Monday, May 31, 2010

A modest proposal

Lies, lies, lies. According to a report on MSNBC Sunday, BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward disputed claims by scientists that large undersea plumes have been set adrift by the Gulf oil spill and said the cleanup fight has narrowed to surface slicks rolling into Louisiana's coastal marshes.

During a tour of a company staging area for cleanup workers, Hayward said BP's sampling showed "no evidence" that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. He didn't elaborate on how the testing was done.

"The oil is on the surface," Hayward said. "Oil has a specific gravity that's about half that of water. It wants to get to the surface because of the difference in specific gravity."

Scientists from several universities have reported plumes of what appears to be oil suspended in clouds stretching for miles and reaching hundreds of feet beneath the Gulf's surface.

Those findings — from the University of South Florida, the University of Georgia, Southern Mississippi University and other institutions — were based on initial observations of water samples taken in the Gulf over the last several weeks. They continue to be analyzed.

One researcher said Sunday that their findings are bolstered by the fact that scientists from different institutions have come to similar conclusions after doing separate testing.

"There's been enough evidence from enough different sources," said Marine scientist James Cowan of Louisiana State University, who reported finding a plume last week of oil about 50 miles from the spill site that reached to depths of at least 400 feet.

Hayward is the same guy that made such outrageous claims as "Nobody wants this spill to be contained more than I do"; "I want my life back"; and my personal favorite "Why did this happen to me?"

Well, the oil rig workers who died in the explosion created by Hayward's shoddy practices want their lives back too. The thousands of fishermen and their families whose lives are now ruined by Hayward's folly want their lives back too. Countless, dolphins, turtles, redfish pelicans, migratory birds and other creatures would ask for their lives back if they could.

When a serial killer murders dozens of people does he ask "Why did this happen to me?" When a drug gang murders rivals in cold blood on the streets of New Orleans do we hear the gang members say "I want my life back?" Society is supposed to have a way of dealing with those who kill fellow citizens. Those who kill for profit are held in particular contempt. Hayward should be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. Dick Cheney, whose secret meetings with oil executives in the first year of the most recent Bush administration established the energy policy that has led us to ruin, should be arrested and tried for treason. If the CEOs were held accountable the same way serious killers and gang leaders are we'd see a lot less of the irresponsible corporate behavior we have to deal with now.

There has also been a lot of talk about what Obama should and shouldn't have done since the spill. There's not much the government could have done to stop the spill once it happened. Where Obama went wrong, and he went very, very wrong, was when he gave a green light to deepwater drilling three weeks before the spill happened, claiming that the technology was so advanced that spills did not occur. He had a year in office to clean up the mess Cheney singlehandedly created. Not only didn't he do anything about the lack of oversight of drilling methods, he encouraged the insane rhetoric of "drill, baby, drill." This is what he really should be apologizing for. If stricter regulations had been in place demanding the fail safe mechanisms that other countries require of deepwater drillers the Deepwater Horizon disaster would never have happened.