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Friday, 07 June 2013 06:42

Was the Gulf of Mexico Sacrificed for Three Full Months to Protect BP’s Billions?

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GulfSpillFINALMan cannot live on oil, alone. — W.S. Merwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

Imagine a patient suffering from a "curable" cholesterol problem related to blocked arteries. A few doctors decide that it's more profitable to inject the patient with lard instead of doing a by-pass surgery. Now of course no doctor would perform heart surgery with cholesterol fat, the very thing that has rendered the patient ill.

And yet that crazy scenario demonstrates the insane situation that we're facing regarding the oil industry's monetary dominance over world governments. A small group of oligarchs have determined that destroying the earth is profitable for their immediate gain. The government gives the green light to the oil industry to fill our arteries with lard. Oil spills are turning our communities, water, forests and lands into uninhabitable dead zones, global warming disasters are escalating to biblical proportions—but no tornado is big enough, no hurricane is threatening enough, no drought is deadly enough to deter business as usual for those profiting from pollution.

There are no wake-up calls in the United States Government of Petroleum to slow the drilling down, to replace polluted sources of energy with clean energy, to mandate a global phasing out of gas and petroleum products by 2023 before the planet rapidly burns out of control from trapped carbon emissions, man-made pollution. On the contrary, and this is the insane part: drilling is escalating full speed ahead at a manic rate—more dangerous deepwater drilling has commenced since BP's catastrophic explosion than ever before. Against all logic, the deadly BP spill ignited a government approved escalation of risky deepwater drilling. Not only were no lessons learned, the government and oil industry ripped those lessons to shreds.

Oil spills are contaminating our oceans and lands beyond regeneration, global warming disasters are growing worse every year, but none of these alarming facts make any difference to our Big Oil government. The evidence is in: profits are more important than the preservation of life as we know it.

Three years later, after BP literally killed the Gulf of Mexico, the worst environmental oil spill in history that left 11 workers dead, and thousands or gulf residents seriously ill, no executives were prosecuted or sentenced to prison.

In June 2010 former President Bill Clinton announced that the Navy should step in and explode the Macondo well to stop the gushing oil in its tracks. Bill Clinton would not have entered the public arena to make this announcement unless he was assured that the trained Navy explosive team could blow up the Macondo well with proper explosives and thereby bury or kill the well at the start before it got worse. Watch this video clip of President Clinton. Keep in mind that Clinton did not say "nukes" or dynamite. He specifically spoke about the Navy's professional team of experts in the field.

But President Obama quickly dismissed Clinton's Navy plan, and probably not for the reasons we were told. Given the available evidence, the oil industry most likely wanted to preserve the Macondo well worth billions of dollars. If the Navy had professionally sealed that well off with explosives, tapping the reservoir of the Macondo would have been impossible. In other words, there's a difference between "capping" the ruptured well and "killing" the production of oil from it for good. BP "capped" it, but here's the public deception: they presumably didn't kill it.

Question: Did President Obama, after consultations with BP and oil executives, sacrifice the Gulf of Mexico for three months to preserve the Macondo well for the benefit of the oil industry? Is that why he rejected Bill Clinton's Navy explosive plan?

According to this article that appeared in TreeHugger September 20, 2010, the Macondo well can still be open for business and is worth billions of oil dollars. Excerpt:

Experts say that there are no technical or commercial reasons why BP, or another company if BP is wary of the political or public-relations repercussions, could not eventually produce oil from the (Macondo) formation, which BP once estimated contained about 50 million barrels of oil. The well spewed only about one-tenth of that amount, according to government estimates.

"The bottom line here is that this reservoir still remains a target for further production," said Tadeusz W. Patzek, chairman of the department of petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas.

The source which produced an unprecedented environmental disaster remains open for business in much the same manner as it did before. Or, to read a bit further into things: that oil is still a valuable commodity, and will be profited upon.

If this is true, it's a shocking revelation, and the question should be investigated by an independent committee: it means that the holocaust of sea mammals that washed up on the oily shores of the gulf for three full months could have been minimized from the get-go.

As the nightmare continued, the press was assaulted under BP-Obama's authority: photo journalists were arrested or threatened with arrest for photographing the mass funeral of fish, birds, dolphins, whales, turtles that BP dumped in disposal wastes in the dark of night. Likewise, journalists have been forced off the premises during the recent Arkansas Exxon-Mobil tar sands gusher that occurred in April 2013. Residents are still complaining of health problems and are worried about poisonous impacts on wildlife and the environment. Lake Conway, a recreational fishing spot, is now contaminated with toxic thick gooey tar sands oil that can never be properly cleaned from the soil and water.

The same horrible nightmare happened to Michigan's residents, 2010, the Canadian company Enbridge Energy's pipe ruptured, spilling more than 843,000 gallons of tar sands oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. The community has not recovered from this ongoing toxic disaster. How the President could even think of approving the Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline is jaw-dropping after these events.

Due to a lack of government regulation and proper safety maintenance deepwater oil wells, pipes and refineries will continue to explode, turning our lands, waters and communities into uninhabitable dead zones. As for those who profit from these catastrophes, as long as the toxic spills and explosions don't directly affect their lives, their homes, their water, oil profits remain more important than anyone or anything else.

Back to the gulf where the Macondo well oil continues to plague the fishing and tourist industries, contrary to the smiley face BP ads, the fishing and tourist industries are barely struggling (Empty Nets in Louisiana Three Years after the Spill) not to mention residents of the gulf, Amy Myers Jaffe, associate director of the Rice University energy (petroleum) program rudely asserted: "The public will have to deal with the risk of drilling in deep waters or get out of their cars."

By that she means gas-fueled cars. And that's exactly what the public is doing. In fact, electric and hybrid cars are becoming the most popular selling vehicles on the market. Meanwhile, the oil industry is doing everything in its power to keep the world addicted to their poison that is putting the sustainability of our earth in peril: hence the incredibly insane escalation of deepwater oil drilling, after the BP catastrophe, is going full speed ahead.

The fact that BP is allowed to return to the scene of the crime and drill as dangerously deep as before, a company that has a long history of gross negligent oil ruptures and explosions, including the Texas refinery explosion, killing or permanently injuring thousands of workers due to a lack of proper funding for upgrading machinery—the fact that this company can continue to drill in the gulf is beyond the pale, absolutely shocking.

This article, Deepwater Drilling Accelerates after BP Gulf Catastrophe, appeared in the New York Times 2012:

After a year long drilling moratorium, BP and other oil companies are intensifying their exploration and production in the gulf, which will surpass the levels attained before the accident...Forty rigs are drilling in the gulf today compared with 25 a year ago.

BP has five rigs drilling in the gulf, making it one of the most active drillers there. That is the same number BP operated before the accident, and it plans to have three more rigs drilling in the gulf by the end of the year.

Exploration in deepwater fields remains dangerous because of high temperatures and high pressure when drilling 6,000 feet or more under the sea floor, and accidents continue to occur, most notably last year off the coasts of China and Brazil.

Also this article in Newsweek if you missed it: Read What BP Doesn't Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill

There is much more to the BP Macondo well and other major ruptures from that site that's been given little media attention:

This: BP's Macondo Gulf Oil Spill: The Public Was Misled. There Are THREE – Not One – Leaking Wellheads

And check out this Secret Investigation by CBS 2012: Oil may be seeping from Deepwater Horizon site — Coast Guard cancels interview — "My concern is that substantial amounts of oil could still be leaking" - Congressman (VIDEO)

Newsflash: CATASTROPHE This Just In from Quito, Ecuador – As I'm writing this article: June 5, 2013: Ecuador's state oil company resumed pumping through the country's main pipeline on Tuesday, four days after it was damaged by a landslide. But crude spilled by the accident reached tributaries of the Amazon River and polluted drinking water for a regional capital far downstream.

The last world's rainforest is being destroyed and polluted from oil exploitation. What is it going to take?! How long are we going to put up with this insanity?!

Solution: It's time for world leaders to implement a global mandate that calls for a phasing out of all gas-fueled vehicles by 2023. No production of gas-fueled vehicles beginning 2015. For those who cannot afford to buy electric vehicles, the government must provide funding for converting gas engines to battery-operated vehicles, (yes, the technology is available for the conversions,) with the billions of tax dollar subsidies, our tax dollars, they're currently giving to the oil industry. President Obama's clean energy subsidies and tax initiatives are welcomed, but they're a drop in the bucket. We need radical changes to correct radically extreme weather. Simply put: we cannot live in extreme temperatures, without clean water, food and clean air. We cannot live on oil, alone.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind can provide more power than the entire nation's electricity needs. The plains states, northern Texas up to the Dakotas, have been called the Saudi Arabia of wind. Maine's offshore wind turbine is expected to produce enough energy to light up the state with an abundance of energy. California and Hawaii are proving that solar and wind energy can produce more affordable energy than coal and oil combined. Electric cars, wind, and solar must replace the antiquated, life-destroying polluting energy sources once and for all.

It's time for the excesses of the industrial age to end before it ends us.

(Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Stumberg)


Jacqueline Marcus taught philosophy at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. Her book of poems, Close to the Shore, was published by Michigan State University Press. She is the editor of www.ForPoetry.com Her book, Man Cannot Live on Oil, Alone is a work in progress.