Saturday, August 6, 2011
Now I remember what it was I was going to post
In the haste of posting as I said one post has a wonderful start and then land up in a totally different direction. Maybe that's the result of our fragmented media with three second sound bites and twenty minute TV shows. Now where was I?
Oh yes the environmental problems I was going to discuss yesterday but for lack of time and acute ADD I was focusing on three things at once. I can do that no better than the next guy but at least I'm aware of the problem.
Seems the folks over there in Nigeria will be soon saddled with a big clean up bill for all the oil they have been sucking out of the ground. Is this some revenge for that notorious Nigerian scam? Maybe not but the situation is rather interesting from a moral standpoint. The country has allowed big oil (Shell oil in this case) to act as their contractor in developing their oil resources. The country is now polluted with this windfall but the locals don't seem to be sharing in the profits. They are surely sharing in the environmental damage though. But there is enough blame to go around more so with the oil companies and less than honest government. We've seen this before. Oil is discovered and the big boys circle like vultures. Bribes are paid. Environmental laws mysteriously get changed or are ignored. Or by the sheer ignorance the proper processes are not followed. Who among us after all knows exactly how an oil refinery really works? Have you seen all those pipes and gauges?
But this is a post about morality and doing the right thing. Crime I see has a unique scale. On one end there are people so desperate that they'll do anything to survive. On the other end are people so rich and greedy that they'll do anything to have more or even all. The scary thought is when the two are focused on the same bounty. So in Nigeria we have the perfect storm of government raking in the profits through bribes and loose laws while the locals are wanting a piece of the pie by tapping into the nearest pipeline. End result? Nobody is following even the remotest sense of care in the process and the land and the water gets polluted. And as usual everybody blames everybody else. Sadly those landing up paying are the people who had nothing to do with the process.
Nigerian oil nightmare
What we fail to see is the scope of this environmental disaster because after all it happened over there and not over here. You think Deepwater Horizon spill was bad? Here's a bit of info that never got reported:
In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta’s network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig last month.
(This is in reference to the pipelines of the Niger delta)
Now an oil spill of this magnitude would be bad enough except that this is happening in Indonesia and South America and the Middle East yet with the suppression of facts and the corruption it will continue until more light is shed on the problem.
As for the oil companies if they spent half as much on prevention and clean up response as they do on avoiding law suits then they wouldn't have as many problems in the first place.