Sunday, May 9, 2010

Point and Counterpoint

I'm amazed at the fact that the news on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues to be so measured. Of course the story has been going on for more than two weeks, and that's a long time for the public's news-related attention span to be maintained. Looking at the images in the Gulf of Mexico, and looking at all the Wildlife Refuge areas that will never, ever be the same, I keep thinking there just has to be a better way. 

A little over a week ago, I listened to the thoughtful dissent on the idea that Cape Wind was a great project on NPR's Talk of the Nation Science Friday. (Can I just say that I adore Ira Flatow?) There has been much opposition to the location for Cape Wind, with concerns voiced about aesthetics, environmental damage, noise pollution and disturbance of Native American burial sites. When I look at windfarms, the thought of Cape Wind is not that disturbing to me.

This is in Denmark, which has substantial wind energy generation.
Johan Spanner for The New York Times

Call me crazy but I just think it looks so very much more promising than this:

Oil is seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico as BP tries to stop oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico. Photograph: Staff/Reuters

or this,

Oil washes ashore on New Harbor Island, Louisiana, on Thursday.
Photograph by Alex Brandon, AP

And then there's this image that I saw the other day,

A turtle swims through a massive oil slick about 25 kilometers south of the Louisiana coast.
May 06, 2010
(Agence Free Press)

which leads all to quickly to this,

May 2: Institute of Marine Mammal Sciences researchers Kelly Folkedahl, Justin Main and Meagan Broadway gather data before collecting a dead sea turtle on the beach in Pass Christian, Miss.  Source: AP

I look at that ancient and giant creature and just want to cry thinking about what poor wardens of the planet we humans are. As yet another attempt to plug the Deepwater Horizon leak failed late yesterday, we have the revelation today that this is costing BP $10M USD a day and that as it stands right now, there is no sign of being able to stop this leak in sight. There's still not a lot of info about just how very bad things are in the Gulf, but it seems as if predictions of doom and gloom may not be far wrong. This spill is evidently generating 210,000 gallons of oil leaked a day.

I keep looking at the Deepwater Horizon Response site and thinking that it's all so surreal. BP can make their logo as shiny and green as they want. It has, sadly, no bearing on the current realities. Where are the articles about the failed failsafe mechanisms to shut down leaks of this sort when a rig blows? BP is culpable but what about government oversight of this equipment? I've seen only two serious articles about the failures in government oversight in the past two and a half weeks. I know a friend said that all this chemical and engineering stuff is just too complicated for people to grasp and that until it really impacts food on their table (hey, anyone up for looking at the bee situation next, speaking of food?) that it's really not going to make people care. He even says that it won't matter if people can't go to the Gulf beaches. They'll just go to some other beach. Well, this is what the beaches around Destin look like (still, for now):

(photo credit: ladypsychofarmer)

and still more of that pristine and crunchy white Destin sand,

(photo credit: BM, 2008)

Looking at B. M.'s photo, I'm thinking a few wind turbines wouldn't bother me in the least. And the turbines would look so much better than what's going to be arriving all too soon.

(stock photo from AP and what does that tell you about how frequent oil spills are. This was in Queensland Australia.)

I really hope people in this country wake up. How much is too much of a price to pay for petroleum energy? Sadly, we shall see.  

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