May 21, 2010

Guest post: Oil Spill A Result of Government Regulations

[Front matter: this is an Onion-style piece from my Dad.]

Major oil companies Exxon/Mobil and Shell Oil today joined with British Petroleum in blaming Department of Interior regulations for causing the explosion and sinking of a deep water oil drilling platform that is still in the process of causing the largest human caused environmental disaster in history. The offending regulations, crafted by then-vice president Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force with assistance of a host energy industry representatives, were written on the back of used pizza box that appears to have gone missing for the last four years. “They probably said something about not taking all the pressure off before you plug the well, “said BP spokesperson Warren Miphalt. “How were we to know? Somebody should have said something.” Interior Secretary Mudge Salazar promised to have the oil industry come up with a new set of regulations for itself by mid-June. “So this never happens in quite the same way again,” he emphasized. Interior Department Deputy Don Telme, the only person responsible for enforcement of off-shore drilling regulations along 5,300 miles of US coastline, was unavailable for comment, having last been seen at the March 2010 meeting of the Petroleum Producers Association in the company of feather-boa clad oil-lobbyist Gina Lalapaloza and a magnum of Cold Duck.

Meanwhile, the leak has slowed somewhat as the latest in a series of bizarre engineering fixes seems to be working. “Obviously, we’re clueless,” said Miphalt, “We sure never thought this would happen.” The leak should be less obvious soon, he promised, as the toxic crude is now being treated with toxic dispersants that will cause the heavier fractions of petroleum to sink to the mile-deep sea floor where it’s really dark. “That should take care of it for the next thousand years,” he said. BP, the nation’s biggest oil producer, has always been defined by its senseless motto, “An energy company going beyond,” Miphalt said, but more importantly, produced profits of 6 billion dollars last quarter, selling America’s resources back to Americans. “We didn’t do that getting all misted-eyed over every crawdad on the Delta,” he said. Repair and clean up efforts have already cost the corporation six days of profits and could go higher.

Reaction of coastal residents has ranged from anger to resignation. While polls show that more than half of American citizens know that Lousiana has a coastline, many of these believe everything on it already ruined by pipeline dredging, hurricanes, the 500 square mile “dead zone” in the Gulf resulting from agricultural runoff, bad moonshine, jambalya or effluent from the Tabasco Sauce plant. The state was declared a Superfund site in 2005 and now smells like benzene and coal tar where it doesn’t reek of fetid swamp. Efforts are being made to coat the capital, Baton Rouge, with a protective layer of bentonite mud. Still, thriving communities of fishermen along the surviving coastline have counted on the bounty of the sea for generations. That way of life now seems in jeopardy. “My cousin’s got a souvenir ‘tarball from the biggest spill in history’ thing on Ebay that doing pretty good, “said one-time shrimper Ben Overabarel, “can’t eat that though. I told the BP guy these shrimp didn’t taste regular and he said those was the Premium ones. Got me a free tank a gas though.”

Suspicion remains that the explosion and fire might have been the result of sabotage by liberal extremists in an attempt to discredit the oil industry in a region that supplies a third of the nation’s domestic production. Representative James Inhofe (R- OK) stated that the oil spill was the “second biggest hoax ever perpetrated on he American people,” and that a clear connection had not been made linking the sunken deep-water drilling platform and the oil slick that happens to be in the same area. “Oil spill skeptics are being shouted down by alarmists and extremists,” he said, “and conflicting data is being suppressed.” He pointed out that remote images of the leaking pipe were being provided by “scientists” who tend to be oil slick “believers.” “It’s like a religion with those people,” he said. “I just want to see decisions made on a factual basis. If you think about it, why would Jesus want to lube up the entire gulf coast and parts of the eastern seaboard anyway? Does that make sense? The oil spill hysteria is part of a broad conspiracy to make everyone learn trigonometry.”

At a Tea Party rally in Boston ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin reminded an enthusiastic crowd of supporters that the Founding Fathers had not included a bunch of complicated regulations governing offshore drilling in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence or any of the other important stuff they might have written. “They used as their guide the Ten Commandments, which is all the laws we need,” she said, consistent with her own unique version of American History. She noted that these seminal documents were also mute on the issues of derivatives trading, health care and energy policy and that the time was now, she asserted to the cheering throng, to “take our government back. Back to the 1700s.” Dressed like a colonial Minuteman, tax protester Bhopal Revere, an early and outspoken advocate of two unfunded wars and a record breaking tax cut for upper-upper income brackets, told the assemblage that he would rather not pay for them after all, since they didn’t seem to do any good. The bank bailout was thing that really “frosts my codpiece,” Revere explained. “Better to let the whole rotten system collapse and keep your doubloons sewn into the lining of your waistcoat like I do. We could have gone back to potting away at revenue agents from behind a tree with this here second-amendment-covered squirrel gun.”

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