Jul 27, 2010

To drill or not to drill, that is the question

We continue to examine barriers to moving toward a sustainable society

The gulf of Mexico BP catastrophe has brought into crystal-clear focus our long-standing dilemma over oil dependency. Should we continue our dependency on oil? Should we risk more Gulf-like disasters, including associated GHG missions from the combustion of fuel? Or NOT? To drill or not to drill, that is the question.

A recent New York Times article reports on conversations with some people in the small community of Dulac, Lousiana, and for them, the choices are very real. The issue has been brought to their front stage with dramatic clarity.

Most people in Dulac are reeling as they watch the local seafood industry collapsing under the body blow of the BP spill.

But there is another crisis caused by President Obama’s moratorium on oil drilling, which the Republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jinda, calls "a second man-made disaster". The oil industry is responsible for huge majority of jobs in the area, and Louisiana lawmakers fear the drilling moratorium, could put more than “100,000 people out of work, shutter businesses and destroy livelihoods”.

Federal U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, known to invest in the oil and gas business, overturned the presidential moratorium. Last week, the US Justice Department issued a new moratorium that it hopes will pass muster with the courts.

And the fight continues. But the Dulac community members are beginning to ponder the merits of alternative energy. Those are difficult choices.

The ‘take home’ sustainability challenge can be phrased as follows:

How might we have a sustainable community (with no oil dependency) that can generate good jobs and economic prosperity?

No comments: