MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The fossil fuel companies commit so many egregious crimes against life and the planet - and the federal government is so complicit in playing down the damage - that a numbing sets in for most of the United States population. In an age of riding the surf of pulsating news, it is hard to recall the seemingly unending incidents of fossil fuel company pollution and ravaging of the Earth - from minor spills to massive despoiling of the planet.
Even the largest offshore oil spill in US history -- the BP Gulf blowout -- is now pretty much forgotten (or is only vaguely remembered) by the average American.
However, the devastation caused by the fossil fuel drilling frenzy now being sanctioned by the federal - and most state governments - will have the long term impact of destroying our planet and causing untold deaths. Furthermore, in the short term, it is reaping a death knell to many species on Earth, including causing cancer and other terminal illnesses in humans.
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That includes the disappearance of many species on Earth, as detailed in Truthout's Progressive Pick of the Week: The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Even if a species is not already eradicated, the toxic impact of oil spills is extremely wide-ranging. The Washington Post yesterday posted an article, "Deepwater Horizon oil left tuna, other species with heart defects likely to prove fatal." It is one of the kinds of stories that doesn't get a lot of mileage other than the original post because it is a small piece in a big puzzle of an incremental catastrophe, lost amidst wall-to-wall coverage of a sensationalistic story, such as the mystery of what happened to Malayasin Airlines Flight 370.
In addition, the US government, which is ever-accomodating to Big Oil's wishes, has done almost nothing to rein in the damage posed by the fossil fuel industry (which includes six of the top ten companies in the world -- if you include two Chinese petroleum corporations). In fact, just about two weeks ago, BuzzFlash at Truthout posted a commentary: "Injustice: As BP Refuses To Pay Remaining Gulf Oil Claims, US Restores Its Privileges."
The refusal to even be held monetarily responsible in a timely fashion for the plundering and devastation of the Earth is akin to Wall Street CEOs failing to be held accountable for the ravaging of our economy. Big money can destroy the earth and economies with abandon and not feel any significant legal repercussions.
Last year, in July, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote a commentary, "Exxon Still Owes Government Nearly $100 Million for Valdez Clean-up Almost 25 Years Later." In a moving reflection on that reality, Alaskan radio host Shannyn Moore wrote on Truthout yesterday:
Exxon still doesn’t have marked offices in Alaska. In 25 years, the State and Exxon have not reconciled. The Federal Government and the State of Alaska were complicit in the spill and the cover-up. Precautions, provisions, and preventative measures had all been made law. It seemed that wasn’t the issue…the problem was finding a government agency to enforce those laws. Exxon’s cost cutting measures insured a disaster; laid off spill responders; not fixing the disabled Raycas radar; the containment boom barge iced into dry-dock. All those profit enhancements were to be expected of a company that answered only to it’s shareholders. The government agencies that looked away from negligence and their responsibility have never been held accountable.
Our delegation to Washington DC could have introduced a law over the last 20 years to force Exxon to pick up their bar tab and pay for their crime. They were woefully silent. Instead, they debated things like gay marriage, vaginal rights, Bill Clinton’s impeachment over extra-presidential activities, steroids in baseball, and Terry Schiavo. Meanwhile, dozens of Alaskans, displaced from their identity, committed suicide while waiting for justice.
You know why? Oil rules. It’s bigger than governments. For all the nut-jobs hoarding Mormon food and bullets talking about the “New World Order”? It’s here. It’s called Big Oil. It’s why countries are invaded, wars are waged and media pretends it isn’t happening.
Moore's article is entitled, "Exxon Spill: 25 Years of Tears."
The question we face is do we have 25 more years as a planet - currently of about 7 billion people - to stop the all-powerful pillagers from turning the fertile Earth into desolation.
We are the frog slowly boiing to its death; we can't feel its incremental impact until we face extinction.
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