The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is not simply a random accident. Is it a conspiracy? There will be more of these spills to in the future, because the days of easy oil are over.
Anthropologist Bret Gustafson says, “BP and other oil companies have tried to portray this spill as an accident or an aberration, but in fact there are spills on off-shore and on-shore sites around the world, increasingly.” A rig sank off the coast of Venezuela in May. Last October, a rig spilled oil for two months into the Timor Sea off of Australia. There are recurring spills in virtually every oil region, such as the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon and Nigeria.
“These environmental and public health catastrophes are almost always accompanied by corruption and violence tied to oil activities,” Gustafson says. “In the United States, which is more of a consumer than producer of oil, we are generally ignorant about this reality of oil until something like this comes home to roost.
“Oil has always been destructive, but it is worsening because the days of easy oil are over. In combination with weak regulation and intensifying competition, which explains why companies are willing to cut so many corners, oil is in more difficult places, both environmentally, politically and socially. The point is that it is only going to get worse, and that the message by some commentators and the oil companies that we should just get on with business as usual is, quite frankly, almost criminal. Right now, the American people are subsidizing Big Oil, not benefitting from it.”
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