Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's Good For BP is Good For America

What the fuck is going on here?
More than a month has passed since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up, spewing immeasurable quantities of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and frustrating all efforts to contain it. The billowing plume of undersea oil and water has thwarted the industry’s well-control efforts and driven government officials to impotent rage.

It has demonstrated the enduring laxity of federal regulation of offshore operations and has shown the government to be almost wholly at the mercy of BP, the company leasing the rig, to provide the technology, personnel and equipment to stop the bleeding well.

Senators and administration officials visiting the southern Louisiana town of Galliano lashed out again at BP on Monday, saying they were “beyond patience” with the company. The day before, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who early in the crisis vowed to “keep the boot on the neck” of BP, threatened to push the company out of the way.

But on Monday, Mr. Salazar backed off, conceding to the reality that BP and the oil companies have access to the best technology to attack the well, a mile below the surface, even though that technology has proved so far to have fallen short of its one purpose. The government’s role, he acknowledged, is largely supervisory and the primary responsibility for the spill, for legal and practical reasons, remains with the company.

“The administration has done everything we can possibly do to make sure that we push BP to stop the spill and to contain the impact,” Mr. Salazar said. “We have also been very clear that there are areas where BP and the private sector are the ones who must continue to lead the efforts with government oversight, such as the deployment of private sector technology 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface to kill the well.”
Why the hell is BP still calling the shots? If they had "the best technology" as it's often claimed, wouldn't some of it would have worked by now?

I'm obviously no expert, but I simply don't understand how the company whose fucking up caused this mess is still in charge of fixing it a month later when they've been lying to us about how big the spill is and there have been no signs of progress.

That's also going on the assumption that they aren't making things worse:
At a news conference Monday, the E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, said that she was “dissatisfied with BP’s response” and had ordered the oil giant to take “immediate steps to scale back the use of dispersants.”
. . .
Ms. Jackson said that in theory, BP’s deployment of dispersant directly onto the l well head, a novel use of the chemicals, would reduce the amount of oil on the surface and the need for application of dispersant there. She said the company could reduce its use by 50 percent to 75 percent, regardless of which dispersant was used.

Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard said that while the government had approved the use of dispersant beforehand, “no one anticipated that it would ever be used at this scale and this scope.”

Admiral Landry said the preferred method of responding to oil on the ocean was to burn it or to soak it up with devices like absorbent booms. Dispersant applications should be a second line of defense, for when the weather is too severe to rely on other techniques, she said.

It was not clear how the environmental agency would enforce the demand that BP reduce its use of the dispersant.
It's unclear how we'd enforce their use... meaning we can't stop BP from doing something that might do more damage than good? Fantastic! And that brings us to something that should have been pointed out long ago any time we discuss BP's role in cleaning up their own mess:

The British Petroleum Corporation has different priorities and goals than the United States of America.

A shocking statement I know, but apparently it needs to be said out loud.

Relevant example: It's in our best interest to stop this leak as fast as humanly possible, while it's in BP's best interests to stop it in a way that won't permanently damage their well.

So even though BP may have "the best technology", it's been over a month and they've proven they either don't know what they're doing or are unwilling to do what's necessary. Try something else or threaten BP that you'll never give them a contract again unless this is stopped by the end of the week.

Just do something, anything to show you aren't waiting around for the same fuck ups who created this disaster to fix it on their own terms.

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