Monday, June 14, 2010

Oil Remoulade

I'm one of the people slapped back to reality by this growing environmental horror with no end in sight. When Obama opened up the East Coast south of Jersey to oil & gas exploration, I'd already become resigned that it was probably  unavoidable in the present political climate if America was seeking energy independence. We're not quitting our oil addiction anytime soon, & our dependence on the House of Saud & other awful regimes warps our foreign policy, & both China & India are competing now for the supply. Jerseyans tend to be rather naive about the sources of  the energy we use.  Taxes are high but our gasoline is always among the least expensive.   But this disaster is the result of one, only one, oil well owned by one oil company. It can happen anywhere there's an offshore well, & that it's a so far unique occurrence doesn't matter.  Neither BP nor our government was prepared for this. Surely, the worse case scenario of an out of control 5000 foot deep underwater well had been foreseen & either dismissed as unlikely, alarmist, or too expensive to prepare for, probably the latter. Yet, the possibility of failure, even inevitability, was present, just as it was & still is for the inadequate levees of New Orleans.

I'm not familiar with the natural wonders of the Gulf coast. I can, however, imagine 100 miles of Jersey's ocean coast blackened with oil, & floating barriers strung across all our inlets - indeed, across the mouths of the Hudson & Delaware Rivers. I've seen them put in place for small spills at marinas & barge docks. Our tidal wetlands reach deep into northern Jersey, the Hackensack meadowlands. In Rahway, a town no one now thinks of as a port city, I resided next to the upper reaches of a true tidal estuary, a river only about 20 feet wide at that point but which rose & fell on schedule twice a day, where thousands of eels were occasionally chased several miles upstream by schools of  striped bass migrating into Arthur Kill, the waterway between Jersey & Staten Island. A few hundred yards downriver were fat blue crabs you could see crawling around on the bottom when the water was flowing clear. Rahway is, in a very real sense, "down the shore." If the river were dredged as it used to be, the new luxury condos downtown could include slips for small boats. & all that could be coated with crude. Only a handful of people I knew in town, mostly those who surf fished on Jersey beaches & crabbed the bays, were accurate observers of the tidal part of Rahway River.

Unlike after Katrina, I feel strangely cool toward Louisianians themselves. They sold out so long ago to the politicians who sold out to Big Oil, & have been so ruinous to their own coastal environment,  so distrustful of federal government, that one wonders why they're shocked. Gov. Bobby Jindal's calling in NFL champs New Orleans Saints to "save the coast" at the same time he's condemning Obama's prudent six-month moratorium on new drilling,  suggesting that oil companies will abandon the State in that brief period &  new regulations (which he might oppose anyway) could be written & instituted before there's a full understanding of  what went wrong & how it can be prevented in the future. Someone ought to show the guy a complete map of the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana is a state that gets far more federal tax dollars back than it contributes. Like Alaska.

Labels: , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?