Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Before You Say The Gulf Coast Cannot Live Without BP

The older I get, the more I realize that in the cases of jobs and money, especially in today's economy, both can be very touchy subjects. Such is the case of mega-employer B.P. Aka British Petroleum.   At times, one knows if one speaks ones mind, feelings might be hurt.

I grew up just north of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and N.E. Of New Orleans. It meant the world to me and still means a great deal (Though I have lived in Arkansas for 11 years, I still have many friends…and family there); and my family of origin has been there four decades.

Before reaching a definite conclusion, I had to consider the following. B.P has consistently been one of the top-ten largest oil firms in the world, along with Shell, Exxon, Conoco/Phillips et al. But bigger is not always better. Whereas ALL of BP's competitors have had ten or less safety violations per year for several decades, BP has consistently violated those rules and had 250+ violations annually, putting lives, ways of life, wildlife, and economies at risk in pursuit of big money.

This time, in a flash, they snuffed out the lives of eleven men, (and two more died later in the clean-up), ruined countless 2-3 generation family businesses, the entire ecosystem, and with oil and dispersant everywhere, it is not if, it is WHEN a hurricane comes, will we will all see the scope of the damage done. Those tar-balls won't be sitting on the beach any longer. The oil will not be floating around only in the ocean. It will be in our schools, businesses, and homes, on our land-raised food, etc. 1.5 million gallons of dispersant has been used.  For whatever reason, BP chose one of the most toxic kinds. There are some that are harmless to the environment. They chose not to use those. The dispersant used stays on the ocean floor forever and is  a chemical toxin, many say much worse than the oil!

Anyone who has lived on or near the coast knows, a hurricane or major tropical storm WILL happen. It will be interesting to hear the feelings of those who are sure BP is our economic saving grace when the oil starts heading into the inland.

You may remember awhile back, under Florida's Republican Governor Jeb Bush, a very tough decision was made. Did Florida want offshore drilling or pristine beaches, fishing, wildlife,and a booming tourism economy, offshore drilling, or both? It wisely decided on the former.

There  remains no Florida offshore drilling, though they are seeing the results of what can happen when  an out-of-control corporation such as BP.

As I write this, there is a tropical storm forming in the Caribbean moving towards the Gulf.Again, we know this can turn easily into a hurricane, and, even if it stays a tropical storm, itwill bring much of what is in and on the ocean onto land, sometimes way beyond the Coast itself.

Did it ever occur to anyone that even if deep-water drilling returns, and BP is banned, thatany of the other top six, with near-pristine safety records, could easily take over and do it right after the clean up (though I would prefer to see no deep water drilling at all until all the snags are worked out).

We saw a BP spokesman on the news yesterday use the tired old analogy, "When an airplane crashes, they don't outlaw flying". Well that's a tired old analogy for a reason. It's not exactly true.  When airlines such as Eastern and several others had such consistently poor safety records and crashes that it finally did not have the money to safely fix, as large as the firm was, it eventually  folded or would have been violating more and more. They, unlike BP, knew the right thing to do before more destruction and deaths happened.

Did the airline industry suffer from that.  It did just the opposite. It learned from Eastern and others errors and, though it has never been that profitable except for a few airlines, improved its safety record dramatically.

My wife Lee brought up another really interesting issue. If deep water drilling (which is only10%  of ocean drilling) SOOO important for Louisiana, why is it that there is so much poverty there?  In Alaska for instance, every citizen is given a stipend for giving the opportunity of oil companies to drill. Surely much of Louisiana does not live in poverty, but given "just how important oil is for it to flourish", the track record is pretty bad. I see MANY more people in Louisiana getting benefits from technology, banking, arts, etc than oil.

I see a few oil fat cats taking in the cash from deep water drilling. Keep in mind only 30 or soof the 300 offshore La wells are deep-water.

The topic of offshore drilling came up again (in Florida), (not just  deep-water but ALL offshore drilling) under another Republican Florida Governor  Charlie Crist. He also, saw no benefits to the state and the state remains a flourishing  tourism and wildlife reserve.

I guess if I still lived and worked near the coast, it would be too easy to buy into BP's nonstop "Good-guy" PR campaign. It is nonstop and it seems to be effective.I know how easy it is to "overlook a problem or issue if it is nearby". It is human nature to "go into denial". But if one "who has been there", but now can see it from a distance, a new perspective, the whole issue becomes more clear.

One can see through the BP ad campaign's  thin-veneer. It is smoke and mirrors and very expensive. All those millions of TV dollars  could and should go to small business owners, wildlife refugees, out of work oil workers, etc., but no.

It is going to put on a happy face. Sorry BP. We have more than a junior high education; mos tof us, and we don't buy it. Any of it. Thank you for trying. Please stop while you are way behind, and let another oil company do the job.

I used to (try) to work in the entertainment industry. I had a few successes but many more failures than successes. Though it was an ego-blow to pack up my bags and leave NYC (and L.A.), I did so. Now I write songs, cartoons, articles, etc., am married, and very happy. When I left the exciting field of "showbiz", I had no idea what would happen next, but as  it turned out, it was better for me and everyone involved. Can't you do the same, BP with our oceans? You've had successes, but LOOK AT THIS FAILURE!!!!!

As far as us, victims of BP, this may be a real wake-up call. The alternative energy is out there.It is not expensive, and it is easy to convert. For years I have talked about "we should…" and"wouldn't  it be nice if…?" In other words I could talk the talk very well. Perhaps it is also time for ME to  look within and walk the walk; by actually using such alternative fuels. I can't change BP.

I  can write articles and songs that hopefully raise awareness. I can change me, and that means taking this issue seriously, very seriously, as I can see the horrendous damage this has done.     (ArticlesBase SC #2728569)

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Seismic Energy Dissipation Devices