The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Disaster

by: Walter Block

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion of April 20, 2010 was a disaster for people located in or near the Gulf of Mexico. It outright killed 11 platform workers and seriously injured 17 others. It played havoc with the economic welfare of people in states stretching from Texas to Florida (none of which apart from Florida voted for Obama). But it was a great boon for socialists who like nothing more than to bash the free enterprise system.

For example, Thomas Frank in an utterly horrible and obscene Wall Street Journal article of June 2, 2010, entitled “Laissez Faire Meets the Oil Spill” stated: “And Galt only knows how many times ‘coziness’ of the MMS variety has been celebrated as part of the struggle for free markets and free people…. But things are different today. The catastrophe is too great to brush it off with the usual laissez-faire scholasticism. So the great debate must wait. We are all liberals for the duration.”

Well, here comes some “laissez-faire scholasticism.”

How did government socialism and state monopoly corporate capitalism together bring about this catastrophe before it occurred? Let me count the ways. It interfered with oil drilling in safer areas, for example, the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. An unholy alliance of dirigisme environmentalists, politicians and government bureaucrats have been attacking the Oil Sands in Alberta for lo these many years. This same cabal made it difficult to bring to market oil from shallow offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where it is safer, and pushed companies like BP out into deeper water, where harvesting is more difficult to control. Then, too, there were numerous restraints/prohibitions on exploration and delivery off of our east and west coasts.

The employees of the so-called government watchdog, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) were watching pornography on their computer screens instead of offering oversight. Their 582-page “Regional Oil Spill Response Plan – Gulf of Mexico” doesn’t even mention a deep-water oil spill; yet, this was imposed on BP by those porn fans.

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