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As the world is well aware, oil continues to be pumped into the Gulf of Mexico. This horrible disaster, which began with an explosion at a BP oil rig off the coast of Louisiana on April 20th, has been spewing thousands of litres of oil a day into the water. This, naturally, has terrorized the beaches, sealife and birds of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi’s coasts.
As Campbell Robertson and Joseph Berger of the New York Times explain today, so far, a number of strategies to slow down and stop the flow of oil into the gulf have pretty much been unsuccessful. Attempting to close valves didn’t work and trying to capture leaking oil with a containment dome failed as well. Last week, a “top kill” technique was adopted to seal the well with mud and solid debris. That failed too.
The most recent strategy, writes Robertson and Berger is “to place a containment cap over the well and funnel the leaking oil up through a riser pipe to a tanker on the surface…(the pipe) must be sheared off so that the containment dome can be fit snugly over the well, a procedure called cut-and-cap for short. Officials have cautioned that after the pipe is cut but before the dome is in place, the flow of oil could increase by as much as 20 per cent.”
The news saddens environmentalists all over the world, as it appears as if nothing can be done to prevent the inevitable destruction of the ecosystems in the affected areas. The old adage that “oil and water don’t mix” is being proven on a daily basis as a reddish-brown, goopy cloud continues to grow larger in the Gulf of Mexico waters.
As a result, many people are seemingly becoming more understanding that cleaner energy sources are mandatory for a healthy future of our planet. United States President, Barack Obama addressed this issue at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh earlier today.
Said Obama: “The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to embrace a clean energy future…If we refuse to take into account the full cost of our fossil fuel addiction — if we don’t factor in the environmental costs and national security costs and true economic costs — we will have missed our best chance.”
Referencing energy-efficient cars and homes and more nuclear power as important methods by which we may acheive the goal of a more environmentally-friendly future, the president also called for a rollback of tax breaks for billion dollar oil companies.
Obama acknowledges, of course, that the gulf disaster was caused by human error. Therefore, it is human action that will need to prevent such disasters in the future. The U.S. government is still investigating the possibility of criminal action surrounding the oil rig disaster. The harm, however, has already been done.