Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Dome That Failed--and That's Not All

Things aren't any better in the Gulf, and they may well be getting worse. A growing collection of crippled equipment littered the ocean floor Sunday near a ruptured oil well gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico, the remnants of a massive rig that exploded weeks ago and the failed efforts since to cap the leak, begins the NPR story on the failed dome attempt, and other weekend details.

Here's an interesting Internet wrinkle: while BP experts seemingly believed the dome might work, its failure and the reason for it was expected, by bloggers.

Yet the worst of it is very likely still to come. The oil continues to gush and to fill the sea, which winds so far have almost eerily kept offshore. The economic impact has begun, but that, too, could get a lot worse--raising oil and food prices potentially everywhere. Though it seems pretty early to speculate, I did hear one experienced observer suggest that this could be bad enough to bankrupt BP. If so, you can bet a lot of other folks are going to feel the pain first.

The environmental threat is apparently prompting voters to take a more serious look at energy policy. A pollster concluded: “not only do voters support a comprehensive clean energy bill by large double-digit margins, they also indicate their Senator’s vote could be an impactful re-election factor."

BP was getting a lot of criticism Monday, not only for being unprepared but for misleading everyone every step of the way during this crisis. There's apt to be more of that as Congress starts holding hearings. A more quietly expressed view (so far) notes the failure of Bush-era regulation and enforcement--the weakening of regs, the depletion of government regulators, the cosy relationship with oil companies (at least one safety mechanism was xed out by the Cheney energy commission) and the overall reliance on privatization. You won't hear the loudmouth GOPers on that one, but I hope the Dems can make that point.

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