As if global warming, acid rain, habitat destruction, and a dependency on nations who sponsor terrorism and mysogeny weren't enough, the American public now has a few more reasons to ween itself off of its millions of barrels per day oil habit.
The first happened two weeks ago when an estimated 6,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from the Magellan Midstream Pipeline in Texas, City Texas. This was less than a month after an isobutene leak in the same city precipitated the evacuation of 12 nearby homes. This was also the cite of a benzene leak in April of 2010, and is across the street from the refinery that had an explosion in 2005 that killed 15 of its workers, and injured 170 more.
Speaking of BP, it turns out that much of the over 200 millions of gallons spilled into the Gulf of Mexico last year has not "disappeared," as the petroleum giant has claimed, but instead has settled on the ocean floor. Although there are only preliminary findings at this point, it appears that a two inch layer of the suffocating liquid has covered an area at least 70 miles from the spill site, killing all types of plant and animal life that had previously existed. What is worse, the moratorium placed on offshore drilling by President Obama in the wake of the spill has recently been lifted (albeit with new safety measures) and oil companies are anxious to try a new type of drilling.that involves not only drilling beneath the ocean floor, but also driliing sideways.
Finally, there is the rising price of gasoline, which experts are saying will not only top $4.00 per gallon, but may reach $5.00. With the current instability in countries like Egypt and Libya, combined with terrorist attacks on the oil pipeline in Iraq, the price of crude seems to be rising higher everyday. President Obama is considering tapping into the nation's strategic oil reserves if the price continues to climb. While this may be beneficial of the economy in the short term, it does not help in the long term. First, it further delays our need to transfer to a better, cleaner source of energy. Second, it leads to further dirtying of the environment which, if left unchecked, could end up costing untold billions in damages from the consequences of climate change and other environmental degradation.
While the oil industry does provide millions of jobs, and contributes billions to our economy; it also stifles the development of cleaner (possibly cheaper) energy sources, while at the same time imperiling our future. Whatsmore, oil companies have been guilty of some pretty despicable behavior in the past, including the deliberate misrepresentation of facts, cutting costs on safety measures, an unwillingness to adequately compensate those adversely affected by their mishaps, and even collusion with governments willing to use violence to remove indigenous populations and squash worker's rights,
And despite the fact that the oil companies are the most prosperous corporations in the history of the world, our government still sees fit to hand out 40 billion dollars annually in tax breaks to them. When will enough be enough?
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