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Obama And Oil

President Obama must surprise whether somebody is making an attempt to inform him something. On March 31, 2010, he announced an growth of offshore oil and gas exploration, putting his faith in “new technologies that cut back the impression of oil exploration.” Just 20 days later, the Deepwater Horizon blowout became the worst biggest oil reserves environmental catastrophe in U.S. historical past. Then, last month, with the ink scarcely dry on his administration’s initial approval of Shell’s plans to drill within the Arctic, greater than one hundred,000 gallons of crude oil fouled the California coastline off Refugio State Seashore, elevating recollections of the disastrous 1969 Santa Barbara spill that helped drive the first Earth Day a year later.

There is not any good place for an oil spill, but the Santa Barbara Channel is an especially unhealthy one. Before the Spanish came, the Chumash individuals had their own title for Refugio Beach: Qasil (which implies “beautiful”). The surf is usually mild and palm trees dot the beach. chemical tower manufacturing installation One friend tells me he remembers physique browsing there in the late afternoon while dolphins hung silhouetted in the approaching waves. The nearby Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary teems with whales, dolphins, sea lions, some 60 species of seabirds, and greater than 500 species of fish.

Horrible although the Refugio spill is, not less than someone is attempting to wash it up. The Coast Guard was on the scene within hours. But the waters where Shell Oil plans to drill in the Arctic additionally teem with sea life like whales, seals, walruses, and polar bears. But the nearest Coast Guard station with tools for responding to a spill is more than 1,000 miles away.

President Obama’s own Division of the Interior has already predicted that, if Shell is allowed to proceed with drilling, the likelihood of a big spill is 75 %. So who’s going to clean it up — and with what utterly unproven know-how Even the American Petroleum Institute admits to “logistical challenges” for dealing with an Arctic oil spill. That is putting it mildly. The business cites the biggest oil reserves area as having some of essentially the most harmful seas on this planet. The Gulf of Mexico is virtually a mill pond compared, but as much as three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe was by no means recovered. Ten million gallons of toxic oil remain on the seafloor, and it could be many years earlier than we know the complete extent of the injury.

President Obama is not connecting the dots in the case of oil, and it’s threatening his promise to leave office with a strong legacy on climate action and clear energy. Scientists have warned us that three-quarters of all fossil fuels should keep in the bottom if we would like to forestall runaway climate disruption. Why explore for more oil — within the Arctic of all locations — when we won’t burn most of the oil that is already been identified

One among the primary things you study in Econ one hundred and one is the importance of provide and demand. President Obama and his administration deserve credit score for main accomplishments in terms of reducing demand for soiled fossil fuels, whether or not it is forcing utilities to wash up polluting power plants or establishing stronger fuel-economy standards for automobiles and trucks. Bizarrely, though, the president is simultaneously making choices that might lock in vast quantities of soiled fuels on the provision side for many years to come back. An growth of drilling within the Arctic, which may hold up to 20 % of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gasoline resources, is precisely such a choice.

The selections and investments we make immediately have all the things to do with what the longer term will seem like for generations to come back. Can we invest billions in more and more excessive methods to extract the fossil fuels that threaten our local weather, or do we put money into clean power options and technologies that may help meet that threat Can we put money into oil derricks within the Arctic or in security for Amtrak Gas-export terminals or power-storage applied sciences These are the choices that will decide the future.

The good news is that the president and his administration still have time to rethink drilling policies, walk again unhealthy decisions, and make higher ones. Earlier than Shell Oil can really start work in the Arctic, it must have its oil spill catastrophe response plan authorised and its wastewater discharge permit issued, along with other permits. The authority to issue these permits lies solely with the administration. More administrative decisions on whether or not to increase Arctic drilling leases even additional are also yet to be introduced. And biggest oil reserves there are still necessary selections for the president to make in regards to the Keystone XL and different tar sands pipelines.

In the end, constructing a legacy is greater than piling up a file of accomplishments — it is the actions you take as we speak that can reverberate far into the future — for better or for worse. Let President Obama know that one of the most important actions he can take right now is to deny any or all of the remaining permits Shell wants to move forward with its plan for drilling in the Arctic.

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