Oil spill still a slippery subject
The U.S. government and British Petroleum have yet to come up with a solid solution to the oil leak that began on April 22, 2010.
The oil leak is far greater than simply endangering an important industry; it displays our nation’s vulnerabilities. This disaster will surely become one of the most severe oil spills in history and must serve as a wake up call.
We just witnessed how the financial industry can deal a catastrophic blow to the economy, and our solution was to rescue it, which effectively solved nothing.
These are examples that our nation is losing its edge as the strongest problem solver. We are falling behind at something just as important – innovation and leadership.
The oil leak is more severe and more dangerous than any of us know. BP has enormous incentives to downplay the negative effects of this incident. The U.S. government has incentives to portray their success and sense of control to produce a positive public image.
Not only is the end not in sight for a solution to this oil leak, we are using unproven methods in an effort to try and solve it.
The first biggest problem is that we have yet to accurately account for how much oil is actually leaking out.
BP’s worst case scenario estimates for the oil leak are 2,520,000 gallons per day, while the worst case scenario from the experts is 4,200,000 gallons per day according to a Gulf Leak meter produced by PBS News Hour.
Another issue which is not only dubious but moreover horrifying is that our cleaning methods that are unsuccessful so far have potentially adverse effects.
The use of dispersant chemicals sprayed onto the water have been criticized for their possible harmful effects. The dispersants are designed to break down the oil on the surface of the water.
This means that if the dispersants would have to be increased to levels that are more proportional to the actual volume of the leak. That amount of dispersants is untested and therefore the consequences are unknown.
The oil leak exemplifies that we need to switch directions and begin focusing on other methods of energy and moreover learning the lesson of dangers when it comes to putting all of one’s eggs into one basket.
Andrew Taylor is an economics senior and may be reached at [email protected]