Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill

Obama’s announcement that he would allow some off-shore drilling to commence again, caused some shock wave among many Americans; but little did we know that such an environmental disaster, as the one we are now fighting in the gulf, would take place within days of the President’s decision.
by Charlie Leck

Yearning for something to read whilst, alone, I ate a salad for lunch today, I picked up my wife’s most recent issue of Christian Science Magazine. I’ve so often wondered why she bothers to subscribe to it, but never have I really looked it over. Wow! I found it jammed-packed with interesting articles written, unlike the NY Times Magazine, in a crisp and easy to read manner. It’s perfect lunch time reading.

That first paragraph is irrelevant to where I’m going.

Over lunch, I read about the remaining affects of the Alaskan oil spill (Exxon Valdez) that took place more than two decades ago. Significant pockets of oil still remain along a 1200 mile stretch of the Alaskan coast.

"Two decades after the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground and ripped open its cargo tanks, the spill still marks Alaska's environment. Pockets of fresh crude are buried in beaches scattered around Prince William Sound and segments outside it, in isolated spots along more the 1200 miles of coastline that received oil in 1989." [Yereth Rosen, Christian Science Monitor Magazine, Vol. 102, Issue 25]

No one can really measure the damage that was caused by that oil spill. There’s plenty of evidence that many Killer Whales were destroyed by the spill, but no one really knows how many. Alaska’s rocky and rugged coast line is very dissimilar to that of a place like Louisiana. In some ways, that saved Alaska much of the agony that is going to be felt by people and wild life on the northern coast of the gulf. Louisiana’s coastline is flat, low and defenseless and the oil mercilessly keeps advancing toward it. The oil moves toward one of America’s most important and most beautiful wild-life refuge areas. As well, seventy-five percent of the shrimp consumed in America comes from that gulf fishing area.

The amount of oil being released into the sea down there in the gulf may make the Prince William, Alaskan spill seem like child’s play. 11 million gallons of oil spilled into the sea just off Alaska. Already, 8 million gallons have gushed into the gulf and plenty more is expected before a complete fix is in place.

The damage that will be done to the Louisiana coast will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Naturally, oil company lobbyists are trying to get Congress to pass a bill that will limit their liability. Other oil companies, linked with BP in a group insurance arrangement, will help pay some of the costs of this spill. No matter, it will be easy for the oil companies to make up for their loses – it’s called a hike in gasoline prices. Both individual Americans and our economy better get prepared for such hikes. They’re coming soon to a gas station near you.

I hope President Obama rethinks the idea of allowing an expansion of off-shore drilling for oil companies. All this is more evidence that makes it clear we must push and push and push toward alternative energy sources that will reduce our dependence on oil.

There was a marvelous cartoon in my lunch-time edition of the Christian Science Monitor Magazine. It showed some residents along a coastline looking out to sea at a number of wind turbines that had been damaged by a storm. “The wind-spill will reach the shoreline any time now,” one of the observers is saying.


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