leak at sea floor
Capture of BP live video feed from the sea floor

Oil veh!

| BP's website today proclaims:

LMRP Containment Operation Deployed. BP announced today that oil and gas is being received on-board the Discoverer Enterprise following the successful placement of a containment cap on top of the Deepwater Horizon's failed blow-out preventer (BOP). This follows the cutting and removal of the riser pipe from the top of the BOP's lower marine riser package (LMRP).

Simply by looking at the various video feeds from the sea floor provided by BP, it is obvious that a helluva lot of oil is still gushing into the gulf. Viewing the feeds is not for the faint-of-heart — BP's claim that oil is being recovered through the "containment cap" ("top hat") notwithstanding.

containment-cap_300
Containment cap Source: bp.com
cap_300
Still capture from video feed

A big problem with all the video feeds we are seeing on TV and the internet is that they are not accompanied by any sort of explanation, so we end up asking ourselves, What the devil am I looking at?

In the feed above, I believe the triangular shapes we see poking through the clouds of yuck are the fins on the containment cap.

I'm willing to grant that maybe they haven't finished the installation of this "Lower Marine Riser Package" (LMRP) — perhaps it's just in position and hasn't really been tightened down to seal it. But again, wouldn't it be nice to have some explanation?

Since I first wrote about the gusher, hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing, and hair-pulling have continued unabated. And I'm glad everyone is upset. Maybe — just maybe — we can finally get Congress to act on an energy policy that reduces our dependence on oil. That after all is the problem: as president after president has told us, we are "addicted to oil" (as GWB put it), and every time something is proposed that would help move us off that dependency, it is blocked by special interests and American's core belief that they are entitled to cheap gasoline in unlimited quantity.

Feeding into the near hysteria is the growing conviction among Americans that life should be risk-free. We've gotten so used to finding technological solutions to our problems that we've forgotten that "sh*t happens" from time to time. That doesn't excuse the egregious behavior of BP (and the US Government as well) in this case, but it does mean that nasty consequences have to be expected and accepted every now and then. The knee-jerk avowal to make sure that "this never happens again" is just so much pious piffle. There will always be another "this" as long as people are human.

You could, in fact, make a very good case, I believe, that our desire to be protected from all consequences of our own behavior is one of the contributing factors to the expansion of government and the litigiousness of our society. People go about their lives as if they have a right to be stupid without consequences. The BP catastrophe is just the latest example. Where were all these people when Sarah was urging us to "Drill, baby, drill!"?

Last updated on Jun 16, 2016

Chronicles

Archives

Recent Articles