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Oil Spill: A Question of Priorities

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Business & Finance
A very angry Obama

Image by boutmuet via Flickr

Another day, another screaming headline in the ongoing saga of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.  We're being bombarded by new stories every day, and it sometimes feels like we're focusing on the wrong things.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria took the unusual step of blasting the press for their obsession with Obama's emotional response to the spill, an obsession which forced the president to utter the now-famous "ass to kick" phrase.  As Zakaria points out:

"What exactly is the point of all this? What purpose would be served by having the president scream or cry or whatever it is he's supposed to do to show emotion? Would it plug the hole?"

If we're not obsessing about Obama's anger, we're pondering the true volume of oil that is being leaked per day.  Today the Coast Guard announced that new sensors are being deployed to give more accurate readings of how much oil is flowing.  This comes after weeks of wildly varying numbers from different news outlets - numbers which mean little and are hard to comprehend.

So why are we so fixated on irrelevant issues like Obama's emotions or the amount of oil being leaked per day?  Neither of these things will stop the leak.  Who cares if Obama is mad or steaming mad?  Does it really matter if the leak is gushing 50,000 gallons or 500,000 gallons per day?  The most important thing at this time is stopping the leak.  Does anyone know how if we're any closer to implementing the only method that has worked in the past, during the Ixtoc I spill?

With the report of a new - albeit smaller - oil spill in a Utah creek, it's becoming painfully obvious that once these oil leaks are stopped, we need to change our priorities and start focusing on ways to reduce our dependence on oil so this type of thing can be avoided in the future.

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MrShaw's picture

Well Well Well (Three Holes in the ground)

So the media was vilifying the Media...that's a new one. You are quite right the focus should be on solving the problem. It will never change though, because asking opinions of the general public on solutions does not sell.
I would hope that ensuring future disasters such as this would be avoided. Not going to happen though. The oil companies will continue to drill and the media and the general public will lap up the next disaster with the ability to forget this one very easily. Shame though.

Winston Smith's picture

A bit of an alarmist view,

A bit of an alarmist view, but this posting here cites some folks who fear that the sea floor may be compromised, and we may be looking at a geological failure where oil leaks from EVERYWHERE on the sea floor:

MrShaw's picture

Running cars on chip fat

Did anyone see the episode of 5th gear where the presenter drove a Diesel car (Either a Merc or a BMWY for 100 miles on fat from A Fish and Chip shop fryer? Its totally possible to run Diesels on everyday, land grown oil...more on this later.

The_elusive_STEALTH's picture

scoop of chips

I recall someone telling me Diesels were made to run on Peanut oil. Dunno how true it is.

MrShaw's picture

Peanut Oil....looking into this right now....

more to come today hopefully :)

Dave's picture


It's called biodiesel, and it's been a viable alternative for quite some time. Most diesel engines don't need any modification (or very little modification) to use it. Fast food places can recycle their used oil, we just need the infrastructure to support it.

Ethan's picture

biodiesel is not the answer

Biodiesel is definately not the answer unless you want to see more palm oil plantations and no wilderness left in countries like Indonesia. Its also partially responsible for driving up food prices worldwide

MrShaw's picture

Natural Gas

There are a few different alternatives, and it seems that Natural Gas is the most likely way to go, as it would be the easist source to to distributed, and therefore taxed. You are right about the Biodiesel argument, and the problem with the Electric Motor is that the energy would have to be produced in the first place, probably by building more Nuclear Power Plants.