Slow Dance at Sunset

slow dance at sunset

Just after sunset on Friday night, dolphins played in front of me; sea lions behind me.

As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of scene this would be if offshore platforms were built and oil pulled from the ground. In an earthquake, would those platforms survive?

As I hear the reports of the platforms and refineries at risk along the Gulf Coast, I can’t help but wonder how the majority of people in this country can support building more. Have we really become that deeply entrenched in our lust and greed that we would even take the small risk of losing scenes like this?

On Friday, I was a guest at a magnificent dance of light and nature. Those 45 minutes are worth whatever sacrifice might need to be made to preserve even the prospect of attending another.

This post concludes the series of shore photos. Reality: Congress will, by doing nothing, allow the moratorium to expire. The President has signed the executive order lifting the order of his father to preserve these areas. The oil companies will have the right to drill with certain state agreements. The states are in agreement, and over 70% of the population has bought the lies of John McCain and his cronies that drilling offshore somehow solves the problem of high oil prices and demand.

I stand in a doorway. To my back, scenes like this. In front of me, scenes like the mess the Gulf Coast will see with the damage of one natural disaster doing serious damage to platforms and putting them at risk of leaking oil into the Gulf.

It’s an invitation to reconsideration; turn around and walk into this picture instead. Leave behind the notion of destruction, choosing more creative options for supply and demand than simply padding the balance sheet of Exxon/Mobil and the like.

The needle and the damage done…


Evidently Floridians have been injected with the offshore drilling meth now, too.

Have we become a nation of such uneducated, black and white thinkers that no one bothers to go beyond campaign rhetoric to the facts?

Of everything McCain has said in his campaign stops, his specious and irrational touting of offshore drilling as some sort of answer to oil prices (along with the suspension of the federal gas tax, which of course accomplishes nothing but screwing states out of road funds) is to me, the most despicable.

Blood money is funding his campaign. The blood of our shores, of our natural resources, of the wonders of our coasts, sold out to oil companies for campaign donations.

Remember, this is a train the Democrats cannot stop. They stand no chance of placing the moratorium into the budget, because Bush lifted the executive order and will not approve it.

Santa Barbara Sells Out

relative safety

This is disappointing.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a measure Tuesday to support offshore oil drilling, decades after an infamous 1969 oil spill coated the coastline and spawned the modern environmental movement.

I was shocked to read this. Seriously shocked. Santa Barbara has long been a stalwart opponent of offshore drilling and Rep. Lois Capps has been an outspoken opponent of the current push for it. So what was the Board of Supervisors thinking?

Turns out the vote was 3-2 on a largely symbolic action, since the city has no say in the matter. However, it appears that the almighty dollar has overtaken principle:

Supervisor Brooks Firestone, who co-wrote the request for a letter, wanted assurances from oil industry representatives that, because of modern advancements in drilling, such a spill would not occur again. Firestone’s family leases land to an inland oil drilling company that has struggled with spills, and last year he voted with the board majority in support of a federal moratorium on drilling.

“I don’t believe a spill of that magnitude could occur,” answered John Deacon, who has worked for various oil companies and now represents Tracer Environmental Sciences and Technologies.

This is one time where the term “flip-flopper” intended in the most derogatory fashion is applicable.

Offshore Drilling: Summary of Talking Points


I wrote these yesterday for someone who was about to have a conversation with the #dontgo folks. Seems like they belong here, with the photos of untainted oceans too.

  1. The entire #dontgo movement is nothing more than political grandstanding, given that the absence of action (see this post for more details) unblocks offshore leases.
  2. There is no obligation on the part of the oil companies who hold drilling rights on these leases to: a) drill at all; and b) keep the oil drilled inside domestic markets. In fact, with a commodity such as oil, it’s far more likely that the oil would be sold on the open market.
  3. Even if the oil companies drill offshore and bring more oil out of the ground, it will have no impact on the prices at the pump, nor is there any guarantee of any impact for a minimum of five to ten years.
  4. Refinery output is the bottleneck. We are not able to process what we can drill at this time, and there are no plans on the table to build more refineries.
  5. Oil companies own patents to some of the best alternative fuel options, but are not doing anything with them. If they opt to drill offshore and exercise those grants, they should be forced to put the patents in the public domain.
  6. If they were truly committed to lower gas prices at the pump, there would be unanimous consent to close the Enron loophole which allows for unbridled price inflation because of unchecked speculation.

Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

The Play Behind the Politics

Sunday Sunset

This will bring my series of images protesting offshore drilling back to even — one for each day this month.

So that we’re clear here, the entire offshore drilling debate including the smoky #dontgo and #drillheredrillnow initiative is all about heat with very little light.

All of the smoke blown by the Republicans is simply the business of politics. It’s always about taking known advantages and making sure they cast the opponent in the worst light. This is no different.

We all know President Bush lifted the executive order on offshore drilling. What I didn’t know until today was that even if he hadn’t, the bans have to be renewed each year before they expire on September 30th. Traditionally, they’re renewed as a rider to the appropriations bill.

What Bush signalled with the lifting of the bans is that non-renewal would pass through his hands with a nod and a smile. The Democrats don’t have a strong enough majority in the House or the Senate to force attachment of a rider, nor a veto-proof majority when Bush vetoes it.

In other words, releasing those leases was a done deal with no further action from Congress on September 30th.

Do they REALLY wonder why they have such a low approval rating there on Capitol Hill? This should give you a clue. The Republicans are all out there shouting about how Democrats won’t allow a vote, yada yada.

The truth is, no vote is necessary. No action necessary at all. Score one for the bad guys.

Still, for the rest of this month I’ll offer you visual reasons to at least morally, if not politically, oppose offshore drilling.

And I will do everything I can to knock my own Representative, Elton Gallegly, out of office for this and many other ineffective, greedy actions.

Update: GOP spinner ericjodom agrees with my analysis while lifting a quote from this post and altering it to appear as though I’m applauding by moving the quote and changing the word “bad” to “good”, as though that somehow justifies things. As I said in response to him, how utterly Rovian.

Just remember when you hear the new spin that Pelosi and the Democrats are ‘caving in’, that what is really going on is an effort to make something out of a Bush-GOP created situation which has absolutely no bearing on our gas prices or the current oil prices. Exxon John will benefit from the spin, unless educated readers choose to speak out and stop him.

Even Big Oil Doesn’t Want to Drill Offshore

Danger Zone

In fact, the Energy Information Agency acknowledges that offshore drilling presents no solution to the high price of oil.

“Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.” But, “the average field size in the Pacific and Atlantic regions tends to be smaller than the average in the Gulf of Mexico, implying that a significant portion of the additional resource would not be economically attractive to develop at the reference case prices.” In other words, oil companies might not even drill there if they could. The EIA estimates that it takes about five years, after the regions became open for drilling, before any oil production would commence.

David Fiderer has clearly laid out the dupe the media and Republicans are selling with their #dontgo campaign and their clarion call for offshore drilling. Be sure to read the whole article and click through to the links. It’s well-documented, and I particularly liked his conclusion:

It’s all straight from Dr. Goebbels’ playbook. If you think the historic analogy is overstated, check out this hysterical call to arms from Jeff Mazzella, head of a right wing advocacy group oxymoronically called The Center for Individual Freedom. The idea: subvert any attempt at constructive compromise among lawmakers.