From Big Problems to Begin the Phaseout

Posted by CODEPINK Staff


By Janet Weil

The names of the 11 men killed instantly in the Deepwater Horizon explosion have rarely been spoken in public, or written in the media. Here they are: Jason Anderson, 35; Aaron Dale Burkeen, 37; Donald Clark, 34; Stephen Curtis, 39; Gordon Jones, 28; Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27; Karl Klepping, 38; Blair Manuel, 56; Dewey Revette, 48; Shane Roshto, 22; and Adam Weise, 24. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_drilling_rig_explosion

And now, nearly two months into the worst environmental disaster in US history, we can read the 11 words that helped doom them to a tragic death, and brought about the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico that Louie Miller Mississippi state director of the Sierra Club, called “America’s Chernobyl.” http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=12410421

"Who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100614/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_washington

“A BP official apparently rejected advice of a subcontractor, Halliburton Inc., in preparing for a cementing job to close up the well. BP rejected Halliburton's recommendation to use 21 "centralizers" to make sure the casing ran down the center of the well bore. Instead, BP used six centralizers. In an e-mail on April 16, a BP official involved in the decision explained: "It will take 10 hours to install them. I do not like this."

Later that day another BPer shrugged off the risk with those 11 careless words. Penny wise, pound foolish, goes the old English proverb, and now the British corporation has been forced to begin to pay up: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100616/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill

We will all pay, in many ways, for years and decades to come. Who cares, indeed. I rage against the criminal negligence, the indifference to safety, that BP’s consistent pattern of cutting costs and maximizing profit demonstrate. According to the Center for Public Integrity, "BP account[ed] for 97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the [oil] refining industry by government safety inspectors over the past three years." (See http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-17-kick-ass-or-buy-gas/)

And then I turn my thoughts to how our country can move from what Antonia Juhasz so accurately names “The Tyranny of Oil” http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/7/the_tyranny_of_oil_antonia_juhasz.

Americans tend to be individualists; we think first in terms of what we can do immediately in our  own lives. Here’s one list that’s going around Code Pink listservs lately: http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-01-ask-umbra-on-8-things-you-can-do-to-fight-the-BP-gulf-oil-spill

And that’s all good. What’s even more needed, however, is to work together not only to mourn the dead, repair the damage done as much as humanly possible, and to seek justice for those whose livelihoods have been stolen, but to move from Big Problems to Begin the Phase Out from a fossil fuel economy. This is a political task that has been left undone for decades. It entails mustering us as citizens, not only consumers, to demand that serious governmental and corporate investment go to building the sustainable energy economy that we have talked about, but never really committed to. Great ideas have been under development at least since the 1970’s; some of them were discussed on Democracy Now on June 16, 2 months into the catastrophe: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/16/spill_roundtable

Cutting off the federal government's contracts to buy petroleum products for the US military from BP would be a good place to start this project. Shutting down fossil-fuel-gobbling wars of choice in Iraq, Afghanistan and increasingly Pakistan make more sense than ever.

A picture’s worth a thousand words. These photos are each worth a thousand tears:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2010/jun/14/deepwater-horizon-oil-spill?picture=363676350

And aren’t these photos of horror worth a thousand deeds from all of us, to keep our oceans alive and to ensure that this NEVER happens again?!

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