As the saga unfolds, we discover that there are no checks and balances on big oil and gas provided by the Minerals Management Services (MMS) in the Department of the Interior. Supposedly, MMS has the responsibility in the Gulf of Mexico for regulating . . .
. . . exploration, development, and production activities on about 8,000 active leases including 4,000 production facilities to ensure that activities are conducted safely and in an environmentally sound manner (www.gomr.mms.gov).Guidelines Needed
We do not know the amount of oil that is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. The effects of the untested dispersant is breaking the oil down through the entire water column. While oil on the surface may be corralled by booms, absorbed by hair-filled buoys and skimmed by specially equipped ships, oil dispersed in the water can poison all life in the Gulf of Mexico.
Learn from Australia?
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has a Code of Environmental Practice that the US oil exploration industry would do well to copy. It is a real eye opener to view an environmentally cognizant and ecologically responsible code of ethics.
Excerpt, Code of Environmental Practice in the Petroleum Industry (PDF)
The APPEA Code of Environmental Practice provides an outline of environmental objectives which represent guidance on key aspects of good environmental practice in the petroleum industry.Excerpt, Oil Operations in Protected Areas (PDF)
There are significant government regulatory controls that require the petroleum industry to conduct their activities in a manner that meets a high standard of environmental protection. In the majority of jurisdictions, petroleum activities are required to have environmental management plans approved by a government regulator, to ensure that the environmental impacts of the operation are reduced to as low as reasonably practicable.Excerpt, Oil Spill Prevention and Response (PDF)
Blow outs are virtually a thing of the past. During 40 years of exploration andTrue Cost of Oil and Gas
production in Australian waters there have been only six blow outs in over 2,400 wells drilled. Four of these were in the late 1960s and the last one occurred in 1984.
We must demand the same rigorous codes to protect oil and gas exploration, drilling, transporting and mitigating spills and leaks that other countries enjoy. It will make the oil and gas business strong and safe. When the TRUE costs of oil and gas exploration are revealed, then we may all decide that the cost is not worth the convenience.
Alternate Fuels for the Future?
Methods to make alternate fuels are readily available. Why not use biomass (home and agricultural waste), hydrogen (with byproduct of H2O), electricity (generated by solar or wind power).
There are processes that could be developed if the government invested in the technology like they subsidize the oil and gas industry, Did you know that for every 1 ton of tires processed, there is 120 gallons of oil, 5000 cubic ft. of combustible gases, 200 pounds of reusable steel and 750 pounds of carbon ash produced which are all marketable commodities. (Global Resource Corporation :: Tires)
The oil spill is the worst environmental disaster--ever. Maybe we should not just dream about clean energy. Perhaps it is time to embrace it.