The BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, still spewing after more than a week and several failed mitigation attempts, is certainly an environmental disaster, the extent of which will likely not be known for many weeks to come. But it is also a political disaster.
First of all, though the initial accident was not the fault of government, the failure to respond to the disaster was. The American government had certain regulations in place since the Exxon Valdez disaster near Alaska in 1989. It was supposed to have disaster mitigation equipment, in particular fire booms that would help to contain the oil and prevent it from spreading. But they did not follow their own rules.
The real ones responsible for the containment and cleanup, not to mention prevention, should be BP themselves, of course. If you make the mess, you clean it up. But since the government did have regulations in place and did not follow them they are culpable as well. In fact to the extent that government takes on accountability and responsibility themselves they remove it from corporations like BP. We have turned government into the nursemaid of the nation.
But even that is not the real disaster here. The worst part of this is the response that will come from the progressive federal government in Washington because of the oil spill. Regulation on oil companies will increase. No new oil exploration or rigs will be built. Alaska will have a tougher fight than ever to build their pipeline. America, in the mid of plentiful domestic oil reserves, will become more and more dependent on oil from countries in the Middle East and South America, many of which despise her. America will indirectly be funding the terrorists that attack the US and Europe.
Further it will be the catalyst for more crises, such as out of control energy prices, which affect every other sector of the economy. Food, lights, heat, durable goods, and jobs will become scarce, particularly if the OPEC countries decide to limit availability or raise prices. If the American government continues to restrict the use of domestic oil and other energies, we are very possibly looking at a future in this country of a period that will make the 1930s look like good times.
The oil spill in the Gulf, through mismanagement and fear in government is destined to become not only the catalyst for more environmental regulations, but also a serious threat to our national security and our economic future. This could not have happened at a worse time.