Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ask Knee-Jerk Environmentalists Why BP Is Drilling at 5,000 Feet

Charles Krauthammer has asked a question that's not being discussed, but should be:

Why are we drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place?

I've been thinking about that one myself, considering that, for decades, Alaska has been begging for a go-ahead to place small high-tech wells on perfectly dry land in ANWR. Ask the liberal's pariah, Sarah Palin, whose state has made as much as $10 billion in a single year in revenues from royalty payments made to the state by oil companies like BP. Alaska's residents don't pay state taxes; instead, they receive about $1,200 a year from their state government in revenues made from oil. Alaskans want to drill, and the technology to drill on dry land has been around for a long time.

It goes without saying that stopping an oil leak on dry land, like anything else, is enormously easier than stopping one 5,000 feet under the Gulf. And Alaska has plenty of natural gas that it would like to pipe to the lower 48 states.

Said Krauthammer:
As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production. (President Obama's tentative, selective opening of some Atlantic and offshore Alaska sites is now dead.)

And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we've had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

So we go deep, ultradeep — to such a technological frontier that no precedent exists for the April 20 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

There will always be catastrophic oil spills. You make them as rare as humanly possible, but where would you rather have one: in the Gulf of Mexico, upon which thousands depend for their livelihood, or in the Arctic, where there are practically no people?

Our natural environment is not protected by knee-jerk responses to environmental fads but by good judgment. The response to the Gulf of Mexico disaster is not to stopping drilling for oil--thereby abandoning any control over protection of the environment and leaving it to other countries--but to drill in the right places, where we can exercise maximum precautions and are in the best position to deal with accidents.


  1. That makes sense. And that is why we're not doing it.

  2. Joe - Best laugh of the day. You are so right!

  3. Joe is right. We are 16 months into a four year voyage through The Twilight Zone.

  4. Trestin: I never liked The Twilight Zone the first time around, but the re-runs are really bad.