This post came to me as an email from a friend. It was written by her friend, Steve Gallop, a Behavioral Ophthalmologist who also has a definite way with words. My friend passed it on to me. It is just such a great opinion piece I had to share it. Below is the email, unedited and reprinted just as it came to me.
Gulf of Messico
Full disclosure: I like the environment and am in favor of protecting it. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with an I-told-you-so. But this time it’s different. This time we’re staring down the throat of what could be the worst man-made environmental disaster in history. The explosion of BP’s oil platform off the Gulf of Mexico, unlike an exploding refinery or leaking tanker, is a live well run wild, spewing oil that would otherwise be sequestered under the Earth’s crust, safely quarantined from being burned and causing air pollution or from doing what it is now doing – gushing, uncontrolled into an environmentally sensitive and economically important waterway.
BP has a proven track record of negligence. March 23, 2005 – a BP refinery in Texas City killed 15; the government levied the largest fine ever – some $23 million. In 2009 officials fined BP almost four times that amount for failing to correct hundreds of safety violations at the same refinery.
Add in Halliburton, who finished cementing the well to protect against explosions just 20 hours before it exploded, exactly as they did with an Australian offshore well that blew last August. Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s old company was previously responsible for countless disasters and rip-offs in their role as king of no-bid contracts in Iraq during the Bush/Cheney years, including the electrocution of over a dozen U.S. troops because of faulty wiring in showers. BP and Halliburton comprise a dream team of profit and perfidy.
Ex-FEMA director, Michael “Heck-of-a-job Brownie” Brown, in charge of managing the man-made disaster that followed hurricane Katrina, who was more put out by having trouble getting fed than by being clueless about what to do while New Orleans drowned, emerged from his hole to say this of Obama’s administration, “This is exactly what they want, because now he can pander to the environmentalists and say, ‘I’m gonna shut it down because it's too dangerous.’ This president has never supported big oil, he's never supported offshore drilling, and now he has an excuse to shut it back down."
Brownie must have missed Obama praising offshore drilling on April 2, 2010 saying, “Oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.” Brownie must also be unaware that Obama’s Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar is a long-time friend to offshore drillers who exempted BP from doing a detailed analysis of the potential environmental impact of drilling at the Deep Water Horizon site now bleeding oil like a stuck pig. Another heck of a job Brownie. You too Salazar.
Rush Limbaugh in his infinite –we’ll call it wisdom though it’s clearly unmitigated idiocy – said the explosion was likely the work of environmentalist saboteurs. Mr. Limbaugh seems not to understand the purpose of being an environmentalist. Perhaps because the word environmentalist contains the word mental within it. Typically, environmentalists do things like putting themselves between whalers and whales, between helpless baby seals and brutes who club them to death for their fur. As far as inflicting damage, some have gone as far as spray painting said baby seals to render their fur unmarketable. Admittedly some radical environmentalists sabotaged Earth-damaging equipment and spiked trees – which does no harm to the tree but poses risks to lumberjacks – a very bad idea in my opinion. They’ve never risked damaging the environment. What if someone on the Left insinuated that Halliburton purposely did shoddy work to cause the rig to blow and make Obama look bad?
In another statement that makes his sabotage conspiracy look like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Limbaugh came out with a true stroke of – let’s call it genius, though in fact it is the unmistakable refuse of whatever severely drug-damaged substance resides within his ample skull, the OxyContin King said, "The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there. It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is."
To prove his point Mr. Limbaugh should offer to lick clean the next bird coated in this natural substance, the next endangered sea turtle that washes up dead on shore or perhaps volunteer to take a straw to the black goo to assist the clean-up effort.
If such pronouncements are not held in the same regard as those who called the attacks of 9/11 an inside job, then this nation is in deeper trouble than any man-made environmental disaster, terrorist attack or natural disaster could ever wreak.
Apparently Sarah “Drill Baby Drill” Palin can see Russia from her house but not Prince William Sound, Alaska – where the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill remains environmentally and economically toxic, with the exception of Exxon's shareholders who are making out like bandits.
True, there is no free lunch. But what would have happened to the public discourse on nuclear power if Three Mile Island had turned out more like Chernobyl? What if the horrific explosion at the Upper Branch mine in West Virginia, the worst American coal mine disaster in forty years had been more like some of China’s? Don’t be so foolish to think it can’t happen here. With lobbyists and executives from Big Coal, Big Oil and Big Nuke writing laws and regulations and people like Ken Salazar aiding and abetting them, it’s only a matter of time. And that time may be right now as we await the final outcome of the latest man-made underwater geyser of oil.
So I won’t say we told you so, but I will plead that we start thinking before we act. This is the only planet we have for the foreseeable future. To paraphrase words attributed to Chief Seattle: The Earth does not belong to people, people belong to the Earth; what we do to the Earth we do to ourselves. If you truly believe that oil is safe to have in our water, then I challenge you to drink a glass of oil, then we will talk again. For now I say, the heck with ‘drill baby drill.’ It’s time to Think People Think.