Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MoreAtorium

The latest update from the Gulf is a bit disheartening, but not surprising.

I reported within my last blog entry the existence of a growing opposition to the six months oil-drilling moratorium imposed by the Obama administration. It seems a Federal judge has lifted it.

"A judge has blocked the offshore drilling moratorium imposed by the Obama administration after the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

"The six-month moratorium halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling, and suspended drilling at 33 existing exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Pacific.
"

This block makes a salient point even more salient: When safety concerns and bread-and-butter issues clash, you quickly learn which side of the bread is buttered--bread-and-butter issues will invariably win out.

Those workers in opposition to the moratorium work on oil rigs, or service oil rigs in some way or another, and their livelihoods were being threatened, but to no greater degree than those who make their living in the oyster, shrimping, fisheries, hotel, motel, and restaurant businesses.

I understand that people need to work. I understand that food, clothing, and shelter are important, but so is safety, the environment, and our long-term survival.

In a sane world, we'd pay these workers to suspend work while safety issues are examined, and assurances are given that the rigs are safe enough for drilling to continue.

But ours is not a sane world.

What we've learned is that bread-and-butter issues trump safety; bread-and-butter issues trump the environment. If that's not the case: Why else would Mineral Management Service (MMS) permit BP to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, 5000 feet down, without provable, demonstrated means to prevent a catastrophic blowout of the magnitude that's taken 11 lives, and will soon leave our marshes, estuaries, and beaches awashed with the smelly goo we say we can't live without.

The Deep Water Horizonoil rig blow-out preventer (BOP), we've now learned, was riddled with "critical flaws".

Here's a brief summary. The previous link provides a more detailed accounting:

"Oil wells both on and offshore have contraptions called blowout preventers.
Those iconic old images of oil well gushers? The blowout preventer stops that
from happening, saving much cleanup and money given all the oil that used to
spew randomly all over the place before it could be brought under control.
According to BP's CEO Tony Hayward, the blowout preventer should have kicked in
the day that the explosion occurred, but failed to do so. They don't seem to know why."


Since that time, when BP's CEO Tony Hayward feigned ignorance, much has come to light about the cause, or causes:

"BP,Transocean, and Halliburton avoided standard tests and inspectionson the blow out preventer stack. The stack apparently does not have a top-kill mechanism, forcing the crews to improvise on the battered BOP stack on the sea floor. We also learned that three days before the disaster, the crews took an economic short cut by pumping free seawater instead of expensive, man-made drilling mud into the well to try to close it. The crews apparently knew, or should have known, that the seawater was not countering the pressure in the well. The crew knew for at least an hour before the explosion that the blow out preventer was failing. This much we know, even before the formal investigation ordered by the White House gets going."

I support Life. This position represents my philosophy, and my politics. It's a principle that I adhere to, but not blindly, since, on occasions, other concerns may take precedence.

I distrust principled stances that are so rigid that they violate commonsense, and the exigencies of the moment.

Further, I don't believe we're locked into a future where the options are as narrow as they are currently presented. If we don't "drill baby drill," they tell us, we may lose our American way of life, we'll take a backward step in lifestyle, and we'll assure for ourselves a bleak future.

What's missing in our future is a lack of will. Why call for sacrifices when things are going so swimmingly--our cars run, our houses are lighted, and our ranges and ovens heat and cook our food.

The fossil fuel industry (oil, coal, gas) would like nothing better than to lock us into a future where the only energy options we have are theirs. But that's no option at all, and it's becoming clearer, that on the energy front, we'll continue to rob Peter to pay Paul.

The evidence is mounting, our dependence on fossil fuels--which emits carbon dioxide (CO2) into our environment--is responsible for the weather-altering phenomenon referred to as global warming, and climate change.

I'm convinced that the "change" can be placed at the feet of humankind, at the feet of developed countries, and developing countries.

When asked what we can do, I wrote elsewhere:

First, we have to stop believing that the threat isn't real--that all of this is going to go away.

Second, we have to stop lying to ourselves. We have 2% of the world's resources
while using 20%. This American lifestyle, which we mistakenly call the American Dream, is not sustainable, nor is it fair to the rest of the world's people to use up gluttonously that which belongs to all.

The naysayers of the world, and this nation, have to be pushed aside. We have to
replace these agents of propaganda, and delusions, with proponents of truth, facts, and a strong tower of realism.

If we continue in the direction we're going, all is lost. And it's not just the energy crisis, and the lack of an energy vision of which I speak.

This world is on a collision course with a hell of its own making.

Third, those of us of a like mind, must mobilize, and agitate for the future we wish to create.

I learned today that BP has leases in the Arctic, and is preparing to drill there in the near future. How many disasters does BP get to create at the expense of the world, and humanity, just so we may continue to drive gas guzzlers, and spew more carbon dioxides into the air, a gas generated by fossil fuels.

If we don't drown out the voices of naysayers, by presenting alternatives to their clear and present push to keep the status quo, and augment it, then we have no future--at least not one that we'll recognize.

Make no mistake: This is war. We're fighting for democracy, and for the future of humankind[Our democracy is degrading as the political strength of corporations grow exponentially, thanks to the Supreme court, and a bribed congress.].

We can continue to allow our pursuit of livelihoods, and the amassing of great fossil-fuel fortunes to be our focus, but we do so at great risk to the planet, and to our quality of life here.

There are other potential catastrophic events looming on the horizon, but this one is now a visible and present danger--and we still lack the collective will do anything about it.

Bread and butter, anyone?


Image used courtesy of : Free Images - Free Stock Photos

12 comments:

msladydeborah said...

This latest development is one that I cannot even imgine being correct. There is no manner of assurance to the people of this nation or any other that we will not see a second disaster happen.

I think that it is no less than insane to permit this conglomerate start drilling for oil again. But apparently the current spill isn't enough to deter the judge from making a sane ruling.

I wrote about our society being oil addicted today. I sincerely believe that if we do not get some serious national rehab going that very substance will be the reason why we encounter more problems in the future.

I hope and pray that no more disasters are going to happen. But it seems to me that Mother Earth is sending her own message to us.
And it sounds like Enough is Enough! Some of us seem to hear it and others seem to be able to ignore the sound of reality.

Black Diaspora said...

Many times, msladydeborah, you have the distinction of being first.

Thanks.

I believe with you that oil is at the bottom of many of our problems, including the war in Iraq.

What with Cong. Barton apologizing to BP's Tony Hayward for what he termed an Obama shakedown, this latest revelation, a Federal judge in New Orleans, no less, blocking Obama's moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, comes with little or no surprise.

Our eyes are opened. But you got to ask yourself, what is it going to take to bring others into the light?

Kathy said...

It disturbs me that so many people blame President Obama for this oil spill, and then a Federal Judge has the nerve to block his order? I don't think President Obama can be effective will so many working against him. I am in a "people are stupid" mood today:)).

If there is a traffic jam, seems like people would find a way to blame the President.

I think this oil spill is probably one of the worst environmental disasters to happen in the US, it will pollute out water and air for a long time to come, not to mention the loss of wildlife, and the loss of jobs to people who are already suffering.

Black Diaspora said...

@Kathy: I am in a "people are stupid" mood today:)).

I feel you!

I find: people are both 'stupid' and 'brilliant.'

Despite that: We don't have too much time to right the ship, and unless our "brilliance" overcome our "stupidity," we're going to do great harm to this planet, and, by extension, to ourselves.

I'm just hoping that the Wise One's among us prevail.

Otherwise, stupid is as stupid does, everyday, all day.

Greg L said...

I learned today that BP has leases in the Arctic, and is preparing to drill there in the near future. How many disasters does BP get to create at the expense of the world, and humanity, just so we may continue to drive gas guzzlers, and spew more carbon dioxides into the air, a gas generated by fossil fuels.

If we don't drown out the voices of naysayers, by presenting alternatives to their clear and present push to keep the status quo, and augment it, then we have no future--at least not one that we'll recognize.

Make no mistake: This is war. We're fighting for democracy, and for the future of humankind[Our democracy is degrading as the political strength of corporations grow exponentially, thanks to the Supreme court, and a bribed congress.].

We can continue to allow our pursuit of livelihoods, and the amassing of great fossil-fuel fortunes to be our focus, but we do so at great risk to the planet, and to our quality of life here.

There are other potential catastrophic events looming on the horizon, but this one is now a visible and present danger--and we still lack the collective will do anything about it.


Excellent post BD and much food for thought. I have a tendency to believe that the system is beyond repair and I suspect many people feel this way. That may not be the correct way to feel as that can effectively cede the current situation to the oligarchs. Ultimately, I believe that they'll collapse as the system collapses, but the unfortunate truth is that many other folks will be caught with this and even at this point, many are unsuspecting and unknowing.

There's a place for the sort of idealism that says we can fight to change the path we're on. What is needed is enlightened leadership to show the way. Along with that, people need other sources of information other than the normal media outlets. In a way, many of us must become heretics of the old orthodoxy that prescribes a fossil fuel economy combined with war, financial alchemy and greed as a way of life. That order is really passing as we speak, so the issue IMHO is what future we can shape. I believe we can make some collective choices about that which may lessen the power the oligarchs and their paid minions have over us.

G

Black Diaspora said...

Unfortunately, Greg L, the situation grows graver by the day.

We can repair it, I feel: all is not lost--not yet--but we're inching closer to the edge, and already we're too willing to cede to the oligarchy complete control--absolute power to do as they wish as long as we can stay employed, and employable, to keep the wolves of debt, and financial insecurity at bay.

Change can be achieved, either willingly, and by design, or as a response to a cataclysmic event.

I'm afraid the latter is our fate. We're loathe to change. Change mean we'll have to step out of our comfort zone, and take risks--new and untried steps that are threatening by virtue of their unfamiliarity.

We're risk adverse. Therefore, any change, short of a major shakeup, may prove inadequate.

We need a "change" that is thoroughgoing, and is a radical departure from the past.

Blinders Off said...

Hi BD,

First, let me say that was a profound comment you left over in the Fields.

My father did not have the opportunity to get a formal education because he had to work in the fields as a young boy. However, he was a wise man and he had mothers' wit that would rival the smartest person. He left the South and moved North when he began his family and I am thankful for that. He stressed the importance of an education in our household. I was what you would call a cool nerd; I wanted to learn everything I could. When I was a young girl, teaching my father how to read and do math we would have conversations about the world. What is happening in the Gulf reminds me of one of his conversation when we would talk about the oil in Alaska. That conversation always ended with, "God is not the one who will destroy the world... man will be the one".

He was RIGHT!

Black Diaspora said...

Thank you, Blinders Off. As Granny would say: "It's good to see your fonts."

"God is not the one who will destroy the world... man will be the one".

"He was RIGHT!"


Yes, he was right. And he was wise. That kind of wisdom is rare, today, and becoming rarer, but if the "wise one's" among us don't prevail, those who're pursuing massive fossil-fuel fortunes at the expense of our fragile environment, we, and they, will reap a whirlwind of destruction, the likes of which we've never seen.

It's not my way to deliver "gloom and doom" prognostications, but we're poised for a potential world-impacting calamity that's not all that hard to read.

It's written in Large Print, visible in the "tea leaves," and the "handwriting on the wall."

Ernesto said...

BD...I think we all need to "get off the grid", just like we need to secede from WalMart Nation. Solar, wind, geothermal is already capable of breaking the stranglehold of this 19th century carbon emitting monstrosity that is poisoning the land, air and water.

Once again, this all goes back to the pay for play system badly in need of reform. Our political landscape is rife with fossilized corruption that needs to be snuffed out.

Black Diaspora said...

There's methane from garbage, already being used to power vehicles.

Using garbage (which is amassing at incredible rates in landfills across our nation) we reduce the need to find new sites when old ones are filled to capacity, and we power vehicles with a virtually clean energy source.

Ethanol is a renewable energy, and the production of it doesn't have the risks associated with oil.

And then there's another bio fuel with a promising future as an additive to jet fuels.

last, but not least, there's a new technology rapidly garnering attention, the Bloom Box, touted as a "power plant-in-a-box"

What stands in the way of us blazing a new, green, clean, energy trail: The fossil-fuel industry (coal, gas, oil). They stand to lose big time, if these other energy sources succeed.

And when you have a congress so easily bribed, you have the perfect storm for doing nothing, but backing an industry like BP that in a failed crap shoot which they called Deepwater Horizon have poisoned with oil the waters of the Gulf.

Greg L said...

And when you have a congress so easily bribed, you have the perfect storm for doing nothing, but backing an industry like BP that in a failed crap shoot which they called Deepwater Horizon have poisoned with oil the waters of the Gulf.

Yep and again, this is where I'm not very hopeful about anything changing. The corruptness of the system is beyond reform in my view. More and more, I'm down with the Ernesto plan with "going off grid". That's about the only thing that will save us as individuals right now.

Ernesto said...

BD...you are really on to something. If there is one thing this country is good at, it is generating a LOT of garbage!