To the editor:
Drilling for oil on the Outer Continental Shelf has become a hot election year issue. John McCain and Greg Walden are pushing hard for it, egged on by their mentor, George Bush. Playing on our fears and desperation over $4 gasoline, they are implying that offshore oil will cut gas prices. Polls suggest that many people are buying their spiel. Even the Baker City Herald got on board (andquot;Tis the time to drill,andquot; June 30).
But listen: The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that removing restrictions on offshore drilling will not lead to any additional oil production until 2017, and that even at its peak the extra production will have an andquot;insignificantandquot; impact on oil prices.
Once again, we are being played for fools. We are being asked to offer up our shorelines to the great risk of oil spills, to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and to increase global warming so that get this the oil companies can make even bigger profits.
In its editorial, the Herald belittled Gov. Kulongoski's proposal for strategic investment in alternative energy sources combined with increased conservation, saying it doesn't address the present crisis. But I ask how oil that starts to arrive here in 2017 addresses the present crisis? (It's an interesting coincidence and most dramatic contrast that Al Gore's bold generational challenge to produce 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources has a completion target of 2018.)
If you Google andquot;Santa Barbara Oil Spillandquot; you can be informed, or perhaps reminded, about the 1969 disaster in which 3 million gallons of crude oil spewed from drilling-induced cracks in the ocean floor six miles offshore and fouled 35 miles of coastline. This disaster triggered the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. It led then-president Richard Nixon to state, andquot;The Santa Barbara incident has, frankly, touched the conscience of the American people.andquot; Let's not forget our history. And let's not allow Bush, McCain, and Walden to deceive us and turn us from our ideals and our vision of what's possible if we work together for real, lasting solutions to the energy problem.