It's the Environment, Stupid.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Oil - a valuable commodity?

Oil seems to be increasing in value as a precious commodity, so why doesn't anyone care when there is an oil spill?

Just last week 47,000 barrels of oil spilled at a Citgo refinery in Lake Charles, LA which, according to the latest NY Times article, "forced the closure of the channel, a key lane for transporting petroleum in and out of the region's four refineries. Citgo said the oil poured over the top of the tanks' walls during heavy rain, initially causing closure of the channel's 40-mile span to the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard and the state Department of Environmental Quality are investigating the spill."

The biggest inconvenience was that ships weren't able to pass, and local seafood businesses were affected, as the title of yesterday's article mentions, "Ships Stranded and Seafood Threatened After Spill."

If a barrel of oil contains about 40 or so gallons, that's a lot of fill-ups that just went wasted. We don't seem to care about the ecological effects of a oil spill - even if it is a measly 47,000 barrels - so shouldn't we at least care that a highly valued commodity has just gone to waste? What about caring where the burden of clean-up costs really fall? Have we, as consumers/taxpayers, gotten so used to footing the bill that we accept it as a part of the cost of living?

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