"top kill" attempt
to stop the worst oil spill in U.S. history has failed
, adding yet another failure to the
joint BP and U.S. mission to curb the oil that is already destroying
the Gulf of Mexico's
chemical balance, marine and bird populations, and delicate coastlines.
Why are we struggling so to stop and contain the oil leak?
Faith in Technology 'Misplaced' The New York Times' Elisabeth Rosenthal writes,
"Americans have long had an unswerving belief that technology will save
us — it is the cavalry coming over the hill, just as we are about to
lose the battle. And yet, as Americans watched scientists struggle to
plug the undersea well over the past month, it became apparent that our
great belief in technology was perhaps misplaced."
Not Enough Regulation The Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus asks, "Does it show that the federal
government should be given more power to regulate energy industries,
just as the financial crisis showed that Washington needed more power to
regulate Wall Street?" He answers, "On that count, this crisis is very
different from Katrina, which was
mostly about governments' failures to prepare for a natural disaster.
The oil spill fits into a different political narrative: the Democrats'
insistence on the need for more federal regulation, in this case to
protect the environment. In the face of events, voters may take a second
look at that proposition."
- Our Limited Knowledge of Deep Sea
The New York Times' William Broad writes,
"Strange as it sounds, we know more about distant planets than we do
about the deep sea. ... Inky darkness, icy temperatures and, most of
all, crushing pressures conspire to make deep exploration daunting if
not impossible. That is why scientists estimate that humans have
glimpsed perhaps only a millionth of what there is down there to see.
That also helps explain why a runaway oil well on the seabed in the Gulf
of Mexico is a massive calamity, with crews struggling to stop the
gushing crude. It is the brutal nature of the abyss."
and Industry Are Too Cozy Newsweek's Evan Thomas and Daniel
Stone discuss "the limits of government regulation." They say that
"the oil companies and the federal government grew a little complacent"
in a way that "underscores an uncomfortable truth about government
regulation in the modern age. The government is dependent on industry
for essential know-how. ... Inevitably, when government regulators are
dependent on the industries they regulate, coziness and sometimes
corruption creep in. The [Minerals Management Service] appears to have
been no exception."
- White House Too Deferential To BP The
Wall Street Journal's Miguel Bustillo and
Guy Chazan write, "initial hopefulness has eroded in recent days as
the federal government has continued looking for direction to BP, which
has been unable to put a stop to the runaway spill despite company and
government spending of more than $930 million."
Should Emphasize Oversight, Not Bans The Cleveland
Plain-Dealer declares, "the cozy era of insider U.S. oil industry
regulation has to end." However, "Now the president risks a whiplash in
the other direction with tough directives that suggest an excessively
cumbersome environmental review process for each well could be in store.
What's needed is effective oversight, not knee-jerk bans."
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