Saturday, May 01, 2010

About the Deepwater Horizon Accident

President Obama plans to come to the Gulf coast on Sunday, according to published reports. Only yesterday did his cabinet members go and survey the situation. Then they held a photo op with Governor Jindal. The Obama administration realizes now that it has been slow off the mark and are in full over-compensation mode.

Only today is it formally announced that someone from the Coast Guard has been named to head up the operations with the national effort.

Here is an interesting interview with a survivor from the blow out. The man called into the Mark Levin radio show to tell his story.

The irony, of course, is that BP has for the past several years now, blitzed the televisions of America with commercials claiming to be the 'green' energy company. Within the industry, among the working professionals, there have been conversations of the hazards of the cost cutting methods of the company. BP was not literally drilling for oil - they hired Transocean to do that. The rig is owned by Transocean and the workers were mostly Transocean personnel. That is how the oil drilling industry works.

Full disclosure: my husband commissioned the Horizon's sister rig, Nautilus, in the Korean shipyard when the two were built, several years back. A photo from his website of the Nautilus has been used in news reports about the Horizon. My husband is an engineer in the oil drilling industry.

We are now 11 days out from the event. So to say that the administration has been slow in its response is an understatement. I do not begrudge any sector of the economy that sees a tragic event receive presidential attention. However, this event was obviously ignored initially. The president didn't even make a statement for more than 24 hours, though the search was on for eleven men. Not to be cynical but it is probably no coincidence that it was an accident that occurred offshore from a red state - Louisiana - and the Republican governor were the ones needing assistance, not a state that voted for Obama in 2008. Obama had time to campaign across the country for his agenda, to eulogize the coal miners in West Virginia, to go on a weekend getaway with Michelle, and to carry on his normal schedule in Washington. It is legitimate to criticize the response from him and his administration.

HERE is a good site to watch for updates on the situation on the Gulf coast.

It is interesting to note the reaction from the press since the tragedy happened. During other events, especially during the years of the George W. Bush presidency and especially during the Hurricane Katrina days, everyone was pointing fingers and yelling about the perceived slights from Washington. Silence now. Fortunately, this time Louisiana has a Republican governor that knew what to do. And, he demanded attention from Washington.

The knee jerk reactions that have since happened do not help. Talk of shutting down drilling? Talk of 're-thinking' a previously announced expansion of offshore drilling? That is neither leadership nor sound judgement. This was a horrible accident within a dangerous profession. Those who bring our energy to us know that this was a fluke - a slap from nature. It was unpredictable and there was no escape for those eleven souls directly in the line of the explosion.
BP will bear the cost of this disaster. The Transocean crew will be under scrutiny for their work performance. It should be noted that this rig and BP were given an award last year for safety. They were scheduled to receive it again this year. The oil drilling industry is the most regulated and taxed of any American industry.

Let the investigation go forward. Support those working to contain the oil spill. Hold in your thoughts those who work offshore - the oil drilling workers as well as the fishermen. Our Gulf coast needs you.

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