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Saturday, April 06, 2013

ExxonMobil oil spill results in ExxonMobil chemical spill


Even as ExxonMobil was mopping up after its disgusting tar-sands oil spill in Arkansas on Wednesday, it spilled an unknown amount of unknown chemicals — possibly hydrogen sulfide and cancer-causing benzene — during an accident at a riverfront refinery in Louisiana.

The Chalmette refinery chemical spill might have gone unnoticed, except that it stank out the city of New Orleans and several nearby parishes, leading to state and federal investigations (we told you about that mysterious odor yesterday). Frankly, ExxonMobil’s track record here sucks: The same refinery spilled 360 barrels of crude oil in January.
Keep in mind that this chemical spill would never have happened if it wasn’t for the oil spill. This means that each spill creates the possibility of related spills and that the Chalmette spill could conceivably result in yet another spill someplace else. In other words, we risk environmental disaster every time there’s an environmental disaster. Cleaning up catastrophe creates new possibilities for catastrophe.

Look, we’re going to have to quit using fossil fuels eventually. Since they’re finite resources, that’s a given. Likewise, as they get more and more scarce, supply and demand will keep jacking the price up. And, of course, the whole thing is dangerous and dirty.

Add all those facts together and it’s hard to see how it’s not a good idea to start transitioning away from fossil fuels now. I mean in a meaningful way. In a deliberate way with the end of fossil fuels being the goal. We’ll save ourselves a lot of money in the long run and we’ll be doing the environment (and our health) a big favor, all by getting a head start on something we’ll have to do eventually anyway. We’ll create new jobs, new markets, and new technologies. We can start working on developing and perfecting alternative energy technology now or we can keep doing this stupid, dirty, pointless, and increasingly expensive stuff until it becomes impossible to continue and then switch over to alternatives.

Seems like a no-brainer to me. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of people who seem to have no brains.

[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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