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Live feed of leak here | BP = British Petroleum

2 MSN videos, May 27, 2010, CBC top stories – righthand links “Obama defends response to leak”, “Obama to change oil policy”)
Cf Channel 4 News article dated same day

Journalist David Common says “many” comment on the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, “This slick sticks!”. He quotes a survey, according to which 45% of surveyed Americans say the Obama administration is not handling the leak as they should.

The journalist further reports that “scientists” say the estimate reported by BP (who are responsible and paying for the damage control) is several times lower than it realistically should be – viz. over 1.5 million litres (what – per day…?). He qualifies the situation as worse than Exxon, further nailing it down as “the worst” oil leak disaster in history. [note to self – find]

Obama press conference, noon same day: President tries to give the impression that his Administration have been in control from the start. Expected to discuss a 6-month moratorium [on offshore oil drilling?]; obvious repercussions for Alaska and other off-shore oil drilling areas.

The latest I’ve come across – Channel 4 News, June 4th
A “cap” has been newly ensconsed on the pipe which had been cut, and therefore currently leaking 20% more oil than before.
Current technological knowledge MAY be sufficient to come up with a quick-patch-up, BUT its implementation is at best clumsy. Panic? Lack of funding? Absence of skilled staff on site?… The reasons are many, the eco-disaster no less disastrous.

Interview with Mark Proegler, BP spokesperson (MSN videos > CBC top storiesJune 6, 2010 “Oil Containment Update” here)
BP claims the esconced “cap” captures more than half of the leaking oil. Will stop it completely in August.(???) Spokesperson Mark Proegler reports over $1 billion spent on emergency so far, so ads expenses (that journalist suggests to give “to the people” affected) do not interfere with expenses toward handling the leak… 35 claims filed, none turned down, half accepted, amounting to $50 million, 1/2 million on research.

Excellent PR spiel! (oh, cf. Obama’s preliminary fine set at $69m, and expected to go up to $1bn)

BTW, there was an interview with David Suzuki in the CBC top stories collection, at some point.

Points to note re the above coverage:
Re “scientists”! This over-exercised, stripped of context monikin has likely created the (largely media-advertizing constructed reputation) that is currently undermining the (traditional) authority of science – scientists know nothing for sure, change their mind all the time, the disasters their warnings sound the alarm about may not materialize, and conversely, disasters they’ve never brought up (sufficiently prominently) may yield calamitous consequences.

By contrast, Channel 4 has names – several. It quotes the director of the US Geological Survey Marcia McNutt saying that, given government estimates, “the spill has already eclipsed the previous worst US oil spill.” They also quote former University of Alaska professor of marine biology Rick Steiner (though minus italicized qualifiers), who studied the oil tank Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989:

BP CEO Tony Hayward’s statement that the environmental damage from the Deepwater Horizon disaster will be ‘very, very modest’ is simply one of the most arrogant, ignorant, callous statements I have ever heard from any corporate CEO during a crisis such as this.

His recommendation:

The Obama administration, which campaigned on a platform of transition to sustainable energy, needs to suspend entirely its recently released plan for more oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), and take full advantage of this wake up call to take us in a new direction.

Think of this oil accident as a “patch test” for a global (or at least much larger), whether natural or human-induced, calamity, where coordination between countries is imperative to minimize the damage?

E.g., the point at which climate change (CC) becomes “visible” to (geographically) privileged nations like Canada and the US, excluding the Inuit far up north, where it is already very much in evidence. (Canadian author nominated for the Nobel prize along with Al Gore for her decades of work and book about significant ecological changes in the far North – plants, insects, birds)

Multiply the friction points apparent in the “worst US spill” by the number of comparable industry and government structures involved internationallyu, add to that supranational structures, and there will (“reasonably” predictably) be multiples of – to borrow Marcia McNutt’s quote above,

X has eclipsed the previous worst Y by a magnitude of Z.

Note that the “technological clumsiness” is lurking wherever one may look. However, mounted on a disaster (of sufficiently scaled-up proportions), it may be critical.

Thus, to the recurring question, What is the commensurate eco-consonant counterpart to the above noted multi-tier eco-dissonance?

Effort is needed:

  • at the technological level
  • company management level
  • all levels of government


June 2010
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