Don’t offshore oil rigs have a main shut off valve? Yes? So why is it that 5,000 barrels, that is, 200,000 gallons of oil are gushing into the Gulf of Mexico every day? The Deepwater Horizon oil rig, 42 miles southeast of Louisiana’s port Venice, exploded on April 20, 2010. Oil rigs do use a device called the blowout preventer (BOP), a system of hydraulic valves and pumps that caps a well before it starts gushing. “There are electrical systems driving the hydraulic pumps, with air system backups. There are battery backups for power,” David O’Donnell, an oilfield equipment consultant said. “Somehow they lost it all, or didn’t have enough time to activate.” Brazil and Norway use BOPs that can be activated by a unique sound wave when the electrical signal fails. The cost of these acoustic trigger is half a million dollars and it seems that US drilling companies have enough misplaced faith in their back up systems that they do not invest in this last resort. Well, that’ll learn ya.
Who is affected by this accident? Definitely BP. They will be spending billions of dollars, first to stem the gush, and then to clean the gush and for starting the gush in the first place. The oil, once it reaches the land, will be impossible to get rid of and yes, Rush Limbaugh, the environmentalist “wackos” are right this time, aren’t they? The oil will kill thousands of living things. Oystermen, shrimpers, and fishermen in Louisiana are planning to sue BP, as the oil spill spells the ruin of a lucrative fishing industry in that area. The ground will absorb the toxins which will just lie there for years and years, probably get into our drinking water and definitely affect our crops.
This is the season for marine animals to breed. Instead, they are soaking up the thick, sticky, crude oil. The spill is spreading towards the Florida coast affecting 400 different species of animals, marshland, and of course, the ocean. Maybe now is the time to really focus on corn ethanol as the alternative fuel.
For the 10 animals most in danger due to the oil spill, check out this link