June 7, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill!


That Tillerman is such a worrywart.

He's posted a map of what the Gulf oil disaster would look like if moved to his home sailing grounds in New England. Of course, spread across a puny state like Rhode Island, the oil spill looks huge.

To put a more fair and balanced spin on this, let's look at what the spill would look like if centered over Sarah Palin's home town of Wasilla, Alaska.

Ah, that's much better. See, against a big state like Alaska, it doesn't look too bad at all. It covers only about five per cent of Alaska. You'd have to have twenty such disasters before you'd cover all of Alaska with oil. There'd still be plenty of pristine wildlife habitat left to destroy. No need to stop drilling yet.

Is it any wonder the former governor has a much more realistic outlook on the future of deep offshore oil exploration than the short-sighted among us?

As an Alaskan, Palin has direct personal experience with oil spill disasters. It's said she can see Prince William Sound from her house. And her experience with the relatively minor Exxon Valdez incident has taught her to think long term. Prince William Sound is expected to be as good as new just 30 years after the Exxon Valdez went aground.

Drill, baby, drill!



  1. Yes, it is a tragedy. Yes, we are all complicit by our use of energy.
    No, we won't be going back to the romantic age of sail.

    A little perspective.
    1) We would not be drilling 5000 feet below the surface, stretching the limits of man's knowledge and technology had not the environmentalist lobby driven oil producers that far offshore. There are huge, vast, humongous resources on land and much closer to shore where drilling is safer. We're that far out because the environmentalists pushed us that far out. They are complicit, perhaps even more so than the average person.

    2) While there is a lot of hyperbole in the news about this being the greatest, biggest, worst spill ever, the real facts are that it is still 1/6th the size of the 1979 IXTOC-1 spill in the gulf in 1979, and 1/20th the size of the Gulf War intentional spills in Iraq. source: http://sppiblog.org/news/past-oil-spills

    We survived those. We'll survive this one too ... and will learn from it.

    Either we learn to "drill baby drill" safely (on land and closer to shore) or give up to our enemies who own all the rest of the oil.

  2. Bob, I think the hyperbole in the news is about this being the largest oil spill in US history. In that context, it's not technically hyperbole, but fact. It is now larger that the Exxon Valdez disaster and growing every day. And I don't believe I would have much trouble finding people to agree with me about the Exxon Valdez spill being an environmental disaster.

    I'm sorry to learn that it was the evil environmentalists who caused this latest disaster. If it weren't for them, we would have to deal only with minor incidents like the Exxon Valdez spill.

    I should add that I work with hyperbole every day here on O Dock. Hyperbole is a good friend of mine. And Bob, this is no hyperbole.

  3. Sorry O'Docker. This is NOT the largest in US History. It is only 1/6th the size of the largest in US history.

    The 1979 IXROC-1 spill was a rig in the Gulf of Mexico, right here surrounded by the good ole USA, and was 6 times larger. Oh, you might say, that was a Mexican spill. Yes, it was, but it affected Texas and the last time I checked Texas was part of the US.

    Calling the BP spill the largest, worse, or whatever other superlative, is indeed hyperbole, not fact.

  4. Those evil environmentalists are responsible for all oil spills. And coal mining accidents. And nuclear plant meltdowns. And chemical plant explosions.

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  6. Bob, I guess we could debate the issue of which enormous environmental disaster is the worst.

    To my way of thinking, that would tend to draw attention away from a more important issue which is that the Gulf accident is not a good thing, no matter how small and insignificant it might be.

    I think we can solve the big problems by attacking small ones like this, first.

    I think we should go after the environmentalists who caused this. I guess the real longterm solution is to better regulate those environmentalists. For years, they have been allowed to fill our heads with nonsense that just confuses the important issues and keeps us from focusing on the real culprits.

  7. "Comment deleted" was me, btw. I left something flippant without having looked in & seen the serious turn the comments had taken. Taken in the context in which it landed, my silliness actually came across sort of weird.

  8. Bonnie, sometimes it is silliness like yours that helps me maintain my sanity in a world that sometimes seems to have gone completely mad.

    Say Hi to Bubbles for me.

  9. Deregulate the oil companies who are just helping the world's people by finding and delivering clean, safe energy in a responsible, ethical manner.

    Regulate the hell out of those evil environmentalists who made BP go drilling in the deep sea and then prevented them from taking the necessary precautions and also prevented them from developing a workable contingency plan and who made BP's CEO make that comment about "wanting his life back". Bad bad bad environmentalists.

  10. Absolutely, Baghdad (may I call you Baghdad?).

    Who are these environmentalists who would confuse us with all of that sneaky technical mumbo jumbo like 'toxic' and 'mililiters' and 'parts per billion'? What is their motivation in all of this? To get research and grant money so that they can crank out more environmental scientists. What a devious, self-serving lot they are.

    The oil companies, on the other hand, have much more straightforward and pure motives. They only want to make money. Why would they try to mislead us merely to make money? That makes no sense at all.

  11. I'm confused. Oil companies want to make money?

    I've been watching their TV ads lately and I got the impression that they want to create a nice soft fuzzy future full of happy smiling healthy looking people. I don't think they really want to sell oil any more. One of them even has a nice green and yellow logo and they say they are "beyond petroleum".

    Me too.

  12. I think they're transitioning from selling oil to delivering it free of charge to anyone with coastal access. The marketing idea is to turn oil more into a lifestyle product. It's their way of giving back.

  13. I almost posted something flippant, it's hard to make fun when deaths are involved. It seems that this disaster was caused by the taking of short cuts and ignoring the advice of engineers....if you believe the Wall Street Journal.

  14. Yeah, maybe this post was not my best idea.

    I am just so bummed that the drill babies don't think this should make any difference and that we should just charge right ahead.

    I think most of us are amazed that they were so far over their heads and were allowed to go ahead anyway. This is not the way to research new containment techniques.

  15. I remember walking the beach on south Padre Island in August '79 in the wake of Ixtoc.

    As long as we use energy so intensively, we'll have to manage the consequences as best we can. It seems obvious that the consequences weren't too well managed here. And, trying to export the dirty processes and most hazardous forms of energy generation and extraction to less restricted places is not the same thing as reducing pollution or risk.

    What isn't obvious to many people are the relative impacts of different forms of energy use. How many people realize, for example, the large amounts of radioactivity emitted from burning coal? And how many people consider the deaths of thousands of coal miners in the world to be an acceptable price for their energy?

  16. There was a romantic age of sail?

    I recall that working sail used to be a hazardous industry that left mariners mangled and murdered.

  17. I'm not one iota hyperbolic, but I agree with everything Baghdad Bob says!

  18. Muhammed, thanks for stopping by O Dock.

    I appreciate your not being hyperbolic as that's a difficult shape to maintain.

    As long as you're here, though, can you confirm the rumors that there is some kind of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

  19. Mr O Docker, let me try and help my friend Bob answer your question. There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know. The answer to your question is one of those unknown unknowns.

  20. Don, I write a blog about nothing.

    I pride myself on being something of an expert on nothing. But your mastery of the unknown has greatly impressed me. There seem to be no limits to what you don't know.

    Your leadership could help us greatly in the Gulf disaster, since the unknown seems to be playing an increasingly important role in resolving the crisis.

  21. I'd be glad to advise the President on this matter if asked. Or even if not asked. My usual advice when dealing with a tough problem is to start a small war. Or even a medium-sized war. Have we invaded India lately?

  22. A little late to the game, but I'm in...
    Since I became an environmentalist 57 years ago, when I was born, it has continuously surprised me that I am evil as a consequence and responsible for upsetting progress. I find it hard to believe we aren't all environmentalists, since we all live in the same environment. Or have I missed something?
    I remember having a similar discussion with Bob recently about the consumption of oil, in a slightly different context.
    My question to Bob today is "how would you define survival?" Just look around you - the world environment has degraded demonstrably in just the half century I've been observing it. Lets replace "survive" with "thrive" and see how the argument changes. If that's hyperbole, so be it. It's also hyperbole to claim that a disaster such as the one we are discussing is ultimately harmless.
    An arguement about who has the biggest oil spill is infantile.
    Sorry O'Dock, I have no sense of humor about issues such as this.

  23. This is getting way too serious. People need a distraction. I meant what I said about India. We don't know that they are not harboring evildoers who want to drill holes in the bottom of our gulf and let the oil out. We need to make a strike before the evildoers can do their evil. We don't want to wait until the smoking gun is a smoking oil well. Remember Bhopal.

  24. Don, why are you pretending to be me?

  25. Michael, thanks for your thoughts.

    I think I resort to humor sometimes to keep from saying some things I might later regret. I know a little more about 'environmentalists' than I might let on. Some college friends of mine went into that work and I've kept in touch with them for the past 40 years. I have seen how hard they work and have heard a lot of stories about the political battles they have to fight just to survive. Although most of them have as much professional training as a doctor or lawyer, none of them are even close to being wealthy.

    When I start to hear some of the uninformed rhetoric that is often unleashed against them, or arguments designed to cloud the significant issues, little red flags start waving and I begin thinking some very dark thoughts, indeed.

    I try to keep things pretty light here. But if you reread my post, I hope you'll find a serious point or two buried in my outlandish squawking.

  26. my belated comment: the oil spill is not to be reckoned in square meters like a surface, but in CUBIC meters like a volume. That volume of greasy stuff from the earth's bowels gushing out into the Atlantic ocean is gigantic! It will slowly ride upon the gulfstream current and arrived in a couple of centuries upon other shores. By then it will look like some precious stuff that people make jewels out of... Meanwhile back at the range...

  27. I fear you're right, Frankie.

    I think the genie is so far out of the bottle that only nature can manage the cleaning up.

    She's a tireless worker, but needs time - a lot of time.

    We now have the tools to upset nature's balance on a larger scale than she can handle all at once.