Many of us are watching from a far the ecological, economic and human tragedy that is unfolding in the Gulf Coast. People are throwing out numbers of the cost to clean up this oily mess in there to be in the billions. BP has stated that it will take full responsibility to pay for this clean up; however, as this cost grows, I am not sure that humanitarian and ethical stand that BP is taking now will remain. In fact, BP may have law on its side that caps the liability of oil companies from these types of events at $75 million. So if the law is on BP's side, who will pay the rest of the tab? Yes. The American taxpayer.
This made me think about the real cost for me when I fill up my car with gasoline. The gas pump says $3 a gallon. That must be the real cost. Right? Nope. There is study by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, which claims we are paying a lot more than $3 a gallon (http://www.iags.org/costofoil.html). According to this articles, when you add the tax breaks and subsidies we provide to the oil companies along with the foreign aid to the oil rich countries and the defense costs for securing these regions, you are actually paying $5.28 a gallon.
The response may be is that we need to extract oil domestically; however, all of those off shore oil rigs peppered throughout the US coastline, including the BP's oil rig, do not extract the oil for US consumption only. That oil goes onto the world market where other countries consume the oil.
The fact is that we must stop making compromises on what needs to be done. Does further off shore drilling make sense when the mistakes are too large? Are we going to learn that we have no right to take certain risks that can wipe out species that have no say in our decisions? Can we start committing to other real alternatives and force us to got off oil? I do not know the answers. I believe many of us have the fight in us to get off this oil addiction and, perhaps, this other Gulf Coast disaster will convince the rest of us that we need to stop this addiction too. We keep on saying it, but we do nothing. Unfortunately, we have to have a natural disaster like this to admit that we have an addiction and we need get treatment. Also, unlike many things, the literal and figurative residue of this natural disaster will not disappear for a very long time and will remind us again and again what type of damage our addiction is causing to other species.