Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Still Say No

When I was in high school the EPA- I think- held hearings in Pensacola about oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. I remember going. The officials were all seated at a long table on the stage at the Saenger. Various members of the community pleaded with them. I remember coming away with one impression; that it didn't matter, their minds were already made up. Of course I had the right impression because the minds in power are still made up. They get to where they are by being good short term thinkers and fabulous leeches on the system. It must be very hard to stand up in a meeting and say, "We are going to run out of oil at some point so we might as well suck it up and take the hit now." No. They all see the short term dollars and the overwhelming relief of not having to solve a problem. This applies to President Obama as well. What they never factor in to thinking about oil is what huge, huge externalities it forces. For example the picture above. Do you know what this satellite image says to me? It says "Fuck you." In no uncertain terms. It says that where you grew up and what you find important are not. Not important at all. That as long as the profits made with help from public infrastructure cover airfare to the Bahamas, we will drill in the Gulf. As long as the public helps foot the bill and the effort for the clean-up then, hey, accidents happen. As long as the people killed were just people, we will move on. Fuck you. Do you think a wind spill would be this bad? What about a solar spill? I guarantee you that it wouldn't. Imagine one person being killed in a wind power accident. They would try to shut down the whole thing. Add up all of the public money that will go into cleaning this up. Now imagine proposing to spend that on solar. "What a waste in this economy." They will say. "Don't you care about the deficit?"
People will complain that using this spill and the terrible coal mine "accident" as reasons to change policy will be politicizing them. But they were political accidents made possible by political decisions. We all know that coal and oil are finite. To say so is not to insult the people who work in those fields. To use those workers as buffers while writing off their deaths and knowing you will dispose of them as soon as the resource runs out is despicable. "No Blood for Oil" isn't just an outdated protest to the first Gulf War, it is a real and sensible demand. None for coal either. These are dying industries who are worked by people I associate with very much. People I am related to by blood and class. But they are controlled by sociopaths whose only moral code lies in Steve Miller lyrics, "Go on take the money and run." That is a problem. I say fuck you back.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

This is exactly how I feel about Barrow and drilling in the North Slope. I am glad someone could articulate it so well. To think of a place that I loved being destroyed is heartbreaking. I remember last year debating with someone about wind energy. Their argument was that it was not efficient, economically or for obtaining energy. They also devoted a section of the argument to the fact that wind tunnels would kill too many birds. So there ya go. Stick that in your smoke and pipe it. I surely hope that Obama doesn't give in to pressure to begin drilling in Alaska as he has, in part, to offshore drilling.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.