The Deepwater Horizon Memorial

Happy Memorial day, 2010. I spent 6 years in the military, 4 of them stationed aboard a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, 2 while it was home-ported out of Pearl Harbor Hawaii (where I was attached to the Reactor Laboratory division).

The other 2 while it was home-ported in Puget Sound (Washington state). There was also a year I spent in Florida (Orlando), and another split between Idaho & Maine (the shipyard at Bath Ironworks). I'll be thinking of those who didn't make it out alive when I fire up the bar-b.

Deepwater HorizonHere's hoping they're able to stop that oil-leak and clean up the mess before it trashes the entire Gulf coast. (I know what I'd like to plug that hole with.)

Today, by the way, marks the 1-year anniversary of the last time I drove a car. The Bug & I ride our bikes everywhere. Hard to get greener than that, living in the states.

Even harder however, to believe BP had no contingency plan. It's not like they didn't have plenty of re$ources to devise one. And it's not like something-like-this never happened before.

Coming out of the nuclear industry, I'm very familiar with the term 'fail-safe'. If a device doesn't fail to a safe configuration, it's not a 'fail-safe'. If BP had no contingency plan and they had no reliable fail-safe, maybe they shouldn't have been drilling off the coast in such deep water. The fallout provides a window into our national priorities.

I wonder if they can't get some kind of giant vice-like hydraulic device and simply CRUSH the broken pipe upstream of the leak, pinching or clamping it shut, or at least throttling flow.

What is the plan? Anybody know? Is there one? Biloxi-Joe, you out there? Hows things look in Mississippi? Those poor people in Louisiana .. still trying to rebuild after Katrina. And now this. It's sad. Tragic. The worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. (And doesn't hurricane season start tomorrow?)

And then they're dumping all those toxic chemicals into the water (.. giant airplane-loads full). Who's gonna wanna eat seafood caught in the Gulf - ever? No matter what Bubba Gump or the FDA says. (It's not like they have such a stellar track record to boast about.)

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Somebody at the coffee shop said they're gonna fix the problem by drilling ANOTHER well. Uh .. that's what got us in this mess in the first place. How do we know the same thing won't happen again? (Ansr: we don't.) They're determined to get that oil, aren't they? Give them points for persistence.

Deepwater Horizon Oil RigI thought only political logic came up with solutions like that. e.g. » The financial crisis was caused by excessive debt. Our government's solution » even more debt. Rush to the aid of those who set the economy on fire. Write them a blank check for all the matches and gasoline they might ever need.

What's that you say? You're getting fat cuz you're eating a big bowl of cherry ice cream before bed every night? The solution? » Why, eat *two* bowls, of course. See how easy it is to come up with solutions? Try it next time you're faced with a nasty problem.

I'm not an economist or a petroleum engineer, but a solution that involves doing more of what got you into trouble in the first place seems silly.

I read that BP is contractually obligated to clean up all the oil (.. which is probably why they wanted to go heavy on the chemical dispersant .. even after the EPA told them to cut back because it was toxic), but that their liability for damages is CAPPED. So best to file your claims early .. before the cap is reached. First come, first served .. until the hotdogs run out.

If they DID agree to pay damages beyond their contractual agreement, what sort of deal might persuade them to do that? Did they do it out of the goodness of their heart? A multinational corporation?

Seems the only way to guarantee success in today's economy is to become a TBtF Corp .. Too Big to Fail.

If you were one of the governement officials who rubberstamped BP's requests to cut corners on safety, would you feel bad about what happened? Embarrassed? Have trouble sleeping? Resign?

I once had a very smart boss who said, "We need to take care of our own business and do it well. Because if we don't, the government will send people who will come here and tell us how to do our jobs. We don't want that."

Eventually tho, it's clear we need to wean ourselves off oil, and find alternative sources of energy. They wouldn't be drilling if we weren't buying.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » BP deepwater horizon oil rig leak spill gulf mexico louisiana environmental disaster

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on May 31, 2010 5:31 AM.

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