Oilbama

Tonight was the Presidential Address regarding the oil disaster. Right before the speech, the oil numbers jumped once more.

35,000 – 60,000 barrels or 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons per day.

Up to 143,640,000 gallons have dumped into the Gulf thus far, according to new government estimates.

Except the numbers keep changing and never for the better. And, today, once again, oil collection had to stop due to a shipboard fire perhaps created by a lightning strike.

Maybe this is the worst of it, maybe this is as high as the numbers will go. On April 30th, I wrote, “Meantime, the Coast Guard fears the well could become a ‘gusher,’ spilling up to 2.1 million gallons a day (is the .1 meant to lend this figure credibility or do they really know these things?)”

Perhaps I sounded like an alarmist. After all, at that time BP was just starting to admit it might be 1,000 – 5,000 barrels, rather than the 1,000 they’d been trying to sell us on for the previous nine days. I now wonder if the Coast Guard has known that it was 2.1 million gallons this whole time. But I don’t wonder much, heck, I’m exhausted with wondering things only to find that our Gulf is simply the victim of greed and carelessness. We now know that 5 days before the explosion, BP stated in a memo reacting to Halliburton’s advice about the well closure, “Who cares? It’s done. We’ll probably be fine.”

But nothing’s fine. And hearing that memo made me want to throw up.

The President used words like battle, assault, fight, seige and battle plan. Maybe it was preparation for moving the military into the region. Maybe it was all just talk. I’m too exhausted by the previous yacking to put much stock in more yacking. My fatigue was most apparent when Obama was talking about the first element of his 3 pronged plan – clean-up. He recounted the equipment and manpower that has been amassed on the coast and in the water. I knew I was too tired of talk because all it sounded like was him wanting credit for a job well done which I would happily give if it were true that this clean-up job has been well done. But, officials in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have been battling the oil despite the efforts of the government and BP, not because of them. People are out in the marshes with hardware store wet-vacs. 1500 bird experts from the Audubon Society and other groups are still waiting to lend a hand in the rescues, sitting on the sidelines as they BP sanctioned rescue workers catch the birds least likely to be saved (flightless) because they don’t have the expertise to catch flighted birds who have the best chance of survival. The list of insanities is too long to recount.

As to the second prong, the escrow account meant to make people and the damage “whole,” I’m happy to hear it and hope it’s more than talk. The President said, “I make that commitment tonight,” and discussed  a long-term coastal restoration plan. Please let that be the happy ending and not more politics.

The third prong was prevention, a commission to evaluate what happened and how to prevent it, a commitment to making MMS a true watchdog group and a serious look into shifting to renewable energy from American sources. Yes, I’m for all of that, sure. But the early chatter is about that being the line that makes this a political hot button, that this is just opportunism by the democrats to push their agenda. Whatever. I cannot even begin to express how little I care about agendas right now. Maybe just a little more than I care about how much I’m hurting BP’s feelings or how much Tony Hayward wants his life back.

I care about things like using the Alabama ingenuity of lining up barges and placing boom behind them to create still water for the booms so they can actually work. I care about the dispersants and what they may be doing and not using them anymore after the plumes were proven. I care about figuring out who’s in charge of what and actually getting things done instead of scrambling people into a photo op so it looks like things aren’t what they really are – chaotic and inefficient.

I care about 57 days and the leader of our nation couldn’t say when the gushing would end.

BP ordered 32 of Kevin Costner’s machines. It’s the first, but I certainly hope not the last, of the inventions and ideas BP has been reviewing that it has finally acted on. I’m hoping it’s more than an elaborate PR tool, that the machines truly do convert up to 200 gallons per minute into 99% pure oil and 99% pure water, but I’m so fatigued that the second I heard BP approved it, I started wondering how it could all go wrong. Too much wondering.

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