For someone so anxious to drill for oil just miles from Virginia Beach, Bob McDonnell is awfully terrified to say the word “drill.” In his op-ed today in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Gov. McDonnell never uses the words “drill” or “drilling” – not even once.
And with good reason! You might remember the image at right, produced in the very early days of the Deepwater Horizon disaster to show what the slick – just a fraction of the size it would eventually become – would look like if it happened off the Virginia coast. And as much as Gov. McDonnell would like us to forget about those thousands of dead birds, hundreds of dead endangered sea turtles, and more than a hundred dead dolphins, he’s wrong dismiss the Gulf oil disaster as an “accident.” The Gulf oil disaster was no random twist of fate – the bipartisan commission that investigated the blowout said it was the result of a series of bad decisions by the people doing the oil drilling, called the disaster “avoidable,” and warned that without significant reform (which we’re still waiting on), it could happen again.
But even if oil drilling was less dangerous than it is, would drilling off Virginia do us any good? The U.S. consumes 22% of the world’s oil but holds only 1.5% of global oil resources. During the Obama administration, U.S. oil production is up sharply – but that hasn’t done a thing to stop gas prices from rising sharply as well. The same story is true on a global scale – worldwide oil production is up, but oil prices are up too. Worldwide consumption is up and the dwindling supplies of oil left underground are getting more & more expensive to drill.
We can’t drill our way out of our energy problems. The only way we can reduce our oil costs over the long term is to use less oil – fuel-efficient cars in the short-term, renewable energy-powered electric cars in the long term, and building more transit options & more walkable communities over the really long haul so our lives aren’t tethered to the gas pump.
But hey, Bob McDonnell didn’t get $33,150 from Exxon Mobil by pushing for hybrid school buses! He got it by promising to open up Virginia’s coastline to drilling & leaving it to some future governor to worry about apologizing for how no one could possibly have predicted an oil disaster here.