Government regulation - not always a bad thing

Monday, 10 May 2010
Associated Press photo

We've been covering the Gulf Coast oil rig explosion since it happened, killing 11 people and spewing millions of gallons of oil into the water.  This is such a sad situation regarding loss of life, devastation of wildlife habitat and fishermen out of jobs in a sinking industry. 

I listened to an interview this morning on talk radio about oil drilling.  The debate centered on whether the U. S. should still pursue this mode of independance of other oil sources.  Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says now he will not allow it off the coast of California. 

In my opinion, the U.S. should still move forward with drilling.  However, we MUST realize the enormous risk to our environment and precious ecosystems.  There are those who respect the big picture more than others.  Rather than cheer and shout in the streets "Drill, baby, drill!" we should approach the task with extreme caution and more government regulations.  Yep.  I said it:  MORE government regulation. 

BP is a money-making machine (reporting billions of dollars in profit in 2009).  The executives have one goal:  make money.  The way they make money is by keeping operating costs down and revenue high.  One way to keep operating costs down COULD BE by cutting corners.  Oil services contractor Halliburton says it is investigating the blast but some people have already filed lawsuits saying workers improperty capped one of the wells possibly leading to the explosion.

This is all part of a congressional hearing into the disaster.  Should we have a government that works for the citizens who elect it?  Why not take powerful companies to task before a horrific disaster?  The top decision makers are not on the oil rigs doing the grunt work.  They are not in harm's way.  Who protects the worker, our environment and the gulf states suffering from the explosion? 

A similar situation, the mortgage crisis that helped lead to the recession seems to be somewhat under control.  Companies handing out bogus loans didn't protect clients or their homes - nor did they want to.  The goal was to make money, work for the bottom dollar.  Like the shady car dealer who sells cars to people with poor credit at a high interest rate and then repossesses the property for resale, oil companies were lucky to operate under Bush who protected the industry.  Executives knew there would be eventual set backs and problems.  They probably never thought it would be this bad. 

The current administration and members of Congress are stepping in to lay fire lines around future home buyers, investors, our environment and now people who might suffer from future oil spills.  Who else is going to do it?  Should big companies with big money be held responsible or should they have the freedom to operate without boundries?

2 comments

Ted Stryk said...

What isn't clear (to me) is whether we need more regulations or better enforcement. I have seen conflicting reports on whether or not the rig was in compliance. Plus, you can have all the regulation in the world, but if you have lax enforcement, it won't make a difference.

sandy said...

This story is so sad, many will suffer as a result of this happening. Things like this need to be prevented. I do think we need regulations regarding things of this nature.

Sandy