Monday, January 21, 2008

AP article on oil canals

The AP has just written a piece on the effect oil canals have had on the wetlands. I'm glad to have come across this, because 1) many people don't know about their impact, or even--especially on a national level--about the wetlands in general; and 2) it frames the wetlands in terms of their importance as protection against hurricanes, which, while only one of the arguments for their existence, may help in their preservation. I hope this story gets a lot of circulation since it's AP.

But the industry's legacy is getting new attention. Some contrast record petroleum profits with staggering cost estimates - up to $60 billion - to save New Orleans and restore the delta. In 2006, major U.S. oil companies, some of which moved offices from New Orleans to Houston, earned about $162 billion.

Meanwhile, locals increasingly ask why oil shouldn't be made to clean up its profitable mess the same as mining operations had to do in Appalachia.

Yeah, let's get some press here.

I'm sad to read this, though:
For now, the oil companies are winning the public relations battle, in part by spending $5 million on a marketing campaign called America's Wetland. "Tell Washington to shore up America's energy coast. It fuels the nation," one TV ad implores, calling on Congress to spend the money it will take to restore the delta. Nowhere is oil's responsibility mentioned.

Ugh. I just donated money to them. Well, now I know. If the money still goes to the wetlands, even if it lets the oil companies dodge blame, that is what matters most. Accountability would be nice but seeing the wetlands saved is most important. And to America's Wetland's credit, it is (or at least should be) a national issue, not just a state one.

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