Lars Larson: Moratorium on energy off the Pacific coast

Maybe we all deserve to freeze to death in the dark.

This week the developments in energy came thick and fast and it’s all bad news for the American public.

First, Lieberman and Kerry came out with their Cap and Trade bill. It’s bad news in a number of ways, but one way in particular. Right now states can ban oil drilling three miles off their coastlines. The new bill would allow them to ban it out to 75 miles off their coast. If one state doesn’t agree, the next door states can veto the drilling plans.

Right behind that, a press release indicating that all the west coast senators will to hold a press conference to announce a permanent moratorium on all off-shore drilling off America’s Pacific coast.

If you’ve looked at some of the reports from the oil experts, this is where a lot of the potential oil is. And they want a permanent moratorium on drilling out to 75 miles? Maybe we will all freeze to death in the dark and it will be our fault it happened.

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 25 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • eagle eye

    Maybe it’s time for an initiative to promote offshore oil drilling on the Oregon Coast!

    • Steve Plunk

      There are known reserves off the California coast so I think we’re talking about that. With oil seeping up into the ocean and natural gas actually being captured for use from the sea floor I don’t see much risk compared to the rewards. Natural seepage around the world is much higher than what most would realize so it’s not like the ocean is pristine oil free waters.

      Energy policy should be rationally determined rather than have something like this spill change everything. Emotions should not drive legislation or policy decisions. We need oil both short and long term and not recognizing that fact could put us in peril. Energy independence is unattainable but energy security is within our reach. Closing off our own resources limits our security while bolstering the power of OPEC.

      As for the Oregon coast we should remember there was a time when geologists thought little of places like the Marcellus shale formation or the Barnett formation but now we see these as potential energy “black swan” events. Unforeseen yet game changers. Perhaps something like this is off our coast. Placing a moratorium on exploration and drilling is just strategically wrong.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Given that accidental tanker spills are 33 times greater than that of platforms one would hope that it would be pointed out that states that ban offshore drilling are promoting environmental devastation. Basically if you are against offshore drilling, you are supporting tankers, as simply saying “we should all just use less” is a wish, not a solution. That means you support greatly increased oil spills, just maybe not in your own back yard.

    • eagle eye

      Yeah, I’d rather have oil spills off the Saudi Coast than along the Oregon Coast. Or the Gulf Coast.

      Better yet, maybe they could learn to do this stuff better. The oil business and the federal government all seem to have been incompetent, they cut a lot of corners.

      Anyhow, if they can’t do better, they’re not going to be drilling off the U.S. Coast.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Yeah, I’d rather have oil spills off the Saudi Coast than along the Oregon Coast. Or the Gulf Coast.

        And all of us would rather live in gum drop land where energy is created by magic. Unfortunatly that isnt a solution.

        Again – Oil from Saudi Arabia gets here by tanker. Tankers are 33 times more likely to have spills than oil platforms.

        This isn’t exactly hard to follow – the “lets rely on magic” option to confine oil spills far away isn’t an option either.

        The 33 times greater figure for tankers vs. platforms – that’s for North America.

        Say hello to way more spills if we go with your solution.

        >Anyhow, if they can’t do better, they’re not going to be drilling off the U.S. Coast.

        They already do it better than any other means currently available.

        Sorry, solutions like yours are exactly what we don’t need right now.

        It would be nice if people actually thought through this problem rather than shooting from the hip like this.

        • eagle eye

          Let’s see. I remember three major American oil spills: Santa Barbara way back 40 years ago; the Exxon Valdez in Alaska; and now the BP disaster.

          I think most people would rather take their chances with the tankers.

          A lot of people seem to have screwed up with BP, in and out of the government. Just ask Obama or all the business guys pointing fingers at each other. When they knew that the future of drilling was at stake.

          Drilling is going to be a hard sale from now on. If you don’t believe me, try an initiative. For Oregon. Or a California/Oregon/Washington trifecta.

          You are the guy living in gum drop land.

          But as Oregonians say, this is a place for dreamers.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Let’s see. I remember three major American oil spills

            Yep – and that’s exactly what I was saying, you are a shoot from the hip guy. God forbid you should ever actually check out any facts.

            You don’t – you just go with what you want to believe and after that ignorance is bliss as far as eagle eye is concerned.

            Look, your standard response when you are in an untenable position is the same as we see here – the old “run it up the flagpole” line.

            Thats great, but irrelevant. I wasn’t arguing that offshore drilling would not be affected by the BP spill. Quite the contrary.

            What I was saying is that uninformed opinions, such as yours, are singularly non constructive.

            Being uninformed is not a big deal, choosing to be uninformed just because the facts contradict what you would like to believe is a little scary though.

          • Anonymous

            You have a list of oil spills more major than those three?

          • Rupert in Springfield

            check your facts:

            1990 – 1999

            Oil spills in North America from Platforms, 0,16 tons, from tankers 5.3 tons.

          • Anonymous

            Hilarious! You think 5.3 tons is a big oil spill? The Santa Barbara oil spill was something like 3.2 million gallons. That is bigger by orders of magnitude. You literally have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Anonymous

            Don’t forget the Ixtoc I spill from 1979. The largest spill in history as far as I know, 450,000+ tons.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Don’t forget the Ixtoc I spill from 1979. The largest spill in history as far as I know, 450,000+ tons.

            Oh my God, seriously?

            You screwed up your dates again?

            1990 – 99

            Got it?

            Here it is again:

            1990 – 99

            You really need to get your act together on this one.

            You have a study more recent that shows tankers spilling less oil than platforms in North America? Lets see it.

            Until then, you’ve pretty much got nothing here.

          • Anonymous

            I’m not trying to refute your data. I’m simply ignoring your arbitrary exclusion of any data from outside of the last decade of the twentieth century.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            No, you are ignoring it because you don’t want to do the leg work and find a comparative study between platforms and tankers that counters my contention, that currently platforms are far safer than tankers.

            It is hardly arbitrary to say the most current data we have shows platforms spill less than tankers.

            You can’t argue that because you cant produce a study from that time period ( 1990-99) or a more recent one to counter my contention.

            You want to talk about forty years ago, that’s fine, but irrelevant since you don’t even have a study comparing tankers to platforms from even the periods you bring up. If you did, I might concede the point that tankers then were safer than platforms then, but it wouldn’t refute my point about tankers vs. platforms now.

            Look, get it together and find something that actually supports your case. “List-a-spill” doesn’t exactly do that.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Oh, and some other things you might want to check?

            The National Research Council of the US Academy of Sciences in a 2002 report backs me up

            way more spills from platforms than from tankers.


            (this cites a summery of the report, it is not the report itself)

            Look, work on getting your dates right first, then try and come up with some sources saying tankers are safer than platforms if you are going to try and refute my argument.

            Ive given you two.

          • eagle eye

            “The National Research Council of the US Academy of Sciences in a 2002 report backs me up

            way more spills from platforms than from tankers.”

            Now you’re really getting confused! You have your own position backwards!

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Um, ok, so you are bringing up a platform spill from 1969 to refute data that I clearly indicate are for the period 1990 99?

            Did you even look up when the Santa Barbara spill occurred before going off with this nonsense? I mean its not even close.

            At any rate – its pretty clear that the facts are on my side. You might not like that, but no amount of screwing up dates and insults on your part will really change that.

            The results for spills of all kinds can be found in

            Oil in the Sea III – Inputs Fates and Effects, Published by the National Academies Press 2003.

            When you get your act together a little better than you have shown here, let us know. Checking your dates before would be a good start to help your credibility a lot on the issue.

  • Jon

    No further drilling until there is more oversight and regulation of any oil movement around the planet. Companies are going to make economic decisions based on profit. I get that, so force them to have backup’s on top of backup’s before they can move any oil anywhere. Let the market dictate how expensive the safety equipment will be. Let the demand of safety solutions build a market create competition and produce jobs and growth. The oil companies profit in the billions so they can afford to help research safer transportation and exploration. It is not that they don’t know what to do but that they don’t have to do it. Everyone around the planet is culpable for every spill because the market has not been forced by the people to do it better.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >The oil companies profit in the billions so they can afford to help research safer transportation and exploration.

      Oil platforms have a record of safety regarding spills that is unparalleled by any other means.

      Does that mean they are perfect? Nope

      But it does mean that if you want to go with no further drilling until they acheive perfection, there are going to be way more tankers delivering oil from far away.

      Thats going to mean way more spills.

      the choice really is this simple:

      You want less spills – go with platforms to replace as many tankers as possible.

      You want more spills – Ban platforms and watch the ships dump it.

      33 times more spills from tankers than from platforms in North America from 1990 to 1999, not a lot of getting around that.

      • valley p

        “the choice really is this simple:

        You want less spills – go with platforms to replace as many tankers as possible.”

        There is a 3rd choice. Don’t drill in places where you cannot contain the damage, and use a lot less oil. Of course that means raising its price to reflect its environmental cost (coal as well) and getting serious about alternative energy development.

  • Bob Clark

    I can’t see why we wouldn’t drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a remote on-land site where spills can be controlled faster with less fall out than out in the sea. The estimated productive capability of ANWR reaches as high as one million barrels per day, representing a potential increase in U.S oil production (independence) of 15 to 20%. We don’t have to produce all the oil we consume to be effective in reducing the cost of oil. A large component of U.S trade deficits is due to the net oil import bill. By reducing the trade deficit by reducing oil imports, the dollar exchange rate should be higher than otherwise thereby lowering the real price of oil imports.

    Another way of looking at Wyden and Merkley’s proposed ban on oil drilling off the West Coast is they are voting to send more U.S dollars to countries like Iran, Venezuela, and Russia.

    Wyden and Merkley vote to send more U.S dollars to Iran, Venezuela, and Russia. Gees thanks Dem wits.

  • Wayne Brady

    To make matters worse, the Chinese will probably be drilling off of our shores anyway and they don’t have the safety record the US firms have.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Not in gum drop land.

      In gum drop land, if the US bans off shore drilling, then that means that nobody ever drills there because all the other countries are really concerned about spills that might affect the US.

      So if the US bans offshore oil drilling then we have no oil spills ever, all the oil comes to us by magic!

  • Chuck Tontz

    Pay Attention: NEVER SAY NEVER! (Think about it)

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