Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Gulf Oil Spill: 100 Days Later

BPIt has been 100 days since the BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began. 100 long, tense, and uncertain days. We still do not have a relief well, but the temporary cap seems to be helping to slow the rate at which additional oil is entering coastal waters. Nobody seems to know how much oil is already there, and if the reports I'm hearing are correct, we may never know.

Questions also remain about the long-term impact of introducing astounding volumes of a chemical dispersant into the waters. It seems to be concealing the surface oil fairly well, but I haven't heard anybody sounding particularly confident that this is a good thing. And then there is the fact that nobody seems to know what this stuff will do to the environment.

In addition to taking a hard look at how federal regulators could have contributed to this disaster, it sounds like the feds are planning to investigate BP, Transocean, and Haliburton. Call me skeptical if you will, but I have some trouble believing that we will see real accountability. Then again, I'm not even sure what it would look like at this point.

What is clear to me is that Mississippi and other Gulf coast states are going to feel the impact of this spill for quite some time. This presents the federal government with another opportunity, much like what we saw during and after Hurricane Katrina. Do our leaders put their money where their mouths are and demonstrate a real commitment to the Gulf coast states, or do they turn their backs yet again? Will we be treated like a valued part of the United States, or will it be business as usual?

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