Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In lieu of oil, please send flowers.

A field of flowers south of Salem, NJ today. (photo by me)
NEW ORLEANS – BP began burning oil siphoned from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday as part of its plans to more than triple the amount of crude it can stop from reaching the sea, the company said. BP said oil and gas siphoned from the well first reached a semi-submersible drilling rig on the surface of the Gulf around 1 a.m.
Once that gas reaches the rig, it will be mixed with compressed air, shot down a specialized boom made by
Schlumberger Ltd. and ignited at sea. It's the first time this particular burner has been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP officials previously said they believed the burner system could incinerate anywhere from 210,000 gallons of oil to 420,000 gallons of oil daily once it's fully operational. Work to optimize the new system was still ongoing, and the company did not say how much oil it has burned so far
Is burning the oil a great idea, or just the last-ditch effort from a company that has run out of ideas? What's next? Do they set the entire Gulf of Mexico on fire and burn-off the leaked oil? Maybe it's on the drawing board?
I saw the president's speech last night. Mostly, by accident, because the Phillies are playing like Little Leaguer's and my thumb started working the remote. "Oh hey, the president is on!"
He started with a recap of what happened, and if one listens between the lines, this accident is setting up to be the worst event in recent history. An eco-system is at risk, as well as jobs, a way of life and a recovery process that is going to sink the country deeper into debt at a time when we can least afford it. Don't for a minute think that BP is picking up the tab. It's nice to talk about, but let's be realistic.
What I heard was a lot of tough talk and another new bureaucratic body designed to oversee this mess - or what he termed as an "independent party" to distribute the money that BP said they are going to give the financially injured people in the affected area.
Then, he started in on the oil industry and how dependent we are on them. He said something about today being the first day of our oil independence, or something like that. He wants our best minds to work on ways to get us off the oil standard, citing wind and solar energy as possible solutions. I remember candidate John Kerry proposing just such an effort 6 years ago, and as I watched the speech, I pictured Kerry in his living room shaking his head. Kerry is a bright guy, but lacked the charisma to be elected in our TV-minded electorate.
It reminded me of the way we over-react to situations that are bad and have always been bad. Someone's ax is gored and some legislation is passed (like Megan's Law) or some social program designed to prevent something that has always been a problem.
Although, if it takes something like this to finally get the government to pull the trigger on what we call "alternative energy," then so be it. It takes a car accident to get a drunk driver to reform, a heart attack to get people to start treating their bodies right and a house fire to get them to install smoke detectors.
Maybe we can use human nature to help us - for once.


guess said...


me said...

good post... how true...

Bobbye (aka "Babs") said...

Glad I stumbled onto your blog. It's getting tougher and tougher to find a sane (albeit sick) mind in the world today. (A world that at least constantly gives us bloggers "something to write about") Keep writing!

Anthony said...

Thanks Babs! There seems to be limitless possibilities for commentary.