Wednesday, July 23, 2008

To Drill or Not to Drill: What Would Brautigan Say?


So drill already.

Why postpone the inevitable?

If we drill for oil as much as we can possibly drill in as many places as we can think of, there are really only two scenarios.

1. We will quickly exhaust the earth’s supply of oil and then be forced to scramble to find other sources of energy (or find ways to survive without).

2. We will discover that there is an almost limitless supply of oil and we needn’t worry quite so much about it.

The second is highly unlikely, but what’s the problem? Suck the planet dry. It will still take a generation or three to determine with any certainty what massive exploration and drilling have actually done to the supply of oil. If our successors are smart (not a given, but not a bad bet), they will have figured out some options that are safer, cleaner, and more fun.

I believe that Rep. Michelle Bachman is almost certainly insane, living in some kind of fantasy world. But I agree with her on aggressive oil exploration. She’s wrong about the effect on gas prices – more domestic production won’t bring prices down. But why not drill now instead of fighting about it for decades? And for every barrel of crude extracted from the earth, the oil company should pay $50.00 into an alternative energy development fund run by a consortium of prestigious universities. Like the Manhattan Project.

Call it the Cheney-Gore Center for Energy Independence. Hell, put it in Texas, if that would buy some Republican votes.

Yeah, there are some environmental concerns, what with pipelines and tankers and refineries and such. But that’s why we have the EPA, eh?

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For some perspective on time and nature, here’s a verse from Richard Brautigan. (First published in “Lay the Marble Tea” 1959)

Yes, the Fish Music
A trout-colored wind blows
through my eyes, through my fingers,
and I remember how the trout
used to hide from the dinosaurs
when they came to drink at the river.
The trout hid in subways, castles
and automobiles. They waited patiently
for the dinosaurs to go away.
---
NOTE: The illustration at the top of this post is of permafrost/tundra in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Though the ground is frozen to a depth of several feet to several hundred feet, the surface does respond to temperature changes. The thin polygonal plates develop over some years of freezing and thawing. The colors and patterns are beautiful.

4 comments:

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Scenario 3: The earth is actually a delicate balloon full of rockish gunk and oil and we take all the oil and, puff, deflate.

Ok, so that's unlikely, but ...

D

Bleeet said...

Scenario 4: Our drilling unleashes a sleeping rock monster who shits boulders.

Scenario 5: We uncover "The Curse of Scary Things"

Scenario 6: We uncover so much oil as to be flooded from coast to coast, killing everything, but lowering gas prices to 4 cents a gallon.

Jim H. said...

TO: D and Bleeet (and any other commenters).

FROM: TFIN

Yes, but what did you think of the poem?

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Love the poem ... D