The high cost of high profits
from David Ruccio
The oil and gas industry knowingly endanger its own workers, the environment, wildlife, and communities in states across the United States—all in pursuit of high profits.
The National Wildlife Federation has just issued a report, “Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit,” in which it explains that major oil spills (such as the ongoing BP spill) are really only a small part of the real story.
From 2000 to 2010, the oil and gas industry accounted for hundreds of deaths, explosions, fires, seeps, and spills as well as habitat and wildlife destruction in the United States. These disasters demonstrate a pattern of feeding the addiction to oil leaving in their wake sacrifice zones that affect communities, local economies, and our landscapes.
Here’s a map of accidents and spills in the past decade:
In a related story, today’s New York Times explores the many ways the Gulf of Mexico has been damaged—by oil and drilling fluids spilled from pipelines, vessel traffic, and wells; by runoff and waste from cornfields, sewage plants, golf courses, and oil-stained parking lots that drain into the Mississippi River from vast swaths of the United States, and then flow down to the gulf; by the dumping of bombs, chemical weapons, and other ordnance in the middle of last century; and by slicing up and drastically engineering the wildlife-rich coastal wetlands of Louisiana for oil and gas exploration, shipping, and flood control.
Forget foreign oil. How long will we continue to pay the cost of high profits for the capitalist oil and gas industry in the United States?