil sloshes around the Gulf of Mexico? How many small businesses will be shut down that depend on Gulf wildlife in their jobs?
Oil is dirty. Oil drilling is dirty. It’s that simple. Instead of expanding off-shore drilling, as President Obama outlined earlier this year, drilling should have been placed under more common-sense regulations and problems that have been festering for years should have been taken care of. As I wrote above, the oil industry’s profits are obscene. It’s not like they don’t have the money to invest in a little safety.
As I wrote yesterday, wind and solar energy are called “clean” for good reasons. Oil, coal and natural gas are called “dirty” for good reasons. Note the dirty energy industry’s attempts to relabel itself as “clean” on dozens of commercials per day. They’re spending a lot of money in a re-brand attempt. We need to end our addiction to dirty energy. Clean energy resources exist in such abundance that the world’s energy needs today are dwarfed by the supply. We don’t need to suffer through mine explosions, oil spills and environmental disasters that grow worse by the year.