Handbasket Report — A Drop in the Ocean

For those returning from a long meditative retreat or waking from a coma, there are currently anywhere between 210,000 gallons up to a couple million gallons of oil a day spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from the sunken remains of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The 210,000 gallons a day is the official estimate, and the higher figures tend to be coming from scientists not employed by the oil industry, you know, alarmist types.

You know the sort. Reporters quote types like this in downer articles like “Exxon Valdez Cleanup Holds Lessons for Gulf Oil Spill.” They worry about a few puddles of oil here and there. Whackos all.

We need to appreciate this event for what it is–an opportunity to laud the achievements of the oil industry. Or at least we need to enjoy the spin. If you were meditating or vegetating, you missed the industry theatrics with British Petroleum and Transocean and Halliburton–the usual suspects–pointing fingers at each other about the causes. Now that you’re back though, be reassured, this oil, whatever the daily amount, and the 400,000 gallons (so far) of mysterious and purportedly toxic dispersant chemicals BP’s pumped in to sink the oil slick are not serous problems according to BP’s CEO Tony Hayward.

Want more details? Read the interview with Hayward here:


Too busy getting back into the rat race after those peaceful days in the desert or the high mountains? Too busy tracking down children who joined cults or militias while you were in your coma?

Here’s the short version.

At BP’s crisis center in Houston, Hayward reassured an interviewer from the Guardian about the severity of the oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, saying “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”

He added, “In the last four or five years we have made major improvements in safety performance. It has made the company much better … Four years ago it could have been very different.”

Having done a bit of research on BP’s safety record, I found that last comment almost amusing. I mean, if it’s such a drop in the ocean, then why is Hayward at the “crisis center”?



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