(p. A15) As oil continues to gush from BP’s Macondo well and politicians posture, it is time for us to ask why we are drilling in such risky places when there is oil available elsewhere. The answer lies in the mantra NIMBY–“not in my back yard.”
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In early June there was a blowout in western Pennsylvania. Did you see it on the nightly news? No, because it was capped in 16 hours.
. . .
Drilling can be done with greater environmental sensitivity onshore. For many years the Audubon Society actually allowed oil companies to pump oil for its privately owned sanctuaries in Louisiana and Michigan, but did so with strict requirements on the oil companies so that they would not disturb the bird habitat.
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When kids play baseball, there is a risk that windows will get broken. Playing on baseball fields rather than in sand lots, however, lowers the risk considerably. Putting so much onshore land off limits to oil and gas development is like closing baseball parks. More windows will be broken and more blowouts result where they are difficult to prevent and stop.
For the full commentary, see:
TERRY ANDERSON. “Why It’s Safer to Drill in the ‘Backyard’; Texas has had 102 oil and gas well blowouts since the start of 2006, without catastrophic consequences.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., June 25, 2010): A15.
(Note: ellipses added.)