Thursday, November 15, 2012

BP pays $4.5 billion. It won't save us from ecological disasters.

We can stop this
AP reports today that BP will pay the US government $4.5 billion as a settlement for the explosion on its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that released 280 million gallons of oil, spilling an estimated (a very broad estimate) 172 million gallons directly in to the Gulf. Oh, yes, the accident that was not an accident as it was preventable, killed eleven workers as well.
 The Associated Press report also other details on the effect of the spill:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials documented 6,104 dead birds, 609 dead sea turtles and 100 dead mammals, including dolphins, from the impacted area. Experts also collected 456 living sea turtles and 2,079 birds that were visibly oiled."

The oil soiled sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, severely affecting the edges of saltwater and brackish marshes. Sand beaches, barrier islands, tidal mud flats and mangrove stands in five coastal states were damaged."

Sullied waters and health concerns shut down commercial fishing in the region for months, putting thousands of shrimpers and fishermen out of work. Charter captains, property owners, environmental groups, restaurants, hotels and other tourism businesses all claimed they suffered economic losses after the spill.
At the peak of the crisis, the response effort involved 48,200 people, 9,700 vessels and 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants. The Coast Guard helped burn 265,450 barrels of oil using controlled fires."

For the deaths of the workers, two BP well-site leaders have been charged with manslaughter and a BP executive has been indicted on charges he lied to authorities. Naughty boys, all three of you.
What is not know is what we can't see.  One doesn't have to be an environmental scientist, a marine biologist of sorts, to know that the effects of this major catastrophe are horrific and many will not be know until they are manifested over time.  The effects on Bluefin Tuna and other oceanic life that spawns there cannot be immediately determined.  Perhaps, Proctor and Gamble or Johnson and Jonson will come up with a dissoluble pill that they will convince us will make the area pristine again. 

The fact is, that the oil that was picked up is just the tip of the iceberg.  The ocean floor is full of it you can bet your bottom dollar on that.  The cancers and diseases that are a by product of these activities will emerge more prominently over time.   Perhaps the oil residue will mix with the nuclear waste from Fukushima and the ill effects will cancel each other out.  And the dispersants?  What affect do these have on the environment.

Society's Energy needs, like all social production under capitalism, is in private hands and set in to motion on the basis of profit, for the welfare of those private individuals that own the machinery, technology and human labor power that make it happen. This is the cause of these crises and the only solution is collective ownership of energy production and a plan of production developed by workers, consumers, scientists and all those whose knowledge can benefit society as a whole
For hundreds of years the damage from this market catastrophe will continue to haunt future generations assuming the planet is still habitable for humans by then.  Fines won't stop these environmental catastrophes like the BP spill and Fukishima. They are market driven disasters, a by-product of the capitalist system.

A democratic socialist society, a world federation of democratic socialist states and a planned and rational system of production based on human need and not private gain is the only solution to ecological Armageddon.

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