Since fifteen years ago, in the devastating wake of the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster, actor Kevin Costner has invested money— his own— into the development of a filter (actually a centrifuge) which can separate spilled crude oil from water... about 99 percent of it. It's not a small device, but small enough to be carried aboard a boat or barge out to sea to suck up BP's huge oil slick in the Gulf. An LA Times article entitled "Kevin Costner may hold key to oil spill cleanup" reveals some disturbing facts about organizations with the power to effect the clean-up:
- Costner offered this technology to BP, but so far they haven't done anything with it.
- Costner offered this technology to the Army Corps of Engineers and they haven't done anything with it either.
- The date on which LA Times published this article was the 20th of May. This had to have been some time after Costner started making his appeals and so there's certainly been sufficient time to put filters on boats and boats out to sea.
But, no, it's been about a month, likely much longer, and in this time oil has washed into Louisiana's fragile marshes and onto previously pristine beaches there and around the Gulf coast as far away as Florida. But neither the Army Corps nor British Petroleum have moved on this. In testimony to Congress yesterday (6/9/10) Costner said he's approached yet other government agencies, receiving from them the same degree of apathy as from BP and the Army Corps. It's baffling.
But if BP and these several government offices insist on playing Macbeth's Yorick in this serious environmental drama, why don't we, as taxpayers, buy and give a couple hundred of Costner's crud filters to unemployed fishermen and other Gulf coast residents to help clean up the Gulf. We could pay them three or four times what their unemployment compensation is and let them keep to sell what oil they gather up. Not to stiff us taxpayers, the bill for all of this should be delivered to BP, payable on receipt.