The oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, and the utter failure of industry and government efforts to adequately respond to this ecological disaster highlights the need to pursue alternative energy sources. The economic and environmental damage to both the Gulf region and the world is quickly rising to parallel the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
As the oil still gushes from an engineered capping system: designed by Transocean Ltd., managed by BP, and chided by the US Coast Guard, has created an international state of confusion, and there is plenty of blame to be shared among these major stakeholders.
Swiss owned, Transocean Ltd., planned the deep ocean drilling site, placing an emergency shutoff mechanism at the bottom of the ocean. By placing the shut-off valve at the bottom of the oil piping rig, any leak should trigger the shut down of the leak at the ocean's floor.
However, the safeguards failed, and each attempt to activate the emergency capping has failed. Was the emergency shut-off system destined to fail due to economic shortcuts in design or installation?
BP is responsible for the containment of the leak and cleanup. So far their planning appears to be insufficient and unplanned. Their international reputation and economic future is badly damaged by their inability to control the spreading leak and recover the escaping oil. Their ability to accurately plan for accidents is clearly lacking. Is this a sign of shoddy planning to save the company money?
The US Coast Guard has also seemed to be unprepared to respond effectively to such a large-scale oil leak. Currently, their containment efforts seem to be slow, unplanned and ineffective. The apparent last ditch effort to burn off the spreading oil slick seems to defy environmental policy. Burning oil under any situation is dangerous and only adds to the environmental damage by producing unacceptable air contamination. Where is visionary strategic planning?
When compared to the 1995 Katrina disaster, the potential for massive monetary losses, excessive environmental damage, and human suffering is disturbingly familiar.
Who will pay for this massive mistake?
Perhaps only time will tell, but the short-term and long-term impact on the environment, animal life in the sea and along the shoreline, and economic fallout promises to rival if not exceed the Katrina disaster. Only this time it was inflicted by human shortcomings not by Mother nature!
It is time to rethink off-shore oil rigs as a potential source of energy!
Nashville residents should focus on continued energy savings programs.
Expect an increase in the price of gas as the economic cost of containment, repairs, and cleanup is passed to the consumer.