"A second container to capture oil was being built in Louisiana. The first container was within 200 feet of the seafloor on Friday." Image and caption credit: New York Times
A majority of US citizens favor offshore drilling: something strategists of both political parties have observed and are taking advantage of. Congress is boxed in by this.
By Monday, British Petroleum could potentially have control over most of the oil spewing from their offshore well, which could take us into the most benign oil spill scenario envisioned by The Big Picture Blog. (Though I'll gladly stand corrected if the box flips over and busts some more pipe.) If successful with the boxes (as pictured), BP would attain Not-Three Mile Island status for all forms of offshore drilling, after which, Sara Palin regains her Tweet traction; engineers and cleanup workers celebrate; and, the Coast Guard, EPA and Interior Dept take their short bows for public service. How will Congress respond in either case: box crash or success?If BP saves the day for offshore drilling with their giant box lowering, they will have removed a reason that a key Republican Senator is refusing to support prospective climate and energy legislation. Campaign contributions will role out as hoped, putting the climate and energy bill back on the docket...though facing an uncertain prospect as Congress is 'boxed in' by public opinion on that as well.
Prisoners Dilemma on the Ocean Deep
Shell Oil, another European oil firm wanting to drill offshore in dangerously deep US waters off Alaska, is currently being "profiled" by those who would pull all drilling plans into a carte blanch moratorium.
Will Shell claim that their safety management systems are superior to those of British Petroleum, thereby providing an easy first-out from the prisoner's dilemma? If so, Shell would be free to go regardless of how well the BP box works.
Will too many Senators of both parties keep the public interest behind bars, refusing to collaborate with a long term policy solution, regardless of how well BP's box works. Nothing in recent history suggests otherwise.
The medium is still the message.
There must be videos of dead sea mammals and of beach hoteliers complaining of the smell of rotting fish. Without such captivating pictures of catastrophe, folks will hop back into their SUVs, forgetting any guilty thoughts that the spill had created.
Absent highly visible destruction, Congress will offer a get-out-of-jail free card to any firm with sharp enough bit, regardless of whether they be European or American. And the climate can remain prisoner of human greed.
Sorry to have been so cynical on a lovely Spring evening. Perhaps someone more insightful than I can point out the flaw of this logic.