Louisiana again beset by man-made disaster
So Louisiana, barely on its feet from Katrina (which was, as John Goodman’s character on Treme is quick to note, a man-made disaster) is again going to get its ass kicked by a completely preventable, entirely foreseeable act of man.
As families mourn the 11 workers thrown overboard in the worst oil rig disaster in decades and as the resulting spill continues to spread through the Gulf of Mexico, new questions are being raised about the training of the drill operators and about the oil company’s commitment to safety.
Deepwater Horizon, the giant technically-advanced rig which exploded on April 20 and sank two days later, is leaking an estimated 42,000 gallons per day through a pipe about 5,000 feet below the surface. The spill has spread across 1,800 square miles – an area larger than Rhode Island – according to satellite images, oozing its way toward the Louisiana coast and posing a threat to wildlife, including a sperm whale spotted in the oil sheen.
The massive $600 million rig, which holds the record for boring the deepest oil and gas well in the world – at 35,050 feet – had passed three recent federal inspections, the most recent on April 1, since it moved to its current location in January. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.
Yet relatives of workers who are presumed dead claim that the oil behemoth BP and rig owner TransOcean violated “numerous statutes and regulations” issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a lawsuit filed by Natalie Roshto, whose husband Shane, a deck floor hand, was thrown overboard by the force of the explosion and whose body has not yet been located.</em>
This act of incompetence will wreck havoc on the Gulf Coast fishing industry, which is already attempting to cope with the loss of habitat due to wetlands devastation (again, another man-made insult to nature). This region supplies 40% of the seafood harvested in this country, and its loss would be devastating.
But somebody somewhere at BP made a decision to ignore mandated safety laws, cut corners on training, and build the stupid rig to begin with, to make a buck.
So Sarah…how’s that drilly, sinky thing workin’ out for ya?