(The following was published in the Newsleader on June 25, 2010)
Barak Obama is no more responsible for the problem in the Gulf of Mexico than George Bush was for Hurricane Katrina. For some reason the media seems to believe that constant screaming about this oil spill will somehow take care of it. The Congress, in their questionable wisdom, has held hearings where BP’s CEO Hayward was “raked over the coals” and “taken to the woodshed” as a punishment for BP’s actions. Did any of this stop the oil spill? Did the hearings clean up any of the beaches? Was anything positive accomplished by these immature reactions? Clearly the answer is no.
This is called the “blame game”. One political party thinks they might get an advantage over the other party if they can somehow taint them with the latest crisis. I tried to watch some of the hearings and to be honest, they were tiring. They were ridiculous. We had bombastic loud mouths from both parties looking for TV face time at the expense of an individual who seemed unconcerned and totally unaffected by the attacks. All the while, nothing was done to take care of the problem.
As a private citizen here is what I want from anyone who can accomplish it, PLUG THE DAMN LEAK!!!! After it is repaired, then we can set about affixing blame and securing financial solutions for both the environment and the people who have been adversely affected. Everything is not about politics. Everything is not about getting an advantage. Sometimes it is just about dealing with the situation until it is solved.
This should not be news to you. We are a petroleum based economy. Most of our products and services are in some way related to oil. From the food we eat to the cars we drive to the clothes we wear to the medicines we take. That is just how it is. As for me, I would love to have alternate forms of energy. I would love to tell the Middle East and Venezuela to stuff it. I dislike the smell of burning oil. I detest the sight of diesel trucks fouling the air with their exhaust pipes belching black smoke. I hate being at the mercy of two bit dictators from third world countries. The fact is we have little choice right now. Hopefully, at sometime in the future, we won’t be so dependent on petroleum, but alas that is well into the future. Today we must do what is necessary to take care of our existing needs. We can’t wish it away.
I would love to never have to tempt fate by drilling in the ocean or in the wild areas of this great country, but the facts are we need the oil. We can’t just snap our fingers and have things suddenly change.
I don’t have the solutions, but I know what doesn’t work. Television broadcasts of inane hearings starring your favorite Congressperson who cares only about getting publicity on camera is an example of what doesn’t fix anything. Twenty-four hour coverage of a spill pouring out into the environment doesn’t plug the hole.
The time has long since come for the adults to step up and deal with the reality of the situation. Stop the poisonous rhetoric. Get the experts together, not in some cozy air conditioned hotel, but at the scene of the disaster. Come up with the fix and don’t leave until you do. This ain’t politics. This is real life. Set about to immediately inspect every single well currently pumping in the Gulf. If they have the necessary systems in place to deal with a similar problem, let them produce. If they don’t, shut them down until they do.
One final thought. Any regulator or official or politician who is found to be in bed with any oil company should be prosecuted without mercy. The facts are clear. Oil companies have been pumping for years with few major incidents. When properly regulated and inspected, they should be able to continue. We need them. We need their product. Knee-jerk reaction accomplishes nothing. We need intelligent well thought out solutions. It is way past time.
Ron Scarbro June 19, 2010
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