I am as angry about how callously BP has handled the underground oil spill as anyone. No I don't live in Louisiana or any of the other gulf coast states but I am not foolish enough to think that it won't effect me eventually. The repercussions of such an oil spill is likely to impact us for a very, very long time, whether its a thousand barrels a day or a hundred thousand barrels a day,.
So while all the finger pointing and posturing continues, people are losing their livelihoods and their way of life. First up, I blame BP and the rest of the big oil companies. For all their desperation to tap the plethora of underwater oil reserves, not one of them, had a plan for dealing with an underground oil spill. Not one of them. Today it's BP, tomorrow it could be Exxon, Dutch Shell or some other multinational oil company.
How you undertake such an expensive operation without a back-up plan or contingency plan is pure fuckery. It's like a surgeon performing open heart surgery and not knowing exactly how to do it. But this is the part where these multimillionaire CEOs and their highly educated minions are supposed to be looking out for our welfare. Oh, no I'm mistaken they aren't. That's the job of the regulators.
Some of the blame should be shared with our deregulating politicians. Deregulation began in the 80s with the election of Ronald Reagan. There was this ridiculous belief that government regulations are a hinderance to the free marketplace. Hence looser regulations on banks, mining and off-shore drilling. Let the markets regulate themselves. We've seen where this mentality has gotten us. Billions of our tax dollars has been spent bailing out institutions that are too big to fail.
President Obama is many things but superman he is not. He straddles a fence where he has to express outrage over the oil spill while not wanting to alienate the rest of big oil. That moratorium he ordered on offshore drilling didn't last very long. Although the $20 billion dollar "shakedown" of BP was a nice move, it isn't going to be nearly enough.
Rather than boycott my local BP gas station, I'm thinking of ways where I can become less dependent on gasoline. I'd like to be able to take public transportation to the market or to run errands but I live in a place that hasn't quite adopted the idea of using public transportation as an alternative to driving one's own car. Where I live the perception is that only poor people ride the bus, this coupled with the fact that public transportation is rather limited means that my fair city will never have anything that resembles mass transportation system. I'm certain we are not alone.
We should channel our anger at BP into something more constructive like limiting our dependence on oil. If we really want people to start thinking about alternatives, the price of gasoline should at least be $5.00 a gallon. We should make hybrid and alternative fuel cars affordable and accessible to everyone. What about a cross country train system and no, I'm not talking about Amtrak. Keeping gasoline at an artificially low price keeps us behind the wheels of our gas guzzling cars and SUVs and lulls us into thinking that we have an endless supply of gasoline.
We've all been bamboozled, a dangerous oil spill is no time for political posturing, finger pointing or photo ops.We need to be thinking of alternatives to our gasoline addiction, until then we deserve every bit of bullshit BP and our elected officials shovel our way.