The Good and the Bad
First, the bad: The oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is getting worse. The oil rig that exploded on April 20 and sank two days later is leaking 5000 barrels of oil a day. It also killed 11 people working on the rig. The well could leak 4.2 million gallons before a hole is drilled to relieve the pressure according to USA Today. The Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons.
This spill has consumed an area 600 miles in circumference in the Gulf of Mexico and has been guaranteed to reach the shores of the U.S., it’s just a matter of when. The shrimp and fishing industry has been hit very hard by this disaster and their boats are being sent out to salvage whatever catch they can take in before the oil kills the harvest.
The good: The wind project in Cape Cod has finally gotten approval from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after a nine year battle with rich people who don’t want their view obstructed. Jim Gordon, President of the Cape Wind Project has been fighting this battle for clean energy in the Cape Cod area for so long that his hair has gone from black to gray.
I am disgusted that building oil rigs that can sink and leak millions of gallons of oil into the ocean have been around since 1947 and it took almost 10 years of law suits to build off shore wind power. The difference is that they build the oil rigs out of sight of land, so people don’t see the destruction that drilling causes. Well they can see it now since oil will soon be coming up on the shores of Louisiana and Mississippi.
The Guardian reports that the U.S. has now placed a ban on any new off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico because of this disaster.
The Wind Power Critics
The wind critics are mostly rich people who live on the coast of Cape Cod like the Kennedy’s and of course oil and coal companies. Native American groups have also opposed it for the reasons of a clear horizon. I can’t say their traditions are unimportant, but if carbon-based fuels continue to rule and off shore wind projects like this are shut down their horizon would be ruined by climate change and rising seas. Pick your poison.
The Cape Wind Project has been criticized with various unfounded reasons. A favorite of mine is the accusation of just going after profits and taking federal subsidies for clean energy. I find this funny for several reasons: Oil and coal companies get bigger government subsidies than anyone and they are obviously in it for profits. I mean, you don’t go into oil and coal because its good for the environment or people’s health. And this is a business, of course they want to make a profit.
There’s also the disturbing-the-whales-and-killing-the-birds argument. The 130 turbines are spaced at least 1/3 of a mile apart form each other. There is plenty of room for whales and birds (and ships) to get through. If you are concerned about birds, stop breeding cats and using windows. They kill more birds than wind turbines ever could. Oh, and another thing that kills ocean wildlife is oil rigs that explode and leak 4.2 million gallons of oil.
The rich people complaint that it will ruin the view is up for debate, personally I think wind turbines are majestic looking. Unfortunately for me, I wouldn’t be able to see them very well from shore. Here are the simulated images of what the views would look like from various locations in the area.
The relief valve for stopping the oil well could take 90 days to drill, so look forward to more and more oil reaching U.S. shores. The ban on new drilling is a good sign and maybe this tragedy is a blessing in disguise, a symbol of what’s wrong with the petroleum industry. The effects of the spill will be far reaching, impacting the fishing economies of southern states, oil prices, and marine wildlife.
The wind is actually pushing all the oil from the spill site to shore. I think this is a sign that wind turbines should have been built there instead.
The wind project construction is expected to kick off before the end of the year and will take around 18 months to complete. It will supply the Cape Cod area with 75% of its power. It could be more if the project wasn’t reduced in size to appease the rich people. It will provide construction jobs and will maintain the recreation and tourism power of the area. I think it could even improve tourism, 130 wind turbines would be a sight for sore eyes for this tree hugger.