According to a recent report, the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is bad, and is getting worse.
Already, 11 workers are dead and 9 million gallons of oil have been released from the 20 April explosion on the Transocean/BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig. And a solution to close off the underwater geyser may be weeks, if not months, away. The oil spill is right now despoiling the environment along the Gulf Coast, threatening the livelihoods of thousands. From what I’ve read, if it’s not brought under control soon, the spill may escape from the Gulf and travel up the East Coast of the United States, and even further afield.
Here are photos of the disaster. Here’s a timeline. And here’s a list of the the worst oil spills in history.
In terms of sheer volume, the Exxon Valdez spill ranks as the 35th worst oil spill in history. As frightening as that spill was, it’s even more frightening to consider that there are 34 oil spills even worse.
The current disaster in the Gulf and the history of oil spills around the world undermine all arguments for oil—for off-shore drilling, including “energy independence,” and for oil use generally, since it involves transoceanic shipments and wars fought over oil. In other words, allowing capitalist industry (especially oil and automobiles) to dictate U.S. energy policy either means importing oil, and letting the disasters take place “over there,” or drilling off the coast of the United States, and suffering the disasters “here.” Either way, workers are killed and the natural environment ruined by a series of “accidents.”
Others, like John Podesta and Joseph Romm, get it, too.
As people in the affected Gulf states are now learning — and people in West Virginia learned earlier this month, when 29 coal miners died in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine — limited government can, and often does, lead to unlimited pollution and unlimited disasters.