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The Blue & Gray Press | April 25, 2018

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Money Spent on Big Oil Could be Better Spent on Renewable Resources

Guest Columnist

When inaccuracy and manipulation become the foundation of popular opinion, it’s time to call into question those who spew these “truths.” If the average American citizen knew the actual environmental ramifications of offshore drilling, they would not blindly follow the whim of dogmatic politicians, who largely cater to corporate avarice.

With the election of Barack Obama, the American people saw a new epoch of political responsibility, an idea radically different from the past eight years of American politics. However, the change Obama fought so ardently for is seemingly not the change he promised during his campaign.

It seems Obama has sold out to political pressure, while not enforcing the liberal values he promised would heal the wounds of America. Any American who ostensibly calls themselves a Democrat may follow the President’s empty rhetoric, but those who truly concern themselves with this country’s environmental issues cannot find comfort in the words of Obama’s offshore drilling plan.

The momentum for the environmental movement in this country began in 1969, in Santa Barbara, Calif., where an offshore oil platform suffered an inconceivable spill. For eleven days, oil spewed from the platform, releasing an estimated 200,000 galloons of oil, spreading 800 square miles. The oil caused massive lung hemorrhages in dolphins, poisoned any animal that ingested it, destroyed whale breeding grounds and killed an estimated 4,000 seabirds.

Yet some claim “environmentalists have little to worry about” when discussing offshore drilling. Even with advances in technology, there is no guarantee that these oil platforms will not leak or spill. Since this event in 1969, a moratorium was installed that effectively banned most offshore drilling operations in the United States. President Bush as well as Senator John McCain both supported ending the moratorium and to begin offshore drilling.

While campaigning, Obama stated, “what wouldn’t do a thing to lower gas prices is John McCain’s new proposal, a proposal adopted by George Bush as well, to open up Florida’s coastline to offshore drilling.” He also stated there would be “long term consequences for our coastlines, and no short-term benefits, since it would take at least 10 years to get any oil. Well the politics may have changed, but the facts have not.”

It seems the politics have changed for President Obama. He continues to say “offshore drilling will not lower gas prices” and “we won’t see a drop of oil until 2017. You wouldn’t see any full production until 2030.” The U.S. Energy Administration released data in 2009 that stated lifting the moratorium would have no impact by 2020, and by 2030 projections suggest it could lower gas only by an estimated 3 cents.

Why spend taxpayer money irresponsibly to appease big oil companies, when the money could be spent investing in renewable energy resources? They would be an effective method of ending our dependence on foreign oil. This plan seems to be a feeble attempt to gain Republican support, especially with midterm elections in the near future.

Whom does it concern that this is happening? It seems the American citizen has retreated into the realms of complacency and subservience. Perhaps when refineries are built in Norfolk we will accept the inevitable realization of our apathy. Perhaps when Virginia waterways become as polluted as Cancer Ally, on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, will we stop and ask how this happened. Until then, let us submit to our own ignorance.


  1. Matt

    Good article, I must agree we need to find better, more environmentally friendly energy resources and ways to save energy.

    Now that that’s been said, I find a number of problems with how it’s currently being done — here are a few things that we’re currently doing very wrong “in the name of going green”:

    -mandatory ethanol blends. This wreaks havoc with engines that aren’t specifically designed for it. Cars get lower gas mileage, small engines (like lawnmowers) stop running, and worse yet the blended fuel “goes stale” faster than plan gasoline. There have even been news stories about gas stations getting a little too much ethanol and suddenly all their customers are stranded leaving the station when their engines won’t run. I won’t even go into issues with boat engines!

    -CFL’s may use less power but they release lots of hazardous chemicals when thrown away. After hearing a news story on TV about recycling them, we tried it. Here in Spotsylvania County, after gathering up a dozen failed/defective CFL’s we headed to the dump/recycling center on Harrison Rd. What do they tell you to do? Throw them in the crusher with all the other trash. So not only are the CFL’s just crushed releasing the mercury vapor, but we also wasted the time and fuel to drive all the way there in an effort to “be green”. Why should I go out of my way to try and “be green” when it all ends up in the same place?

    -New technology is getting cheaper but is less reliable than conventional methods. The ethanol issue is just one example. CFL’s are another. CFL’s are coming down in price but they have MANY quality issues. In the last year, we’ve replaced more CFL’s failing prematurely than regular bulbs — in fact we’ve started replacing our CFL’s with traditional bulbs. Then there are all the ones that won’t light up fully out of the box and the ones that start smoking or smelling like an electrical fire after a few months of use. Then there’s using them in the cold – at one time we had outdoor rated CFL’s in our front porch and found that we couldn’t see who was at the door in the winter. These aren’t “no-name” brands either; they’re GE and Sylvania from places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and WalMart. That’s just fixtures they’re intended to be used on, you still can’t find dimmable CFL’s at any local store. They can be made to last – my late grandfather installed many CFL bulbs throughout their house back in the early-mid 90’s when it was expensive and new technology. They’re far from compact by today’s standard but they last, and for a short time could even be found in dimmable types. A handful have burned out over the years, but replacing them with modern CFL’s just isn’t the same. Often the new CFL’s only work for a few months. How do I know this? Another think my grandfather did was to date everything – especially expendables like compact florescent bulbs and disposable batteries. Some of the old CFL’s are still working almost 15 years. Many of the new CFL’s have been replaced multiple times in the last 2 years. This is progress?

    We don’t just need to find renewable resources, we need to re-think the effects of the new resources and make sure they’re actually worthwhile.