The latest image of the oil spill from NASA
I have to admit that I've been trying to think beyond the ongoing environmental horror-show of the BP oil spill and get past blame and anger with it all. But a new piece in The Guardian brought anger right back to the fore. Apparently lawyers for the oil industry, in a grotesque stretching of words, are claiming that the current ban of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is destroying an "ecosystem of business." Yes, you read correctly. Destroying an ecosystem of business.
Now I understand that, in addition to all the fishermen out of work, there are a whole bunch of people directly and indirectly tied to the oil industry that are affected by the disaster, and that a ban on oil drilling genuinely inconveniences them greatly--the original article estimates that some 21,000 people both who work on the rigs and in support of them are affected.
But you know what? Obviously some sort of compensation has to be made, both in the short term and over a longer period as we transition away from oil entirely, but when the entire ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico is threatened--strike that--severely damaged for decades, complaining about the damage to the ecosystem of business is utterly revolting. Shame on them. Shame.
Would We Listen to Slave-Owners & Heroin Dealers?
As with every environmentally damaging industry, from coal, to chemicals, to industrial farming, the fact that jobs will be lost is in no way an excuse to keep up with business as usual. It is undoubtedly a factor that needs to be addressed to minimize disruption to communities, but it is not cause of inaction.
Would we listen to slaveholders complaints that they will have a hard time adjusting to a new ecosystem of labor in banning slavery? We would not. Or perhaps more appropriately, in light of our collective oil addiction, would we worry about protestations from heroin dealers that their profits are going to decline in setting up programs to get people off hard drugs? Of course not.
Representing a group of oil services companies, Attorney Carl Rosenblum claimed, "Never before has the government with a stroke of a pen shut down an entire industry for six months."
Really? I can think of one prominent precedent.