Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bigger Mess Than Expected

People generally don't think very deeply about the consequences of what they do. That's one reason we have building codes. When your neighbor puts up a tin sheet as a roof for his autoport, you might think it ugly, but it never occurs to you that it might become a lethal threat during high winds. Ever since the ancient pyramid at Meidum collapsed, we have been learning from catastrophe. The next one we are going to learn is how to store chemicals and cars in hurricane zones. Gregg Easterbrook points out that we may well have to permanently seal off parts of New Orleans simply because of a crazy-quilt of pollution.

The oil producers may have already learned some of these lessons. I have been surprised by the speed at which production in the Gulf is returning to normal.

UPDATE: InstaPundit highlights this post by Varifrank to clue us in on the next massive wave of NOLA pollution, a more mundane variety, but very toxic to the status quo. For some reason Varifrank is looking forward to it. It's about a dead fish.

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At Wednesday, September 07, 2005 11:21:00 PM, Blogger mal said...

it might be interesting to pick up the history of the city of El Segundo near LA International Airport. It would probably explain some of the "toxic soup" problem they are experiencing in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the unintentional sins of our past do not go away in the face of our current enlightenment

At Thursday, September 08, 2005 9:27:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Seems like mostly oil spills. Here's a PDF put together by CEERT called "Crude Reconing". If you search for "El Segundo" it seems to be one oil leak after another, including one at Chevron called "The Single Largest Oil Plume in History".

I also found references to crushed sand dunes, lost eco-systems, extinct species, noise pollution and contaminated ground water. No mention of a girl name Mallory. I guess it would be hard to trust the oil companies if you were raised in El Segundo.

Unfortunately, our system of government provides little protection from the logic of economic development. Environmentally concerned people invest an incredible amount of effort attaining small goals. We need more sensitive and effective social structures to handle these issues.


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