Spill Baby Spill

As I write this, a huge catastrophe is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. 5,000 barrels (200,000 gallons) of oil per day are spilling into the gulf and wreaking tremendous environmental devastation.

Rather than detailing this particular catastrophe that is so forefront in the news these days, I would like to point out something even more important. This is a catastrophe. This was an accident. No one meant for it to happen.

However, oil spills are not only foreseeable, they are an inevitable consequence of our horrifyingly devastating substance abuse and addiction.

Oil spills, far from being infrequent, are highly common and are increasing in both frequency and severity over time. Make no mistake about it. The only way to stop oil spills is to stop oil drills. The devastating effects of the Valdez spill that is still remembered as one of the worst, were merely more publicized than most. The spill happened in U.S. waters and on U.S. soil, so, for once, the ever oblivious American population took note. Valdez was not even that large by oil spill standards.

Check out this history of large oil spills. Unfortunately, though the history is truncated at 2004, the spills have not stopped since then.

Oil Spill History

When you are done being thoroughly disgusted by this substance that is far better left buried for so many many reasons, please take action and urge a stop to further drilling. Here is one site that makes it particularly easy to do so.

Defenders of Wildlife Action

And, when you hear some idiot like Sarah Palin chanting “Drill Baby Drill” at some rally, remember that what they really mean is “Spill Baby Spill.”

Thank you.

11 Responses to Spill Baby Spill

  1. Another search came up with a shorter list of spills, but one that includes the present, presumably with a higher minimum number of gallons for listing. Note that both lists only list large spills.

    Oil Spills and Disasters

  2. inafutureage says:

    I agree. Unfortunately our economy now runs on oil. As a society we waste energy because we think it is cheap, because we don’t have the externalities built into the cost. Oil and coal are simply not sustainable. We need to invest in new energy technology.

  3. bocraw says:

    Thousands and thousands of oil rigs in oceans around there world. 39 blowouts in the last 14 years. None were remotely close to this. Those who said “drill baby drill” didn’t sign up for this…this was not an inevitable consequence.

  4. Sorry bocraw, I have to disagree. Just as having millions of cars on the road means that thousands will die in auto accidents, even if most people don’t, having a huge number of oil rigs in the world and transporting that oil from one end of the earth to the other (so to speak) means that there will be spills. And, it means there will be multiple spills per year, as there are.

    Did you even bother to read either of the oil spill history links? Spills are indeed inevitable. The only way to stop having oil spills is to stop using oil.

    BTW, your statement of thousands and thousands overstates things a bit. You should actually do the research before making such a statement. At a bare minimum, thousands + thousands equals 4,000 but really implies far more than that.

    The actual count of rigs is 2665.


    But, seriously, the number of rigs is not important. The number of spills is. Keep in mind that both of the oil spill history links I posted only contain the very large spills. Still, they are frequent enough and increasing in frequency and severity, to indicate a statistical certainty that drilling equals spilling and more drilling equals more spilling.

  5. bocraw says:

    Did you read your own links?

    1) There are thousands and thousands of rigs on the planet. The link you provided discusses “rotary rigs”–only one type of rig. I don’t know the exact count, but assume there are at least twice as many total rigs as rotary rigs, then that would equal at least 5,330.

    I would be surprised if there were only 5,330. But I do not claim to know the exact number. I am simply stating that there are “thousands and thousands” of rigs, yes at least 4,000.

    2) your link provides a history of oil leaks that are are minor compared to this eco-disaster.

    What did a common sense “drill baby drill” person think was a worst case scenario with off shore? The rigs in the gulf were hit hard during Katrina, and much oil was spilled. But the environmental damage of all those spills combined will pale in comparison to this one.

    The best geo-engineers in the world told us this wasn’t possible.

    Like I say, those of us who said drill baby drill did not sign up for this.

  6. bocraw,

    First, not all spills are from rigs. Second spills just happen with respect to oil. You say this disaster is worse than any previous disaster? Well, I’ll make two points with respect to that.

    1) To my knowledge, we do not yet know the size of the current spill as it has not yet stopped.

    2) As I’ve said, spills are increasing in severity and frequency. If this spill does turn out to be the worst ever, it will prove my point, not disprove it.

    People like you who claim you did not sign up for such spills when you religiously chanted “drill baby drill” to the delight of the great god ExxonMobil were simply not paying attention.

    Spills are inevitable. Each worst ever spill will be replaced by a new worst ever spill over time. Oil cannot be drilled, transported, and used without such spills.

    Even if this spill didn’t happen, even if all of the spills were only as bad as Valdez which was far from the worst and has still not been cleaned up, how many such spills would be acceptable to the ExxonMobil bots of the world?

    As I said, when you chanted “drill baby drill”, you did indeed sign up for this, knowingly or not.

  7. bocraw,

    One question, in light of this information about spills as well as the current spill, do you still chant “drill baby drill”?

  8. bocraw says:

    I am going to wait until this is investigated fully before I decide if I support further offshore drilling. A poll on the WSJ say that 60+% of their readers do NOT support further offshore drilling. Sot hat should make your day.

    I did want to pass this on: From the LA Times, “But in a television appearance Sunday on “This Week,” Salazar rejected calls to shut any of the remaining 30,000 drilling rigs in the gulf”…

  9. bocraw,

    I just want to be sure I understand you.

    1) The best engineer in the world (presumably an oil company employee) said that this was not possible. It happened/is happening.

    2) Huge spills of all kinds from tankers, pipelines, rigs, etc. have been happening for decades and are on the rise in both frequency and severity.

    3) You’re going to wait to hear the spin from some oil company spokesperson (who may be a pseudoelected official) before you make your decision for whether we should reduce oil use rather than continue drilling.

    Am I correct?

    Are you also aware of the many other horrific effects of oil, such as terrorism (funded almost completely by oil), deaths by air pollution (around 70-130,000 in the U.S. alone every year), totalitarian regime support (Venezuela, Nigeria, Middle Eastern nations, etc.), wars, and of course oil spills? Note, I didn’t mention global warming since you are unlikely to believe in science if you are capable of chanting “drill baby drill”.

    Do you support all of these things?

    Is driving your humper, naggravator, land bruiser, pathgrinder, land hoover, or other horrifically stupid SUV really worth it? OK, perhaps you drive something more reasonable, but probably still well below the European average of 44 MPG or the Japanese average of 45 MPG. Is our drive everywhere in horrifically inefficient vehicles really worth this?

    Do you realize how much more energy equivalent we can get for far less money just by conserving energy rather than drilling for more thick black goo to be dumped on the planet?

  10. inafutureage says:

    Bocraw, do you know how much of your tax dollars go into a gallon of gas? I was part of the 5th fleet and can assure you that we spend plenty of money to provide gasoline. On top of that, we subsidize the oil companies. At the end of the day, the cost of a gallon of gas does not reflect the money that you personally spend on oil. Inevitably, the cost of oil is only going to rise as the EROEI continues to diminish. Don’t you think that instead of drill, baby, drill, we should look for a more sustainably long term solution? Oil and coal are not it. Nuclear, to me, is the best source and should be expanded to provide more baseload. Wind and solar should also be expanded.

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