Monday, April 26, 2010

Spill, Baby, Spill

Interesting time to start thinking about the energy bill. In the last week we had an oil platform explode, and sink off the coast of Louisiana, killing workers and spilling 1,000 barrels a day into the Gulf of Mexico which could harm the shrimp and fish industries and we've had the burials of 29 workers from the Massey Energy Upper Big Branch mine. With chants of "drill here, drill now" and we must deregulate, the ramifications of the Republicans' energy policy is clear for all to see.

"Clean coal" is a myth, a catchphrase designed by pr people. Coal is dirty and harmful to environment and the mines are run by those who care neither for the planet nor their workers. Massey Energy runs a dirty operation in every sense of the word. It's CEO, Don Blankenship, is a right-wing climate change denier who was caught in the French Riviera with the West Virginia Supreme court Chief Justice who was hearing a multimillion dollar case against Massey.

Conservatives follow Grover Norquist in saying that they want to make government small enough to drown in a bathtub. By allowing one of their major contributors to get away with running shoddy mines, they've already murdered the loved ones of 29 families, in the name of increased profits and pollution.

And then we've got the oil spill. Obama tried a Clintonian triangulation move, opening up more domestic shoreline for drilling thinking that he could take away a conservative talking point. Of course, that doesn't seem like a very good idea right now.

What are the options? With all the hot air around energy, may wind is something to think about. How effective is it? "Spanish power prices fell an annual 26 percent in the first quarter because of the surge in supplies from wind and hydroelectric production, the Spanish wind-industry trade group said in a statement yesterday on its Web site." Indeed, in Germany, they have had times of negative energy prices, "Negative electricity prices happen when supply outstrips demand and we literally don’t know where to put it,” Peter Smits, head of central Europe at Swiss power-equipment maker ABB Ltd., said in an interview on April 20 in Hanover. “We will see this happen more often in the future."

So, should we go with a renewable source that causes no pollution or should we continue to have miners die or our shorelines destroyed by oil spills? We know which way the elected officials will take us. What do we need to do to change it?