Tar kills economy

On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig burst into flames due to a methane leak. Two days after the explosion, the oil rig sank into the sea, and thus began the story of the now legendary “BP oil spill.” Recently, the federal joint investigative panel is reviewing communications between Halliburton and BP in the days before the oil spill. According to C-SPAN.org, the Halliburton “technical adviser who warneed BP that the company’s well design posed a risk of gas flow will testify Tuesday.” Another Halliburton official has reserved his right to the Fifth Amendment, therefore his attorney will be testifying in his place.

After 85 days of constant news feed and heart-breaking coverage of the rig furiously spewing oil from the bed of the ocean, and picture after picture of oil-soaked wildlife, the leak is contained. From August 3 to 12 the well was pressure tested and ultimately sealed to confirm that the leak had been stopped. The damage, according to federal estimates, is hovering somewhere between 93.5 million and 184.3 million gallons of oil clumping and spreading over the ocean, killing every living organism in its path.

After this trauma to the public, the economy of the Gulf and most importantly, the affected wildlife, it is hard for me to feel confident in the cap they’ve tossed onto this heap of disaster settled comfortably at the bottom of the Gulf. The leak had to be contained to preserve the ocean and wildlife. That much, I know with all certainty. According to the Huffington Post, “Pressure from the oil gushing out of the ground could fracture the well and make the leak even worse.”

So now, the American public sits, fingers crossed, hoping this cap can withstand the enormous pressure being placed upon it. I sincerely hope the cap stays on the well and that slowly but surely, we can put this disaster behind us.

However, after this catastrophe, I’ve learned to disregard absolutely everything BP says. They dragged their feet coming up with a plan to fix a leak that they should have already been prepared for.

This is one situation where BP should have heeded the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Instead of spending billions on ad campaigns assuring the public that they were exercising every option in their power, while gallon after gallon of oil spread over the ocean’s surface like a death sentence, they should have been avidly, and silently, working to plug the leak.

Everyone is so focused on the oil spill, wondering how the cap will hold, when the oil will run out and how much wildlife was actually damaged in this chaotic disaster. But what about the dwindling economy of the Gulf?

When this disaster happened, I know I was not the first person lining up to purchase seafood. But there are so many other businesses that were ruined by the BP oil spill.

Restaurants and fishermen have been put in a perilous position, unable to make enough revenue to sustain their businesses or even feed their families. Florida is the “spot” when it comes to summer vacations, and although I’ve never been, I know several of my friends visit annually.

Unfortunately, this year I also know several friends who cancelled their summer Florida vacations due to the oil spill. I would imagine that a good portion of the Gulf states’ revenue pours in during the months of June, July and August, and with next-to-no vacationing, the economy is definitely feeling the pain of BP’s carelessness.

We can help prevent disasters of this kind by reducing our dependence on oil. I know we have E85, but the ethanol fuel is not really reducing our oil addiction; it’s just adding corn to the mix.

What we need is serious research that moves us to a point where we are not relying on an energy source that is so dangerous to retrieve and poses such a threat to both wildlife and our still-fragile economy.

If we could come up with a new source of energy that would eliminate the need for natural oil, we would be saving the Earth and increasing our self-sufficiency, but also, we would be establishing a standard for clean energy and showing other countries that we care about finding these cleaner sources  immediately.

After 85 days of horrid photos of dying wildlife and 85 days of watching my mother pace the living room floor wringing her hands, hoping the leak would stop, it has finally been halted. For now. Hopefully this cap can contain the oil and we can try to reverse the damage BP has caused to the Gulf’s oceanic wildlife.

Remember, the answer is not “How do we improve our oil rigs?” The answer is research for clean energy sources and more regulation on deep-well drilling. After BP’s disastrous performance in the Gulf, I’m not so sure that the public will be comfortable with traditional drilling methods.


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