Joe Miller: BP is Out of Options and Time
Where is our hero actor John Wayne (starring in the movie Wildcats) when you need him?
Maybe it is just me but I thought the idea of a 15 ton cement caldron lowered over the oil leak a mile below the sea was just a little too Jules Verne. BP named that attempt Option A, and it failed. In response to the failure, its press secretary stated, “We’re working on Option B.”
Take a look at the rude diagram of Option A. Does this make you feel comfortable?
Where is our Federal Department of Homeland Security which was established to oversee our nation’s disasters? Any day now, history WILL reveal that this is just another failure of the federal government. This lack of response to the oil spill will make the five-day delay to help people during hurricane Katrina look like the arrival of an air ambulance or sound like a whip.
With the current technology available and everyone on iPhones, iPads and instant messaging, it is time to connect the world’s greatest universities and brainstormers in one large-scale conference call. They should be given the opportunity to devise a solution. We can blame and fine companies later. This is not the time to find the culprit. We must concentrate on stopping the leak - even if we need to call in the Army, Navy or Marines.
Maybe we just do not understand the scope of the problem. Every single day, 200,000 gallons of crude oil is seeping into the Gulf of Mexico. An Olympic size swimming pool holds approximately 500,000 gallons. So, every two and a half days we could fill one Olympic pool with thick black crude oil.
To make the incident worse, June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season. Since the Gulf is the choice location for the first hurricane of the season to appear, this makes closing this leak all the more critical. I even worry that during a hurricane, oil droplets will be sucked into the atmosphere and dropped throughout the Southeast.
Without any warning, I have surfed into minor oil spills a couple times in my life. I had to clean my body with caustic chemicals for two days to eliminate the oil residue. And, that spill was probably from a single small oil tanker rinsing its cargo area of crude. Thus, I assume that this incident, unless remedied, will result in closure of beaches to bathing and fishing.
So what can we do? First the government must take the lead in this mess. Then, we need some ideas. Any idea will do. Then, we can pick the best one and get the job done.
During a haircut, I overheard someone with an idea to solve this catastrophe say, “For a million bucks my buddies and I would cap that leak and pump the oil into our cars.” Another guy exclaimed, “Let’s let the Georgia rednecks have a shot. If they can launch a potato or pumpkin a hundred yards with rubber bands and lighter fluid, surely this would not be an obstacle. And, they’d probably plug the leak for free.” Personally, I would be betting on M.I.T. and its braintrust to end this nightmare. If its students and educators can create killer robots (battlebots), this task should be a cake walk.
Now it is your turn. Leave us a comment on how best to stop the leak. Just don’t use the idea – build a 15 ton caldron and lower it over the leak. That has been suggested and tried. It is acceptable to use humor, but seriously try to solve this problem. We have a disaster at hand that ultimately may affect our beaches on the east coast of Florida. It is not someone else’s problem. It is ours as well. Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and other states may be destroyed forever. A diagram may be helpful to explain your invention. All submissions become the sole property of the Jacksonville Observer.
BP has said that it will pay for all legitimate and substantive claims. Such an argument now leaves the door open for BP to deny its full liability at a later date. In the end it is clear that someone will pay for the cleanup and if BP pays, expect the price of a gallon of gas to increase. In other words, we are paying for the cleanup.