The report on the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is damning, with failure, neglect and irresponsibility identified not just with BP and its sub-contractors but the oil industry generally.
It is good that the findings are so severe, because they will serve as a reminder to everyone - the companies, politicians, environmentalists and the users of the waters - of the standards expected and needed in a business which carries such risk. They provide also added evidence to strengthen calls for tighter regulation, which no doubt will come.
However, similar reports have been issued before following other serious environmental occurrences due to leaking oil, and, despite heavy penalties and promises made on all sides, not enough, clearly was done to prevent the incident last year.
Sadly, until a genuine and committed sense of responsibility is enacted there will be further devastation of our waters by oil. Indeed, it is happening all the time in small areas here and there, but it is hardly noticed, so common an occurrence as it is. Our waters and the life within them hurt.
I wonder how great the worldwide outcry would have been if no humans had been affected by the great torrent of toxicity into the waters of the Gulf, no fishermen, tourists, waterfront residents or businesses? In the end it is all about balance: it would be wonderful if, now, there was a mutual determination to consider and ensure fairly the needs of the waters and the life within it, both of which give, and the people and the corporates, both of which take. It isn’t much to ask, is it?