Warner’s Webb of Drilling Mania


    Nothing says I care about environmental health more than another big oil and gas rig planted serenely in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. What beauty, you might be thinking! What elegance! Look as the infrastructure corrodes and this giant’s legs rust and grow barnacles with each passing week. What visual splendor!

    Of course, think of the view those marine animals must have. Aren’t you jealous? I’d imagine the feeling is akin to having an individual Eiffel Tower being placed over my home. Wouldn’t you be thrilled? Think of the economic benefits, after all!

    The first two paragraphs were satirical. But what many of us turn a blind eye to everyday is no laughing matter. Senators Webb and Warner have not assured Virginians that safety issues aboard oil and gas rigs have been appropriately addressed (when that unimportant little incident in the Gulf of Mexico is even mentioned these days), and yet the gallant efforts for more oil and gas in the Atlantic continues.

    I won’t purport to be an expert on rig safety just as I won’t allow myself to be played for a political foul. Safety measures cost time and money, in some cases, a lot of time and money. And we all know how the game of capitalism has worked in the U.S.: make profits and then make some more, even if it means cutting necessary safety corners.  

    Maybe Virginians like to drill holes in the ground, period. Not only do Virginia’s political “leaders” want to drill holes in the Atlantic, they want to drill holes in southern Virginia. And I’m not even mentioning the preexisting holes that have been drilled in Virginia’s soil.

    So what, you might gab back? In the case of the Atlantic Ocean in particular, drilling holes stands to create a complex host of effects for marine animals living in the area, effects that are still unknown to many scientists and policy “experts.” What’s the value of disrupting and possible eliminating any number of marine species? Of course, this outcome may or may not happen, but are we really willing to chance it for questionable amounts of oil and gas resources?

    Between Senator Webb’s history writing adventures and Senator Warner’s grand visions of becoming president, Virginia seems to have lost its progressive leadership. Maybe it was never truly there to begin with. Or maybe our politicians have themselves been worn down by the political process. Any way you spin the bottle, the results may be the same: a grim future for Virginia’s environmental integrity and ecosystem sustainability.  


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