Going … Going … Gone, Alright

I love numbers. As a carpenter I made a living using them. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing them. And losing them. Every carpenter knows how easy it is to lose an inch. It comes with the job.

As it must with petroleum smiths and EPA Administrators. Except their numbers are astronomically large, and exceptionally pliable. Large and pliable. Sounds like a great big bouncy toy. Just like the estimate of the total oil spill/gusher that BP unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico. Up, down, in, out—all around the room.

Now, according to the government’s estimate, over half of the total crude oil has “disappeared!” Oh, that’s great news! I was so concerned about the catastrophic effect of the oil on the Gulf ecosystem, and now we’re told that the effect has apparently been reduced by half!

I would be half-relieved except for the fact that oil doesn’t disappear. Like it doesn’t disappear when you turn it into gasoline. And it doesn’t disappear when you pump that gasoline into your tank and burn it up out on the highway. It just gets converted into some other toxic form.

Fortunately, in the logic of the EPA and most consumers, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

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