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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/17/10

Brain Dead Taxpayers Subsidize B.P's Recklessness

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Message Jon Faulkner

Big Oil, with its lapdog Republicans, will happily turn the U.S. into another Nigeria. If that's hard to believe look to the Gulf of Mexico where B.P. saved half a million dollars by foregoing the installation of an automated B.O.P.

Choking on ruined air, and cutting itself off from the ocean's bountiful harvests of seafood, the chances that humankind will commit collective suicide are pretty good. It has become painfully obvious that there will be no political solutions to confront the deadly serious damage to the human habitat - planet earth. A tiny percentage of the world's population is responsible for so much damage that human survival is a very iffy proposition.

The U.S. lags far behind other advanced nations that are seriously investing in green energy. It's a win, win scenario whereby millions of jobs are created, and the U.S. can begin weaning itself from its dependency on foreign oil. But the oil lobby snaps its fingers, and its pet Congress jumps through the hoop. If Florida and the Eastern Seaboard dodge the bullet Americans must count themselves extremely fortunate that they had a first hand look at what might have been. Unfortunately, in such a case, Americans will still suffer from a lack of 20/20 hindsight.

Like the Commercial Banks of Wall Street, Big Oil will have another accident, then another, and the World's Oceans will retreat from the human onslaught that will eventually, sooner than later, destroy the World's Oceans and the marine life that inhabits them. Global Warming has been largely ignored in spite of melting icecaps that now equal the combined areas of California, Texas and Oklahoma. As they continue melting it is only a matter of time until coastal areas must be abandoned. Mention Global Warming to any Republican Nutcase, and Al Gore comes up as Chicken Little shouting "the sky is falling!"

There's much talk about B.P's spill, and how such a thing must be prevented from ever happening again. But Americans are only paying attention because it's happening in their back yards. In Alberta, Canada, over 200 square miles of wildlife habitat has been destroyed by oil exploration and resultant spills. Ecuador suffers from the discharge of 18 billion gallons of toxic waste that has found its way to its rainforests. The list of impacted ecosystems are almost endless, but as long as Americans can pull up to the pump and, fill "er up, they"ll continue ignoring a nightmarish future they apparently are welcoming.

Last week Shell Oil won a court case that will allow it to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic. Shell's vice president trumpeted that once again Shell has demonstrated that its drilling plans are "robust" and "safe." B.P. can't contain its spill where it is surrounded by every conceivable piece of equipment and technological know how that's available. A spill in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas will present far more difficult problems in cleaning it up. But what the hell. Potential profits far outweigh the paltry $75 million liability cap that Shell might be exposed to. It looks like B.P. has already won the Spill Club's award for greatest destruction ever from a spill. "Cleaning up" after a spill is a very deceptive description. Ten years after the Exxon Valdez washed ashore along 1300 miles of coastline, scientists estimate that only about 8% of the spilled oil was ever recovered.

Even the Terminator, California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says, "You turn on the television and see this enormous disaster, you say to yourself, 'Why would we want to take that kind of risk?' Why indeed? But like Wall Street and its commercial banks, when the dust settles and Americans are again riveted to their televisions, another oil company, operating without government oversight, will again turn the black death loose on whichever fragile marine ecosystem is next. Americans, unless a befouled sea washes across their feet, will never know, or care, that another blow against their long term survival has again occurred.

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Jon Faulkner is a licensed Master Mariner. He has long considered the conservative republican mindset a form of mental illness. He lives in northern Maine.
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