Along with everyone else, I have watched the now infamous Deepwater Horizon oil well in the gulf spill thousands upon thousand of gallons a day into the Gulf of Mexico for the better part of a month. Also like everyone else, I think it is a bloody mess. Not only figuratively, but for the ecological damage, the economic damage, the wasted oil, the money spent trying to fix it, and the ensuing litigation that will certainly happen.
I think the real shame in this though is the politicizing of this event. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. This is no doubt a disaster, but we do not need it to go beyond the unfortunate size and scope the slick has already made. I am talking about the mostly pointless lampooning of the BP, Haliburton, and Transocean executives where the Congressional hearing devolves into finger pointing on both sides. I am talking about discussions at all levels of the endangerment of the expansion of off shore drilling. I AM TALKING ABOUT YET ANOTHER WAY THE BABY IS GETTING THROWN OUT WITH THE BATHWATER!!!
It is absolutely preposterous and a knee-jerk reaction to say that we should not only curtail the proposed expansion of off-shore drilling, but ban off-shore drilling all-together. I’ve seen the eco-friendlies out there holding up their signs AND THEY JUST DON’T GET IT.
– How much tax revenue does the oil industry provide?
– In this age of profligate government spending, how much tax revenue could the industry provide with an expansion to help offset some (not a lot, but some) of that spending?
– How many good-paying American jobs does the oil industry provide?
– How many more could it provide in this terrible economy with an expansion of drilling?
– What knowledge/development/technology does oil exploration contribute to geology, the oceans, mining sciences to name a few?
– How much more dependent do you want to be on nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela for our oil – places that really don’t like us. They already have too much control…do you want to tighten the noose further?
– And most importantly, how much will your gas and energy prices in general go up?
I’m imploring the greenies out there and the Democrats who listen to them to hear me out. Please, get with the program. Even if you ride a bike and have a minimal carbon footprint, most of Americans USE oil and its price affects them. They farm your organic produce with tractors and deliver it with trucks. They drive to the the factories that make the goods you buy. At worst, they still work at the docks and drive the trucks that get your imported goods to the market. Oil is in most of the plastic that you use. You can’t escape it and putting your head in the sand by saying we shouldn’t expand off-shore drilling is only making a bad problem worse.
We are already too far behind the power curve when it comes to the energy policy in this country. Do you remember the summer of 2008? Do you remember what oil at $145 a barrell looked like at the pump in your area? I weep for Californians. Remember all of the news coverage? Remember average Americans saying how they couldn’t afford to drive themselves to work anymore? If you think those days will never come again, you are fooling yourself. They are only to get worse because the planet isn’t making any more oil and it is increasingly harder to get. You are not seeing the bigger picture when you extoll the ills of off-shore drilling because of one unfortunate accident. Yes, BP needs to clean it up. Yes, there needs to be new shutoff valves and safety standards, but why is it so hard to look at the practicality of the matter. Even our President has seen the light! Giving support to the expansion of off-shore drilling is one of the few things that Obama has done that I can agree with.
Energy is something that everyone uses, but is not on our radar. Mark my words, it is going to be a problem along with everything else on this site that I rail about. To do anything but pursue every option is foolish. We need to drill more, in the gulf and in ANWAR. Lets do it safely and ecologically, but we need to do it. We need the government to incentivize the development of renewable energy sources – solar, wind, second generation ethanol, biomass, whatever. We need to put serious money towards developing future technologies like clean coal (we have so much of it), hydrogen cells, and fusion-powered reactors. We are going to need all of this as our energy needs rise and environmental concerns rise. These are difficult, but long term solutions that need to get worked on now versus being put off for later. That mentality never gets anything done.
Lastly, there is nuclear power. We haven’t built a new reactor in this country in over 25 years! Three Mile Island was over 30 years ago and we still haven’t gotten over it! C’mon!!! It is pathetic that the French are better at this than we are. 80% of their power comes from nuclear reactors. It is green, safe, abundant, and will provide thousands of construction jobs and thousands of high-paying jobs to run the plant. This solution has been staring us in the face for a very long time, but a small minority has allowed further development to cripple construction through regulation and red tape. Hell, I haven’t even began to talk about our decaying and inefficient power infrastructure and how we could make it smarter as well…
We are heading for a cliff. Our oil dependency is only part of our problem, but to make us even more dependent by stopping further off-shore drilling is ridiculous. Deepwater Horizon is rare failure of over 4000 rigs in the gulf; and it will be the last of this magnitude. Valves need to get fixed and oil needs to get cleaned up, but not at the eventual expense of our way of life. It is our fault that we didn’t learn from the energy crisis in the 70’s and ween ourselves off of oil like the Brazilians…but we haven’t. So, its all we got until we fix the problem. This article has been intended to point out that larger picture because our energy needs are growing faster than our ability to cheaply supply it. Yes, we have to worry about being green, but that is a bonus that can be incentivized. It should not be a tax that the industries are only going to pass on to consumers. We use oil and energy in general to support our standard of living – which is the best in the world. People are not going to stop driving cars or give up their wide-screen HDTVs, so we need to look at our energy problems pragmatically and solve them. Otherwise, we are on a collision course and we only have ourselves to blame by not holding our representatives accountable.