Thursday, June 3, 2010


This essay on oil booming has been around for a couple of weeks now, but I don't think it is getting the attention it deserves. Oil booms are those bright orange barriers that BP is putting down near the shore to protect the coast from their oil spill. They don't seem to be doing much good, and this article, written by a guy called “Fishgrease,” explains why, clearly and concisely . Oil booms, it seems, need to be set up in a very particular way. Do it right and they work. Just lay them down parallel to the coast, as BP has been doing, and they are useless. But they are bright orange, clearly visible to the media and the press, and do an excellent job of making it look like something is being done.

Fishgrease makes some great points here. First, BP knows they are doing it wrong. They know and the Coast Guard knows, and no one is saying anything about it. That hurts, because I'm a big fan of the Coast Guard, but the point seems to be irrefutable. Second, this stinks all the way to the top. President Obama, a smart guy, should know by now that the booming that is being done is only for show, a salve on salve on BP's reputation, but he says nothing about it. Third, there is simply not enough booming material to protect the entire endangered region. That may be the most damning point. If you are doing something that is inherently dangerous, and if the worst case scenario is even remotely possible, you have an obligation to be prepared for it. If it wasn't already obvious, BP did not meet this obligation.

Members of the press and our political leaders should read this. Some of them might skip over it, because it is on a liberal website, is written by a guy with a funny name, and is punctuated with a lot of vulgar language. That's a pity, because people really ought to know.

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