Preventing The Spill

Wednesday, 26 May 2010, 9:21 | Category : Environment
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Not the one that’s currently spewing 50,000 barrels or more each day into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  It’s too late to prevent that one.  We made those decisions 20 and 30 years ago, when we chose to drive cars that got 15 mpg instead of 30.  We made that decision when we decided that in the United States of America, “conservation” and “fuel efficiency” and “alternative energy sources” would be obscenities that were anathema to the American way of life.  So now, in 2010, we have to drill everywhere we can think of, at whatever potential cost;  we have to send hundreds of thousands of our military men and women to the Middle East to ensure we can continue to be held hostage by nations and societies that don’t give a damn about us once the money has been transferred.  We can’t change that for the foreseeable future.  We can’t prevent the next spill, or the one after that, because we have nearly 4,000 wells just in the Gulf of Mexico, and with that many, there will be other spills.  But we can, maybe, prevent some future spill, 30 years from now.  Not with better technology, although that would help, but by making serious energy policies now that would lead to sharply reduced dependence on oil as a primary energy source.  What we’re seeing now is proof that we have a vested national and human interest in making cars far more efficient – or electric – and developing effective mass-transit.  We need to be willing to say “no, you don’t need an Excursion if you’re only driving 3 kids and a dog to soccer practice”.  You don’t have a “right” to drive a huge pickup truck, not when it only delivers 14 or 15 miles on a gallon of gas and you don’t haul big things or pull heavy trailers.   Smaller, lighter, more efficient trucks would serve most pickup drivers just fine.  What is so un-American about using less gas?  The cheapest barrel of oil is the one you never buy.  And it won’t wash up on anybody’s beach either.