Toxic sludges, oil drillings... tell-tale sign of insanity

Thursday, October 14, 2010

By Yvonne Tran

There has been a massive toxic spill. State of emergency has been declared. Numerous people have either died or suffered numerous injuries from the contamination.

Have you heard yet?

This time it's not within the walls of this country but a European country, Hungary.  The toxic sludge is made up of arsenic, chrome, mercury, and high levels of alkaline from  iron oxide and aluminium oxide. These chemical can cause burns, cancer if inhaled, and other painful ailments. This accident resulted from a busted dam which was "unusually full" and looked already weakened in June. MAL, the company overseeing the plant, has been accused of overloading the reservoir of toxic residue.

This happened last week and today I read that Obama's administration is lifting the deep-water oil drilling freeze based on relentless lobbying from the oil industry. Great. The Administration assures us that oil companies now have to meet a "whole new set of safety regulations" to even apply to drill again. I'm sure they do. I did a little quick google research on how many oil spills there have been (since they started recording that) and how many were in the U.S. Out of 114 spills recorded (according to wiki), 49 of them were in the US. That's 43% of oil spills in the last 100 years. That's a lot of oil.

I just keep thinking, when will we learn? And when will we act? They keep telling us that it's not as bad as it seems, or the toxic sludge isn't.... toxic, or they will do everything in their power to fix the gas pipelines, and it will never happen again. I'm starting to feel like they are spitting oil and toxins in my face and handing me an even dirtier towel to clean off.... only to have it happen again.... and again.

The tell-tale sign of insanity is doing something over and over and over, each time expecting a different result.

What result does our government expect when, with each environmental catastrophe, it just eats up the compensation money and accepts apologies without instituting true regulation and oversight needed for real changes in the industries?

On the other hand, companies like BP, Chevron, Shell, MAL, PG&E, and countless energy corporations need to follow sustainable and safe measures to prevent catastrophes like the Gulf Spill or the blowout in San Bruno or the toxic wipe out of six counties in Hungary from happening in the first place.

These environmental atrocities have not only affected these corporations' daily share value but devastated the lives and health of the families that worked at these plants and live near them. We need to re-imagine and fully support clean and sustainable energy so that when there is a blowout, whole towns and counties will not be wiped out or their residents doomed to long-term illnesses.

Atrocities like these reveal how corporations treat human deaths and environmental devastation as collateral damage for an endless pursuit of profit.

Even in a well, you will hit a bottom.

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