This is bad: The oil rig that has been burning in the Gulf of Mexico since an explosion on Tuesday has sunk, CNN reports.
The human cost: 17 workers injured (3 critically) and 11 missing. The Coast Guard is searching for them.
The ecological cost: Crude oil is leaking from at a rate of about 8,000 barrels per day, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashley Butler told CNN. The Coast Guard expects possible leaks of up to 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel “but can do little to protect the environment until the fire is out.”
(Decommissioned oil rigs are sometimes deliberately sunk and become fish habits, but this one obviously wasn’t decommissioned.)
The financial cost to Transocean, the Houston company that owns the rig, and BP, which leases it: Don’t care. The hell with them.
The political cost: This makes President Obama’s recent decision to significantly ramp up offshore drilling, appear, well, more stupid. The real test is still whether his concession wins enough Senate votes for a clean energy bill.
The timing: Happy Earth Day, Gulf of Mexico!
To repeat, the costs of fossil fuel-related disasters need to be part of our national energy conversation. They’re all the more reason to kick our fossil-fuel addiction. They’re all the more reason to replace fuels that come from hell-below-