Monday, May 18, 2009

TICK...TICK...TICK: Offshore or on, the push for more petroleum is a coastal timebomb

Lots of times, I struggle with what to complain about each week.(Just check my lame-ass "Moby Dick" post below.) But usually, all I have to do is check the news every few days and I'll find a reason to spew over the push for expanding oil production off our coast. This morning, I woke up to the following bombshell, Fireball lights up oil refinery on Delaware River.

Nobody knows what caused it, but apparently "New Castle County, Del., county councilman John Cartier said he could see the flames from his home at least three miles from the refinery. 'It was almost like seismic,' he told The (Wilmington) News Journal. 'My house was rocked. It was a big large boom.'"

Granted, this isn't from a rig per se, but one of the dirty little secrets behind pushing for more petroleum offshore, is that once they find it they need to bring it in, which leads to an industrialization of the coastline -- bringing potential hazards from miles offshore right to peoples' doorsteps. Furthermore, research -- and the law of averages -- shows that increased production means increased risk of accidents. And apparently, this "refinery sits on a 781-acre site along an international seaport, and it operates around the clock seven days a week with about 700 employees." (Insert 'tick...tick...tick..." noise here.)

So, while our local 24-7 tourism enterprises employ about 10 times that with the greatest of hazards likely being a spilled drink, burned steak or drunken asshole, pushing petroleum means bringing a time bomb to our shores while making rural coastline look -- in the words of UNC researcher Pete Peterson -- " more like northern New Jersey.”

(In the case of Delaware, Chicago circa 1871 or San Francisco 1906 sounds like more accurate comparisons.)

Fired up? Good. Write a letter to your elected officials. Then, burn some more energy by taking the surf-first survey after your next session (assuming you haven't already.)

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