Spewing toxic liquids onto the permafrost tundra the drill rig owned by Pepsol shot drill mud and gas up out of the hole. Workers struggled feverishly to regain control in temperatures of about -14 degrees. Initial estimates of the size of the blowout were increased by a factor of 35


More below the orange guts.

What you didn't hear? It happened last year, February. But it never made the news. The frozen drilling mud long since scraped off the ground, no crude got loose, no one died, no fire. Blow outs happen, in more than half a century of drilling in Alaska 19 out of 7500 rigs have blown out.

It bears repeating. Blow outs happen. Everyone knows this and everyone knows there is no rig and no device that is 100% certain to stop a blow out. I know, I've worked as a roughneck on the drill floor tripping pipe. Every single person on the rig is acutely aware of the possibility.

So why if blow outs happen do we continue to drill for oil? Because we use oil. What better place to drill than America, the home to the most oil consuming critters on the face of the earth. But why not someplace ugly? Every place is beautiful, I've yet to see oil rigs put in an ugly place, it only gets ugly afterwards and even then often not.

Last week an oil drilling platform broke loose of it's tow and piled up on the rocks of Kodiak Island. You'd think people were happy what with all the outrage it generated. So called environmentalists love to be victims, victims of large powerful oil companies or greedy uncaring politicians when really we are all victims of our gluttinous thirst for energy and the products it brings.

We are the worlds drinker of oil and our thirst is insatiable, we fly to go see friends and family or just to relax on the beach, we live in huge empty houses and spend most of our time in the tiny room that includes the kitchen and the computer. They say energy consumption grows with wealth and we are a rich people even though we call ourselves middle class.

In response to a comment on a recent article she wrote on fracking in Paonia Colorado Sarah Gilman replied,


I think you may be missing my chief argument though, which is that the real problem here, ultimately, is massive human consumption of energy resources, whatever they are. Specifically, I'm referencing utility scale projects. If it's coal, we're strip mining and pit mining and pumping carbon into the atmosphere. If it's hydro, we're destroying fisheries, species, whole habitats. If it's solar, we're paving over endemic plants and endangered species. Et cetera and so on. The demand for energy is the root cause of the problems we fight (and of course, underlying that, uncontrolled human population growth). Would you really argue against reducing energy use? No matter how you slice it, most of the energy produced in the U.S. is used here, for the simple reason that Americans are, per capita, the hungriest energy consumers in the world, especially in terms of natural gas. Isn't that something to correct? Is it wrong to encourage people to take at least partial responsibility for an industry they support through their actions if not their philosophies?

Instead of blaming everyone under the sun, it's time to look in the mirror, do a little conservation, and I don't mean just throwing your trash in the single stream recycling. Reduce is the first and best part of the Reduce/Reuse/Recycle mantra. Don't put up solar panels, reduce your energy consumption to such a point that the thousands of dollars and minerals and energy used to produce them would be unnecessary. Don't build or buy 3,000 square foot houses to retire in. Enjoy nature in your own backyard, those flights to Churchill to go on the polar bear photo expedition are killing the polar bears. Ditto Yellowstone, and Tortuga, Hawaii and Tibet. A hybrid SUV getting 25 miles to the gallon isn't doing anyone any good, even if it is a Toyota.

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