Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back in Black

The Gulf of Mexico is once again back in black. Oil drilling is resuming in the Gulf, as eleven new deepwater and forty nine shallow water drilling permits have recently been issued.

Gulf oil workers are relieved – no surprise there. Most had retained their jobs, being assigned to maintenance work rather than drilling, but that was a tenuous stop-gap measure at best. Knowing that the government had stopped granting permits to drill new oil and gas wells pending regulatory revisions and reformation had these workers quite nervous.

Reform efforts are underway. Shallow water drilling was the first to be resumed, and now that the government believes that adequate protections are in place to handle another incident such as BP’s explosion of last summer, deepwater drilling is being allowed as well. These protections come in the form of an inverted funnel system such as that finally used by BP last summer. This system has now been made readily available.

Obviously the hope is that another such explosion does not even happen. If it does, I only hope that such a funnel system is adequate to contain the spill quickly and channel the oil that has spilled to the surfact.

Interestingly, oil production from existing wells in the Gulf has reached an all-time high despite the temporary moratorium. And this is just how most Americans would have it – Sixty nine percent of Americans support the expansion of off-shore drilling, despite the nationwide condemnation of BP not so very long ago.

I’d like to see a faster and more concerted move toward alternate sources of fuel. Meanwhile, though…we need our fuel. I’m glad to see the implementation of safety regulations so that we can access it while keeping our oil and gas workers and our planet safe.
-Jack Simony

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