The BP Gulf Oil Gusher represents an historic failure of government and industry. A tragic violation of the public trust and social contract.
For all of us who live on and near the Gulf Coast of Mexico, we exist in a state that alternates between exasperation and incredulity, between anger and grief, between shock and awe at what this oil spill has come to represent. Where do we start? How do we begin to express our collective disillusionment with so many instances of betrayal and letdown? As well as the relentless falling short of what used to be considered reasonable expectations of government and corporate social responsibility.
Is it unreasonable to expect our governments -- federal, state, county -- to ensure that industry (Oil & Gas in this case) complies with the laws of our land? Should we be concerned that basic regulatory oversight, put into place to protect people, property and environment, were completely ignored, suspended and not enforced? Do we accept that such disasters occur through a highly unlikely series of human errors, bureaucratic mistakes, equipment malfunctions and technological breakdowns? How can everything go wrong, at the worst possible time, in the perfectly wrong place, unless ... ... ...
The BP Gulf Oil Spill was created by man; it was not an act of God as some would have us believe. It was an utterly man-made event; not an accident or conspiracy of circumstances where fate would have everything accidentally go wrong that could go possibly go wrong. Not only have these disasters happened many times before, they will happen many more times in the future, if the status quo does not change quickly. When the prevailing mentality (Drill Baby Drill), which so dominates certain sectors of the Energy Industry, is defined by an OPERATE TO FAILURE MO, what else could be expected?
Here we are on Friday, July 9, Day 80 of this nonstop oil gusher and what has occurred to instill confidence in the hearts and minds of the people regarding an enduring solution? Let's put aside the gushing well, as it is clear that BP and the Coast Guard are completely out of their league on that one. We're now talking about a coordinated, deliberate and well thought-out response to the polluted waters and tainted coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. What have the US Government and BP really endeavored to do in order to protect coastlines, embargo estuaries and pluck the still living marine life from the depths of this petrochemical cesspool? Have they at least released pertinent and vital information on a timely basis, which can assist many of us in our mitigation efforts?
These are our beaches, after all. We live here. We play here. We work here. For many, the Gulf is like a second back yard -- a place where we go for fresh seafood and fun in the sun, on the beach and in the water. For boating and fishing, swimming and snorkeling. We go to the Gulf when we seek the peace and comfort that only the Gulf and Her beautiful beaches and wetlands can bring. And now that is all gone, with no prospect of returning in our lifetime. Truly, many are silently weeping in the privacy of their homes due to the sheer enormity and gravity of this heart-rending event.
So, where are we today? Or, where will we be tomorrow with this completely unacceptable state of affairs? More importantly, where will the BP-US Government tag team be on Day 81? Will BP still spray poisonous dispersants in and on the Gulf? Is the Coast Guard now spraying toxic dispersants from their own planes, as we have been told? Has BP relinquished any control over what is essentially a federal disaster area, as well as a crime scene theirs. Given these facts, any official response should be legally and operationally directed by the US Federal Government?
As Dr. Thomas B. Manton, former CEO/President of the International Oil Spill Control Corporation, has wisely pointed out in his articles, British Petroleum is an oil company that makes its money drilling for and extracting oil. It is positively not in the oil spill control business, as its history clearly demonstrates. And yet the US Federal Government has given BP complete command and control over the Gulf of Mexico. For all practical purposes, a foreign multi-national corporation is enforcing Martial Law in US Territorial Waters. BP, the largest corporation in the UK, is to this day the chief component of a unified command structure from which all concerned US jurisdictions are taking orders.
Please know that British Petroleum has hired a security staff and small paid-for-hire mercenary army that would make most small nations jealous. They allocate more time and resources in securing the area than they do in cleaning it up. They spend more in marketing warm and fuzzy slogans around this PR disaster than they do mitigating and remediating the water and shoreline. They direct more personnel in the affected geographic area toward tasks that are peripheral to oil spill control than they do toward protecting the fragile Florida wetlands, Louisiana bayous or Alabama beaches.
Now we get to the real kicker here. The reader will find four proposals formulated by two different organizations (at the hyperlink below), which have a great interest in capping the gushing well and, at the very least, containing and capturing the leaking oil. Both groups have an equally strong desire to implement an integrated implementation plan to protect, mitigate and remediate all affected areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The challenge has been to get a response from anyone at BP, the Coast Guard, the concerned State governments or the impacted counties in North Florida, Alabama or Mississippi. These proposals have also been sent to the White House; specifically to the Office of Energy and Climate Change policy, as well as to the Co-Chair of the Gulf Oil Spill Commission Investigation.
As of today, we have yet to receive a single response or acknowledgement from any of the aforementioned parties. Should we be concerned!? The consensus from those directly impacted and observers alike is that those who created this problem cannot be relied upon to fix it. Therefore, We The People are left with no alternative but to take matters into our own hands, wherever our lives and property have been put into jeopardy. We will act and, hopefully, the unified command structure will follow our lead.
What would all the citizens and seasonal residents who populate the Southeast say if they knew about this complete lack of response from the very governmental agencies which are tasked to protect them and their property? We also try to imagine what must be going on in the minds of those who staff the unified command structure every time they receive a perfectly sound and efficacious proposal to get this job done right and expeditiously. In this same regard, we ask ourselves why the offers of assistance from various foreign nations have been either turned down or outright ignored, as have those from other international entities and NGO's.
We wonder aloud whether it is now time to establish a Regional Citizens' Initiative -- an NGO that effectively functions to step in where government and industry have completely failed the people.
Concerned Citizens of the Gulf Coast
Dr. Tom Termotto
Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (International Citizens' Initiative)
Tom suspended his health consultancy for 9 months to serve as the coordinator of the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (International Citizens' Initiative) -- an informal cyber-conference initiated to ascertain and disseminate the facts about (more...