Joe Essid's Back Page (“Over a Barrel,” April 28) was amazingly well timed. He argued against offshore drilling from a basis of peak oil and economics, but at the writing of this letter, the oil slick from the Gulf of Mexico rig blowout is hitting the marshes at the mouth of the Mississippi at the rate of 5,000 barrels per day to support his argument.
Perhaps our governor will stop speaking of offshore drilling as if it were the Holy Grail of Virginia fiscal balance. The president may even have second thoughts about viewing offshore petroleum as a bargaining chip for climate change legislation. As happened after Santa Barbara and Prince William Sound, we just went from “Drill Baby Drill” to “Spill Baby Spill.” Plug-in electric cars are looking really good about now.
Joe Essid is correct that Virginia's offshore oil drilling is but a drop in the barrel as to our consumption. But it is a step in the right direction as the demand will outstrip supply even if all the producers were our staunch allies. We will need to employ the full spectrum of energy independence strategies to reduce our demands and dependence. Among these are: nuclear power, solar power, wind power, efficient coal production and use, conservation and energy efficiency, recycling and shale oil, and gas extraction. Even such small steps as filling our car tires with nitrogen can make a difference. We have the capacity to engineer environmentally safe and affordable means to glean resources. We also need the will to make a difference individually. Each of us must do what we can in the place we are during the time we have.
Walt Pulliam Jr.