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The Gulf Oil Spill Reminds Us the Era of Easy Oil is Over

The
Relentless Pursuit of Extreme Energy
by Michael Klare,
Tom's Dispatch

Yes, the oil spewing up from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico in staggering
quantities
could prove one of the great ecological disasters of
human history.  Think of it, though, as just the prelude to the Age of
Tough
Oil
, a time of ever increasing reliance on problematic,
hard-to-reach energy sources.  Make no mistake: we’re entering the
danger zone.  And brace yourself, the fate of the planet could be at
stake...

 

Oil Disaster May Prove Tipping Point for World Oil Production by Jeff Rubin, Globe and Mail
What are the consequences of another Three Mile Island? Will the unfolding environmental catastrophe from
the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico become
deep-water oil’s equivalent to the Three Mile Island accident? In terms
of environmental degradation and economic cost, it’s already become
much more. The real legacy of Three Mile Island wasn’t what happened
back in 1979, though, but rather what happened, or more precisely
didn’t happen, over the course of the next 40 years in the United
States.

Literally overnight, the near-meltdown of the reactor core changed public acceptance of nuclear power plants. No company in the U.S. has built a new one since. Deepwater Horizon was not a
producing well, nor will it likely ever be one. Hemorrhaging anywhere
from 5,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil every day, the spill is already
approaching the size of the discharge from the Exxon Valdez. What’s
worse, BP has no way to shut it off, short of drilling a relief well to
divert the pressure, which will take three months. At 25,000 barrels a
day, three months means a cumulative discharge of 2.25 million barrels
of oil, or 94.5 million U.S. gallons (one barrel equals 42 U.S.
gallons), or roughly eight Exxon Valdez spills. Even at 5,000 barrels a
day, that’s almost 20 million gallons of oil. And to top it all off,
by the time a relief well can be drilled, we’ll be smack in the middle
of hurricane season.

The scene of hurricane-force winds raining oil on New Orleans and the rest of America’s Gulf Coast will no doubt make
for an apocalyptic image of the end of the age of oil. Unfortunately,
our dependence on the stuff will survive this catastrophe, even if the
fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and the marsh ecosystems of the
Mississippi Delta won’t. But what might also not survive is deep-water
drilling: No company’s shareholders will be willing to accept the
consequences that BP will soon have to face...

 

Another Wake-Up Call For the World's Biggest Oil Junkie by Chris Nedler, Getrealist
OK, America, it’s time to get real about energy. The explosion and destruction of the Horizon
deepwater rig and the subsequent oil spill disaster are only the latest
in a series of wake-up calls you’ve received. Are you listening now?
Your first warning came in 1956, with the publication of M. King
Hubbert’s model of US oil production, which correctly predicted its peak
in 1970. When Hubbert updated his model on camera in 1976,
he also nailed the peak of worldwide conventional oil production in
2005...


Blue Bayou by Olga Bonfiglio, Energy Bulletin
The threat to the bayou didn’t happen last month with the explosion of the
Deepwater Horizon rig.

Oil rigs began to appear in the brackish coastal areas of the Gulf in the early 1930s when the Texas Company (Texaco) developed the first mobile steel barges for drilling. After
World War II, other companies began to build fixed off-shore platforms
near southern Louisiana. Today the Gulf hosts about 4,000 platforms.

Since 1950, an 8,000-mile system of canals has been constructed in the bayous— with channels 15 to 25-feet wide and six to seven-feet deep—to accommodate the transport of oil-related equipment.

Many people in Louisiana have been concerned about the disappearing bayous, whose loss each day is equivalent to the size of a football field.
Among them are musicians like the jazz singer/songwriter known as Dr.
John who wrote “Black Gold” (included in his Grammy Award-winning 2007
album, The City That Care Forgot). The song points out how canals make
the area more vulnerable to hurricanes and other storms. The wetlands
provide protection to the mainland, one reason why Hurricane Katrina
was so destructive...

 

Gulf Spill Reminds America: The Era of Easy Oil is Over by Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers
To meet the world's boundless thirst for oil, drillers are searching in the sand and mud of
remote western Canada, the tough shale rock of North Dakota and more
than a mile under the seas off the southern U.S. coast, where a
drilling accident has sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude
spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Why are we going nearly to the ends of
the earth and the bottom of the seas for oil?

The answer, say many experts, is that we're consuming as much oil as we ever have but the era of "easy oil" is in our rearview mirror and receding fast...



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The balance we each need to reach between cleaning up our own personal/family walk, and the walk of uniting as neighbors & friends making decisions on how our local lands, resources, & cultures will be cared for is one that I hope I can walk with grace & integrity....though the way at times seems foggy and lonely. The highlight of the weekend for me, was to see 3 folks riding their horses along Northshore Drive instead of their cars!

The heartbreaking effects of our community allowing oil pipelines to run under our public lands, carrying oil from the tar-sand open pits that have killed a huge portion of one the worlds 3rd largest watershed, in northern Alberta Canada, was presented verbally & visually last Thursday. The event was both informative & well attended....at least 3 government servants also attended. I am grateful to the many people who helped create this event.

David, Would it be useful for you or others to speak out and attend this Monday's May 24 city council meeting? Many of us here on TW are part of the 'choir'. My impression is that there may be others there to speak their heart & mind outloud to 'we the people' who are reclaiming decisioning making of our lands, our health, our democracy.

Here is the council info I found online at
http://www.cob.org/cob/cag.nsf/$$ViewTemplate%20for%20FlatMeetings?OpenForm
Monday, May 24 2010
City Council Regular Meeting 07:00 PM Council Chambers
Public Hearing Draft 2011 - 2016 Transportation Improvement Plan 07:00 PM Council Chambers
There are a number of issues at tonights Council meeting that would be of interest to Transitioners:



AB18863 (pdf 51k)
1. **ORDINANCE APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR A 24 MONTH, LIMITED-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR POSITION36 - 38
AB18785 (pdf 459k)
2. **RESOLUTION ENDORSING FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM39 - 79
PUBLIC WORKS/PUBLIC SAFETY 1:15 PM – 1:20 PM
BARRY BUCHANAN (CHAIR); JACK WEISS; STAN SNAPP


2. **ORDINANCE APPROPRIATING FUNDS FROM THE GREENWAYS ENDOWMENT INTEREST INCOME87 - 95
PLANNING/NEIGHBORHOODS & COMM. DEV. 1:40 PM – 2:20 PM
TERRY BORNEMANN (CHAIR); JACK WEISS; SETH FLEETWOOD; MICHAEL LILLIQUIST


AB18867 (pdf 1217k)
1. **ORDINANCE ADOPTING THE 2009 WASHINGTON STATE BUILDING CODE, THE INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE AND THE ELECTRICAL CODE96 - 134
AB18868 (pdf 179k)
2. REVIEW OF AN INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT WITH WHATCOM COUNTY FOR THE BENNETT/BAKERVIEW/AIRPORT DRIVE ANNEXATION AREA135 - 143
AB18687 (pdf 475k)
3. PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS OF ADDITIONAL RESEARCH ON RENTAL UNIT LICENSING AND INSPECTION PROGRAMS AND DISCUSSION OF OPTIONS FOR A POSSIBLE BELLINGHAM ORDINANCE144 - 175
AB18869 (pdf 315k)
4. PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS OF RESEARCH INTO POLICY OPTIONS FOR REGULATING MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT SOUND IN THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM176 - 195
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE 2:20 PM – 2:50 PM
GENE KNUTSON (CHAIR)

2. MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS FOR THE MAYOR’S NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY COMMISSION: STEVE LECOCQ FOR THE KING MOUNTAIN NEIGHBORHOOD AND JULIA MCLEAN FOR THE SEHOME NEIGHBORHOOD FOR COUNCIL’S INFORMATION196 - 198
CONSENT AGENDA

All matters listed on the Consent Agenda are considered routine and/or non-controversial items and may be approved in a single motion. Committee review has taken place during the afternoon session on most of these items. A member of the Council may ask that an item be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered separately.

AB18808 (pdf 316k)
1. CB 13608 – AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM AMENDING BMC 13.70 MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION CONCURRENCY202 - 221
AB18850 (pdf 48k)
2. CB 13615 – AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2010 GENERAL FUND BUDGET RECOGNIZING RECEIPT OF A $500,000.00 GRANT FROM THE WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY CREDIT ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM, APPROPRIATING $487,500.00 AND PLACING THE REMAINING $12,500.00 IN ESTIMATED ENDING UNDESIGNATED RESERVE.222 - 224
AB18852 (pdf 52k)
3. CB 13617 - AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2010 BUDGET APPROPRIATING $75,000.00 FROM ESTIMATED ENDING UNDESIGNATED RESERVES IN THE TOURISM FUND FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PICKFORD FILM CENTER225 - 227
AB18814 (pdf 386k)
4. CB 13618 - AN ORDINANCE GRANTING, TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE (PUGET SOUND) LLC, A WASHINGTON LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, ITS SUCCESSORS, GRANTEES AND ASSIGNS, THE NONEXCLUSIVE RIGHT, PRIVILEGE, AUTHORITY AND FRANCHISE TO CONSTRUCT, OPERATE, MAINTAIN, REMOVE, REPLACE, AND REPAIR EXISTING PIPELINE FACILITIES, TOGETHER WITH EQUIPMENT AND APPURTENANCES THERETO, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND BYPRODUCTS WITHIN AND THROUGH THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM228 - 246
AB18857 (pdf 80k)

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