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Is there any credence to the claim that the Obama Administration caused the Oil spill? Rush Limbaugh keeps going on about that

Where you are getting this from?

Rush himself is saying the media is making it up.

Here is a link:

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/sit...5113.guest.html

RUSH: CNN, by the way, still on this conspiracy theory, this story line they just won't let go about me and -- and the -- what is this? I don't even know. Too much to read here. Here, it's CNN, let's just listen to it together.

AVLON: We're in a point right now in the wing-nut wars where we can't even deal with a natural disaster like an oil spill without politicizing it. One of the early adapters was Rush Limbaugh, part of his stock-in-trade. He took the airwaves -- and I'll do my best Rush Limbaugh impersonation -- to say this: "This bill, the cap and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant vestments. So since we're sending SWAT teams down there, folks, to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig?"

ROBERTS: He's just saying --

RUSH: That's John Avlon. Who is John Avlon? I guess he's a Daily Beast columnist, it's Tina Brown's website. The point is here they keep reporting this. I never said that the SWAT teams are going to blow it up. I said that the administration, if the regime is sending SWAT teams down there, maybe they think there was sabotage. Not that the administration blew it up. But anyway, the truth doesn't matter when it comes to me and reportage in the media. Yesterday afternoon on MSNBC, I don't even know who this guy is, but he was asked a question, and he said this about me.

Bold above is mine.

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In theory this accident should have been preventable. Perhaps a company more competent than BP would not have made the same mistake. The only regulation this calls for is safety and protection. Before BP drilled, they could have roughly calculated/estimated the amount of damage such an event could cause, were it to happen. This sounds like an enormous undertaking, but given the scope of their project, it is possible and important. If BP were to claim ignorance (of the scale of potential disaster)when knowledge was possible—especially with modern technology—then I'd consider them negligent. They should have been prepared for something like this, especially since it's happened before, and they should have had a Plan B, based on their best knowledge, in case it did happen.

It is in our interest to have a government capable of protection of our rights, and therefore, to have it be educated and physically prepared for such threats. Police, military, and safety regulations—as well as strict adherence to an objective standard of risk—and enforcing companies to be realistically prepared should those risks become a reality, are necessary for the protection of individual rights.

In the case of Exxon Valdez, if the court ruled objectively that those affected had been paid enough to be compensated (in dollars) for the extent to which their individual rights were violated, then each individual—with the potential to be affected by a situation such as the one we have with the gulf—should asses the risk they place on their rights, and be willing to trade the violation of said rights for dollars.

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It is in our interest to have a government capable of protection of our rights, and therefore, to have it be educated and physically prepared for such threats. Police, military, and safety regulations—as well as strict adherence to an objective standard of risk—and enforcing companies to be realistically prepared should those risks become a reality, are necessary for the protection of individual rights.

A strict adherence to an objective standard of risk is a meaningless phrase, unless such a standard is common knowledge or you mention it. It isn't common knowledge how you would determine what the risk of each human action is, objectively, so please share. I'd love a way to measure the "risk" of all my actions.

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A strict adherence to an objective standard of risk is a meaningless phrase, unless such a standard is common knowledge or you mention it. It isn't common knowledge how you would determine what the risk of each human action is, objectively, so please share. I'd love a way to measure the "risk" of all my actions.

I'm not going to speak for the Ben Archer, but I don't see how that phrase is meaningless. Risk can be found objectively, and it can be upheld objectively as well. If someone wants to have an operation of constant burning of brush and trash in the midst of a neighborhood, the risks involved can be realized quite easily. When the dew point, humidity, temperature, and wind come together, a ban on all burning in the affected area is in store--a strict adherence to an objective standard of the risk present. When a nuclear power plant is trying to get approval, or is already in operation, risk is measured by known facts and data, hypothesis on such data, and historical events; then there is an attempt to mitigate that risk by objective methods.

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In theory this accident should have been preventable. Perhaps a company more competent than BP would not have made the same mistake.
Okay; can you explain what that theory is by which this accident was preventable? What exactly caused the accident, and what did BP incompetently neglect to do that caused the accident. The answer can't be "prevent the spill".

The accusation of incompetence has to be supported by identifying actual breach of professional standards. So what standards were breached, according to you? "Taking a risk" is not incompetence; failure to reach a goal is not incompetence. Let us know what well-known fact BP should have taken into consideration and didn't.

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I'm not going to speak for the Ben Archer, but I don't see how that phrase is meaningless. Risk can be found objectively, and it can be upheld objectively as well.

Of course it can be, in theory (and even in practice, on rare occasion). I am assuming by risk you mean the probability of the occurrence of an accident that harms others or their property. But saying that it isn't impossible is one thing, saying that it should be done, by the government, to me, is another. If you're saying that it should be done, you should know and specify how it should be done, first. Then I'll know exactly what is being done, and have an informed opinion on it.

And I don't just mean the specific method of calculating risks (which is a big enough question to end all actions until it is first answered in a meaningful way-I can't even begin to imagine how), I also mean who should pay for it?

I certainly have no interest to pay for a government which tries to measure the risks of every human activity. I am perfectly satisfied in having a government which punishes those who fail to limit their own risks, and actually cause harm to others. I have no intention of ever paying for an entity which supervises all human activity, and assigns numbers to thousands (or more) complex ventures (or millions of relatively simple ones like driving, for that matter). Not even if you can figure out a scientific way, well beyond at least my grasp of Statistics, but I'm pretty sure well beyond the field itself.

And even if you have the science, and are also offering to pay for this massive undertaking, I'm also not willing to agree to give power to an entity which supervises human activity intrusively, by violating the rights of innocent people (the way current regulations work) and forcing them to provide access to government agents, and send in details of their activities without any proof of foul play, or legal warrant. If yo wish to sponsor such an activity, it would have to be done without the initiation of force, and within the framework of criminal investigations, including the presumption of innocence, and the requirement of legal warrants obtained by presenting probable cause, for any access to private property or privately owned information.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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I'm not going to speak for the Ben Archer, but I don't see how that phrase is meaningless. Risk can be found objectively, and it can be upheld objectively as well. If someone wants to have an operation of constant burning of brush and trash in the midst of a neighborhood, the risks involved can be realized quite easily. When the dew point, humidity, temperature, and wind come together, a ban on all burning in the affected area is in store--a strict adherence to an objective standard of the risk present. When a nuclear power plant is trying to get approval, or is already in operation, risk is measured by known facts and data, hypothesis on such data, and historical events; then there is an attempt to mitigate that risk by objective methods.

The real difficulty is deciding what is an acceptable risk. Who is the final authority making that decision? By what right?

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Okay; can you explain what that theory is by which this accident was preventable? What exactly caused the accident, and what did BP incompetently neglect to do that caused the accident. The answer can't be "prevent the spill".

The accusation of incompetence has to be supported by identifying actual breach of professional standards. So what standards were breached, according to you? "Taking a risk" is not incompetence; failure to reach a goal is not incompetence. Let us know what well-known fact BP should have taken into consideration and didn't.

If you're going to be drilling 5,000 under water, you should have the ability to control what you're doing. Obviously no one can gaurantee that an accident will not happen, but the possibility and its repercussions should be addressed accurately. BP's 52-page exploration plan for the Deepwater Horizon well says repeatedly that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities."

And while the company conceded that a spill would impact beaches, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas, it argued that "due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected."

If, in retrospect, their argument is that they've never experienced a blowout at this depth before; that the situation is unique inasmuch as it would have been impossible to forsee an accident of this magnitude, then that is what they should have conveyed in their exploration plans. Of course the federal Minerals Management service, to whom the report was submitted, could have recognized this.

You can't compare drilling for oil 5,000 feet underwater to driving a car, simply because they both involve risk. It's ridiculous to suggest that they should be treated with the same levels of preparation and control (control by the entities involved not government regulation). It is not a simply a case of "all potentially risky activities should have equal levels of regulation, or none at all." Just as you would not ask someone to file a 52 page exploration report before driving to school in the rain, you wouldn't expect an oil company to drill the nonchalance of a child in a sandbox.

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Okay; can you explain what that theory is by which this accident was preventable? What exactly caused the accident, and what did BP incompetently neglect to do that caused the accident. The answer can't be "prevent the spill".

The accusation of incompetence has to be supported by identifying actual breach of professional standards. So what standards were breached, according to you? "Taking a risk" is not incompetence; failure to reach a goal is not incompetence. Let us know what well-known fact BP should have taken into consideration and didn't.

From what I understand there was an additional type of valve BP could have installed which would have allowed methane to be released rather than build up pressure. They did not install this valve and what caused the severity of this explosion was a buildup of methane pressure.

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If you're going to be drilling 5,000 under water, you should have the ability to control what you're doing.
Why does "5,000 feet under water" cause a quantum change in obligation? We don't impose absolute liability on people driving cars, although if you're going to be driving at 70 mph or driving a truck that weights 5 tons of 50 tons, you should also have the ability to control what you're doing. If you're a doctor performing surgery on a patient, you should have the ability to cut out or insert the relevant bits without causing any other harm. The part that you don't seem to understand is that culpability is a consequence of knowingly performing a wrong act, of choosing to use materials that will fail etc. You haven't shown that that is the case.
Obviously no one can gaurantee that an accident will not happen, but the possibility and its repercussions should be addressed accurately. BP's 52-page exploration plan for the Deepwater Horizon well says repeatedly that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities."
Fine, so tell me in what specific way is this a falsehood. You understand, I hope, that "unlikely" does not mean the same as "impossible".

Anyhow, bringing in this exploration plan is irrelevant, since they have no moral obligation to present such a plan, and the government has no right to require it, just as the government has no right to require you to present an environmental impact statement if you plan to add a deck on your property. Nor does the government have a right to demand that you present a risk-assessment plan if you intend to drive from Cleveland to Detroit.

You can't compare drilling for oil 5,000 feet underwater to driving a car, simply because they both involve risk.
I can and I did, because the principle is precisely the same. When there is forseeable risk, you have an obligation to take action to prevent that forseeable risk, whether it is in a car, a train, or on the ocean. The problem is that you have not demonstrated that BP was negligent. You have simply asserted it, based on the fact that there was an accident. But that is not what negligence means.

You might try Kat's approach. Go do the research and determine whether there is any sense in which failure to install said additional valve type constitutes professional negligence. Imaginary "might have" is not worth squat in this discussion, but proof that such a valve is likely to have prevented the accident and that there is a known relationship between that valve and risk-mitigation would make your assignment of blame more credible.

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Of course it can be, in theory (and even in practice, on rare occasion). I am assuming by risk you mean the probability of the occurrence of an accident that harms others or their property. But saying that it isn't impossible is one thing, saying that it should be done, by the government, to me, is another. If you're saying that it should be done, you should know and specify how it should be done, first. Then I'll know exactly what is being done, and have an informed opinion on it.

I don't know what exactly should be done to mitigate the risks of the oils spills; I'm not an expert in such things. However, if they planned on using steel boxes to contain the leaks, they should have already been built. If they were going to use floating oil booms--which seem more suited for lakes than oceans--then they should have already been on hand, instead of having to go and purchase them from dealers and governments all around the world, days later. There is precedence to this rig malfunction, which has been brought up on this thread already, and hopefully the powers involved will actually choose to learn something from the Deepwater Horizon event.

The premise behind my position (which I am still contemplating) is that certain activities, while outside the realm of typical physical violence, still constitute a clear threat to rights and property, and must be regulated. The concept of individual rights and non-initiation of force is still being used and applied; however, it's not being applied in the libertarian sense of an out of context absolute. Additionally, I'm applying the same idea used in regards to objective pollution control: that pollution does exist, affects individuals and property, yet is not outlawed because of the necessity industry is to how we live our lives.

The overall cost of the Deepwater Horizon spill won't be known for some time. Hopefully not much of the oil hits the coast, although that's just a cosmetic preference of mine, neglecting the underwater damage that could greatly affect anglers and who knows what else. This is the second time that such a spill has occurred in the Gulf, and the response was unprepared to say the least. With hundreds of oil rigs in the Gulf, actions need to be taken to ensure that future rig catastrophes don't end in the same way. I think that the government must step in--I should say increase their involvement--and participate in this mitigation process, to ensure that property is protected and whole regions of this country are not affected. For the same reasons, I think the government should continue to monitor nuclear, chemical, or any other endeavor that presents a high risk to property, regions, and the whole country itself.

Of course, like I said, I'm still contemplating this, as I have been since the beginning of the spill. I'm still reading all the new ideas that pop-up on this thread.

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From what I understand there was an additional type of valve BP could have installed which would have allowed methane to be released rather than build up pressure. They did not install this valve and what caused the severity of this explosion was a buildup of methane pressure.

The rig was owned by Transocean Ltd., and operated by its employees. The equipment you may be referring to (it's what the media is jumping on anyway) is a remote controlled shut-off mechanism, that, in the case of an accident, allegedly might allow someone to try and remotely shut down the valve, even if the rig has been evacuated. That shutdown would be done from a life boat, by the escaping crew. That is where the information regarding that specific device stops, in most articles.

Luckily, not in the Wall Street Journal, which took the time to inform its readership of what they don't know, instead of insinuating the opposite:

The efficacy of the devices is unclear. Major offshore oil-well blowouts are rare, and it remained unclear Wednesday evening whether acoustic switches have ever been put to the test in a real-world accident.

....

The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn't needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well.

The U.K., where BP is headquartered, doesn't require the use of acoustic triggers.

So it's not true that BP "forgot" or "neglected" to use a crucial device that would've prevented the leak, vague media insinuations not withstanding. It's a device that has never been used effectively, that has been deemed ineffective by a government study, and which is known to be unreliable and cause unnecessary shutdowns. And there is no reason to believe it would've done anything to prevent the leak. In fact, it is not yet clear even what caused the leak. We do know there were crew on board, to press the actual button to shut the valve, so if that failed I imagine a remote mechanism wouldn't have done the job better.

Another device (aside from the big red button) they did have, and which is widely used, called the blowout preventer, which automatically shuts the well in case of accidents, failed as well, and it has not been established why. BP also has a more reliable (and more costly) system, employing robotic submarines, with which to shut down the valves, instead of this piece of equipment the media is talking about. Rigs which rely on the acoustic switches (Brazilian and Norwegian companies, and a state owned French company, if I'm not mistaken) don't necessarily have the subs.

The premise behind my position (which I am still contemplating) is that certain activities, while outside the realm of typical physical violence, still constitute a clear threat to rights and property, and must be regulated.

No sure you should use the word threat though. A threat also mean the promise to harm someone. If we use the same word for activities with any degree of risk (even as remote as ~2/10.000 likelihood of an accident), then everyone will end up being a threat, and actual threats (like the people promising to kill us in NYC) will seem trivial.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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From what I understand there was an additional type of valve BP could have installed which would have allowed methane to be released rather than build up pressure. They did not install this valve and what caused the severity of this explosion was a buildup of methane pressure.

What are you talking about? I'm not demanding you explain anything, a link would be good enough to figure it out myself.

The latest significant technical detail I have read is that the hydraulic system actuating the BOP had a leak. House Subcommittee testimony

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The problem is that you have not demonstrated that BP was negligent. You have simply asserted it, based on the fact that there was an accident. But that is not what negligence means.

Hmm...I guess I see what you're saying here. I suppose unless proven otherwise, BP wasn't negligent—thanks for helping me understand that. :D

To what extent are they responsible for the damages, though?

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  • 2 weeks later...

What is extremely important is that measures by other off-shore oil drillers be taken to prevent this disaster from ever happening again. This will involve sound engineering and logic, not government regulation, since all the government can say is that a drilling rig be of such engineering and construction such as to prevent spillage, or have safety measures to mitigate such problem. Like a building code for oil drilling rigs.

The wrong approach would be to ban offshore oil drilling altogether. There simply aren't enough resources out there to supplant oil as a source of energy.

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I'm not an environmentalist and I imagine that neither are any of you. But I'm having trouble accepting the conservative idea that the oil spill will just "clean itself up." Of course, I'm not implying that that's the way Objectivists feel. That's the reason I started this post, to see how others felt. But I can't help thinking that environmentalists have a point. Now, I'm not talking about global warming. I'm referring to protecting the environment we choose to use, especially certain ecosytems. As long as it doesn't interfere with anyone's rights, of course. The oil spill in the Gulf isn't a good thing. It's a terrible thing, not because it's destroying nature, but because it's destroying nature that people could potentially use. Yes we should use the earth as we see fit, but what if there's nothing for us to use because we've destroyed it? What about all the fish that could have been caught, bought, sold, and consumed for our pleasure, that have died from the spill? I'm not advocating regulation, or saying that BP should be legally liable for any of the potential profits that anyone is missing out on, but I do think that we should take care of what we have if we intend to keep it. Again, I don't believe that the government should have any say in what we can and can't do to the environment, but don't you think we should take care of it? For our sake?

After rereading this post it seems a little silly. As long as the government isn't trying to interfere and say that you must help the environment, what Objectivist (or person for that matter) would be against maintaining it and keeping it for further use?

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I'm not an environmentalist and I imagine that neither are any of you. But I'm having trouble accepting the conservative idea that the oil spill will just "clean itself up." Of course, I'm not implying that that's the way Objectivists feel. That's the reason I started this post, to see how others felt. But I can't help thinking that environmentalists have a point. Now, I'm not talking about global warming. I'm referring to protecting the environment we choose to use, especially certain ecosytems. As long as it doesn't interfere with anyone's rights, of course. The oil spill in the Gulf isn't a good thing. It's a terrible thing, not because it's destroying nature, but because it's destroying nature that people could potentially use. Yes we should use the earth as we see fit, but what if there's nothing for us to use because we've destroyed it? What about all the fish that could have been caught, bought, sold, and consumed for our pleasure, that have died from the spill? I'm not advocating regulation, or saying that BP should be legally liable for any of the potential profits that anyone is missing out on, but I do think that we should take care of what we have if we intend to keep it. Again, I don't believe that the government should have any say in what we can and can't do to the environment, but don't you think we should take care of it? For our sake?

After rereading this post it seems a little silly. As long as the government isn't trying to interfere and say that you must help the environment, what Objectivist (or person for that matter) would be against maintaining it and keeping it for further use?

Maintained, by whom? Kept, by whom? Used, by whom? For what purpose? Many people climb Mt. Everest. If it were threatened by volcanic activity, "what Objectivist ... would be against maintaining it and keeping it for further use?" Such questions are seemingly ridiculous if put in context.

There are several issues you are package-dealing (combining) but the biggest one you ignore is PROPERTY RIGHTS. Once the spill is halted, the ocean will eventually reabsorb virtually all the oil. But that is not the issue if people's property along the coast or anywhere else is destroyed or damaged, even temporarily. You mention "protecting the environment we choose to use." Who is "we"? Used by whom? Which environment? I do not fish in the gulf, do not use the water from the gulf, and do not swim in the gulf. So, I have not chosen to use the environment. I may have eaten some fish from there, but I can get fish from somewhere else. I did take a cruise to Jamaica a couple of years ago, but I have no future plans to return there.

The issue is not protecting the environment but protecting property rights of those whose business is harmed by the oil spill. "We" do not use the environment; "they" do. Unfortunately, the government does not recognize property rights in the ocean, so the problem is compounded because of that. This leaves little recourse other than for bureaucrats to threaten fines of the oil company. Property is not a collectivized right: there is no "we should use the earth as we see fit, but what if there's nothing for us to use because we've destroyed it?" Property is an individual right: the fisherman owns his boat, his business, his land, his livelihood, (it should be the fish also if the ocean were property). And damage by the oil to this property should be compensated for by the oil company.

You need to stop looking at the environment as if it is one big thing owned by everyone and thus no one. Property rights are the only solution to environmental problems that are actual threats to human safety and health.

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I'm sorry, I was thinking in much more general terms.

I don't eat fish at all, so I don't have any personal complaints about the oil spill, it hasn't effected me. And while I may not personally use the environment (I don't go around cutting down trees to make my own toilet paper), I would like to keep it in good shape for the people who do cut down trees to make toilet paper so I can use it, because I certainly don't want to do it myself.

And I agree with you that property rights are the only solution. I'm not saying anyone should have an obligation to the environment, or that they should be forced to protect it. I'm simply saying that I feel as though, while there are people out there using it to produce the things I want or need and intend to consume, I feel like I should not destroy their means. I was just curious if anyone else felt that way.

And by "we" I meant humans. I mean, I thought Objectivists believed that the environment was there for humans to use as they please. I certainly do.

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I'm sorry, I was thinking in much more general terms.

I don't eat fish at all, so I don't have any personal complaints about the oil spill, it hasn't effected me. And while I may not personally use the environment (I don't go around cutting down trees to make my own toilet paper), I would like to keep it in good shape for the people who do cut down trees to make toilet paper so I can use it, because I certainly don't want to do it myself.

And I agree with you that property rights are the only solution. I'm not saying anyone should have an obligation to the environment, or that they should be forced to protect it. I'm simply saying that I feel as though, while there are people out there using it to produce the things I want or need and intend to consume, I feel like I should not destroy their means. I was just curious if anyone else felt that way.

And by "we" I meant humans. I mean, I thought Objectivists believed that the environment was there for humans to use as they please. I certainly do.

The environment is there for individuals to use as they please as long as they own it. Do you know of any rational person who would destroy his means of livelihood or enjoyment, his property? If you want to buy toilet paper, who do you think you'd get it from, someone who cut down all his trees leaving the property barren, or someone who replanted trees with the prospect of selling you more toilet paper?

If you look at history and current events, the only places where environmental destruction takes place involves the lack of recognition of property rights.

Edited by A is A
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I'm not an environmentalist and I imagine that neither are any of you. But I'm having trouble accepting the conservative idea that the oil spill will just "clean itself up."

Which conservative are you quoting? My take on the spill is that it is definitely in BP's interest to stop the leak and clean up as much oil as soon and as effectively as possible, but I disagree with the environmental alarmists' claims that the situation is a huge catastrophic disaster. The only people who will come out of this incident truly harmed will be the men who were killed and injured in the initial explosion (yet the media didn't start referring to this story as a "disaster" until well after the explosion, once it became an environmental issue). Anybody who was financially harmed will have an ironclad case against BP, which will undoubtedly be paying settlements well beyond the $75 million federal liability cap.

I am interested in hearing the reasoning behind the idea that no clean up effort should be made at all, since it's a position I've never heard advocated up until this point.

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There are several issues you are package-dealing (combining) but the biggest one you ignore is PROPERTY RIGHTS. Once the spill is halted, the ocean will eventually reabsorb virtually all the oil.

Do you have any scientific evidence to back up the claim that it will reabsorb the oil in a timely manner? In months, years, decades?

But that is not the issue if people's property along the coast or anywhere else is destroyed or damaged, even temporarily. You mention "protecting the environment we choose to use." Who is "we"? Used by whom? Which environment? I do not fish in the gulf, do not use the water from the gulf, and do not swim in the gulf. So, I have not chosen to use the environment. I may have eaten some fish from there, but I can get fish from somewhere else. I did take a cruise to Jamaica a couple of years ago, but I have no future plans to return there.

OK, but this disaster is big enough that it will affect many of us, whether or not we directly benefit from the gulf. The price of seafood will increase. The price of oil may increase. If the economy of Louisiana tanks (further), this will hurt people in other states who trade with Louisiana, etc. This isn't a rationale for any special collective government action with respect to the Gulf, but the situation is not as easy to isolate oneself from as you project.

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I do not fish in the gulf, do not use the water from the gulf, and do not swim in the gulf. So, I have not chosen to use the environment. I may have eaten some fish from there, but I can get fish from somewhere else. I did take a cruise to Jamaica a couple of years ago, but I have no future plans to return there.

Well, while you wrote that post it is likely you just inhaled oxygen produced by phytoplankton, some of which used to exist in the Gulf.

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Do you have any scientific evidence to back up the claim that it will reabsorb the oil in a timely manner? In months, years, decades?

Oil Spill Behavior

When oil is spilled in the ocean, it initially spreads in the water (primarily on the surface), depending on its relative density and composition. The oil slick formed may remain cohesive, or may break up in the case of rough seas. Waves, water currents, and wind force the oil slick to drift over large areas, impacting the open ocean, coastal areas, and marine and terrestrial habitats in the path of the drift.

Oil that contains volatile organic compounds partially evaporates, losing between 20 and 40 percent of its mass and becoming denser and more viscous (i.e., more resistant to flow). A small percentage of oil may dissolve in the water. The oil residue also can disperse almost invisibly in the water or form a thick mousse with the water. Part of the oil waste may sink with suspended particulate matter, and the remainder eventually congeals into sticky tar balls. Over time, oil waste weathers (deteriorates) and disintegrates by means of photolysis (decomposition by sunlight) and biodegradation (decomposition due to microorganisms). The rate of biodegradation depends on the availability of nutrients, oxygen, and microorganisms, as well as temperature.

OK, but this disaster is big enough that it will affect many of us, whether or not we directly benefit from the gulf. The price of seafood will increase. The price of oil may increase. If the economy of Louisiana tanks (further), this will hurt people in other states who trade with Louisiana, etc. This isn't a rationale for any special collective government action with respect to the Gulf, but the situation is not as easy to isolate oneself from as you project.

That wasn't the issue being discussed. The issue was whether "we" should preserve some resource or environment. And since it is specifically the lack of property rights in the ocean and waterways that is creating the political problem, then anyone who wants to help go clean the birds and ducks or pick up the sludge from the shoreline is free to do so. The issue has nothing to do with being 'easy' but with the principles guiding one's actions. The price of seafood may indeed rise, but if I don't eat seafood, it doesn't affect me.

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