It’s a little difficult to swallow the scope of the leaking oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico right now. Let me just cover a few of the angles. First, Sarah Palin has come under fire for her “Drill Baby, Drill!” mantra. What she really means, if any have taken the time to read what she actually said, is that we should ease restrictions on drilling in general, this would ultimately have made it easier to drill in more accessible locations. What British Petroleum (BP) is doing amounts to “research” since they are drilling in deeper waters than have ever been drilled before.
If we had eased restrictions, then we could likely have avoided this type of environmental nightmare that we see right now hitting the Gulf Coast in Louisiana. Here in Colorado for example, when oil hit $75 / barrel three (was it four?) years ago, applications for drilling permits went sky high. But, because of legislation enacted by “environmentally” friendly legislators, we have a backlog of near a billion dollars worth of drilling permits! Those permits are waiting on environmental impact studies to be done in order to secure the needed access to the areas where they wish to drill.
I agree with Sarah Palin – this is ridiculous! What has happened over the past 50 years is since drilling has been so “difficult” in this country, we’ve caused environmental disasters in third world countries where they have no such restrictions. Think of countries like Nigeria, Iran and Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The oil drilling areas in those countries are deplorable areas of toxic chemical spills, hazardous working conditions for the few “lucky” third world workers who are hired to run those wells and pipe the oil to the “ever ready to consume every drop of oil” west.
I may sound angry, but the point is this: If we had swallowed the bitter pill that supplying oil domestically is a necessary evil to support our “oil habit” then we could have avoided the situation we see today: Drilling in places where we should not be conducting “experiments” and we could probably have gone a long ways towards balancing our foreign trade deficit. Currently we import around $15-20 billion / month in foreign oil. That’s stuff we just _burn up_ in our cars! People – it doesn’t make sense in anybody’s economy to do that! But that is a far trifling matter next to the irreparable damage we will have done to the fragile wetlands along Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s Gulf Coasts as a result of this irresponsible drilling “experiment” undertaken by BP.