If maintaining a healthy respect and concern for the environment makes me an environmentalist, then I am one.
I believe there is a way for man to coexist with the environment while taking advantage (I didn’t say plunder) of the resources that were put on earth for mankind to exist. That coexistence requires a zero tolerance safety approach when the threat of uncontrolled disaster is present. The catastrophe in the gulf says offshore oil drilling should be one requiring such an approach.
We strive for zero tolerance in several areas of everyday life. One such area is airline safety. Another is drug safety where one drug related death can result in a drug being pulled from the market. Another is nuclear energy because of the threat to loss of life. Does there need to be the threat to loss of life to require a zero tolerance approach?
Watching this catastrophe unfold in the Gulf is gut wrenching. Crude oil has finally made its appearance in the marshes off the Louisiana coast. It will have a devastating impact to the fragile ecosystem and peoples lives for years to come. Many will lose their livelihood and a culture could be lost for a generation or more.
While Washington, BP and others continue to point fingers at each other the one thing we know for sure is that oil continues to spew forth from the ocean floor and we have no solution to stop it. Incredulous as it seems BP is grasping at straws. This is unacceptable. The administration is flailing and the countless looky-loos assessing the damage only exacerbate the problem. This would have never happened with proper oversight.
I keep coming back to one thought – if we are drilling wells to 13,000 feet under the ocean we ought to be prepared to deal with a pipeline break at 5,000 feet. I don’t know oil drilling or how far we are pushing the technology to tap crude far beneath the ocean’s surface, but if we don’t have redundant safety systems (15 deep, if needed) capable of preventing a blowout of this proportion, then we shouldn’t be drilling offshore. Truth is, we probably have these systems. A zero tolerance safety approach is needed to make sure they are in place.