Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 43 Becomes Day 104

Doesn't sound too bad. 43 days. More than a month, less than two, a mild jail term, a short appliance warranty, half a summer...but don't be fooled. It's bad. Day 43 of the worst environmental disaster in American history. BP's broken pipe is still pumping thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf. Every second, twenty four seven. It'd be fascinating if it wasn't so disheartening. I have to ask again: When can we get off our addiction?

I tend to think optimistically yet BP's spill challenges that every day now. What's at stake today is BP's fabulous engineers are trying again the containment dome, the large bell-like contraption that clogged up with frozen methane the first time. If it works it won't stop the disastrous geyser of oil but will siphon it off, diverting it from pouring into the Gulf.

The catch is it might not work. Plus, BP has to act fast because hurricane season begins tomorrow. If a storm kicks up, they would have to suspend the fix. If the dome actually works and the oil is diverted to ships on the surface, the ships would also have to take cover if a storm kicks up. Who knows what that would mean for the dome and more oil into the Gulf. Worse, this appears to be their last option.

The word "August", as in the month, has begun to appear in media and in words around the disaster. This is when the surefire fix would be available. The surefire fix is drilling sideways through the bedrock to cut off the oil before it reaches the busted pipe on the seafloor. But it's as if the containment dome is a mere distraction and talking about August now is to soften the blow of it as reality. 

August. August 1st would be Day 104. That's just shy of the worst environmental disaster in American history tripled. Imagine if the containment dome doesn't work, and now we're being told the oil will possibly continue to pour into the Gulf unabated into August. How in the world is any of this acceptable?

I have to ask: Can we please put our collective wills and resources together to build a renewable energy economy and get off petroleum?

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