I created up this blog to record and share humorous observations about my travels in France. However, at this time I find it difficult to be silent about Louisiana and the environmental disaster which has and will continue (probably for the remainder of my life) to negatively impact my home state. I do not denigrate the presumed loss of life or sadness of the families of the crew. Nothing can replace lives or repair broken families. This post is about my home state and another man-made disaster just like Katrina.
Yeah, I know I joke about Louisiana as being more like a “banana republic” than a state in the USA. Its often corrupt politics, licentiousness, over indulgent food and alcohol intake plus its general bacchanalian lifestyle are certainly different from its neighbors as barbecued dead cow is to crawfish etoufee. Oh wait, Texas and Mississippi? I need to leave politics out of the comparison. Nevertheless, Louisiana is mine and like the mother of the bad boy, I can beat him within an inch of his life but if you look cross-eyed at him, I’ll whack you with a two by four.
As I listened to the news reports about the recent oil platform explosion and the interviews with “experts” who predicted that there would not be an environmental disaster, I felt like I was watching the Watergate hearings, tobacco executives testify, Exxon executives explaining the Valdez, Joseph Hazelwood or G. W. Bush proclaim, “Mission Accomplished“. Now we learn one week into the disaster that the spill is five times greater than what we were earlier told. “They knew” resonates like a steel bearing inside an 55 gallon oil drum. For those who scream at anti-government rallies that we don’t need government regulation or punishment for those who perpetrate these disasters, I suggest NoDoz. Take the whole box, keep it handy for later when watching Fox News or CNN News. Hello?? Our government is upside down. FYI: Democratic government was invented and established to protect the weak from the strong. Exxon, BP, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citibank, Bank of America and other large corporations don’t need protection from us. Do you have lawyers on staff who could appeal your case to the Supreme Court of the US? Own a senator or two? Come to the party, sip green tea.
When the Valdez disaster happened in 1989 we were told it wasn’t going to be an environmental disaster and later, when it was, it would be cleaned up. Guess what? It still hasn’t been cleaned up. “Almost 20 years after the spill, a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina found that the effects are lasting far longer than expected. The team estimates some shoreline Arctic habitats may take up to 30 years to recover. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are approximately 98 m³ (26,000 gallons) of Valdez crude oil still in Alaska’s sand and soil.“ Wiki
Some of the uncollected heavy crude oil sunk to the bottom of the formerly pristine Prince William sound. Therefore no one notices except the animals and plants that bottom feed. No one cares about bottom feeders anyway so it isn’t a problem. They weren’t interviewed on FOX or CNN. Frequently some crude washes ashore but it’s not news because it happens all the time. As for punishment, an Anchorage jury found Exxon guilty of negligence (Baker vs Exxon). They awarded 287 million for damages and 5 billion in punitive damages to the plaintiffs. Exxon appealed several times eventually to the US Supreme Court and in the end SCOTUS reduced the fine by 99% to 507 million dollars. About 1.33 % of its profit in a good year. Punishment. Fifty lashes with a wet noodles is rarely lethal. A boycott might be effective if there were more NoDoz available. Exxon Mobil only made about 38 billion dollars profit in 2009, down from their record high 45.2 billion in 2008.
On June 13, or about 53 days from the platform explosion date, more crude oil will be in the Gulf of Mexico than what was released by the Valdez disaster.
If oil sinks to the bottom of a sound without a sound, it didn’t happen.