Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dr. ADA FISHER OP-ED: Hold the Drilling Baby

By Dr. Ada Fisher

When I first heard the ranting of “Drill baby drill”, I shuttered knowing from my experience as the medical director of Amoco Oil Company which was bought out by BP, that the oil industry and nation have no back up plan if things go badly. We should have learned that from the Exxon Valdez fiasco. Yet here we go again about to plunder the beautiful coast lines of our nation due to our addiction to oil which as is being seen on the water knowing no bounds in every sense of the phrase.

Mopping up oil spills is a nightmare for the boons don’t absorb a gusher or leak which is now being appreciate as oil is seen creeping on the shores of New Orleans, Florida and other coastal areas. Taking the time to look up oil eating bacteria, there doesn’t seem to be enough of them to do the job, but dump whatever is available and hope the environmental impacts aren’t significant. Pray that lightning doesn’t hit that oil slick and send flames in every direction.

I’m not sure what people are expecting the military to do unless they can figure out how to cap an exploding leak with points of pressure from the internal earth forces as well as millions of pounds of water pressure. How ironic that we need military assistance domestically which the US Coast Guard is designed to provide, yet this our smallest branch of the military is scheduled for a 4% cut by the Obama Administration rather than a 25% expansion which we could use in protecting our borders, coast and waterways, as well as respond to disasters.

Lessons not learned include before you drill, a plausible tested plan must be in place to deal with the worst case scenarios which this most recent leak exemplifies. Research, research and more research is needed into safety issues impacting energy scavenging from oil to nuclear plants to coal mines. Companies have neither the resources nor manpower to clean up these spills and another tax payer bail out most certainly will be in the offing.

Warning!!! Don’t rush into building nuclear power plants without the same concerns. Energy companies are going to depend on taxpayers to pay the cost of their construction and problems while they connive to keep the profits. Who needs terrorist when our energy dependence is causing humongous ecological disruptions domestically without them?

Ronald Reagan said ratify but verify when discussing nuclear warheads which is applicable to situations which place the public and our wild life at risk causing environmental upheaval. Companies desiring to drill for oil on and off shore, mine coal or build nuclear power plants must have a safety plan in place which they must pay for as well as be monitored for compliance. They must be prepared to deal with waste as well as hazards before they are given the green light to proceed. The government must have backup reserves schooled in these energy engineering problems because the commitment of people to address emergency issues is more than any company can assume. This means that profits must be shared with taxpayers who are going to have to back them.

Those who trade in a nation’s natural or strategic reserves should not be allowed to take that business’s production out of the country or its profits and should be bound to the laws of that nation. When Congress let BP buy out AMOCO did this give them some immunity from our laws? A nation must have natural sovereignty over its borders and its natural reserves. Oil drilling and energy development are critical issues involving national security and requires a private public partnership if we are to succeed.

Dr. Ada M. Fisher is A Physician, licensed secondary education teacher in math and science, former county school board member and NC Republican national Committee Woman. Contact her at P. O. Box 777; Salisbury, NC 28145; telephone (704) 223-2321.

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