Comparing the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster to plane crashes and car crashes (Letters, May 28) is a bit short-sighted, to say the least. What long-term effects do these have as opposed to the long-term effects of an oil spill, particularly one of the magnitude we see in the gulf? Right off the bat it killed 11 people. It’s ruining industry all over the gulf coast, destroying natural habitats, killing animals, fish, etc. Would Mr. Lerman like to see oil spilling onto the Jersey Shore? Or would he like to sit on the beach and see the lovely sight of oil rigs out in the ocean? He mentioned the Exxon Valdez accident. No one in Alaska has forgotten about that. They’re still cleaning up after 10 years. Auto and plane crashes are cleaned up in days and do not affect anyone’s economy except that of the victims and their families. Preliminary reports say that BP did not do everything it was supposed to do to ensure the safety of the oil rig and its workers. And the government agency that was supposed to oversee this was in bed with the oil industry.
Non-oil-industry experts say the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s oil requirements. Any oil drilled is placed into the world market and can go anywhere. Oil is a pollutant whether or not you believe in global warming. We don’t need more oil wells and more drilling. American taxpayers actually subsidize the oil companies who make enormous profits at the expense of our overall well-being. We need alternative sources of energy, but the big pockets of the oil lobby spread its wealth to our Congress and we can’t even get the other sources off the ground. Bottom line, all it takes is one spill to mess up a lot of lives, not to mention delicate natural habits and livelihoods. We do not have enough oil in this country to sustain us for any significant amount of time. If we wait until the last minute, when our reserves are nearly gone, we’ll become even more dependent on foreign oil. More drilling equals more possibility of these kinds of accidents. And more oil money put into the pockets of our elected officials will keep us dependent on oil and in danger of lax oversight of the oil industry. There are actually members of a certain political party who want us, the taxpayers, to foot the bill for most of the cleanup. We’re playing with fire here.