Monday, May 24, 2010

The real reason we have a Gulf oil spill

I took a quick look at the news this morning on TV and Interior's Ken Salazar was reiterating that the government was going to "keep a boot on the neck" of BP until the Gulf well blowout was sealed shut.

But who is going to put the boot on the American public's neck? We usually don't see this kind of traffic congestion in Los Alamos, but its the rule in our nation's major population centers, as reported by the Texas Transportation Institute: In its annual report (see link) the TTI tells us that:
  • The overall cost of traffic congestion (based on wasted fuel and lost productivity) reached $87.2 billion in 2007 – more than $750 for every U.S. traveler.
  • The total amount of wasted fuel topped 2.8 billion gallons – three weeks' worth of gas for every traveler.
  • The amount of wasted time totaled 4.2 billion hours – nearly one full work week (or vacation week) for every traveler.
Without the voracious and wasteful appetite we have for oil, there would be less reason to drill in deep water and certainly more reason to be prudent in how we do so. As long as we continue to demand all the oil that can be pumped and elect leaders who are lax on regulatory oversight (the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service lax oversight problems are bipartisan but certainly worsened with Dick Cheney running the show), the blame for this disaster has to be shared.

Meanwhile, those reading this blog are hopefully doing the right thing: use your bike when you can instead of your car. And not just during Bike to Work Week.

Further note: In the 6-8-10 Monitor, columnist Hal Rhodes asks "Why did the American people, through their elected representative, allow anyone to go poking for oil in deep waters off our coastlines without first knowing how to fix the inevitable disasters that would follow?"

Jeeze, Hal. Look at any road or parking lot in Los Alamos County or elsewhere in the U.S. and you can get the answer right away. We want our gas, and we want it now. As Walt Kelly, speaking as Pogo, reminded us, "we have met the enemy, and he is us".

Cartoon source: Wikipedia. Click pic for link.

1 comment:

Steve A said...

Such sights might cause me to reconsider my views on bike lanes!