A New Dome in the Works

Harrison Barron

As you probably know by now, the oil rig explosion off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico has been spilling more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean every day, is almost the size of the state of Delaware, and can be seen from space.

This is certainly one of the most catastrophic man-made natural disasters in recent memory, and will have some severe consequences.  Namely, the 600 miles of toxic sludge that is making its way ashore and killing most living things in its path.  Not to mention the fact that as the oil beings to hit the shore, the tourism industry on those beaches will take a huge hit, affecting the lives of thousands of people in that area.  After all, who wants to go to oil washed beach — isn’t that what the Jersey shore is for?

“Hotel owners, fishermen and restaurateurs are keeping anxious watch as an oil slick spreads from a wrecked drilling rig site like a giant filthy ink blot.,” according to an Associated Press story. “Forecasters say it could wash ashore within days near delicate wetlands, oyster beds and pristine white beaches.”

This disaster has led me to lose all support I ever had for offshore drilling.  California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, also switched his position on this matter, and is probably only the first of many people who will change their minds in the wake of this disaster.  Oilrig breaks, and subsequent oil spills are unavoidable when drilling offshore, and the environmental consequences are too dire.  I understand the need for the United States to become more energy independent, but it would be more worthwhile to find alternative ways of doing so that are less dangerous to natural habitats.

It seems to be a helpless situation, as the EPA and other environmental agencies have not yet stopped the spill from spreading. BP announced that the smallest leak has been sealed, but that is not expected to slow the rate of the spill from spreading. Engineers are now inventing a sort of dome that will be lowered over the leaking pipe, but they expect it to take anywhere from 1 to 3 months before they can apply the machine, according to an article from CNN. The article also states that the dome is only a quick fix, and not a solution, and that BP hopes to pump the oil up from the dome, but that my take a while.

It is really one of the saddest and most consequential disasters since Hurricane Katrina hit the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 and since the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989.


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