It’s a gorgeous Memorial Day here in Westchester County, New York. I’m sure lots of people are heading for the shores of New Jersey and Long Island today. Owners of seasonal businesses must be very happy.
I don’t know what the weather is like along the Gulf Coast today, but I suspect the moods are darker. “Top kill” failed after all. The oil could keep gushing for months. This is the worst oil spill in U.S. history. It’s affecting fisheries, tourism, shipping, and wildlife.
Whether the spill is the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, as some are saying, is questionable; I think the young folks have forgotten the Dust Bowl. But it’s really, really bad nonetheless.
I read somewhere that the oil spill isn’t expected to affect the U.S. economy, but I think whoever said that must be a fool. How can it not?
This was in a news article from yesterday (emphasis added):
“This scares everybody: the fact that we can’t make this well stop flowing, the fact that we haven’t succeeded so far,” BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles said yesterday.
“Many of the things we’re trying have been done on the surface before, but have never been tried at 5,000ft.”
However, back when BP was applying for a permit to drill in the gulf, the company declared it could handle a spill ten times larger than the one it can’t handle now.
In other words, the permit application was written by the company’s marketing department, not the engineering department. I’d bet money there were engineers at BP who realized there were contingencies they weren’t prepared for, and they were told to shut up about it if they wanted to keep their jobs.
Well, as Bill Kristol brilliantly said, offshore drilling is perfectly safe “except where there is a disaster like this.” No, really, he said that.
For the record, Kristol is also wrong when he said the Exxon Valdez spill was worse.