(NaturalNews) Oil is a dirty business. It's not just the politics of oil, which are dirty enough by themselves -- it's also the environmental toll of the substance. Even when used correctly, its chemical byproducts cause air pollution and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But the real mess comes when things go terribly wrong -- much like what happened recently when the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank to the ocean floor off the coast of Louisiana. This set in motion a chain of disastrous events that are only now beginning to unfold.
Nearly 50% of the seafood consumed by Americans comes from the Gulf of Mexico, by the way. That explains why seafood contains such an alarmingly high concentration of mercury as well as industrial chemicals -- because the Gulf of Mexico is America's toilet where every toxic chemical, heavy metal and pharmaceutical that's flushed down the drain ends up getting dumped. No wonder the Gulf of Mexico is home to one of the planet's largest ocean "dead zones" -- over 6,000 square miles of dead water where fish can't even survive (http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/...).
And that was before the oil spill. Now, thanks to a creeping oil slick that's approaching shorelines throughout the gulf, the breeding grounds for a huge number of marine species is now threatened. Species from pelicans to shrimp are likely to be devastated by this oil slick.
It's already being called a "mega-disaster" by environmentalists. "The magnitude and the potential for ecological damage is probably more great than anything we've ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico," said Nancy Rabalais in a Washington Post interview (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content...). She heads the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in Cocodrie, La. "Once it hits the shoreline, it'll get into everything."
"Ninety-seven percent of commercial fish and shellfish in the Gulf depend on estuaries and wetlands during their life cycle," said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Those wetlands are about to be covered with a thick brown slime that will make reproduction of seafood species virtually impossible.
Oil continues to spill out of the sunken rig wreck at the rate of 5,000 barrels a day. So far, there's little hope of stopping it. Observers are already characterizing this spill as "worse than the Exxon Valdez spill" in 1989.
Everything you've read here so far is being widely reported in the mainstream media. The story that follows, however, is much more difficult to find.
The Halliburton link and Washington hypocrisy
It was only a few weeks ago that Obama proudly announced he would expand offshore drilling, breaking one of his many now-worthless campaign promises. The lack of outcry from Democrats over this announcement was nothing short of bizarre: If Bush had announced an expansion of offshore drilling, he would have been widely (and rightly) condemned for it by the left. But when Obama announces the same thing, it's apparently okay with Democrats.
Back on the Republican side of things, the company Halliburton -- yes, the same one that rakes in billions of dollars in profits rebuilding things in the Middle East after the U.S. military blows them up -- is the company that completed the "rig cementing" just 20 hours before the rig exploded. A federal study, meanwhile, shows that most rig blowouts are caused by problems with rig cementing. So now it appears that Halliburton may be implicated in this environmental disaster. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=...)
The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that a lawsuit filed by a rig technician who was injured in the explosion claims Halliburton made crucial mistakes in cementing the well, "increasing the pressure at the well and contributing to the fire, explosion and resulting oil spill." (http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_14996372?...)
Halliburton, which was once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, now finds itself in the spotlight as Congressional investigators are beginning to ask questions. But don't expect this to go very far: It's all just theater to appease the public until memory of this event fades and the old corrupt Washington / Big Business machine can get rolling again.
Since when has concern for the environment ever got in the way of powerful corporate interests that have political pull in Washington? Rest assured that no matter what the immediate fallout from this disastrous oil-era accident, the Halliburtons of the world continue to rake in billions of dollars in annual profits even as their mistakes extract an incalculable loss of life across our natural world.
Halliburton has shareholders to please, after all... no matter how many pelicans, sea turtles or dolphins have to die in the process.
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