I have been following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico like everyone else. Some nights I get tired of hearing the gloomy news as the disaster continues on so I switch stations looking for something less depressing.
We are fortunate that we are able to change the channel to avoid having to deal with it. For those living in the areas that are the most affected, changing the channel won't help.
It may seem easy for us to think we are immune from what the gulf region is dealing with, but last week the Salt Lake area found themselves with the same issue on a much smaller note. In our own Nine Mile Canyon we have also had a leak that fouled the creek for a while before it was discovered. Clean-up efforts for both of those incidents continue.
We are not as insulated from these disasters as we think.
Does that mean we should quit drilling and leasing for exploration? Absolutely not. But there is a need for true oversight and regulation to help protect us as it happens.
Getting away from the environmental and economic impact from the spill, just think about the oil going to waste that we can never refine to drive our cars and heat our homes because BP was more worried about corporate profits than doing things right. What's this doing to their profits now?
As soon as there has been any out cry for stiffer regulations, the industry counters with the threat of how high prices will be for us "small people" if that happens. Campaign donations might also dry up too.
But corporate profits are at an all time high. It seems to me that some of that should be invested in technology that will assure the safety of its workers and the environment around the drilling areas.
Of course adding regulations to improve safety of the industry will require better federal oversight. In this political climate though that seems like a long shot. I am wondering if the people along the gulf coast are feeling like less regulation is the way to go right now.
Many of the arguments from SUWA and others at the end of the Bush administration on the leasing of federal land was that everything was being fast tracked through and existing rules were being overlooked or ignored to get things into production quickly.
What will happen in the gulf over the next several months is yet to be seen. It will not just go away by changing the channel. Hopefully, even as bad as this is, there can be some solid lessons learned that will decrease the odds of other similar disasters.