Sad Oil

Overheard outside church (which overlooks the Gulf of Mexico) this morning:

Woman gesturing toward the Gulf: But it is our Gulf!
Man: No, it is BP’s Gulf. British¬†Petroleum’s.

The truth is that while this spill is unusually bad and rare it should not be entirely unexpected. When you choose to open an area to offshore drilling, you choose to accept the oil; the immediate jobs and the ability to thoughtlessly use energy, as worth the risks and potential costs of workers dying, crucial habitat being destroyed (along with the animals, of course) and jobs disappearing. Yes, some fishermen may be able to help clean up the spill, but who wants to go on vacation to an oil drenched beach covered with dead fish?

The woman was wrong. It is not “our Gulf” in the sense of belonging to those who live alongside the Gulf. It was long ago given away for the “greater good” of the country, and yes, for the immediate benefit of the Gulf Coast residents who profit from the oil industry.

As I watch the price being paid I cannot believe that it was worth the gain. But I say nothing because I am not really watching. I am once again going to the gas station to fill up my car and drive away. Goodbye Gulf.

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