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Op Ed: Endangering America's Coasts for Oil

The United States risks an environmental disaster like the one occurring in the Gulf of Mexico every day. Is it worth spoiling our rich natural heritage and wreaking havoc on an entire region of the country for that little bit of oil? (editorial below)


Oil Masses Growing Beneath the Gulf Surface

One section alone is 30 square miles, 300 feet thick.

New York Times, May 15, 2010

Oil Spill Ten Times Worse Than Estimated

70,000 gallons a day calculated by expert.

National Public Radio, May 13, 2010

Final Rules on Greenhouse Gases From EPA

67% of U.S. emissions will be impacted by new regulation.

Washington Post, May 13, 2010

Senate Climate Bill Protects Offshore Drilling

Kerry-Lieberman also sets a price on carbon dioxide.

Seattle Times, May 11, 2010


Source of the Spill
BP releases first video of mile deep gusher



Endangering America's Coasts for Oil

by Steve Jones


My home town is 3-1/2 hours from Myrtle Beach, SC. Some of my earliest memories are of family vacations at the beach, either on the South Carolina coast. When I grew up, married and became a father, the tradition continued. It is what folks do around here; returning to the sea in a sense.

If I lived on the Gulf Coast, I'd be at the shoreline wondering why my family could not make our home next to the water now. I'd be worried about the animals, soon to be covered in oil. The fishermen, making possibly their final trawl, are left to ask why oil is more important than shrimp, red snapper and oysters. After April's BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill they wonder; why is oil more important than their livelihoods?

The Coastal Economy

America's coast and its attendant hotels, amusement parks, golf courses, restaurants, marinas, boats and everything else is central to the American way of life. The coastal economy is a vital part of the national economy.Thirty percent of Americans live in what is considered a coastal county (see report below). These 30% of Americans would be directly affected in an oil spill. We as a people are all threatened due to the nation's interconnectedness. Our economic engines are the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

What Next?

The "Drill, Baby Drill" mantra has become part of our energy policy. The oil America reaps from its offshore drilling amounts to only 7% of our supply. The United States risks an environmental disaster like the one occurring in the Gulf of Mexico every day. Is it worth spoiling our rich natural heritage and wreaking havoc on an entire region of the country for that little bit of oil? A price cannot be put on ruining our coasts.

The time is now to put the main emphasis in America's energy policy on proven clean technologies such as wind, solar and batteries. Let's turn away from British Petroleum (BP), Exxon, Conoco and all the other giant oil companies whose interests do not coincide with U.S. environmental or national security interests.

I cannot shake this awful feeling for what is happening in the Gulf. I remember the video footage of the wildlife in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez spill, suffering an agonizing death from oil they could not escape from. Those horrible scenes have returned.

It is time to end this nonsense. No more new offshore oil drilling. It is time to end our oil dependency. This cannot be allowed to happen again. Ever.



Journal of Coastal Research