Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of emails/chats from conservative friends who think I want oil and gas exploitation in the US stopped, while liberal friends argue that I am siding with the oil companies. It’s not that black and white. If you want a statement, I agree completely with Cousin Pat:
We’re going to keep drilling, and that’s going to happen no matter who is President or Governor. Our political choices at this time are not “drill, baby, drill” vs “no drilling ever;” our choices are “drill, baby, drill” vs “drilling is catastrophically dangerous, complicated, and we’d better be very careful about how we do it, and let’s see what we can do to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.“
This includes a full investigation into why the failsafes failed, punishing those who conducted any illegal and/or unsafe activity and demanding much smarter and much, much safer hydrocarbon extraction. [Note that I use the terms exploitation and extraction, instead of development, green flowers and happy sea creatures. Don’t be ashamed to call it what it is.]
And to those who ask how I can decry and defend the oil industry in the same breath: I was an oil worker for about a decade and not once did I feel good or bad about myself. Why? It’s hard to view your job and yourself in those terms when you are loved and cheered for making discoveries and fueling America and absolutely hated when things go wrong, both with very good reason. But, it’s not hard to view things objectively. The oil industry as a whole cannot be implicated for what is happening in the Gulf, but it is way past time all of its companies ACT on the fact that they have not at all achieved the high safety standards they set for themselves everyday. Just because something didn’t happen doesn’t mean it can’t.
I am also having a hard time wrapping my head around the word “preventable” any more. Explanation when I’ve thought further on it.
Update: Satellite images show oil coming close to ashore. This is extremely hard to view objectively.