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Echoes of Katrina

by Brian Clarey

Let’s get this straight: We dug a well in 5,000 feet of water to feed the world’s growing addiction to oil. We allowed it to be built — on the cheap — despite warnings about its safety. And there was absolutely no worst-casescenario plan in place… not even a viable plan.

That sound about right? So now we have a live disaster on our hands, a tear in the ocean floor spewing 100,000 barrels of atomized oil into the Gulf of Mexico per day as we tick off half-assed options for plugging this thing.

By the time this leak is well and truly sealed, we’re looking at about 9.3 million barrels of oil, again a conservative estimate, that will have deluged the gulf since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.

What’s scary is that number represents about half of the oil consumed in the US per day.

It’s startIng to look to us lIke nobody In charge knows what the hell they’re doIng.

What’s even scarier: It’s starting to look to us like nobody in charge knows what the hell they’re doing.

And that begs the question: Who, exactly, is calling the shots on this one?

This is Murder on the Orient Express — everyone did it. The corporations cut corners to expedite construction and ease costs. The federal government grabbed its own ankles for Big Oil and let it have its way with policy regarding our nation’s most precious natural resource. Even the US people share some blame for using so much damn oil that it makes financial sense to dig for it a mile beneath the ocean floor, consequences be damned.

So fine. Let it be noted that Americans are greedy, oilsucking pigs and that corporations do not have the best interests of humanity at heart. Government is the one thing that can do something about a problem of this magnitude.

Government can fine these corporations, bring criminal charges if they can be proved, craft regulation so that this does not happen again.

Government can create reasons and mechanisms for people to use less oil, and it can enable advances in alternative energy sources so that maybe drilling a well a mile below sea level wouldn’t sound like such a great idea.

And government — the US government in particular, because we’re not expecting much out of Mexico or Cuba here — must clean up the oil spewing into Gulf of Mexico and threatening our coastline from Brownsville, Texas to Manteo.

True, we live in a time when a lot of people insist that government is not the answer to any of our problems — but it’s important to remember that many of them were the same ones chanting, “Drill, baby drill!”

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