The more you read about the tragedy that is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil rig fire, the more you realize the magnitude and the symbolism of what is happening. Obviously the loss of life is a reminder of the risks that those in the oil industry take on a daily basis to bring us products that we take for granted. To a larger extent the history of this rig is a reminder of the type of entrepreneurial spirit that has made this country great. It represent the same type of spirit that Horatio Alger captured in his stories of America, the land of opportunity, or the call from Horace Greeley and John B. L. Soule that urged Americans to go West and grow the country. This accident is a loss that should be felt by us all.
The Deepwater Horizon was a marvel of modern technology. It was what they call an ultra-deepwater dynamic position semisubmersible oil rig. It was the size of two football fields and was like a ship that used a computer controlled system to automatically maintain its position and heading. It was a rig that could reach the bottom of the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to depths many had never imagined. In September of last year, Deepwater Horizon made history by drilling the deepest oil well in history. This was an achievement not unlike landing a man on the moon or a successful space shuttle. An achievement that in another era would have inspired the passion and the imagination of the nation in a nation that has become accustomed to great achievements. Think about the implications of drilling for oil in an area of the ocean where no man dared drill before. Think of the impact it could have on a world that is not satisfied with surrendering to the sentence of peak oil but to expand our imagination and our desires to overcome the status quo and do what those who think small said was impossible. Instead of surrendering to the prospect that the world and the economy was doomed because of peak oil, there are those who say we have not even begun to tap the earth’s possibilities.
There are other concerns of course. Some fear that this accident will be used by drilling opponents as an example why we should not drill and extend the benefits that off shore drilling to the economy and the health and well being of the human race at large. In fact there was word that BP was about to announce another major discovery at the same site that would have added tens of millions of barrels of oil to the marketplace. In many ways, the Deepwater Horizon was a vessel that deserved the same type to of reverence that is given to the Spirit of St. Louis or Space Shuttle Challenger. This loss is a national tragedy.
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