Rod Dreher

From a connected friend in New Orleans:

1. Over a week ago a petroleum-engineer-friend told me that “top kill” was doomed to failure because the engineering didn’t even work on paper – no way to deliver enough pressure through the system, as designed, to overcome the outflow-pressure at that depth. He thinks BP is only doing all of this to look busy until the relief wells are drilled.
2. Despite BP’s PR guys repeatedly stating they’re not going to claim the benefit of the $75 million limit under the Oil Pollution Act, BP refuses to stipulate to that in court.
3. Word in the industry is that the new federal proposal for deepwater drilling will be to always drill two wells in a reservoir, so a relief well is always at hand. This will nearly double production costs in the US.
4. Locals are baffled as to how building artificial sandbars (aka rebuilding the ones that have eroded over my lifetime), to protect the marshes from oil, is iffy due to environmental impact, but the toxic dispersant can be discharged by the tanker-full.
5. On dispersant, a health care provider says the guys brought in sick from offshore were clearly suffering from chemical exposure and recovered very quickly once diagnosed and treated accordingly. Can’t say the chemical in question was the dispersant, but says BP’s “food poisoning” explanation is absolute horse-hockey.
6. We’re all pissed about last week’s photo-op of Obama on the pristine beach, for which BP brought in 300 guys in white jumpsuits, which no workers had been seen wearing before that day, nor had that many workers ever been seen. BP’s PR department is perpetually a step ahead of the gov’t.
7. Full-page BP ads in the Times-Pic everyday saying they’re going to make it right.

Meanwhile, New Orleans chef John Besh, whose magnificent talents I have experienced first hand, writes about the food culture that BP is killing — but he’s got a complicated view of the oil rigs. Excerpt:

It never occurred to me to hate the oil company or to hate offshore drilling. The rigs have been out there in the gulf my entire life. They’ve become reef systems for every type of aquatic life you can imagine. Part of fishing as a child meant heading out to the rigs. The inland rigs meant redfish and trout, and that meant court bouillon and almondine. A little farther out it was lemon fish, grouper, and amberjack, fish for the grill. Yet farther out and it was tuna, bull dolphin, wahoo, and other powerful fish it took considerable means to fish for, both in money and equipment. We had neither, so those trips depended upon an invite.
The rigs also meant salvation when the boat motor went out or when a massive thunderstorm would blow in and trap you offshore. Never did I question drilling or oil in general, in part because it was the livelihood of most of the men in the neighborhood, who worked offshore as divers, helicopter pilots, and various mid-level management types.

What do you do when the “them” is “us”?

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