The Corner

Calamity in the Gulf Cont’d

From a reader:

Jonah,

                Isn’t a bit strange that people (including yourself) take this latest spill (and unfortunate loss of life) as possibly killing any possibility of more off-shore drilling when we just had 29 miners killed in West Virginia and I don’t remember too many people calling for the end of coal mining?  Sorry if the following seems a bit bitter, but I guess losing a few “hillbillies” in West Virginia just doesn’t compare to having some birds covered in oil to East Coast elites.  The fact is that there are real human and environmental costs in every energy industry – just think that should be pointed out now and again.

I think there’s a good point in here, but it confuses the issues a bit. Loss of life, while tragic, has never been a significant part of the environmentalist’s case against oil drilling or coal mining. If these twelve oil workers had died and not a drop of oil had spilled, it would have still be a real news story and it still would have been awful, but I doubt it would have moved the needle more than a hair when it comes to the fight over oil drilling. People understand that these are dangerous jobs.

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