“You simply cannot make more (reefs), unless you have a few thousand years to wait.” ~ Doug Rader, chief ocean scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund


Laughing Gull Coated in Heavy Oil


“The insufferable arrogance of human beings to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit, as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set afire merely to ripen men’s apples and head their cabbages.” ~ Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, États et empires de la lune, 1656
Oil-Coated Brown Pelican Floating Near Grand Terre Island

Forty-five days ago (April 20, 2010), a catastrophic explosion at Deepwater Horizon set into motion this country’s worst environmental disasters. I have yet to write about the oil spill not because I do not care about what is happening, but because I am so enraged that I cannot gather my thoughts into a cogent post that is nothing more than ranting. But I suppose what really set me off and got me to post finally is the latest from Sarah Palin on the spill. With her usual flow of illogic—which I have stopped trying to analyze—Palin blames extreme environmentalists for the massive spill:  

With [environmentalists’] nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you’re doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You’re not preventing environmental hazards; you’re outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.  

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.  

That’s right, Palin. It’s the environmentalists, you know, the same ones who claim that there is global warming. Preposterous, right? I mean, it did snow this past winter, didn’t it?  

“I do not think there should be a limit on the rig’s liability, because they are sitting on top of unlimited amounts of oil, and thus, there could be an explosion occur that could do untold damage . . . The amount of damage that an offshore oil rig can do is infinite.” ~ John Chafee, Senate Floor Debate (3 August 1989)
Dying Young Heron Amidst Oil in Barataria Bay

Stinking statistics and ridiculous rhetoric related to Gulf oil spill:  

  •  U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt recently stated that two separate teams of scientists calculated the leak to be between 504,000 and more than a million gallons a day. Original estimates were 210,000 gallons a day
  • Picture this: If 39 million gallons of oil has spilled, the oil would fill enough jugs to stretch from the Louisiana marshes to Prince William Sound in Alaska. That’s where the Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989, spilling nearly 11 million gallons.
  • According to a report by the Interior Department’s Inspector General, Mineral Management Service Employees, those tasked with oversight of offshore drilling,  allowed industry officials to fill in their own inspection reports, accepted gifts of meals and tickets to sporting events from oil and natural gas companies, and viewed porn on government computers. Not surprisingly, Minerals Management Service Director Elizabeth Birnbaum stepped down from the job she has held since July 2009.
  • According to BP CEO Tony Hayward, “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
  • Also from Hayward:  “I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”
  • And of course, there’s the pity card: “What the hell did we do to deserve this?” and then this gem: “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I’d like my life back.” Oh. Poor baby.
  • Spill workers have been falling ill with flu-like symptoms, which has led to concerns about hazards and whether or not the workers may be affected adversely because they are not being provided with enough protective equipment, as many in the Gulf have been spotted without goggles or respirators.
  • In response to the hospitalization of seven workers, humanitarian Hayward questioned the cause of their sickness: “I’m sure they were genuinely ill, but whether it had anything to do with dispersants and oil, whether it was food poisoning, or some other reason for them being ill.”
  • In the Florida panhandle and on nearby Alabama beaches, waves of gooey tar blobs have been washing ashore
  • On the too obscene not to be true, a website has gone up so that people can bet on which species become extinct first. No. I’m not providing the link.
“Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us.” ~ Henrik Tikkanen

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching aspect of this whole thing is that even when BP finally manages to stop the oil flow, the ramifications will continue for years. Economically and environmentally, this spill will wreak havoc for decades. Need proof? A 2001 survey by NOAA surveyed 96 sites along 8,000 miles of coastline and found that a total area of approximately 20 acres of shoreline in Prince William Sound are still contaminated with oil. This was 12 years post Exxon Valdez spill.  


River of Crude Oil Floating atop the Gulf (aerial picture 6-2-10)


I had wanted to include an incredible slide show that I found on Huffington Post, but could not figure out how to get that show into this post. The best I can do is to offer the link: Gulf Oil Spill (PHOTOS): Animals In Peril.  (If anyone knows how to embed a slide show, directions would be lovely.)

Oh. And just because, I must include that “Drill Baby Drill” mantra that Palin loves . . .

Ignorance must indeed be bliss. I can think of no other reason why this woman smiles so much.  

That’s all for now. The Internet is acting up and may be getting ready to go away. I just wanted to get this post up tonight.  

More later. Peace.  

Music by Cyann & Ben, “A Moment Nowhere”  


2 thoughts on ““You simply cannot make more (reefs), unless you have a few thousand years to wait.” ~ Doug Rader, chief ocean scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund

  1. Hi Lita,
    This environmental disaster will have on going ramifications for years to come. How could it not? Would it not have been sensible to have shut off valves at both ends of the pipe? The flora and fauna will take years to recover and the local economies will suffer incredibly.
    Great post Lita

    1. Maureen,
      I watched a special on the spill last night, and apparently, they were afraid that methane gas would build up if it was shut off improperly. At least I think that’s what they said. I don’t pretend to know the engineering logistics. I only know that it’s going to be years and years before that area recovers, which is so sad because they were just now getting back on their feet after Katrina.

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