Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BP should restore the Gulf to pristine condition

For over 30 years, the annual Rainbow Gathering has constructed a city in pristine wilderness for up to 30,000 to occupy.  The city is constructed using fallen timber lashed together, rocks and mud, all found right at the site.  By the end of the Gathering, new roads, footpaths, pit toilets, and trash are to be found everywhere.  For the next month, a team of dedicated volunteers comb the area and carefully pick up every candy wrapper and cigarette butt until no trash can be found.  Teams of naturalists loosen the soil along all newly trodden areas and painstakingly transplant the same natural flora that can be found in the untouched areas.  By 3 years later, it is impossible to have known that there was a city of 30,000 people on that spot.  The pristine condition of each wilderness area is meticulously restored. 

I would like to see BP, Exxon, and other oil drilling companies held to the same standard as the Rainbow Family of Living Light.  First of all, the government that issues the drilling licenses must keep a bond for each oil well equal to the estimated cost of cleaning up a spill.  In the case of a 5ft pipe tapping into a well the size of the Gulf of Mexico, that bond would be several hundred billion dollars. 

Next, BP will need to not only remove 98% of the oil from the water, coast, sand, and coral reefs, but also restock the Gulf with all the natural species that were there before they started drilling.  That would necessitate a complete study of the flora and fauna of the drilling area before a drilling license can be issued.  In the case of the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, that would mean cleaning all the sand on the floor of the entire Gulf, all the coral reefs, restoring the pH of the water, removing all toxic dispersant chemicals from the water, re-oxygenating the water, and restocking fish and wildlife from manatees to coral to plankton. 

BP has set off a catastrophe that threatens all life on Earth; no amount of money or effort will be able to restore the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea back to pristine condition.  Since this process is virtually impossible, then all offshore drilling should be permanently banned. 

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