I think they do have plans in place but can’t account for certain problems. For example, they have a valve to prevent leaks if they occur, but in this case, the valve didn’t function as planned. They also have robotic vehicles to remotely operate undersea to help fix the problem, but use of the vehicle is untested at these depths. As we explore in deeper seas and build larger rigs, there needs to be many levels of testing and layers of protection in place before the accidents happen. The rig itself was insured by BP for 560 million dollars, but the ecosystem doesn’t get that kind of insurance. Better regulation and stricter safety codes might encourage oil companies to develop better prevention measures as well as response plans. Accidents like this one could take years to clean up and affect many local economies.
“The rig itself was insured by BP for 560 million dollars, but the ecosystem doesn’t get that kind of insurance.”
What a great quote! In fact, I think it is the environment that is the insurance policy for industry. When a company can’t stop pollution, it is the environment that covers the cost.
Exactly! And while the surrounding environment may recover on its own when given enough time, the threats to plants, wildlife and human health are often immediate. Mining in particular can have devastating effects in the sea and on land, even without accidents. Strip mining and associated deforestation is responsible for detriment to air and water quality as well as life in the surrounding area, including human health. Sadly, mining in the US is still conducted on public land under a law that’s been virtually unchanged since 1872. Under it, companies are often not responsible for the damage or cleanup of mined areas. The cost of oil and other resources is very high and it seems much of the price will be paid by the citizens themselves!
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