Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rigless from Rita

I avoided talking about Rita during her biggest media play time. And the post-hurricane number crunching seems to indicate to the media and the public she wasn't such a bad girl, after all. Frankly, I think nothing looks bad next to Katrina, yet Rita hit the US hard--particularly in the oil rig.

While Rita's path avoided the most human-populated areas, Rita hit more of the infrastructure of the oil industry--that would be the rigs that help pump out the oil and refineries that, oddly enough, refine the oil--than any hurricane ever. Rigs are apparently difficult to find right now. And one ordered now wouldn't be finished for 3 or more years.

And apparently this oil disaster could happen again. Oil rigs are subject to less rigorous standards than some beach houses. Now
that's intelligent. The Oil Drum (the go-to place for oil info) says that the cost of building rigs to higher standards would be substantial and take years to implement. But perhaps it would be worth the cost and wait, given the effect losing this oil production will have on our economy.

It also might be worth it, given the effect Katrina and Rita are having, however inadvertent, on our environmental policy. Gristmill points out that the stoppage in production has given the Republicans fuel (pun intended) for their push to drill in the Arctic Refuge. Thankfully, Gristmill also points out that drilling in the Arctic Refuge will,
in 20 years, possibly bring the cost of oil down by $.01. That would be one penny. And that information is brought to you by the United States Governmentt.

So why bother? Again, our friends at Gristmill provide info showing that drilling in the Arctic Refuge is merely symbolic. If we can drill there, we can drill anywhere! The oil companies don't even want to drill there. It's all about who's in power and who can flex that power.

The Republicans push and push for ineffective solutions to our oil problem. Push to drill in an area that won't really help, just to show they can. Urge federal employees to travel less and turn off their AC, to conserve oil and natural gas, yet gut the EPA of decent employees and funding. Is that what they mean by "strong leadership"?

Or perhaps it's the kind of leadership that's shown by ignoring the disappearance of ice over the Arctic.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that the Arctic has less ice coverage than has been seen in 100 years. Even taking into account normal climate fluxuations, scientists on both sides of the ocean believe strongly that this is due to greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet our Leader believes that the greenhouse effect is a load of hooey. Apparently "strong leadership" is another phrase meaning "ignoring scientific evidence".

Until tomorrow,


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