I pointed out to a fellow blogger today that both Democrats and Republicans are feeding at the Big Oil Trough, and he lambasted me because "Republicans do it way more".
To which I answered, "That either Party does it at all is the issue, not who does it more."
Deepwater Horizon (Who thought up that fucking ridiculous name?) is one illustration of The U.S. Minerals Management Service and the Congressional Energy and Commerce Oversight Committee’s deep disdain for actual safety over cost. Take, for example, the fact that within the Blow-out Preventer of the oil well there is only one Fail-safe valve, which, apparently, wasn’t all that fail-safe. One valve.
Contrast that with this, which is the UL specification for the gas train on any gas-fired burner built in the United States of America:
H. Gas Train:
1. U.L. and FM-listed gas train completely factory assembled
2. Main and pilot gas shut-off valves
3. Main gas pressure regulator
4. Main gas valve
5. Auxiliary gas valve
6. Dual safety gas valves (IRI only)
7. Low and High gas pressure gas switches above 2500 MBH
Did you catch the "dual safety gas valves"? Those are normally- closed valves…"fail-safe". Apparently, in America, a gas train on a boiler or furnace can cause far more environmental and human damage than a deep sea oil well, because we use redundancy for the gas train on a burner, and no redundancy on an oil rig. I never realized how safe oil wells really were, until I checked into their specs for safety. Goodness, you don’t even really need one fail-safe valve, because these things, according to "industry experts", never fail. Wow. That’s a track record I’d be proud of.
Except for the little leak down in the Gulf of Mexico, Big Oil shouldn’t have any concerns over more forceful government regulation. After all, that’s what all that money they’re giving to Senators, Congresspeople, and Presidents is for. Who needs safety when you can buy ignorance instead?
How much could a second fail-safe valve cost? Even at twelve inches in diameter, I’ve never heard of a fail-safe valve costing more than $100,000, which is a drop in the bucket for an oil rig that probably costs nearly a Billion dollars at completion. So why the lack of redundancy? Why spend billions of dollars bribing American politicians when adding redundancy would cost far less? (Why is BP even allowed to give our elected officials money?) If you want my opinion, I think it has to do with control. Big Oil is telling us "We don’t need two fail-safe valves because we can do what we want. Yeah, adding a second valve wouldn’t cost diddly, but it’s the principle of the thing, so…suck it".
And that’s what our politicians are doing…both Parties; sucking the cocks of big oil for decades, and telling the American people that our Oversight committees and Federal Regulatory agencies were on top of it. Which they clearly weren’t.
Which begs the question; what else haven’t they been on top of for a fistful of campaign dollars? What else aren’t they telling us?