Sunday, May 23, 2010

Offshore Drilling

The subject of offshore drilling is heated and controversial. Proponents claim that offshore drilling will lower the price of oil and allow us to sustain our current energy needs without funneling money to foreign countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Proponents also claim that offshore drilling is environmentally sound and safe for the men and women who work on the rigs.

Unfortunately, none of these claims are true. Let's briefly analyze each of them.
1) Cheaper oil and energy independence - the price of oil has continued to rise even as domestic drilling has increased. Ten years ago, the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.52, according to the Energy Information Administration, an independent study and analysis group. Today, that price is nearly double at an average of $2.864. As demand has increased, so have prices. Fact: offshore drilling does not lower cost. Additionally, 51% of our foreign oil comes from Canada, with Mexico and Venezuela following just behind it as our second and third largest suppliers. So, while a small fraction of our oil does come from the Middle East, it is not a significant quantity. The Middle East does, however, hold vast untapped sources of oil, which of course is why we must invade and conquer as many countries as we can... which in turn, has caused prices to increase. As far as energy independence goes, oil is not the answer. There is a finite amount of oil out there, and when it's gone, we're in big trouble. We are at a point of no return should we continue down our current path of blissful ignorance and complacency. We need to insist that Congress invests in renewable, sustainable, clean sources of energy; not just for our wallets, but for our planet. Corporations for far too long have held the puppet strings of our country.
2) Environment - the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have demonstrated that not only is offshore drilling unsafe for workers who end up getting killed because of a lack of oversight, but it is also akin to environmental rape. As we have learned from the recent spill and from past catastrophes such as the Exxon-Valdez incident, oil spills not only cause widespread environmental damage, but also can create massive disruptions in commerce, as is being seen in the south with the seafood industry. If we are to protect and preserve our planet, we need to begin to renew our energy sources. Solar and wind power are the most readily available and easily accessible sources of energy on Earth. It's time we harness them and truly become energy independent.

Because many members of Congress receive financial endorsements from oil companies, and the corporate lobby machine has so much influence, representatives have stood idly by while oil companies bring in record profits, escape accountability for accidents and take advantage of tax loopholes. It is time we hold oil companies accountable for not only damaging the environment, but causing loss of human life. We need a government that is concerned not about corporate well-being and money, but a government which is solely acting on the behalf of consumers and the tax-payers, not the tax-avoiders. Please discuss.