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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.

4 comments… add one
  • jeffrey May 5, 2010, 5:57 PM

    Simply put, the answer to “BP and MMS and Mary Landrieu are taking unreasonable risks with our safety for the sake of the cheapest route to profit” is not, “WTF I guess you don’t drive a car then, hippie” I’ve gotten some of that from people. Not even gonna respond.

  • Blair May 6, 2010, 6:23 AM

    There are a whole gaggle of individuals and organizations – private, corporate and federal – who are doing less than they could, should or ought to minimize the risks and the damage that entail when attempting to satisfy the demand for energy. Those entities are not only found in the petroleum business and are not only those on the producing side.

    They include politicians who subsidize the wrong projects for the wrong reasons, media types that misinform the public and strew blame under the cover of “news”, academics who beat a drum for their own research to be funded, and the rest of us who (present company NOT included) who make uninformed pronouncements which add nothing to the debate.

    All this should be no surprise. It has happened before and will happen again.

  • virgotex May 6, 2010, 9:52 AM

    It’s not that black and white.

    WORD. And while they are of course considerably lower, there are substantial risks posed by massive windfarms and they have to be researched and monitered the same damn way, despite those who paint “clean” energy with broad black and white strokes, and say it’s just the Kennedys and other rich people being all NIMBY about the Cape Cod project. Long term side effects of extreme low frequencies on cetaceans? Proximity of the project to the teeming Stillwagen Bank? Thought about that much, NIMBY decriers? I didn’t think so.

    We have to all be smarter about ALL our energy. Things will never be perfect and risk free – we have to keep our eyes open. Americans are fucking lazy and too many hate thinking about stuff like this.

    As for fuckhead Perry, he doesn’t believe in God, he believes in votes. And if/when that stuff comes over our way, he’ll be the first one in line screaming for the Feds to pay out so we don’t have to break into our precious state budget surplus (built on the backs of poor people and sick children and teachers and other state employees, all of whom go without enough state monies). He won’t be leading a prayer meeting, he’ll be bitching about disaster cash not coming fast enough.

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