Saturday, May 1, 2010

The High Cost of "Drill Baby Drill", Part III- What If?


The lack of humility before nature that's being displayed here, uh... staggers me. Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park.

I found myself tossing and turning most of last night, but I finally did get to sleep. And at about 5:30 am on a Saturday I opened my eyes to rays of sunlight beginning to slice through the gaps on the side of my window shades. I could hear the sounds of birds chirping and Canada geese flying and honking overhead. It was way too early, but I got up and made some coffee.

And I had this thought; what if those were the last sounds of nature I would ever hear? What if there were no nesting birds, waterfowl, or other creatures to share the earth with? Mankind is supposed to be the steward of Planet Earth. And once again, we have failed miserably.

Last night on Real Time Bill Maher laid the blame for the Deep Water Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill on those most responsible; on We The People.

Yes BP went ahead with the drilling off of the Louisiana coastline, and are ultimately at fault. It seems there was no contingency plan from BP in the event of disaster. In fact, it seems BP deemed a mishap like the catastrophe in the Gulf as unlikely, and even impossible.

"....unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities."... an excerpt from BP's plan for the Deepwater Horizon well submitted to the Minerals Management Service

That's right....does anybody reading this remember the "unsinkable" Titanic?

But the bottom line is that we all failed....when an energy crisis first reared its head in the 1970's we panicked, we sat long gas lines, we paid more for gas, we watched prices stabilize and become plentiful....and then we went and bought bigger gas guzzlers. And we repeated the process every few years. We always talk a good game about a comprehensive energy plan for the 21st century, and then we do nothing.

We The People didn't demand enough of our leaders to get us off fossil fuels; and today four Gulf Coast states, their wildlife, their livelihoods, and their economies are all imperiled.

This morning I felt so ill about watching the news regarding the situation in the Gulf I couldn't watch anymore. So I put on HBO...and watched Jurassic Park for possibly the tenth time. And in that film from 1993 we saw the danger of what could happen when science and technology are used irresponsibly; there are repercussions that can be far reaching for years to come. Below, another quote from Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm.

I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here: it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility... for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now....

Yesterday New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, and Congressmen Frank Pallone (NJ-6) and Rush Holt (NJ-12) sent a letter to President Obama voicing their opposition to expanded offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic.

“In the wake of the tragic accident, loss of life, and pollution in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, we are even more steadfastly opposed to any offshore drilling that could imperil the environment or economy of coastal New Jersey,” wrote the Members of Congress. “While we appreciate the White House’s announcement that no additional offshore drilling will be authorized until a full investigation of the accident is complete, we urge you to go further and reverse your decision on proposed new offshore oil and gas drilling for the outer continental shelf.

“The spill, and the conduct of companies like BP, raises serious concerns about expanding drilling to areas like the Atlantic seaboard. This catastrophe demonstrates exactly why no new drilling should proceed in any U.S. waters, and certainly not in the Atlantic. This incident exposes the many deficiencies in worker safety, blow out avoidance technology, and oil spill clean-up plans for operations in the outer continental shelf. We simply are not prepared to make our pristine Jersey shoreline the next test case for the oil companies’ experiment in how to maximize profits and minimize regulations.”

The President has suspended authorization for any increased offshore drilling. It is my hope that this suspension is permanent.

There will be a Butterfly Effect from this spill that will touch the lives of all, from the shrimper in the Delta to your local Red Lobster or Joe's Crab Shack. And imagine the hit to the economies that depend on the casinos in Biloxi or spring break in the Florida Panhandle. Alaska still isn't totally back from the Exxon-Valdez disaster of 1988... and that was 22 years ago.

And of course, an ecosystem that took hundreds of thousands of years to develop will be no more.

Time to stop now. I want to enjoy this spring day...and the wonder of nature...while I still can.


Linda said...

Happy birthday Hugh Jee!

All the best to you. Your comments keep me going, and my friends and I marvel at your knowledge about just about everything. Hope yuo have a great day.

We Taurus-types rock.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Thank you Linda!

I'll have some comments about my birthday later on today in a separate post.

And as for my "knowledge of just about everything", there are those on The Right who think- to paraphrase The Firesign Theater- that "Everything I Know Is WRONG!"


Thanks again! Ciao!

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