The disaster in the Gulf is rightfully a big news item. It is a legitimate disaster. Every reasonable action to halt the spill and mitigate its effects should and must be undertaken immediately.
That said, a quick gooble search reveals that there are over 4000 platforms active in the the hurricane-prone Gulf of Mexico. The reason this spill is so newsworthy is because such accidents are SO RARE! In the time I've taken to type these few words, it is almost assured that somebody somewhere has died in an auto accident. They happen all the time. Hence, they don't get much attention. Maybe a little tiny blurb in a local paper. But an airline crash? Headlines, weeping and gnashing, extensive coverage. Because they are infrequent. So it is with oil spills.
Consider the difficulty in extracting this product from deep beneath the sea. Transporting it to a refinery. Selling it to me for less than $3 a gallon and yet slightly profitable. Long miserable hours on a platform in the middle of nowhere, hoping that the next storm isn't the Big One. The efforts put forth by the oil industry are borderline heroic! They face these difficulties for very thin profit margins, and allow freedom for an ordinary guy like me to get in his car and go for a trip pretty much anytime, anywhere I want. Derivatives to oil are used to fertilize crops which feed BILLIONS of people. Life as we know it and enjoy it would NOT EVEN BE POSSIBLE without the oil industry. How many little kids' bellies are full today because of the oil industry? How many lives have been saved? How many lives have been drastically improved by easy transportation (via fossil-fueled vehicles) of people, foodstuffs, and other goods? And for all the BILLIONS of gallons that are routinely handled and processed, there are HARDLY ANY ACCIDENTS! Why are there NO MONUMENTS TO THE OIL INDUSTRY???
I love being able to drive across town. I love eating bananas that were grown in places like Chile and transported on BIG OIL-BURNING SHIPS to our ports and distributed by BIG DIESEL-BURNING TRUCKS to the local grocery store which I drive to in my little gas-burning car. I LOVE BIG OIL!!!