Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Um... yeah, that's a good idea.

News outlets are reporting that the Coast Guard has plans to try and set the massive oil spill from last Tuesday's sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig on fire before it can reach the coast.

While alarming, the tactic may be one of the few options left to try and thwart what is becoming more and more likely to be a certain environmental disaster.

The spill, which has grown to size larger than West Virginia, is now less than 40 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River.

The Coast Guard has said that is will attempt to set several small "controlled burns." According to officials, if successful the fire should eliminate most of the "light oil" but would still leave much of the "heavier material" that is suspended below the surface. It is believed that some of that material will likely reach the coast. "We will still see some environmental damage," said Rice University Chemical Engineering Professor Walter Chapman.

Meanwhile, efforts to control the spill at sea are not fairing any better. According to the satellite imagery outlet SkyTruth, containment efforts are proving ineffectual. The spill is just too large.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So we get one spill every 10-20 years and we're improving all the time - Every time it happens, it's tragic but we deal with it better than any nation on earth. Won't be long before spills hardly ever happen at all. Also remember that it is a known fact that oil naturally seeps up from fissures in the seabed in many places (Incl offshore Santa Barbara - Spanish explorers noted seeing oil on the beaches hundreds of years ago)

Sure we need to develop alternative energy but we'll never do that in a bankrupt, deficit-ridden economy. Secondly, the people that we currently buy our oil from are typically far less able to manage their pollution, have far more spills and do lot less about it - Just because the damage is being done thousands of miles away doesn't make it any more acceptable.

We do need to drill onshore as well as offshore and use our natural resources. Do it in the most careful way that we can (and we CAN do it better than anyone else on the planet), Use that money to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, use it to reduce our deficit (we're talking billions of dollars saved per month) and use it to fund research in alternative fuels. We can write the drilling leases in such a way that a certain percentage has to go to alt. fuels research.

We're not going to be able to wish fossil fuels away, we need to USE them to move to the next step in cleaner energy.