Editorial: Gulf spill shows U.S. energy woes

By Central Florida Future Editorial Board

As we follow the aftermath of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we can’t seem to get Sarah Palin’s infamous “Drill, baby, drill” chant from the 2008 presidential campaign out of our heads. She should promptly drill her foot inside her mouth.

And perhaps President Barack Obama should too, considering less than a month before the monstrosity, he supported offshore drilling as part of his new energy policy. Talk about awkward.

How many major oil spills does it take for our government to realize that, hey, perhaps drilling a gigantic pipe 35,000 feet into the ocean beneath rock and into an oil rig could be incredibly detrimental to the environment should something go terribly wrong? We hope only two.

Remember the almost 11 million gallons of crude oil spilled by Exxon Valdez in 1989?

Probably not, unless it was aired on VH1’s I Love the 80s. Long story short, in 1989, the oil tanker hit the Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef, spilling crude oil into the Alaskan coast.

Not quite a result of offshore drilling, but an ecological disaster nonetheless.

We have barely begun to see the environmental and political implications of the spill in the Gulf. This spill is not being controlled, it’s wasting tons of an already scarce material (think of the friend who starts spilling his or her beer after one too many), while killing already endangered animals. But good thing our economy is in perfect condition to be further destroyed.

Oh wait.

On the bright side the spill may cause Obama to re-consider his new position on offshore drilling. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has already said he plans to filibuster any bill that would expand offshore drilling into Florida, but don’t get excited just yet.

Expanded offshore drilling was meant as a compromise with the right so they would push for more “green” legislation and alternative energy policies. Yeah, we don’t get it either. It’s like a conundrum, wrapped in a mystery, covered in oil.

So what do we do now aside from starring at our televisions, flabbergasted about the images of crude oil spewed over the Gulf of Mexico while politicians give us the turn-around and energy giant British Petroleum plays the blame game? We re-think our addiction to oil.

As Americans, it is practically inherent that we be large consumers of the stuff. We are energy connoisseurs, and according to a recent article in Time, 37.1 percent of our precious energy is supplied by oil. This high percentage explains the need for offshore drilling in the first place, but we can’t ignore its harmful effects on the environment. Let’s just say there’s a reason why Florida beaches look prettier than Texas’.

We also cannot ignore the fact that big oil executives tend to flaunt the oxymoronic phrase “safe offshore drilling” to fickle senators.

Sept. 11 should have prompted us to address our reliance on oil or at least reform our energy policies, but, unfortunately, it only promoted offshore drilling as an alternative to foreign dependence on oil.

Basically here’s what needs to happen and it needs to happen quickly: America should spend more than a measly $18 billion on clean energy research. If we are going to resort to offshore drilling, then the regulations must be tougher and we need to see actual follow-through when it comes to the creation and use of alternative energy.

Read more here: http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/gulf-spill-shows-u-s-energy-woes-1.2266272
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