Something big usually needs to happen before people start taking larger notice of an ongoing problem. Whether it’s Darfur as representative of genocide occurring around the globe, Bernie Madoff representing widespread misconduct on Wall Street, or the BP oil spill representing the physical dangers and environmental hazards of deepwater drilling in general. Talking Points Memo’s David Kurtz makes some excellent points here that are well-known to folks familiar with the Gulf of Mexico and its shoreline:
“The Gulf is not a pristine environment. If your only exposure to the Gulf has been on the beaches of Florida, you might convince yourself that the Gulf is a deep blue aquatic wilderness. But as you travel west, the beaches give way to the marshes of the Mississippi delta, which are crisscrossed by oil and gas pipelines, manmade canals, and flood control levees. Further west, in Texas, the beaches reemerge, but shipping canals, giant refineries, and petrochemical factories persist. Over the horizon, in the Gulf itself, thousands of oil and gas wells pump night and day.”
The point is that people’s awareness to our energy policy’s impact on the Gulf of Mexico is at a peak right now. Unlike how ANWR’s pristine last frontier-esque landscape is what people think of whenever you hear about drilling for oil there (despite what Sarah Palin wants you to think), the Gulf is an area that is basically defined by man’s industrial presence there: “Shipping, flood control, and natural resource extraction have taken a nearly century-long toll on the coast,” Kurtz writes.
It’s time to turn the corner in this nation’s energy policy. This country can do it, but we need to urge our legislators into bold, aggressive, change that lessens our reliance on oil. Call your legislator at 877-762-8762. Change won’t happen overnight, but it can happen eventually.