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June 14, 2010 - BP is now talking about capturing 50,000 barrels of oil a day. When did they admit that more than that was gushing out of the well? By mid-July, they say they’ll be diverting 80,000 barrels. Dear G-d in Heaven, how much oil is coming out of that thing? They don’t know, but they apparently know it’s more than that. These are the same people upon whom we are relying to drill 18,000 feet and hit the existing well in order to relieve pressure. You know, the same folks who said “there aren’t any plumes.” Heaven help us, they feel confident about being able to drill the relief wells accurately. That cannot possibly be a good sign. During his speech tomorrow night, President Obama is expected to call for BP to create an escrow account in the amount of $20 billion which would be used to pay for damage claims filed by businesses and individuals. He's also expected to recommend that an independent third party oversee the claims process. Now there’s an idea with merit, except for the lack of trustworthy parties available to implement it.
Newsweek published an excellent article about the oil spill last week. Written by Sharon Begley, it highlights the environmental cost of unbridled greed. Begley tells us “life-giving oxygen in the water column is indeed being depleted.” The dispersants – all 985,000 gallons of them - have apparently wrought unforeseen consequences, none of them good. The oil has been widely “dispersed,” no surprise there. They have, furthermore, “’changed the chemistry and physics of the oil,’” thereby promoting the formation of “’microlayers of oil that are being carried by the deep currents.’” These, then, are the plumes. The creatures most directly imperiled by these microlayers of oil are those living on the ocean floor, including corals and jellyfish.
Everything written about this disaster cannot help but heighten our awareness of the nature of the event, which is very much like an ongoing experiment. In the early part of a newspaper article, one number (usually something having to do with gallons, or barrels, of crude oil) is cited. In a later paragraph, another number appears. Different sources cite different numbers. BP continues to reassure no one but themselves by telling anyone who will listen that if one “solution” is ineffective, they’ve got another trick up their collective sleeve. As time passes, they become less and less believable. In the background, like a Greek chorus, CNN points to empty beaches and asks where the workers are that BP has hired to clean up the mess. This has gone on for weeks.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
President Obama just addressed the nation about how the oil disaster will be handled in the future, a future that could last years. Among the salient points he made:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->17,000 members of the National Guard will be deployed to the Gulf coast
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->BP will be instructed by the President to compensate people put out of work by the spill
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->A third party will administer these funds
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->A National Commission has been formed to investigate the causes of the spill
<!--[if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->Michael Bromwich will now head up the Minerals Management Service (MMS)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->6. <!--[endif]-->Clean energy jobs will grow the economy
<!--[if !supportLists]-->7. <!--[endif]-->We must accelerate the transition to clean energy
Keep talking, Mr. President. Keep leading. Don’t work behind the scenes. We need to see you out in front, so we can follow.

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