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Volume 16, Issue 28 - July 10 - July 16, 2008

Three Out of Four Say NO

Readers reply to Burton’s question on drilling for oil

The answer is right here in front of us. Get passionate about going green, spend your extra money and time lessening your burden on this beautiful planet so we can leave something enjoyable for our children.

–David Fletcher, Harwood

David, you couldn’t more concisely or eloquently have answered this writer’s plea for opinions two weeks ago on drilling for oil in Alaska and along the Atlantic Coast. If everyone were like you, the controversy over global warming and drilling for oil would be over. Probably would never have started. You are neither rich nor poor as you say, but you have spent wisely lowering your energy use.

I like your philosophy: There is something enjoyable about knowing you are making the best out of what you have. You say you have a used 14-foot aluminum skiff given you by a relative: Blue crabs and all types of fish don’t care what your boat looks like; six gallons of fuel will catch my limit of crabs five times. I can see why you say no to drilling.

About 75 percent of readers who responded to our survey on drilling for oil had the same bottom-line answer: a resounding no.

Don’t Drill
Michael Angelucci

From North Beach, Michael Angelucci e-mailed: The way I see it, rising costs seem to be the greatest driving force to curb our energy consumption, certainly more than the environmental conservation pleas have been over the past decade.

I feel we’ve made some good progress toward alternatives and efficiency in recent years; I would not like to see this momentum lost because of a temporary patch in the oil market.

John J. Burton

From John J. Burton of Washington, New Jersey — who happens to be my Uncle Jack and also a retired chemical engineer long involved in global warming — came a fact so obvious we shouldn’t overlook it: Bill Burton might have noted that drilling … will not help our oil supply for many years. All U.S. oil-drilling rigs are reported to be now booked to capacity in present oil fields.

I have been disappointed that no politician has proposed what was one of the quick and effective remedies to the 1970s oil shortage. Auto and truck speed limits were cut to 55 miles per hour nationwide. This not only immediately reduced the incentive for unnecessary driving, but gave drivers 10 to 20 percent more miles to the gallon. It was painful, but a pain shared by rich and poor alike.

Rogard Ross

From nature photographer and writer Rogard Ross: Let’s assume for the moment that the prospect of new domestic oil would scare speculators and cause a significant drop in oil prices. Which is the more likely behavior of our society if oil prices drop: We would tackle our energy problems head on with “renewed emphasis”? Or that we shift attention to the next headline and continue on with our lives like normal and buy a new batch of SUVs? Sadly, we as a nation, and a civilization, do not respond unless there is a crisis.

Consider a world where we declare independence from oil companies, avoid scaring the environment, create new green industries to meet the demand for alternative energy and decelerate the climate change that is threatening our agriculture sector. If we seize the opportunity, we would have a win-win-win scenario.

Margaret Gwathmey

Margaret Gwathmey of Harwood, who tells us she’s a big fan of Bay Weekly, made it brief: No drilling. And no oil shale either. We will find a cure.

Glenn Weder

Now for the other side. Glenn Weder of Hollywood, Md., e-mailed: Yes for drilling, but it needs to go much farther than that. We need a national energy policy that takes local politics out of the equation. Ben Stein wrote such a policy for President Nixon, but Congress refused to implement it despite gasoline shortages in the early ’70s. Remember even and odd days? (When some could only buy fuel on odd days numberwise in the month if the last number on their license plate was odd; just the opposite for even days.)

It’s time to pull our heads out of the sand and end our dependency on foreign energy sources.

As for signing the Kyoto Protocol, the note in News of the Weird points out some of the ridiculous requirements where, in New Zealand farmers will face a huge tax on methane by 2010 if their cows continue to graze — as they have always done. I think we have enough intelligence to decide on proper ecological decisions without that kind of help. Enough said …

Brian Kennedy

From Brian Kennedy: Economy or Environment and Oil or Environment are precisely the kind of bogus sets of choices that helped create this crisis in the first place. Advanced technologies and tough standards enable us to have both a strong economy and environment at the same time. If government would just close its collective mouth, get out of the way and put Americans to work producing more of their energy here at home, we’d all be better for it.

The use of abundant and affordable energy has given us the highest standards of living in the world. What is reckless is a government that grows this nation’s dependence on foreign sources for the lifeblood of our economy, especially when we have vast resources at home.

In the Balance

Such is a sampling of opinion from Chesapeake Bay Country on drilling for oil in Alaska and offshore. Both sides have valid points in the controversy. Why we should pay attention and get involved, heed these words from the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs:

In the years ahead, climate change will have a significant impact on every aspect of the daily lives of all human beings — possibly greater than war.

Enough said.

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