Oil Spills, Red Herrings and Snappers

By May 2, 2006Energy

Our folks are in town today lobbying Congress to open up the Outer Continental Shelf to exploration. We already know it holds over 80 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. So what’s the rub?
You hear a lot from the enviros about spills and about death to the fish — fish we might otherwise want to eat. Well, thanks to our friends over at the National Ocean Industries Association, we know that since 1985, over 7 billion barrels of oil have been produced in the OCS. How much spilled? 0.001%. Can you even fathom a number that small? (Sorry for the pun — “fathom”). We’ll take a 99.999% success rate any day.

As for our gilled friends, 30% of the 15 million fish caught annually by recreational fishermen (fisherpeople?) off the coast of Texas and Louisiana are caught near oil platforms. This equals about 225 tons of fish caught each year around oil drilling platforms. This reminds us of the dire predictions about the impact on the caribou herd if the Alaskan Pipeline was built. In fact, the herd has increased six-fold since the pipeline opened.

Let’s dispense with the hysteria. The sky isn’t going to fall, the oil isn’t going to leak, the fish aren’t going to die (except on the end of a sport fisher’s hook), so let’s get on with it. Click here to weigh in with your Congressional reps now.