Mega-Disaster oil spill hits Southern USA – Lessons for Caribbean small island nations

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.

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11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Disaster, Environment, Oil

11 responses to “Mega-Disaster oil spill hits Southern USA – Lessons for Caribbean small island nations

  1. Straight talk

    Another contradiction from our wannabe environmental commissar.

    Carbon capping or increased oil production, you can’t promote both.

    Which one protects our vulnerable small island
    environment?

    Trying to sit on two stools invariably results in falling flat on your ass.

  2. Observing

    Rather than pillorying the then Minister for pursuing a course of action that would have had positive effects for the majority of the Barbados population by exploiting possible offshore oil reserves. Would it not have been more effective to push for tougher environmental standards?

    Would not Barbados have benefitted from having oil resources? The money would have made a huge difference to our social services and potentially lowering our taxation and cost of living on the average Bajan.

    It seems that BFP has a personal grudge against the BLP in that you persue them long after they have been thrown out of Government, in fact a cursory reading of your blog seems to suggest that about as much time is spent putting lashes in the out of office BLP as in the current administration (if not more)

    Rather than pursue a politician without a seat, might it not be more constructive to push for the current administration to implement those standards. While you are at it, push them to RESPONSIBLY develop those offshore oil resources as well. Bajans would be better off for it.

  3. pshaw

    Observing wants to forgive and forget 15 years of the BLP and Liz Thompson ignoring the environment and failing to enact one law to protect it.

    Keep up the good work BFP. Keep reminding your readers that the BLP had their chance for a decade and a half and that re-electing them would be regressive.

    The trouble is, re-electing the DLP would be regressive too!

  4. Pingback: Gulf oil spill could threaten the Bahamas - My 242

  5. Observing

    @Pshaw….

    nope, I’m not hoping for “forgiving and forgetting” as you so eloquently put it. I would like our current crop of politicians to get up off of their buttocks and do something about possible oil reserves, and environmental standards and transparency and (dare I say it) freedom of information.

    Nattering on about what the BLP did is all I seem to get from the current government. Rather than hear about what the BLP did or didn’t do, I’d rather put some pressure on the current lot (that regretfully I must admit that I voted for) to actually DO something!

    I did not like what the BLP was doing, so I voted them out (well I helped anyways) I’m getting more than fed up with a government (and it would seem a Barbados Free Press) who spend more time reminding me about the “bad old BLP” than actually doing something to make today any better.

  6. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Barbados, Haiti: U.S. Oil Spill

  7. isochroma

    What a beautiful leak – twenty thousand barrels of lovely lube a day. I love the oily mass that bulges outwards from a bent pipe. A brown Rorschach blot of the automobile culture.

    An endless orgasm of brown to win the King’s crown. The ejaculate of Hell sent by the wind-whipped swell.

    My most fervent hope is that all efforts to stop and mitigate this masterwork are failures. The incontinent flow of hydrocarbons shall continue for the decay of all.

    I would love to see a sea of greasy Devil’s blood flowing into the ocean forever more. The spew that flew right on through.

    Then the World can move on into its next phase, the Dark Phase of death, decline and destruction. Soon, all the works of humans will decay and so too will themselves be brought to the altar of slaughter, to account for their crimes of existence.

  8. Great article! I was wondering if i could borrow,. (or at least reference) this in a lecture in whistler BC on the 5th of june.. that is unless you would like to join us! you make alot of good points but i think ill leave the orgasmics out 😉

  9. BFP

    Yes, Simon… you have our permission to use our work (with attribution) as you want. Good luck in your new business.

    Robert, BFP

  10. bob schickendantz

    Oil spill to The telegraaf 2 100518

    Lower a pipe of 4500 feet and a diameter of 50 till 100 feet (wide as possible) over the well on the bottom and pump the oil away from the top of the pipe, probable pumping is not necessary. The oil in the pipe and the sea itself are communicating vessels. If one lower the level in the pipe by pumping out the oil faster than it is delivered by the well then more or less water will enter te pipe on the bottom. If the oil level in the pipe is too high then some oil at the bottom wil go into the seawater. By keeping the level a little too low in the oil pipe, some water will enter the pipe at the bottom and there is no spillin the sea for sure.
    However the density of the oil is lower than the water so that the oil level in the pipe is higher and way above sealevel. One simply has to tap off (release) the oil at such a level above sealevel that the pressures at the bottom between seawater and oil are in balance. Please comment. This is important for the Netherlands too for the oil is going to circulate around the world in the gulfstream and also evaporating and raining down on us.

    Bob Schickendantz 100517 jbsc35@netzero.com

    I’m a chemical engineer and worked in research. Sent this idea already to Louisiana and Florida but no response.

  11. just2cents

    we, in the Gulf of Mexico, have been abandoned by our govt and bp. we are basically on our own. bp is in charge of OUR GULF STATES. bp is telling OUR MILITARY what to do. we are being sprayed with chemicals that are banned in europe. we are 4 states united in oil. we are sick and dying. our beloved animals perish as our president goes on holiday, again. i feel the helplessness that others in the world feel at the hands of monsters who create chaos. it is well known throughout the world, of atrocities the u.s. inflicts on other countries. now it is our turn. the WORLD MUST TAKE HEED OF THIS GREAT EVIL. before it is too late….