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The environmental damage is not transitory. It will get much worse, no matter what happens. The damage will persist for many years.

BP should be nationalized now (the U.S. company) and their U.S. assets put under control so they can’t all be moved out of reach to Swiss or UK banks, if that isn’t the case already. Draft their U.S. employees. Use their expertise and people and money to solve the problem and reimburse those effected. We need BP drafted into a lifelock with the U.S. Who cares if BP survives — they are only a company. We’re talking about saving people and animals and fish and birds, and compensating for losses to the maximum long-term extent, beyond the scope of precedent of anything short of war reparations. Again, where is the spine and decisiveness of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court on this?

I’ve been saying this for weeks. Doesn’t anyone care? Doesn’t anyone listen? Too me, the public perception that BP is “cooperating” so closely with the U.S. government, including holding joint press conferences in the Pentagon, suggests that the U.S. is compromised by BP and the UK. Let’s get it right — BP is an environmental criminal. And since when does the criminal stand beside the police chief in press conferences? Compare this reality with the concept that a UK company somehow caused an atomic energy release in the U.S. Would we hold them accountable in a death grip of control and justice that would have repercussions for decades? Of course.

What about resulting risks to our international relationships and the rights of private enterprise? How much does that matter when and as long as life is at stake on this scale?

Visited Saugatuck, MI this week and saw the berthed Keewatin lake steamer, a 350 foot behemoth built at Greenock, Scotland in 1907, and which serviced the Great Lakes until its retirement in 1965. Today it’s a museum you can visit and tour, with much of its interior restored to original appearance. What a treat!
An hour North, at Muskegon, is docked the Milwaukee Clipper, aother 361 foot behemoth, built in 1904 as the luxury lake liner Juniata, and rebuilt as a modern passenger car ferry in 1941, transporting vacationers across the lake until 1970, but today she floats only partially restored after funds ran out. The high-speed catamaran Lake Express berths across the way, and now serves to shuttle cars and visitors between Milwaukee and Muskegon. We sailed her for the first time, westbound, on Wednesday. Comfortable, quiet and fast.

The 42-US-gallon oil barrel is a unit of measure, and is no longer used to transport crude oil — most petroleum is moved in pipelines or oil tankers, according to Wikipedia.

The BP Gulf Oil Spill is reportedly spilling 12 to 24 thousand barrels of crude oil per day. That means that one million or more gallons of crude oil, per day, is spilling into the Gulf, or as much as 40 MILLION GALLONS to date. You know how much a gallon of milk is. You probably have one in your refrigerator. Now, spill a gallon of milk onto the floor every day, and do it for the next 110,000 years or so, and you have some idea of what BP has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, so far.

BP, and our government and the naive news media are conflating the scope of the spill into terms the general public does not relate to, using an antiquated measure of volume — the barrel — that is not today used to carry crude oil, and is not well understood, and sounds a lot more modest than A MILLION GALLONS A DAY!

BP, oil companies, government, news media, give it to the public straight. Media, give the people analogies they can relate to. Do the basic math and use a little sense, instead of just passing on the handouts you receive. Multiply the result by the evils that a gallon of floating or sunk crude can do now and later to the natural environment, which includes people’s lives, and you have perspective on the scope of this mega-disaster.

The old Milwaukee Clipper (left) and the new Lake Express at Muskegon, Michigan; passing the Muskegon light outbound westward to Milwaukee; the City of Milwaukee and its art museum appears through the mist; inbound passing the south harbor light off Milwaukee.

On May 19, I called for the U.S. assets of BP to be frozen, so that full reimbursement to those people and communities endlessly harmed by their Gulf oil spill could be assured. Now, as BP seems to be slowing their responsiveness, increasing their excuses, as the extent of the damage their criminal negligence has caused becomes more apparent, I think it’s time for the U.S. to step up and temporarily nationalize the U.S. company and seize their assets and put it all under the leadership of a single agency accountable to the President, at least until the well is safely capped and the spill damage is under control. Again, it’s time for the executive branch, Congress and the Supreme Court to cooperate and get it done. If the employees of BP U.S. need to be drafted for the duration of this effort, so be it. It’s time for everyone involved to face up to the challenge, take the personal and political risks entailed, and maximize our coordinated response to this greatest man-made environmental disaster in recent history. .

According to Booz and Co, in their study of the 2500 largest global companies, the CEO turnover rate last year was 14.3%, although the percentage of CEOs forced out was lower, at just over 3%. The former % seems high, and the later low, in these times, though I suspect the real percentage forced out is higher than indicated. From: The Economist, online.

With 45,000 sq. miles of the Gulf of Mexico closed to fishing and the possibility that the Gulf will become a dead sea for a decade, and with the ecology and economies along the shores of the Gulf coast states threatened with devastation, isn’t it time to secure funds that may be needed for relief by freezing the U.S. assets of BP? BP clearly bears the ultimate blame for the oil rig disaster, even if fellow companies and federal watchdog agencies are implicated as accomplices. Will the executive branch, the Congress and the Supreme Court, act in the public interest, or will oil “interests” prevail. The test is before us, and the outcome is unsure. Speak up. Ask for answers and consequences.

On the site of an ancient sand dune, Frederick Law Olmstead, architect of New York’s Central Park, carved out an island, known as Wooded Island, in the 500-acre site of Jackson Park, part of the grounds for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Today restored, the island added the Japanese Garden in 1935, seen on a fine spring day in 2010.

Looking east from village of Fontana. Como lake to the north. City of Lake Geneva around bend to left at top. Williams Bay midway on north. Yerkes Observatory just west of Williams Bay.

May 2010

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