Monday, December 18

What Should be Done About Offshore Oil Drilling?

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Not many people remain unaware of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April of this year, and the long-term ramifications of this disaster may not yet be in sight.

While watching CNN a few days ago the safety regulation of four major oil drilling companies were put side by side, and the upshot as was said was that it seemed as if someone had drawn them up and sold them to the companies, they were so similar.

In other words, if the same thing happened to any other oil drilling company the results would be exactly the same.

Now, as bad as this disaster is, it is not of the same caliber as Hurricane Katrina. This fact allows for people to be able to tackle a certain amount of the cleanup, which they are indeed doing.

One of the ramifications of the disaster is a condition has been created which cannot be gotten rid of instantly. Neither BP nor the US Federal Government has the magic wand which will allow things to go back the way they were with a click like a link on the Internet.

BP’s first priority should be to stop the flow of oil. Until that is achieved we will not know the extent of the damage to wildlife and coast. Some species may have to be brought in to replenish what is lost. Hopefully no species will be irrevocably lost. The beaches can be cleaned and restored to their former glory as soon as no more oil is spewing out of the well.

But we are already in what is expected to be a hyper-active hurricane season and even though no one can as yet predict with total accuracy either the amount of hurricanes or their points of landfall, if any, what happens in the case of a hurricane if the oil is still flowing into the Gulf?

A hurricane making landfall along the Gulf coast will dump a disastrous amount of oil onto the land. How far inland nobody can say. This will only be known after the fact.

And it seems to be human nature that no matter how many disaster plans there are, relief is always late in coming.

All of which leads me to ask: how should oil drilling be monitored? And by whom? Oil is drilled in different parts of the oceans, in areas considered to be under the jurisdiction of other countries, such as Brazil off South America and Nigeria off the West African coast. So what can be done? Will the countries involved come together and hammer out a solution or will there have to be more disasters?


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