It has beenÂ 81 days since oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon began to stream into the Gulf of Mexico. In that time, Â BP has skimmed or burned about 60 percent of the amount of oil it promised regulators it could remove in a single day.
Prior to the event, according to a Washington Post article, Â BP had claimed a cleanup capacity of Â just under 492,000 barrels per day. They have averaged over the course of this disaster under 900 barrels per day.
Many of us have spent the last few years trying to spread the word about global warming. Few of us imagined that an accident of this scale was not only a possibility, but an eventual certainty.
I have been fielding questions recently from the press and other interested parties, mostly interested in discovering if I believe this accident will incite the nation to the immediate adoption of an energy policy that truly promotes the adoption of biofuels.
I do not believe so, not because I believe that the general public will not want better solutions, or that the politics of energy are too complex and intertwined with the system of campaign financing to effect substantive change in this arena.
I do not believe so because we as a nation and member of the global community do not have a viable replacement for petroleum. We have solutions that will move us towards energy independence as it pertains to our importation of foreign oil. The latter is fundamentally different than supplanting our use of petroleum.
I believe, as I suspect the majority of us working in this sector do as well, that our use of petroleum will increase over the next decade. Currently approximately 250 million vehicles are active on the nations roads. Of that, 18 million 18-wheelers are responsible for almost 50% of our fuel utilization.
According to the Department of Energy, 94% of our commercial goods are transported in seagoing vessels, trains, and trucks that rely on diesel fuels for power. The technological and environmental issues facing the inhabitants of the afflicted regions are in part a result of failed oversight, and they also serve as harbingers exposing the fundamental flaw in our national approach to energy. The problem is not just the source of our energy, albeit foreign or domestic, but the type of energy itself.
Big oil may not ever warm to the notion that farmers, renderers and recyclers may inherit the mantle that is currently occupied by the deep oil rigs and land-based drilling that currently dominate the fluid energy industry, but that is what will be necessary to make biofuels and other energy alternatives viable in an appropriate timeframe.
This is the time.
Now is the time for us as a nation to come together and enact the policies and incentives necessary to accelerate and maximize the production of clean energy in its myriad forms.
Instead of looking for a single solution, as a nation we should strive to explore and implement every viable technology and let the marketplace decide which energy solutions are worthy for major adoption over time.
We used to talk about global warming and the threat of military conflict as the inevitable dire consequence of a dependency on foreign oil when a more imminent threat may simply be toxic crude washng up on your local beach, poisoned sea life that is toxic to eat, and millions of gallons of toxic dispersants injected into the oceans with competely unknown long term consequences.
What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico is tragic. It is time for us to come together as a nation and commit to change.
Make it a better place,