Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Murdoch, May 4, 2010.

  1. Murdoch

    Murdoch Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 24, 2003
    We've all been watching the enormous oil disaster that unfolding off of Louisiana. This thing has a huge variety of repercussions and implications, so here is a list of the things it will affect. It is by no means inclusive.

    • US Energy Policy. A Big Deal was made earlier in Obama's first term over the 20-year moratorium ending over new US offshore oil drilling. Now everyone from the] Governator in California [/url]to Gulf oil proponents like Mary Landrieu stumbling over each other trying to get to a mic and denounce the actions of the Big Oil that line their pockets.

      Environmental Disaster, part I. If and when the oil reaches land in large quantities it will kill the vegetation that holds the Gulf Coast barrier islands in place, allowing them to erode, advancing the human-made destruction of the Mississippi Delta started by the Corps of Engineers. This in turn will make New Orleans ever more vulnerable by hurricane-meditated storm surge and another Katrina-like disaster more likely. Letting aside the issue about the birds, turtles and the rest of the flora and fauna ending up dead. Booms and the like to corral the oil work poorly in the windy environment of the Gulf at this time of year, and only by the grace of wind patterns has the full brunt of the Delaware-sized slick not hit the coastline.

      Environmental Disaster, part II. Use of oil dispersants, which while proprietary are basically detergents, can prevent oil from affecting the coastline. The problem is that the oil doesn't go anywhere but the bottom of the ocean, where it sits for undetermined time periods in a quiescent and biologically inert, undegraded state. Filter feeders inhabit this same environment and bio-accumulate the oil that permeates their habitat. BP has recently bought up a third of the world's supply of dispersants, and is readying to deploy them across the oil spill, with long term consequences to the Gulf of Mexico fishing and shellfish industry.

      Economic Disaster.
      The Gulf Coast is supported by four main industries: oil exploration, tourism, fishing and shipping. With political problems due to this disaster making current and future oil exploration difficult to predict, this industry has an imperiled future. Tourism and sport fishing in these usually highly productive waters has basically stopped along the coast, hitting many small towns that rely on outside money for their existence. Fishing is obviously affected, both vertebrate and invertabrate varieties. The long term effect on shrimp and shellfish hinges mostly on the use of dispersants and whether the oil ends up in them, while fish fishing may cease for years as the food chain breaks down due to oil pollutants killing the plankton and the like. Shipping will only be affected if and when the Mississippi delta further deteriorates, making shipping more difficult. All told the oil spill has large scale, long term repercussions into the tens of billions of dollars on the Gulf Coast economy.

      Legal quagmire. Currently there is a 75 million dollar cap on liability claims that can be made against oil spills. On a multibillion dollar true liability, all as a result of the Exxon Valdez spill. This is being remedied retroactively by the Senate, but it's unclear whether precedent exists to do so, assuming it's even possible to pass over a Senate fillibuster. Then there's the fact that it is unclear who exactly is at fault: BP, the platform operator or Halliburton (who made the plug and valve that may have/did fail. The Exxon Valdez spill was only settled for good in 2008 by the Supreme Court, 20 years after the actual spill. Expect similar results here.

    Who do you think is the most to blame for the disaster? Regulation? BP? Halliburton? The carbon-based economy?

    What do you think will happen to the environment? In general, specifically, etc.

    What does this mean for energy legislation? Will climate change be easier or harder to pass now? What will happen to offshore drilling?

    What will the ultimate human cost be of this? What will happen to the shrimping and fishing fleets that ply the gulf?
  2. KristofferAG

    KristofferAG First time out of the vault

    Nov 16, 2009
    I'm usually all over cases like these, but I've been very busy lately, and unable to pay attention to what's been going on.

    Either way, putting the blame on the entire (corrupt and destructive) industry can't really be done in an isolated incident such as this one. THe blame here is on maintenance, the owner of the platform, but it all boils down to the company that is drilling for oil, not the platform operator. THey didn't check up on their maintenanec well enough.

    Sadly, this probably wont have any effect whatsoever on global climate politics. I think that very little can have any substantial effect on the climate politics. THere is just too much money in the oil and coal industry to put it away, no matter if it kills the world. Greed and capitalism, yeah.

    I'm having a hard time writing due to this crappy computer. It's lagging like hell, and I'll just stop now.
  3. Verd1234

    Verd1234 Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jan 16, 2009
    Another thing you might want to list is the potential damage to the Coral Reefs that might happen if the oil spreads there.
  4. Loxley

    Loxley Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Apr 11, 2003
    To early to say soon if they manage anything. If it does become a larger disaster or if those attempts they are currently doing to shut it down will work. If the worst case scenarios does happen it will probably end with endless lawsuits sitting forever in the courts while the local fishermen and other people that are affected will slowly lose their jobs. Right now BP is trying to create a image of someone that does anything in their power to fix this.

    When the media coverage goes away I bet they will suddenly be more eager to go to the courts.

    For the general oil production in the world and the policies on oil production this will last as long as media cares(which may be the whole summer) while for the rest of the people that are directly affected such as the fishermen and people that are dependant on the life in the gulf it will last much longer.
  5. Alphadrop

    Alphadrop A right proper chap.

    Aug 21, 2008
    In other news Rush Limbaugh suggests it was those dirty pinko commie wacko enviromentalists who blew it up for some reason.
    I'm not crazy enough to understand his logic. :V
  6. KristofferAG

    KristofferAG First time out of the vault

    Nov 16, 2009
    Wait, seriously?
  7. victor

    victor Antediluvian as Feck

    Dec 12, 2003
    This reminds me of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska back in '89. Seems to be the same kind of blame game, from reading the first post. And, as Murdoch mentioned, I think the affected locals will definitely come out of this as the biggest losers.
  8. Professor Danger!

    Professor Danger! Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Aug 30, 2009
    His logic is make shit up without any sources because he's behind a microphone. Microphone = Fact.
  9. Murdoch

    Murdoch Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 24, 2003
    More on the chemical dispersants:
    I think we're trading poison on the surface with terrible but known consequences for poison on the seafloor with unknown consequences.

    I prefer the devil we know.
  10. Professor Danger!

    Professor Danger! Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Aug 30, 2009
    So where's all the people who apparently have practical/everyday use of other forms of energy? Oh wait, they're complaining about this, instead of making a new form of energy into something practical for every day use.
  11. Murdoch

    Murdoch Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 24, 2003
    What the hell are you babbling about?

    This is not a thread for your random verbal diarrhea. Go rate avatars if that is the extent of your interest and capacity.
  12. Professor Danger!

    Professor Danger! Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Aug 30, 2009
    What the hell are you babbling about?

    Great addition to the thread, by the way.

    Here's my avatar rating addition to the thread:

    What does everyone else think of this?
  13. Dreadwolf

    Dreadwolf First time out of the vault

    Oct 24, 2007
    "Good luck"? or "Damn, was about time"?
  14. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    well the sooner they fix it the better.
  15. Ozrat

    Ozrat Antediluvian as Feck

    Apr 2, 2003
    I have a friend that works at a government program called the "Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration" (NRDAR) program (created in response to the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989). My friend has been involved since the explosion happened and is currently in NOLA to assess (and respond to?) the situation. Good to personally know that there really are folks out there that give a damn and are in positions to do something about it.

    Even without a fancy science degree, people may find a way to get involved if they want to make a difference in this situation. According to BWB, there are paid and volunteer positions available to folks that want to get involved in the clean-up operations. Even without leaving their hometowns, folks can also donate hair clippings and nylons to Matter of Trust to soup the oil in the water.
  16. Professor Danger!

    Professor Danger! Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Aug 30, 2009
    This, of course.
  17. Silencer

    Silencer Night Watchman Staff Member Admin

    Nov 7, 2003
    Whoa, I didn't know this could be done.

    I'm too scared that Barack Hussein Obama will use the clippings to cast voodoo curses on me, so this option is ruled out.

    EDIT: Wait, they accept fur too. SHAVE ALL THE FURRIES!

    Seriously though, I didn't know this could be done, but honestly, I can't see how I could influence the matter. It's up to the US government, and the government could hire temps to help with the clean-up and fine the living crud out of the company responsible for this. It's their mess, they pay for the cleanup.
  18. KristofferAG

    KristofferAG First time out of the vault

    Nov 16, 2009
    Oh, yeah, because complaining about this completely rules out them doing any productive work.

    That's just stupid.
  19. Professor Danger!

    Professor Danger! Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Aug 30, 2009
    Where is it? Why is it not out of more experimental stages and in the mainstream?
  20. SimpleMinded

    SimpleMinded Vault Fossil

    Jun 17, 2003
    Because getting that sort of technology to be price competitive against an established form of energy is almost impossible early on?