BP Oil Spill Could Be Worst in US History

Joanna Schroeder

“I hope people use this opportunity to take a hard look at their own dependence on oil. I hope they look to find ways to kick their oil addiction as soon as possible and to elect leaders that help us do the same as a nation,” said John Abraham Powell, President of Get Oil Out (GOO), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Americans stop using oil and adopt alternative energy. Powell’s comments were in response to the LA Times news article that stated BP officials are concerned that the oil spill will soon release up to 2.5 million gallons of oil per day. If this comes to fruition, it would make this oil spill the largest in US history. Yes. Much, much larger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

It is a tad ironic that BP is the culprit of such a devastating oil spill. Well before any other oil companies became involved in developing alternative energy technologies, BP, formerly British Petroleum, changed their name to Beyond Petroleum and began touting their devotion to alternative energy technologies– technologies that will ultimately replace oil when it disappears. Well, millions upon millions of gallons of their petroleum has now “disappeared” and “reappeared” right into one of the most sensitive wetland areas in the country. We need Houdini to develop a trick where the oil reappears in our gas tanks, but alas, I fear that even the great Houdini couldn’t pull off a trick like this.

ExxonMobil couldn’t pull of this trick either. Decades after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill off the coast of Alaska, ExxonMobil is still struggling with the consumer backlash, in part, due to their inappropriate response to the cleanup initiatives or more specifically, lack thereof. To this day, they never fulfilled their cleanup requirements. Will the same fate befall BP?

“BP’s reaction exposes the fatal flaw in their whole approach,” explained Power. “They had no plan for how to deal with a blowout at that depth. BP should never have drilled at a location that they couldn’t protect in an emergency. They clearly didn’t know what they were getting into and they don’t know how to fix it. They are guessing.”

Powell continued, “This disaster also exposes a complete failure of the planning and permitting process to address the simple reality of Murphy’s Law. Things go wrong sometimes. If they don’t have a plan to deal with a mishap then they sure as hell shouldn’t gamble with the entire Southern Coast of the United States of America.”

To some extent, our government disagrees. The day following the disaster, President Obama declared that he would put a temporary halt on plans to increase offshore drilling.

“It is about time,” said Powell. “They had better make sure that there is a blowout plan in place and ‘acoustic valve’ technology in place before ever allowing another well to be drilled, or the Obama administration will have failed us all as stewards of the environment. This is a gigantic warning shot from mother nature. If we don’t pay attention, then we will all pay the price.”

But President Obama was one-upped by none other than Governor Schwarzenegger, who signed into law that same week, a bill that stops any further offshore drilling off the coast of California.

“Ending new drilling is a great idea. However, existing drilling is a problem too,” said Powell. “Another problem is that the oil issue has Arnold doing more waffling than Roscoe’s Chicken ‘n Waffles. If he is going to lead the Ship of State, then we ask that he, at least, hold a steady course on important issues in a crisis.”

And a steady course is not what our current administration (nor did the last several administrations) is doing in the much delayed, much needed quest to develop alternative energy technologies such as biofuels. We have a cesspool of ineffective and disjointed policies swirling like a cyclone tearing across our country. If not addressed, they will make our situation even worse. And what, if anything, will need to take place to get Americans to wake up and realize the true cost of our addiction to oil?

If there is one bright spot on the horizon of this mess it is that it may be shedding some light on the need to bring alternative technologies to market. “Hopefully people will see some of the real costs associated with America’s addiction to oil and will consider changing their way,” said Powell. “I live in a solar powered home and I drive an alternative fuel vehicle that runs on biodiesel. The problem is that the fossil fuel industry has ‘externalized’ the costs of pollution. The social costs of pollution and global warming are not reflected in the cost of fuel at the pump and that gives pollution generating energy sources an unfair advantage in the market place over alternative energy technologies.”

Powell concluded, “Today the real cost of oil is spread out across the Gulf of Mexico and is threatening the entire Southern coast of the United States. We are all going to pay the price for this in many ways in days to come. People need to think about this when they go to the pump. That has not been happening enough. Perhaps it will now….”

Listen up people. As you pump your high-price gas this week heed this warning: Mother nature has spoken and she is not happy.

biofuels, Oil, Opinion, Solar