The rig's malfunctioning blowout preventer ultimately failed, but it was needed only because of human errors.
That $20 Billion from BP (that we may not actually see) wasn't a shakedown, it was literally the least that can be done. Giant plumes of oil still drift below the surface of our ocean, layers of the stuff can be found underneath the sand on our beaches, and we still have politicians worried about hurting the feelings of a corporation that turns a profit of $6B a quarter. Pardon me if I'm not so worried about them.
How safe do you think it is to start drilling again? A shallow water well blew up and caught fire this week, and the same folks politically demanding an end to the moratorium, as well as their political shills in the halls of power and media got other salient facts very wrong.
Probably in the name of expediency, as they'd rather not explain to you how complicated matters really are. They just want you to buy into the narrative that everything is really OK. TEH EARL BE VANISHINGZ! LOLZ! We have microbes for that.
Look. I know we have to drill for oil to keep our economy afloat. An oil-free society is simply not a realistic choice at this time. But let us not gloss over the true costs, risks and dangers inherent in this business. Let us not pretend things will always be as they are today. Oil production is getting more difficult, not less. Gasoline prices will continue to rise over both the short term and the long term, and we're going to have to come to grips with that fact. Even if we zeroed out all taxes associated with oil production and gasoline, these prices will still go up to levels our economy is unable to sustain.
Funny time is over. We can look to solutions now, or we can look to solutions when things are very, very problematic down the road. But we should all be very wary of political figures bearing oversimplified chants as policy solutions.