Monday, May 3, 2010

Last Chance to See

Today (technically yesterday now) was a strange day for me.  It was the last day of my vacation and I was in New Orleans.  I got up this morning and ate with friends as is our habit for our annual Jazz-Fest pilgrimage.  
We ate some of the largest crawdaddies that I have ever seen. We ate turtle soup, shrimp and alligator sausage.  Just the other night I we had a few dozen fresh oysters served three different ways,

But I saw on television how the oil that is pouring out of BP's well was threatening landfall on the barrier islands in the high-wind today and I am filled with thoughts of doom.  The indigenous wildlife that is the wellspring from which the culture flows is under an assault no less catastrophic than Katrina and it is happening in a time-lapse day to day manner.

As my plane was leaving to come home today we were told by our pilot that Air Force One was taking off and we would be delayed for a period of time.  Prior to that the highway that we took to get to the airport was apparently completely shut down about an hour prior to us coming in.  I indeed saw two C-5 Galaxys at the airport on the way in.   

While it is true that the effort being expended by thousands of workers in the area to lay booms and barriers of many kinds to stop what is being called by BP "sheen" as opposed to "spill" or "slick".  [I actually heard one of the BP spokespeople correcting a reporter and shortly thereafter the weatherman on that same local news broadcast was using the 'correct' term.]  Still I am extremely concerned that all of this has happened to being with - from the workers losing their lives in the initial explosion of the Deep Horizon oil platform to the impending ecological disaster of the century that will cost the local economy there so very dearly.  

How can it be that it was permissible for the risk to exist for a disaster of this magnitude to occur?  Is the amount of potential wealth involved so great that they can afford the costs that are going to be involved in truly cleaning this up?  How can that be considered to be "OK"?  Where is the proper oversight?  Do the words "Risk Management" just mean nothing when dealing with this kind of money?

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