Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Oil, Oil everywhere, not a drop for fish to drink!

It has been roughly a month and a half since the BP oil well exploded and sunk into the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, it has shown us the ineptness of the oil industry and our Federal Government. The oil industry rakes in billions upon billions of dollars every year. It was not so long ago that we were hearing about record profits by these companies. Usually multi-billion dollar companies invest money back into the company in research and development to develop new and innovative products, but not this industry.

The attempts to cap this well have all been relatively low-tech solutions. No one was prepared for this complicated problem. Now, it appears that we will have to see if the dome procedure can slow the leak. It will not even stop the problem. Apparently the only way that the well will stop spewing oil is to cut it off through relief wells. The relief wells will not be completed until sometime in August, at least two months from now. In the meantime the Gulf and eventually the Atlantic Ocean will need to contend with this man-made environmental disaster.   

Why didn’t this industry prepare for this inevitability? Profits and arrogance is the answer. When ExxonMobil was recording record profits, they were criticized for not reinvesting into the industry. Instead they just kept the profits. Investors that held this stock didn’t complain. The culture, to constantly make a profit above everything else, had rung true during this time.

Everyone was making money, especially politicians. The Bush and Cheney families made a lot of money by owning a big chunk of the oil pie. However, most politicians, Republican and Democrat also had their hands out. This coziness with the industry bred arrogance. Oil companies were allowed to operate with very lax oversight. In fact, the same government workers providing oversight easily moved from government jobs to new positions within these oil companies. Sounds like good work if you could get it, right?

Traditionally, “Big Oil” and Republicans were synonymous. Republicans were always pushing for more domestic drilling. Why? For their piece of the pie! In recent years, Democrats were just as cozy. Now because of this, we have a gushing oil well bubbling thousands of gallons of oil into an already fragile marine ecosystem with no end in sight.

It is time to force these companies to create better technology to solve this problem before it occurs again and again. They have been using the same technology they have used for decades to try and cap this well, but it doesn’t work. We should not allow these companies to operate offshore without better safety preventers in place.

I hope we learn from this disaster. We need to invest in cleaner technology. We can create a handheld phone that you can watch the internet, text, facebook, etc. on, but we cannot create a new energy solution? Invest in new technology now! If we did that, we could also take the power out of the Middle East. Let’s do something about this! Call or write your politicians and tell them it is time for a change!    

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