Thursday, May 27, 2010

Unforeseen Consequences

The thirty eighth day of  our continued unnatural disaster. We're the victims, but BP has sentenced us to death by slow, lethal injection. Black gold. Texas tea.

Surprisingly, the audience is still watching. Hasn't changed the channel to American Gladiators or the latest installment of New Moon, yet. The media clowns and new hounds still circle. Parading along our beaches with their vans and satellite dishes. Looking for mucked-up corpses and angry locals pointing fingers.

BP is trying the "top kill" option, now. Use a big straw and slam fifty thousand barrels of "mud," into the existing shaft. If they can push the crude back down, they'll clog the works with rubber tires and boomerangs and unsold copies of American Idol's Greatest Hits. 60% chance of success. That's in perfect conditions, I'm betting. Nobody's done it 5000 feet down.

A couple of "What If" situations. Some unforeseen consequences of failing in these Sisyphusian efforts.:
  • Hurricane season starts in four days. What happens if a CAT3 - CAT5 strolls through, picks up several million gallons of goo and deposits them on top of everything within half a mile of the coastline? How many folks will have to be evacuated due to that toxic hazzard? And for how long? Cleaning oil off of a beach is one thing. Cleaning it out of backyards and out of flood-savaged remains of semi-demolished buildings is something else entirely. Nearly five years after Katrina, we're still rebuilding. Try that after a Category Five Toxic Avenger does the two-step on your vacation community and see how long it takes the tourists (ie: income) to return.
  • Speaking of tourists. The five affected Gulf states have a combined $2.2T economy. What happens if 10% of that is shuttered? A $200,000,000 loss at this stage in the Great Recession isn't going to help anyone. BP isn't going to give up a single penny more than it has to. And our government can't possibly print up more money to cover that gaping wound.

    Extend that damage to Georgia? The Carolinas? How about if our spill affects Cuba?
  • Has anyone considered what this will do to already-suffering home owners along the coastline? The value on their homes isn't bad enough? If they're "under water" now, they'll be subterranean by the time the last seagull is degreased.Can anyone see that affecting the currently-terminal housing market? The lending industry?
  • And what about the MS river? Has anyone considered the notion that a blob of crude will float over to the mouth of it and put the entire shipping fleet at risk? We can't have ships covered in oil motoring back UP the MS, sloughing off toxic love every couple of miles.
Almost forty days later. Shouldn't we start talking about these unforeseen consequences? 

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