In a BBC interview British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward said Friday that the massive petroleum gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, the greatest oil-based environmental catastrophe in recorded history with the exception of global warming itself, should not forestall further deep-water drilling.
I’m not sure whether Hayward was channeling Sarah Palin, that font of good sense, or vice versa. In fact, better fuel mileage standards, more subways and trains, and better urban planning would save us from needing all that petroleum BP was unleashing for us 5000 feet down. (Petroleum in the US is mainly used to power automobiles).
BP’s Hayward compared deep water oil drilling to the 1960s Apollo program of manned flight to the moon and said that Apollo 13, in which an on-board explosion made it difficult for three astronauts to return to the US, did not stop the effort to put a man on the moon.
Except that greedily destroying the environment with offshore petroleum drilling is not actually very much like flying to the moon. And flying to the moon, for all the pollution it causes on the way up to the stratosphere, won’t destroy the earth. And the problems on Apollo 13, when the three astronauts barely got back to earth alive, weren’t anything like the gargantuan viscous black monster that Hayward’s incompetence has unleashed on the Gulf coast. And finally, for some posh arrogant foreign twit to invoke the heroism of James A. Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise to excuse the greatest corporate SNAFU of the twenty-first century just about makes my blood boil.
If BP is in favor of it, it seems as though it bodes disaster. BP (then the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) helped through its arrogance provoke the CIA overthrow of the elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953, which brought back the shah as a Western-backed dictator and led to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and our subsequent problems with Iran. And, BP is alleged to have been part of the prep for the Iraq War, training British troops in fall of 2002 in the upkeep and operation of the oil fields that the Anglo-American invasion force later occupied in southern Iraq. A wise investment. BP now has a contract to develop the huge Rumaila oil field in Iraq.
Meanwhile, ABC News revealed that BP and the White House kept a BP video of the massive gusher on the ocean floor away from the public, even though it was being looped at a White House situation room. Firedoglake points out that experts say the video suggests that 3 million gallons a day are being spewed out, far more than the BP estimate.
And now, like those old Japanese horror movies where Godzilla wasn’t enough and sea monsters had to be added to the mix, the hurricane season is looming, with unpredictable effects on the environmental impact of the oil monster.