Full disclosure: I am an angry disgruntled shareholder in BP
I am only going to talk about the Gulf oil spill one last time since this blog is mainly about anesthesia and health care. However I feel like I have to speak up as a growing body of evidence shows the Gulf oil spill has only had a minor effect on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Back in May, when the Deepwater Horizon exploded and there was mass hysteria about oil soaked sea birds and turtles, beaches closing up for the summer, tourist businesses disappearing adding to worsening unemployment rates, I wrote that the affects of the oil will be much less than people think. Talking heads and so called scientists were predicting an Exxon Valdez II but on a much wider scale. Network news were replaying 20 year old images of oil covered rocks in Prince William Sound with hundreds of workers using high pressure hoses to fruitlessly wash off the gunk. I noted that this time is different. The Gulf of Mexico holds an estimated 660 QUADRILLION gallons of water. The amount of the spill was far greater than I first estimated, currently thought to be around 200 million gallons. If you do the math, it is clear the amount of oil spilled is still a tiny, minute, microscopic fraction of the content of the Gulf. And the Gulf of Mexico is not a stagnant body of water; it is constantly circulating with the greater Atlantic Ocean. Therefore I thought it was obvious the oil spill would not have nearly the detrimental effects on the Gulf as the so called pundits were screaming about.
Now in the latest in a series of articles, the New York Times has come to the same conclusion. Scientists can barely find any trace of oil in the water. Hundreds of thousands of birds that were thought likely to die have not come to fruition. They can only find a few thousand oil stained dead birds and how many of those that died from natural causes and washed up into the oil is still being determined. Dead sea turtles initially thought to have died from asphyxiation or ingestion of oil on necropsy have shown no trace of oil internally. The only pictures of oil on the shore are usually highly magnified small clumps of hydrocarbon surrounded by expansive snow white beaches. Marshes that were predicted to die off and expose fragile bird sanctuaries instead only exhibited a few feet of oiled grass closest to the shore. The miles and miles of wetlands behind this oil line is unchanged. We now know that new grass is even growing within the oiled areas.
But I reserve my greatest ire for the Obama administration. This incompetent president, in an attempt to hide his inept handling of the situation, strong armed and blackmailed BP to steal $20 billion from shareholders to pay damages from the spill. At the time the effects of the spill were still unknown. BP was not the only company operating the doomed oil rig but it was the only one singled out for compensation. Like crooked lawyers, the president and his advisors reached into the deepest pocket and fattest wallet they could find and extorted billions of dollars before a single shred of evidence of culpability was discovered. Billions that should have gone to shareholders, retirement accounts, and research and development disappeared into a black hole of government bureaucracy instead of helping our economy and decrease our oil dependency on the Mideast.
What about the supposedly giant plume of oil that sits 5000 feet underwater? What about the microscopice droplets of oil found in shrimp larvae? What about all the fish and birds that feed near the oily shoreline? Scientists, in their attempts to justify their existence, still insist that the long term effects of the spill are still unknown. Well, I suppose these scientists still have families to feed. But it is now clear that the apocalyptic predictions last summer were off base. They have to look really hard to even find any evidence of actual damage from the oil. In the meantime, this presidency's unprecedented wealth distribution continues. The president's extortion of BP would not pass muster in any U.S. court if BP decided to challenge the compensation fund it was forced to create. He still insists on raising taxes next year on people who are the most likely to create desperately needed jobs in this country. The only ones doing well lately are his Wall Street friends and attorney buddies. These are dangerous times indeed.