Trouble in the Gulf – Part 2

It’s been nearly a month since an off-shore oil rig exploded about 50 miles from Venice, La., killing 11 workers and injuring several others. As if that were not bad enough it then burned for two days before sinking, opening an oil leak that has poured millions of oil into the Gulf.

The ruptured pipe that’s spewing the oil is nearly a mile below the surface.

Working at that depth is difficult, of course. I know nothing about the oil exploration business but drilling at that depth must be difficult, too.  But if oil men have the technology to do the drilling should they not have the technology at the ready to stop the leaks, which are inevitable? Yes.

I’ve watched some of the Congressional hearings featuring executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton, the three corporations floundering in the oily mess. If the whole thing were not such an environmental and financial disaster; had it not turned deadly; were it not soiling the lives and livelihood of thousands, it would be almost comical; watching the bosses trying to shuffle the blame.

President Obama called their display a “ridiculous spectacle.” That it was.

Without doubt, there is and will be plenty of blame to go around. But why can’t industry leaders prepare for and plan for mechanical disasters so when they occur – and they always will – they can act instead of react? Maybe disaster can’t be avoided but surely it can be somewhat contained.

The old adage – often attributed to Benjamin Franklin – that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound or cure” comes to mind.

Or in this case an ounce of prevention would have been worth a millions of gallons cleanup.