July 4th, 2010: Dependence Day?

by Robert Gardner

July 2, 2010

"The basis of a democratic state is liberty." — Aristotle

On Sunday we celebrate the Fourth of July and America’s independence from tyranny and injustice. But we go into this weekend with a tangible reminder of our continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Hurricane Season is here. Oil continues its advance unabated into the Gulf. We don’t know how much oil is flowing. BP is incapable of solving the problem. Congress is soon to recess. Neither the Federal nor State governments have the ability to remediate the damage.

Yet how many of us will jump in the car this weekend? Isn’t this complicity in Big Oil’s stranglehold on our lives? Why are we buying the "dirty lie" that oil is the crux of our transportation energy mix?

America can generate 96% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050, and create over one million renewable energy sector jobs by 2030.
Read more and download the Energy [R]evolution report (PDF)

BP has spent millions on advertising in USA Today, The New York Times and the Washington Post. Don’t worry, we’ll clean it up, they say. Stay calm everyone. They’re on top of it. Nothing to see here.

In fact, BP has obscured the truth at every turn. Now, they are in the process of christening their horribly misnamed “Liberty” drilling operation (Happy Fourth of July, right?) in Alaska.  They will drill two miles beneath a small, man-made island, and then drill sideways for six to eight miles so that they can reach an offshore reservoir.

But what about the moratorium announced by President Obama? Well, since they’ve built a 31-acre artificial gravel island, they’re able to register it as an onshore rig, effectively green-lighting their operation.

At what point does outrage spark our elected officials to put aside partisan bickering and get the job done? This is about ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico. This is about Big Oil gaming the system so that they can profit off of our public lands.

Punching a hole in the ground and extracting super-heated, highly pressurized oil and natural gas is dangerous and messy. There is one way to prevent this from happening again. We must have a permanent ban on all drilling.  There must be unlimited liability for polluters. We must end all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies and transition public investments to clean, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency technologies.

Drilling moratoriums are not permanent and can be easily circumvented. Liability escrow accounts are not policy. As long as it is exceedingly lucrative to drill for oil these companies will continue their operations. Indeed, one month before the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster began, a BP presentation from March 2010 identified expanding deepwater drilling as the company’s “key sources of growth” beyond 2015.

Too much time has passed since the oil has started flowing into the Gulf. How much suffering need be inflicted upon the people of the Gulf for the rest of America to act?

I say enough is enough. We need to channel the spirit of the Fourth and declare independence from Big Oil. An Energy [R]evolution is necessary.

This Fourth of July, declare your independence from Big Oil’s big deceptions.

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