As awful as it sounds, BP's Tony Hayward's statements in The Guardian that they "will fix it. I guarantee it. The only question is we do not know when," is about as good as it's going to get. Rather than expressing a too-casual attitude towards the situation--a conclusion too easy to jump to when presented with an initial refusal to release underwater video--it really just underlines the risks involved in drilling at such depths.Read the original article for more of Hayward's frank statements, but this one also really jumped out at me:
"Apollo 13 [the unsuccessful third mission to the moon in 1970] did not stop the space race. Neither did the Air France plane last year coming out of Brazil [which mysteriously crashed] stop the world airline industry flying people around the world. It's the same for the oil industry." He pointed out the Gulf of Mexico, much of it in deep waters, represented one third of the US's oil and gas production.
A Plane Crash Doesn't Pollute an Entire Body of Water
I have to say that while glib, the comparison to space exploration and to freak air disasters is ultimately empty. Failure in the case of attempting to land on the moon doesn't directly imperil life for thousands of square miles around the disaster site, potentially for decades afterwards. The crash of one airplane, even fully loaded, while tragic, doesn't either.
While it is tempting to lock into the excitement and adventure and undoubted technical skill required to extract oil from a mile under the sea, chasing dwindling reserves wherever they are--if you want a great illustration of this sort of frontier zeal, check out the start of Amanda Little's Power Trip--this is frankly a distraction from the bigger picture of examining our addiction to energy, wherever the source.
While the point of this is about offshore oil drilling and oil usage in general, the depth of it, the next discussion (which really isn't being entertained much, even by the environmental community) is profligate use of energy in the developed world, regardless if it comes from oil, natural gas, nuclear, or renewables: Energy efficiency and demand reduction.
More on the BP Oil Spill:
US Army to Turn Gulf Oil Spill Into Asphalt With Experimental Chemical (Video)
Up Close and Personal With the Birds Threatened by the Gulf Oil Spill (Photos + Video)
Already-Vanishing Oyster Reeds Under Threat from Oil Spill (Video)