The end of the world for many southern USA coastal communities
Unless you’ve been on the planet Mars or in Dodds Prison for the last few days, you know that a BP oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, USA exploded, caught fire and is spewing 5000 barrels of oil a day into the already-not-pristine waters of the Caribbean.
An oil slick the size of the state of West Virginia is starting to come ashore and threatens all along the southern USA coast from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama to Florida. The Mississippi River is covered with oil a mile up from the coast and that’s just the start.
This is the end of the world for many coastal communities because as we saw with the Exxon Valdez in Alaska and the Shell Oil spill in Barbados these disasters kill everything for decades.
President Obama has declared a national emergency and sent in the military to do what they can do, but the magnitude of the spill means that only God could now prevent the total destruction of fisheries and tourism on thousands of miles of coastline.
“BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill — and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals — was unlikely, or virtually impossible.
The Coast Guard estimates now that at least 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers. The environmental catastrophe could eclipse the Exxon Valdez disaster, when an oil tanker spilled 11 million gallons off Alaska’s shores in 1989.”
… from the AP news story BP plan deemed major spill from Gulf well unlikely
Blame Game doesn’t matter right now
Some news stories indicate that the oil rig in question had major problems and safety violations for some time prior to the disaster. Some stories say that the oil rig was an older technology and that the operators were reckless. Some say that the rig met standards (whatever they are) but that nothing at sea is guaranteed 100% safe and secure.
Only the last statement about nothing at sea being 100% safe and secure is obviously true, but none of that matters to the poor folks along the coast who are seeing their lives destroyed. We know from past experience that any lawsuits will take two decades or more to settle. We know from past experience that committee after committee will perform study after study while tens of thousands lose their homes, jobs and businesses. Families will disperse. Lifetimes, even generations, of toil and sacrifice will be destroyed.
But BP British Petroleum will do alright because no doubt the rig was owned and operated by sub-companies with limited assets and even thinner insurance coverage and liability. BP will do alright because the politicians of the United States of America put the long term interests of the ordinary people and the nation secondary to the great god of MONEY and PROFIT.
All of which leads us to former Barbados Minister of Energy and the Environment Elizabeth Thompson.
During her tenure as Environment Minister, Elizabeth Thompson took the lead in auctioning off oil exploration areas around Barbados to multi-national oil companies. The Bajan news media proclaimed exaggerated benefits and mentioned no downside to this sell-a-thon of Bajan sovereignty.
Unnoticed and unmentioned by Liz Thompson and the Bajan news media though, was the fact that Barbados has no environmental legislation, regulations or enforcement organisation to police the oil companies. This disaster that will do so much damage along the US coast could easily have happened to our beaches.
Imagine the slaughter of our economy if this happened to Barbados!
The days of “let the oil companies do what they want” should be long gone, but as we’ve seen with the Shell Oil pipeline spill along our south coast, our politicians for some reason seem to favour the polluting oil companies over our country’s future.
I wonder why that is? (He said knowingly…)
The oil spill disaster along the southern US coast should be a wake-up call to Bajan citizens. Hear the message well, my friends: our politicians are putting their own interests first over Barbados, and they can do so much damage if we allow them to act without the oversight of average citizens who are concerned for our children’s futures.