Friday, April 30, 2010

Worse And Worse: Spill Hits Land - UPDATED

This is so much worse than the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 and the visible environmental damage so vast that I have yet to grasp the sheer scope of the problem. See the NY Times for details and pics; there is no need for me to repeat that stuff.

I have said it before, even back when I worked in the "awl bidness" for a while, and I'll say it again now: this must end. This is not an acceptable price to pay for energy. I hoped the Exxon Valdez would serve as a wake-up call; clearly I was naive even to hope that.

Last night I wrote President Obama a letter asking him to forgo the expanded offshore drilling he has proposed, and to put off all projected offshore drilling not already underway. Based on the article, his spokesman announced Obama is taking those necessary steps; please read the exact wording for yourself. The problem is that Obama so frequently makes grand announcements but does not follow through... sometimes by waving a hand at a solution without really exercising the leadership to make it happen; sometimes,,, regrettably... by simply forgetting about it. Apparently his administration feels no shame at simply not doing what Obama promised, and not just during the campaign.

I'll say it once more: offshore technology is unreliable, and no one seems to know a way of making it reliable. Things would be different if there weren't a number of other promising avenues for energy generation, other than burning oil. But given that there are options, we have no business continuing this activity that endangers our coastline.

This sort of incident is the primary reason I made a decision of conscience to stop working in the oil industry.

PRE-EMPTIVE STATEMENT: I am not so naive as to think offshore drilling is going to go away or be brought to a sudden halt. But perhaps we can pause it for long enough to approach it with something resembling sanity. Obama's current approach is as reckless as GeeDubya's ever was. We need to take a deep breath and actually solve some problems, even if some people lose some money in the process.

UPDATE: Sierra Club has issued a press release on the President's suspension of new offshore drilling. The PR also contains a list of basic facts about the spill, the rig and BP, the megacorporation that owns the problem rig.

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