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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Big Oil rules « Previous | |Next »
August 1, 2010

As of mid-July, the BP spill--or blowout--- from its Deepwater Horizon rig (the Macondo well ) in the Gulf of Mexico is supposed to be plugged at last; except that the plug is temporary at best, and the millions of gallons of oil are out there in the ocean, on the coast – and in the air. This blowout is one indication of the cost of oil and other fossil fuels, being our principal sources of energy for ‘years down the road’.


In Big Oil Makes War on the Earth: The Gulf Coast Joins an Oil-Soiled Planet at Tom Dispatch Ellen Cantarow says that:

Our addiction to oil is now blowing back on the civilization that can’t do without its gushers and can’t quite bring itself to imagine a real transition to alternative energies...corporations presume that it’s their right to control this planet and its ecosystems, while obeying one command: to maximize profits. Everything else is an “externality,” including life on Earth.

The costs of dealing with Big Oil's externalities is borne by the public in terms of both the costs of cleanup and the effects of the devastation on their lives.

In an earlier article at Tom Dispatch Michael McClure adds that:

While poor oversight and faulty equipment may have played a critical role in BP’s catastrophe in the Gulf, the ultimate source of the disaster is big oil’s compulsive drive to compensate for the decline in its conventional oil reserves by seeking supplies in inherently hazardous areas -- risks be damned. So long as this compulsion prevails, more such disasters will follow. Bet on it.

What also follows is the attempts by governments captured by the oil and fossil fuel companies to hold back the development of alternative sources of energy and transport, and to sustain high levels of oil consumption.

The consequences of the Macondo well blowout are spelt out by Rebecca Solnit at the London Review of Books:

The Gulf....can look forward to the death of the shrimping industry, massive unemployment, an outmigration of those who can go, leaving behind the elderly, indigent and infirm, a loss of trust and social capital, a lot of despair and a lot of medical consequences of the chronic stress of living in a ruined world. And to living in a poisoned environment.

BP rules the waves in the Gulf of Mexico and a lot of Louisiana, its policy is one of disguising, repressing and hiding the damage and it treats scientists and journalists as the enemy. It has the financial might to defend its from the devastation it causes and the legal assault or challenges on the citadel of corporate profit.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:58 PM | | Comments (2)


And that's going to be the story from now on. The big boys know who wears the pants.

The oils companies (and the big miners in Australia) will be treated with kid-gloves because... apparently... they are too big (and important) to fail. Or inconvenience.

At the first hint of trouble they will roll out the deafening "this will cost jobs" howitzer... and that's the end of the argument.

There is even a kind of grandeur to it.