Trouble in the Gulf – Part 4

With oil starting to stain Florida’s beaches expect the Gulf oil spill to garner a burst of new political outrage (Florida is an important election state).

Meanwhile, efforts continue to slow the flow of crude that bleeding from the seabed a mile deep and beyond reach of all but mechanical arms. BP has apparently been somewhat successful with some type of cap but it’s obviously a loose fit. Oil continues to leak. How much – and for how long – is anyone’s guess.

It’s obvious now  that there will be no quick solution and no quick clean up: think years; maybe decades.

I talked with a colleague yesterday afternoon who has family in Louisiana along with numerous sporting contacts along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts. Even over the phone his anger was palatable – and this is a guy who never raises is voice; rarely get mad.

“What about the ducks?” he said at one point, referring to the influx of migrating waterfowl that pour into the marshlands each fall. “You think they’re going to go somewhere else? They’re going to go where they always go. Oil or no oil.”

I mentioned that the president had visited three times and will probably come again.

My friend – not a big supporter of Mr. Obama – is rarely impressed by political attention from either party and wasn’t this time. He was honest, however. “What can he do? What can anybody do?

My friend isn’t alone in his anger, of course. But while anger alone is at best pointless and at worst destructive, anger properly channeled can and often does pave the road to change.

I’m not really a greenie – I drive a truck that barely gets 19 MPG on its best day and am as addicted as anyone to petroleum-based products and services. But I’m trying to become more eco-friendly and am always on the lookout for more reasonable – and affordable – choices.

I’m also not big on irony but wouldn’t it be something if BP’s blunder somehow lead to a massive – or as least a measurable – reduction of oil use? Made us finely seriously consider finding different ways to get from here to there with a stop at the gas pump?

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