Legislators up and down the east coast of the U.S. have been more than vocal about the potential for disaster from off-shore drilling — and have introduced legislation to ban the practice here (see "Sen. Menendez Says 'No' to Drilling Off the New Jersey Coast").
The latest oil spill from an abandoned pipeline off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, spread more than 100,000 gallons of oil on about nine miles of beach within hours. This just strengthens the position of legislators who feel strongly that the coastal towns along the eastern seaboard cannot withstand the kind of economic devastation that occurred along the Gulf Coast, where local businesses have still not recovered years after the oil-platform spill there.
Somewhere along the line a decision must be made in Congress that protects the rights of citizens and businesses against the big oil companies who don't give a damn (or make good on the losses that occur from their carelessness). Whether it's the Keystone Pipeline or drilling off the coast of Alaska, big business will keep on pushing (and spreading their money around) to get their way to drill in what should be considered "endangered areas."
The devastation that would occur if oil leaked into the aquifer in the American heartland or covered the beaches of resorts along the East Coast cannot be imagined — or easily repaired. Probably not in our lifetimes. And who would pay?
Every American should be lending his or her voice (and vote) to the battle to keep our country free from the power of the oil companies and those who do their bidding. We hear often these days that America is now one of the world's major producers of oil and natural gas. So why push exploration to the limits for more at this time? It will always be there if we need it.
Beau Weisman, Editor