What’s Left: Looking Past a Quick Fix

 

 

Will Hazzard

Like most Americans, I want independence from foreign oil as much just as the next person. We’ve all felt the pains in our pockets when oil prices hit their record high of 147 dollars a barrel, and I think we all agree that we need to come up with a solution. However, offshore oil drilling is not that solution.

America is so caught up in our own economic worries that we look for any quick fix solution that will provide some relief, not to mention both the long and short-term ecological effects that penetrating the ocean floor causes. We need to take a step back and think about what exactly it is that we’re doing.

Let’s first address the elephant in the room: drilling and the effects it has on the environment. Apparently we’re satisfied with raping the Great Plains so we decided to turn to the oceans.

There is of course the issue of spills, but these are more likely to occur on the super tankers that transport the oil than on the extraction facilities. The real issues originate from the structures themselves.

Heavy metals from the buoys and pillars leech into the surrounding waters, poisoning them. This causes much more harm to the wildlife than spills and is significantly harder to remove. There is also the destruction of the habitats many bottom dwellers that in turn affects the rest of the ecosystem.

It seems very hypocritical to preach the conservation of natural fisheries that are in decline because of bottom trolling, then turn around and be all gung ho for offshore oil drilling. Something about that just doesn’t seem right.

If you’re not a major sympathizer for the green movement, let’s talk about offshore drilling in the universal language of money. The installation of a single facility can cost anywhere between 300 and 500 million dollars. The eventual removal facilities and environmental cleanup can cost just as much if not more.

Where is all this money coming from? In the midst of the Great Recession, why are we dumping so much money into an archaic and ineffective solution? Offshore drilling is just the tip of an ever-expanding industry and it’s unclear if we can even make a dent. It’s simply a testament to the amount of money we are willing to spend to maintain our carbon decadence.

We need to look towards the future. I’m not talking five or ten years down the line but to the world we are building for our children. If we have all this money to spend on new rigs, why not divert even a fraction of that into research and development for cleaner fuels?

The market for electric and hybrid cars is still in its developing stage and deserves more time than the search for more oil.

Natural gas and and wind power are becoming more effective sources of energy and are the real source of our independence. We can no longer to suckle the tit of Mother Earth and drain it of every last drop of oil. The time to act is now and the opportunity may never come again.