Friday, May 28, 2010

The cost of oil addiction

Here we go again -- another bailout.

The government, whom the right wingnuts believe can't do anything right, is now called upon again, by those same nutjobs, to save the world, or, in this case, the Gulf of Mexico.

Corporations are so resilient, we're led to believe, that they not only know how to fail on such a grand scale, they can also turn around and blame the government for too much or too little regulation. They can have it all: obscene profits and a Teflon image when the oil slickens the coastline.

I'm surprised the anti-immigration forces didn't blame this all on Mexico. Afterall, it's their gulf, not ours.

This oil spill disaster highlights what we are willing to do to the environment to feed our addiction to cheap oil.

In fact the oil from the BP deep sea well is so cheap that 18 million gallons of oil can be squandered so far and have no effect on gas prices. BP can afford to lose that oil and pay for the cleanup. It's merely the cost of doing business. The oil conglomerate didn't have much of a plan in place in case the well failed because it didn't have to and, more importantly, didn't care to.

BP made $5.6 billion in the just the first three months of this year and it's spent about $1 billion so far on the Gulf catastrophe. If it spends another billion on cleanup, it'll still end up with more than $20 billion in profits. A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon, we're talking chump change for the the oil giant.

And yes, there are people out there who are calibrating the political risks this gusher presents for President Obama. Excuse me, I think the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem trumps any discussion of politics.

It needs to be pointed out that Obama was not on the oil rig when it exploded and killed 11 men. Now was he the one who argued with the oil rig operators on what to do before the explosion.

Obama's fault is that he is the president and he must clean up BP's mess all by himself.

What this latest calamity means -- along with the Exxon Valdez, 9-11 and the Iraq War -- is that we need to rely on some other energy source rather than oil. If we don't, there will be more oil spills, more terrorist attacks and more wars.

When will we ever learn.

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