Former Secetary of Labor, Robert Reich, recently wrote an article in the Huffington Post outlining why President Obama should temporarily put BP in receivership in order to insure proper resources are devoted to capping the oil leak and cleaning up the oil washing up on beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. Reich stated in his article:
“The Obama administration keeps saying BP is in charge because BP has the equipment and expertise necessary to do what’s necessary. But under temporary receivership, BP would continue to have the equipment and expertise. The only difference: the firm would unambiguously be working in the public’s interest. As it is now, BP continues to be responsible primarily to its shareholders, not to the American public. As a result, the public continues to worry that a private for-profit corporation is responsible for stopping a public tragedy.”
Saving the Beaches and Wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico
Efforts to prevent oil from seeping onto the beaches need to be stepped up. Rachel Maddow has shown miles of beaches without anybody doing anything to insure that oil is removed from the white sands or even that the booms are properly secured to prevent oil from reaching the wetlands.
Rachel Maddow – Busted booms fail Louisana Coast
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow – Professor Riki Ott: the heath threat to Gulf Oil Disaster cleanup crews
What exactly is being done now?
What needs to occur to protect the wildlife and environment?
It’s time for a multi-pronged approach to bring in all necessary resources to:
- Stop the leak
- Clean up the surface oil on the water
- Clean up the underwater plumes of oil
- Clean up the beaches and areas where oil has gone into wetlands
- Save the animals and other wildlife affected by the oil
BP has mostly had a slick PR campaign on the internet, radio and TV to promise to clean up the spill, yet that could take months. What is needed right now is mobilization of the national guard and technical teams implementing new methods to stop the leak and clean up existing oil.
Oil Companies Reaping Billions Must Devote More R&D Towards Safety & Remediation of Oil Leaks
It is a crime that the 6 most profitable companies in the world, all oil and gas companies, have failed to spend even modest amounts of money to be adequately prepared to quickly stop a leak in both shallow wells and deepwater wells and to effectively and quickly clean up the spill before it reaches land.
Even though other offshore wells have had disasters in the last 30 years, Rachel Maddow reported that oil companies have continued to use the same old methods that never worked well in the first place.
What have these oil companies been doing over the last 30 years?
It’s time for the U.S. to require oil companies to devote more resources towards having back-up safety plans to more effectively deal with:
- Deepwater well problems and stopping various types of leaks that could occur up to the deepest wells which are over 10,000 feet
- Cleaning up oil on the surface of the water as well as in underwater plumes
- Preventing oil from reaching beaches and waterways
- Effectively cleaning oil from beaches, plants, waterways and animals with safe nontoxic methods
Why haven’t oil companies advanced more in safety measures for spill remediation in the last 30 years?
Because they wanted to just make more profit and arrogantly refused to think that anything would go wrong with their drilling procedures.
In BP’s case it is clear that various officials deliberately cut corners in developing the Deepwater Horizon well which resulted in the current disaster.
What Can Be Learned From BP’s Oil Spill Disaster?
The U.S. government failed to properly require BP to have failsafe systems in place to prevent the poor workmanship that lead to the well failure. President Obama and the Congress must pass necessary legislation and regulations that will insure that existing shallow and deepwater offshore wells have safety mechanisms in place to prevent similar disasters from occurring.
And, all oil companies must be required to demonstrate technology that could be used in a short period of time (less than a few days to a few weeks at the maximum) to be able to cap wells that experience various types of failures similar to the Deepwater Horizon well failure.
Where are the risk management experts to anticipate various possible disaster scenarios that could occur in a deepwater well, and where is the research and development to create the necessary fixes to these potential disasters?
It is unacceptable that any offshore oil spill should require 4-6 months or more to cap the well with the only currently known successful method – drilling a relief well. All oil companies should be required by law to come up with faster and more effective methods of capping the wells before any further drilling of any kind takes place.
- Oil companies should be fined for every day they do not have adequate safety measures and effective remediation measures in place in case of another oil spill.
To compare the situation to fire codes in a building, in earlier years, sprinklers were not required to put out a fire. However, it became evident that lives and buildings could be spared with certain safety codes in place in case of a fire.
In the same vein, oil companies should be required by law to follow specific safety standards in the development of their wells. There should be more rigorous EPA oversight to insure wells are built to a stricter code and that there are multiple redundant failsafe measures in place.
It is scandalous that the most profitable oil companies in the world like Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron and Shell that reap billions a year in profit from drilling in U.S. waters have no current fast and effective means to stop oil leaks offshore on the bottom of the ocean.
It is clear that the U.S. government needs an emergency plan in place to more effectively handle oil spills and oil leaks in waters offshore.
In addition, now is the time to call for a Marshall Plan to wean the U.S. off of it’s addiction to oil and to create a comprehensive approach to developing new and safe green technologies.
There is no such thing as true “clean” coal and nuclear power has many potential hazards – especially the fact that nuclear waste lasts thousands of years and must be safely stored.
Therefore, now is the time to more fully look into advanced clean technologies that include:
- fuel cells,
- new solar approaches,
- co-generation plants,
- small-scale communities that utilize the cradle to cradle approach and a closed system use of recycling waste back to energy.
President Obama and Congress must forge ahead without being swayed by the oil companies to continue on with business as usual. It is clear that the BP Deepwater Horizon well disaster demonstrated that business as usual in the energy business is not working and it’s time for a real change we can see and believe in.