Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Louisiana, oil spill is your fault too

posted by Rod Dreher

So says columnist James Gill in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, citing the way the state has been governed for years not with the public’s interest in mind, but with the interests of the oil companies. Excerpt:

We have so much to be sick about that it would be a shame to invite ridicule by harping on the country’s indifference to the loss of wetlands that sustain our fisheries and protect us from hurricanes. Louisiana was hardly a helpless victim as the oil and gas companies sliced up and contaminated the landscape to keep an ungrateful nation moving. We took the money and turned a blind eye.
Certainly, Louisiana deserves compensation after suffering so much environmental damage for the national benefit. But shaking loose enough federal money to repair the damage has always been a hard slog; distant taxpayers have trouble accepting that justice and the national economic interest require major investment in Louisiana’s coastal zone.
They might have less trouble accepting the littoral truth if Louisiana had shown a greater attachment to the wetlands it wants the rest of the country to help preserve. It is laughable to wring our hands because nobody cares about the wetlands when we have been complicit in their destruction from the beginning.
Perhaps people will start paying attention now that the wetlands are threatened by a disaster for which the state bears no responsibility; the offending BP well is 50 miles offshore. But let us hope nobody notices that, right up to the minute the BP well blew, Louisiana regulators were continuing to connive at, if not actually encourage, the spoliation of the marshes.

The New Orleans friend who passed that column along to me says, “This is the truth from down here, the way that I see it.” She added that her husband is so depressed over what’s happening that he’s taken to wearing mourning black.



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Scott Lahti

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm


In a time in which, appealing to the invisible and now-oily hand, the malefactors of great wealth are able, in one sphere after another, to ensure the privatization of profit, political class included, via the socialization of risk, or trickle-up economics with a vengeance, here literal in ecological image even more than in metaphor, it is fitting that they should channel, or gulf, Aunt Esther in assigning us the role of fall guy, or, spill guy – “My sucka is you, Sucka.”



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Romulus

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm


The image of the pelican tearing out her flesh to feed her young is poignantly apt. Another hurricane season is upon us. God help us.



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Jim

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm


People, this was just a freak accident that happened. Its no one companies fault. When the rig exploded and sank, it broke and bent the pipes which caused the spill. I do feel sorry for the people who make a living at sea and the poor defenseless animals that will die due to this accident.



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Peter

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm


She added that her husband is so depressed over what’s happening that he’s taken to wearing mourning black.
My stars.



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Katy

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm


“But let us hope nobody notices that, right up to the minute the BP well blew, Louisiana regulators were continuing to connive at, if not actually encourage, the spoliation of the marshes.”
Oh, sure…we can definitely trust the government to do the right thing. Sheesh.



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John E - Agn Stoic

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm


Jim:
A senior House Democrat said that the blowout preventer that failed to stop an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico had a dead battery in its control pod, leaks in its hydraulic system, a “useless” test version of one of the devices that was supposed to close the flow of oil and a cutting tool that wasn’t strong enough to shear through joints that made up 10 percent of the drill pipe.
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/52795



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Your Name

posted June 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm


“Its no one companies fault. ”
I call MAJOR B.S.!
It is the fault of every company that didn’t want to submit to regulations. AND, it is the fault of every politician who let them.



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YrName

posted June 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm


By recollection, Huey Long was running against the oil companies that owned Louisiana in the 1920s. This has been going on for a long, long time.



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Mr Bob

posted June 2, 2010 at 4:10 pm


Jim thanks for the reminder. This is a freak accident (abeit HUGE). This day and age of America (and Western Europe) however there are no accidents…someone is always at fault and will be blamed. And the current administration will always blame the private company…they are always evil and the motives of the goverment are always holy. I can imagine the blamestorm meeting on capital hill was quite heated.
It is very telling that right now instead of telling us how they will not rest until it’s cleaned up, the administration is telling us how “justice will be served”.
Instead of sending an army of cleanup crews, they send lawyers. They are more worried about saving his presidency from harm than they are for the wildlife gasping for O2.



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hlvanburen

posted June 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm


“Jim thanks for the reminder. This is a freak accident (abeit HUGE).”
The jury is still out on that, and may be out for a while. Until the equipment can be recovered and examined, and until records are reviewed, we really do not know whether this was an accident (an unavoidable failure) or a failure of due diligence (shoddy repairs, lax inspections, etc.). We are only beginning to review the record, and it will take months to do a thorough examination.



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Romulus

posted June 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm


People, this was just a freak accident that happened.
Jim, 60 years of coastal marsh destruction are not a freak accident.



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DS

posted June 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm


A key factual point in the editorial: “The result is a coastal region criss-crossed with canals that provide a conduit for salt water to accelerate the land loss. . . . oil companies never could remember their promises to backfill when they were done raping the landscape.”
A geological study about 3 years ago found that the artificial river levees — oft-blamed for the declining wetlands — are a culprit, but the levees’ prevention of annual mild flooding would have taken 1000 years to bring the wetlands to their current state. (Remember, the River had broad natural banks up to 10 feet high that prevented flooding for all but a few weeks each spring.)
According to the geologists, it was the oilfield and navigation canals that accelerated the 1000 years to 100. Instead of saltwater having to wander up lazy shallow bayous to reach cypress and oak swamps, the canals gave the saltwater a straight shot into the brackish and freshwater areas. So the trees of my youth (in the 1970’s) turned to skeletons, then to stumps, and now to open salt water. Hurricane-feeding, storm-surge facilitating salt water.
The geologists said we have 10 years to reverse the trend or it may be unstoppable. That was three years ago. This very day, the state is still begging for federal permission to fill in canals, restore beaches, etc.



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Jon

posted June 2, 2010 at 6:22 pm


Re: This very day, the state is still begging for federal permission to fill in canals, restore beaches, etc.
Can’t they just seize the land under Eminent Domain? How much would that cost? Is that the issue, no money so they need the federal government to step in and write the checks?



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DS

posted June 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm


Jon — No eminent domain seizures needed: the state already owns almost 100% of the beachfronts, plus the state territorial waters and water-bottoms — almost everything along the SE La. coast.
The state needs Corps of Engineers approval before tinkering with anything involving dredging for land reclamation, though I’m not sure of the legal basis for that requirement. The Corps’s process for analyzing such proposals takes something like 10 years, and the Corps has a strong institutional bias against river diversions, land reclamations, etc. — they’ve just shut down a successful marsh-building diversion near the mouth of the river based on very sketchy claims that the diversion is affecting shipping.
The state’s got limited approval to build some test berms, but has only 20% funding, and the Corps also has control of most of the dredges. In theory, BP should have to pay for the berms just as they have to pay for the booms.



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Jon

posted June 3, 2010 at 6:25 am


This is one occasion where a GOP governor ought invoke States Rights. I’m sure he’d have most of the nation supporting him.



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DS

posted June 3, 2010 at 8:50 am


According to today’s paper, the feds will force BP to pay for the 6 sand berms that have been approved, covering about 10 miles of coastline. Better late than never, especially with more oil coming in daily. I believe 24 such berms have been proposed.
Maybe some good can come of this.



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DepressedOverSpill

posted June 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm


This whole thing is just aweful. I live in Canada so it doesn’t impact me directly, but as an environmentalist, it’s crushing. This oil spill, on top of the already present human neglect towards the wetlands, leaves little room for nature to revive itself. Talk about a disregard toward wetlands..here in Canada, they build suburbian homes over everything we have. The government does nothing to stop it. In fact, they encourage it because of the amount of revenue it generates.



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Scott Lahti

posted June 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm


Louisiana, oil spill is your fault too
? Lou-i-si-anaheimerschmidt – oil spill is your fault, too ?
Captcha: intolerable covering (the oil spill – or my singing?)



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Scott Lahti

posted June 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm


? Lou-i-si-anaheimerschmidt
Did I mean: ? Lou-i-si-anaheimerslick



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