Sunday, May 16, 2010

A One-Sentence Articulation of the Central Issue Raised by the BP Oil Well Disaster

Over the past 4 weeks, we’ve been witness to the offshore oil industry’s “Three Mile Island” (what with the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez-sized spill every 4 or 5 days) and BP’s series of desperate, amateurish, and unsuccessful attempts to get a grip on the situation. Because of the unprecedented nature of the disaster and the catastrophic consequences for both the environment and businesses, I am sure this will be Topic No. 1 during some of your casual conversations with friends and colleagues. Here is one approach to articulating the central issue raised by the calamitous event in just one sentence:

“The state of affairs following the April 20 oil well accident demonstrates unambiguously that while the technology for drilling in very deep water is sophisticated, the technology for remedying some of the possible accidents deep in the ocean is relatively primitive and pathetic!”

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