I’m as outraged as anyone at the incompetence that led to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the gulf: both the slipshod regulation by the government and the incompetence and criminality of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton. I wouldn’t mind one bit if all three companies were broken by cleanup costs, restitution to injured parties, and civil and criminal penalties. But I’m a bit sad to see all the blame being laid at their doorstep.

The fact is, spills like this are an entirely predictable result of consuming 85 million barrels of oil per day. If you consume that much, you have to produce that much. And if you produce that much, you will have accidents. Some of the accidents will kill people. Some will contaminate huge swaths of the ocean.

Sure, BP et al deserve much of the blame. But there’s plenty of blame to go around. A good share of it belongs to every one of us who drives a car, heats their home, or buys anything made out of plastic.

What did you think was going to happen?

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3 thoughts on “Responsibility for oil spills

  1. Good point – with x amount of drilling activity, especially underwater (!?!), one has to factor in a certain amount of problems and accidents. We are all responsible, although I do think BP/Halliburton are still more immediately responsible – it’s the global demand for oil that supports the risktaking of underwater drilling. We are truly scraping the bottom of the earth’s barrel – that’s why we’re on the ocean floor and deep in tar sands, trying to get what we can.

  2. Seeing what this oil is doing to our shores and wildlife is just terrible. The longer this goes on, the less the country will care – just like Katrina. I feel so bad for the people whose entire worlds are turned upside down.

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