Macondo Gulf Oil Spill in Perspective

I’m not sure which man discovered first. Oil or fire. But at some point man discovered he could put oil on a stick, light it on fire, then have warmth, light, and some protection from animals and enemies. Ever since that day man has been dependent on fossil fuels.

Yes, the oil spill in the Louisiana Gulf near New Orleans is and will be a tragedy. People were killed, and are hurt and missing. Families in distress. Animals injured. But let’s face it. There are dangerous and difficult jobs in the world. I’ve seen the TV show where fishermen in boats in the Bering Strait fight cold, high seas and rain to bring us our precious crab. I’ve seen the movie “Perfect Storm” and visited Gloucester MA where the names of the men who perished attempting to bring us our sought-after swordfish were from. There have been many mining accidents where people have died to bring us coal to produce electricity to warm our homes. And also accidents with oil and natural gas drilling within our borders and off-shore.

Let’s put this Macondo oil spill into perspective. Courtesy of Wikipedia is a list of the 16 worst oil spills. Toward the bottom of the page. Number one is on January 21, 1991 in the Persian Gulf after the 1st Gulf War. It is estimated anywhere from 1,360,000–1,500,000 TONS of crude oil was spilled. This translates into roughly 418,880,000 gallons, (one ton = 308 US gallons, or 7.33 barrels) courtesy of a twitter friend since my calculator doesn’t go that high. This is MILLIONS. However, the NOAA estimates that actually 10 BILLION gallons of oil was spilled in this incident.

Now let’s look at the Exxon Valdez incident. Another high-profile spill in March of 1989. Here a paltry-by-comparison 35,000 tons was spilled. This amounted to roughly 10,780,000 gallons in total. The Macondo site off the coast of Louisiana is spilling about 5,000 barrels a day, which amounts to 1,540,000 gallons a day. This occurred 11 days ago, making the total loss so far about 16,240,000 gallons. However, at the rate the Macondo site it spilling, it would take 6,666 days or 18 years to reach the amount of the Persian Gulf spill.

Of course now environmentalists are outraged. Liberal blogs are calling for ending oil and gas exploration. Senator Chris Dodd as well. I’m not exactly sure where they think they are going to get their energy. Betcha Dodd drives a gas guzzeler. Probably has a couple, and a huge house. Bet all those libs in Hollywood eat up energy by the tons, and don’t even get me started on Al Gore, who has a home the size of Toledo’s largest mall. Waxman also wants to haul Halliburton into Congress to discuss if their cementing process went wrong.

But our demand for fossil fuels will not be assuaged. It’s a given. Either use America’s resources, or buy from our foes. Which is it going to be? BP, the leasee of the rig which has now sunk, is hard at work getting things cleaned up. Mr. Obama has sent his minions down to the site to do a routine disaster inspection. BP has also put a boom around the slick in an attempt to keep it from spreading.

Let’s all hope this gets cleaned up quickly and doesn’t reach shore. Ironically, this incident probably created the most jobs since the Stimulus was passed.

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