No Plan B, No Plan C, No Plan

As the BP drilling disaster continues to spew oil into the Gulf, it has become pretty apparent that British Petroleum and government officials had little to no plan for dealing with a catastrophe of this magnitude. Instead, blind faith in the impossibility of a major blowout in deepwater, coupled with efforts to push for less restrictive environmental and safety controls on offshore rigs, seems to have been the order of the day. The toolkit of options for dealing with the BP oil drilling disaster is remarkably small, and none of them are good for the health of Gulf of Mexico and its residents. Unfortunately, we are left choosing which of these bad options is the least harmful. One of these “least worst” options is the use of “in-situ burns” to literally burn the oil off the surface water. There are grave concerns with how this method affects air quality, marine mammals and other marine life, but in theory it could help prevent a large amount of oil from reaching fragile coastal ecosystems.In practice, there has been little success using this method to deal with the BP oil drilling disaster. Part of the problem is related to choppy waters and the wide dispersal of the oil. Another big part of the problem is that government and BP clean-up teams did not actually own a single fire boom – essential equipment for burning off the oil. According to a recent article in the Mobile Press-Register, the government had long-standing plans to utilize this method for Gulf coast oil spills, yet never bothered to purchase any fire booms! So, what’s Plan D? Read the article here.Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer

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