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Friday, July 16, 2010

The eighty seven days
For what must have been a small amount of time in the scheme of things, plankton and various forms of pre-historic plant life had come together to form a thick, gelatinous mass under a blanket of sand.
In Mother Nature's own primeval way, that same layer baked, rotted and transformed itself into one of man's most wanted chemicals that was ever discovered. Oil, sulphur, hydrates, carbon, methane, propane, and the list goes on. Either way, what once was life and buried long ago under a part of earth's crust,now serves man in it's death, and caused more death while it poured forth from a wounded earth many feet below the Gulf of Mexico.
What was once probing it, the remains of some of the crew and the drill rig, Deep Horizon, now all resting on the bottom not far away from the rent in Mother Nature's skin, this prize to keep man's existence going. The pursuit of black gold we now know again holds with it a terrible price.
So, what of the cost? So what if we don't know what it has cost the people of the southern US coastal states, victims of possibly cut corners, unknown participants in a bold experiment at getting the black gold into corporate hands. What was the bold rush forward to garner the wealth from Mother Nature's perfect hideaway all about, that safety had to take a back seat all about?
For eighty seven days the taps flowed freely, ruining lives and economies. Families again displaced in a region that has of yet to recover from Hurricane Katrina and Rita not long ago. For eighty seven days part of a vast eco-structure of birds, fish, and other wildlife was devastated, possibly not to recover for years.
Finally, the taps that spilled the black prehistoric goo from deep down were turned off.
Eighty seven days late...
5.2 Million barrels late, if the 60,000 barrel per day rate is right...
Why is it that here in Newfoundland and Labrador we have to let Big Oil sally forth into the abyss of the Orphan Basin off the coast, again probing the depths and piercing the underbelly in the search for crude oil without first waiting to find out what caused the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? For the pursuit of an added few coins to the province's treasury, are we about to fore go safety again and throw caution to the wind in the reckless search for oil?
In a bold move the other day, the European Union has begun a pursuit of tougher environment rules for deep-water drilling. The new rules will ensure also that any company drilling in deep water can demonstrate that they are capable of handling and fixing in the shortest of time any disaster or incident that may befall them in the event of an accident offshore. Do we have that security in the Orphan Basin?
While we sally forth in letting the Orphan Basin drilling program proceed, Norway has voluntarily placed a moratorium on any exploration of deep sea areas until the full extent and cause of the Gulf of Mexico disaster has become known. The United States has again placed a two year pause in deep sea drilling until they explore the safety standards that have been set. What is the rush that Newfoundland and Labrador go against a world standard that is now being set, albeit because of a disaster that we have yet to comprehend?
For what took millions of years to put together in the form of black gold that lies deep beneath charted waters, should we also take pause and follow a new world deep sea drilling standard?
Do we also want to risk the offshore environment, the fishery, and other far away coastlines because we ignored the warnings from deep down?
Can someone please tell me why we can't stop-just stop- for a few and take stock of the venture we are about to participate in?
I'm sure that if there is a vast amount of oil in the Orphan Basin, that it can wait a few more years and brew a little longer before we do something stupid.
If they want it bad enough, they'll come back if we say that Big Oil is going to have to wait for just a little bit longer. Right now, it just looks like the province and the Canadian government are part of a foolhardy venture we can ill afford to see go wrong.
Tell me, what is the rush?

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