Who Should Pump the Oil?
In view of the consideration that President-Elect Obama is giving to the reinstatement via Presidential Executive Order of the recently lifted ban on certain domestic oil drilling, let us go back a month or so to an editorial by Tom Ward of the Valley Breeze [no longer available on line] which raised an interesting point.
I care about the environment, too. Almost all Americans do. We don’t want to see any more disasters like the Exxon Valdez tanker spill of 1989 or the Santa Barbara spill of 1969. But how are we improving the environment for “the planet” when we pump the oil that we use, not in the highly regulated United States, but instead in countries like Nigeria, China, and other nations who don’t give a damn about polluting their land, rivers and people? If environmentalists have a more “global” view, how come they care so much about clamping down on oil exploration in the United States, while letting the rest of the world run wild?
Taking the second half of his last question literally, the answer, of course, is that if the rest of the world “runs wild” environmentally, our options to stop them range somewhere between weak and completely ineffectual.
Concurrently, we should note Ward’s point: that a gallon of crude can be pumped in a much “cleaner” and more environmentally-friendly fashion here than in the countries he lists. Until that magical alternate energy source arrives, where and how should our energy needs be met? And if the answer to that is, “not here”, how do we justify letting someone else do our dirty work when, in fact, we could do that work much more cleanly ourselves?