Environmentalism is Responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill

by Jason Stotts

With everyone throwing blame around for the “BP oil spill,” I would like to take a minute to shine a light on the real culprit: environmentalism and the politicians that support it.

BP is out to make a profit on oil.  That’s what they do.  Does anyone actually think they’d be drilling at 5,000ft in the middle of an ocean if they didn’t have to?  No, of course they wouldn’t.   They’re pushing the cutting edge of technology to do so and the cost of drilling at that depth is great.  They would much rather drill closer to land or even on land, where it’s easy to get the oil and relatively inexpensive.  So, why don’t they just do that?  It’s illegal.

As Mark J. Perry from Carpe Diem points out:

“Why are we drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place?

Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production (see map above, source).

And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we’ve had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. So we go deep, ultradeep — to such a technological frontier that no precedent exists for the April 20 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.”

It is out of subservience to the cult of environmentalism that we are being forced to pay higher prices for oil, do to increased cost of drilling and imposed scarcity through drilling restrictions.  Not only are the environmentalists forcing us to pay higher prices for oil, they are encouraging disasters like the current one in the Gulf of Mexico through forcing oil companies to work at the very edge of existing technology.  The fact is, though, that the environmentalists absolutely love disasters like this so that they can point their fingers at oil companies and say “We told you so!  They’re ruining the environment!”  The problem is that it is the environmentalists that caused this disaster by preventing BP from using proven drilling methods and by forcing them into the middle of the ocean.

So, the next time an environmentalist bemoans the Gulf Oil Spill, point your finger right at them and say “it’s your fault!”

22 Responses to “Environmentalism is Responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill”


  1. David McBride

    “… point your finger right at them and say it’s your fault!”
    Wow! That’s a great idea Jason. Put the blame right where it belongs.

  2. JJZeise

    This was the first thing that came to my mind when it happened. I’m glad the blogosphere is starting run with this idea. Thanks for posting this.

  3. Michaels5054

    Ok, so is the enviromentalists fault that BP or any other drilling company never had a secure method of shutting down the well? In 1978 the exact same thing happened in the gulf near mexico. It took near 5 months for them to shut the well. The only difference was that well was only 250ft under water.

    Restrictions, regardless of what you may think of them are there for a reason and should not be used as a scapgoat for poor planning in a worse case scenario. Choosing to drill that deep isn’t due the enviromentalists. It’s a decision made by the oil company since their scientists discovered a large untapped resevior.

  4. V Fisher

    Wow, there are only about 100 sides to every story. I am not an environmentalist but we need to stop pointing fingers, get this current situation under control and start working with the best and brightest from both sides to solve the host of problems that surround the issue. You know what they say about the rest of your fingers when you point at someone else.

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  6. Anthony R.

    Michaels5054,

    Did you not read the article? For crying out loud. BP did not WANT to drill that deep. Why in the hell would it want to tap a well at 5,000 feet when they know with 100% certainty that there are massive wells on the continental shelf that could be accessed at much less cost and effort?

    You also said ‘restrictions are there for a reason’. The reason is in the damn blog. The environmentalists ARE the reason and it’s not a good one.

    Look…Bottom line is that BP is responsible for the damage they cause. I don’t think Jason was denying that. However, that doesn’t change the fact that BP was FORCED to choose between drilling in 5,000 feet or not drilling at all. The safer choice of drilling on the continental shelf or on land is RESTRICTED for no other reason than environmentalist lobbying. If something goes wrong on land it’s a fast fix. If something goes wrong at 250 feet (like the 1978 example you gave) we now have the technology to handle it.

  7. Bob

    Firstly, Anthony R. just because someone writes a comment in a blog, or newspaper, does not make it the TRUTH. It is a point of view open for debate and discussion. You make a big issue of the ‘reason being in the damn blog’ well so is the following line…

    ‘BP is out to make a profit on oil. That’s what they do.’

    which by your argument appears to put equal blame on capitalism, for surely without the desire to make vast profits, BP may not have taken the decision to drill in this location.

  8. The Gulf Oil Crisis « Asheville Tea Party

    […] Environmentalism is Responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill by Jason Stotts | June 4, 2010 With everyone throwing blame around for the “BP oil spill,” I would like to take a minute to shine a light on the real culprit: environmentalism and the politicians that support it. from → Uncategorized ← The Incredible, Disappearing Congress No comments yet Click here to cancel reply. […]

  9. JasonStotts

    First, let’s all agree that the problem needs to be resolved. I don’t think anyone wants to see the beaches destroyed or the oil wasted.

    Now, Bob, Capitalism is only immoral by an altruistic standard, like that of christianity, where it is immoral to live for one’s own sake and so one must live for another. I am not a christian or an altruist. I think that one has a moral obligation to live for oneself and to live the best kind of life possible. Consequently, not only do I think there is nothing wrong about BP pursuing profits, I think they are acting morally. Capitalism is the only moral economic system because it is the only one that operate by Justice and not by need.

    The problem here is that environmentalists are forcing oil companies to drill in places where these kinds of disasters are likelier to happen. If they were drilling in ANWR, where there is much more oil than their site in the Gulf, this would not have happened. Sadly, ANWR is “protected” by environmentalists, as are most good oil deposits on land, and so these kinds of disasters are likely to happen again.

    ~Jason

  10. Bob

    Point taken Jason. However, I did not say that Capitalism was immoral, only that it has to be taken into account to understand why BP were drilling in that location. Yes, you are correct in that their options were limited by the actions of environmentalists.

    That said, BP are a global multinational company with drilling operations all over the world, therefore there must be other reasons they chose to drill in such a precarious location. I would suggest among the reasons you have stated against the environmentalists should be included BP’s desire to increase their American Market share.

    The thrust of my argument was more against Anthony R’s blind acceptance of your view then taking it a step futher to argue that BP were

    ‘FORCED to choose between drilling in 5,000 feet or not drilling at all’.

    This is a fallacious argument and suggests that this location was literally the only location left on the planet which BP were allowed to drill. This is obviously not the case so we have to examine why this location was chosen. As I have already suggested, this was a profits based decision to increase their American market share, which is driven by Capitalist principles. This argument apparently outweighed the risks involved when the decision was made.

    I am suggesting that to lay blame solely at the door of the environmentalist lobby is no better than laying all blame on BP. The decisions made were the result of an intricate interplay of Capitalism, Environmentalism and Politics.

    I am not a philosopher and so I will politely decline to be drawn on the morality or otherwise of Capitalism.

    Bob

  11. GinnyWeasly95

    I agree with this 100%. There are a few things I think everyone is forgetting here.
    First, oil is a natural resource. It comes from the earth. Oil IS environmental. Second, everyone is worried about the poor animals, guess what, they have natural instincts. Those instincts tell them to leave the area. What I’d really like to see is for all the protesters, all the whiners to STOP driving their cars!!! If oil is so bad and so wrong, back it up and stop driving.

  12. renaissanceman21c

    I also heard that the oil spill could have been contained rather easily and effectively by burning off the oil within the first forty-eight hours of the spill; however, doing so was illegal because of…does anybody know the correct answer? Environmental regulations.

    The environmentalists, then, are the fundamental cause not only of the spill, but also of the disaster that ensued. And who is being blamed? BP, the large greedy, irresponsible oil company. Who is going to have to pay? BP? Yes and No. In fact we all ultimately have to pay the cost–not in tax dollars (for presumably there will be no government funds involved), but rather in the resulting higher prices that we as consumers will have to pay for gas. All the while the environmentalists will be snarling at and denouncing big oil while trying to hide from themselves the fact that deep down inside they harbor a hatred for reason, freedom, progress, and technology.

  13. Mike Zemack

    Another major contributing factor is the government’s paltry $75 million liability limit on behalf of deep water oil drillers. This was to manipulate insurance rates lower after oil companies complained that high rates made most drilling unfeasible.

    This had the predictable result. Incentives to pursue innovative tecnologies to make drilling safer were stifled, as was the need to be prepared for worst case scenarios (as BP obviously was not). The insurance industry is the economic bulwark against excessive risk. Insurance companies’ make judgements based on economic, technological, and environmental realies, and price their rates accordingly. If oil companies find insurance rates too high, then they can abandon deep water drilling, or they could find better and safer ways to operate to satisfy the insurers and reduce rates.

    Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has sponsored a bill to raise that limit to $10 billion, believing that the $75 million cap encouraged ecological gambling, because it was so low. Yes, so why then should oil companies be shielded at all? Artificially capping liability is the very kind of market manipulation that causes problems, by short-circuiting the normal risk management incentives inherent in a free market.

    Yes, BP must clean up the mess, and compensate the victims, even if it bankrupts them. If BP engaged in fraud to get the permits, prosecute the company. And, NO BAILOUTS. It is BP’s well, after all.

    But, just as with the financial crises, the government rigs the system to encourage excessive risk and reduce personal responsibility, and wonders why disasters happen.

    And in similar fashion, we’re seeing the usual demands for more regulation, with blame being placed on a non-existent “free market”. This is perverse. BP is the proximate cause, but government regulation is the ultimate cause. We need less regulation, and more economic laissez-faire.

  14. WhiteKnightLeo

    Actually, Mike Zemack, I was about to mention that bit about the liability cap.

    Ironically, even the Russians are on the side of BP in this case, pointing out that land drilling, while ugly to environmentalists, is much safer, because there’s no massive air pressure pushing down on the rock to pump the oil out, and a spill can be contained relatively quickly. Especially since temperature changes are less quick on land, because air is more of a heat insulator than a conductor, so even in the Arctic they wouldn’t have much to worry about ice crystals shutting down the spill cleanup equipment.

  15. Catalina

    OK, suppose that it _were_ legal to drill close to the shoreline. What do you think BP and Mobile Exxon would do when the oil runs out, like it has in Texas?

    It would only have postponed the inevitable.

  16. Catalina

    Oh, I forgot to say, I suppose the environmentalists are responsible for THIS, too ?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/30/oil-spills-nigeria-niger-delta-shell

  17. JasonStotts

    Catalina,

    There are oil reserves for the rest of our lives in Alaska. By that time technology will have improved to make deep sea drilling easier.

    If you had read the Guardian article, then you would have seen that it’s not environmentalism that’s ruining Nigeria, but being a third world country that refuses to shed mysticism and come into the twenty-first century: “Shell, which works in partnership with the Nigerian government in the delta, says that 98% of all its oil spills are caused by vandalism, theft or sabotage by militants and only a minimal amount by deteriorating infrastructure.”

    I never said Environmentalism is responsible for all oil spills, just the Gulf spill.

    ~Jason

  18. Mike Zemack

    Catalina;

    What BP or Exxon or any other energy producer would do “when the oil runs out” depends in large part on the level of governmental restrictions – environmental being perhaps the biggest.

    But, let’s say for the sake of your argument that deep water drilling is where they wanted to go. In that case, the best protection against a BP-type disaster is to keep government out of the market’s hair, and let its dynamics play out (See my comment above). In the BP disaster, the government’s hands are all over this spill.

    I am not excusing BP completely. Cap or no cap, there is a moral responsibility to be respectful of other people’s property, and be prepared to compensate others for damages caused. At the same time, as even Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), whom I rarely agree with, acknowledges, the government’s artificial liability cap is a prime culprit. There was nothing inevitable about the BP blowout.

    But, as Jason Stotts argues, environmentalism is the cause of causes for the BP spill. In the name of protecting “environmentally sensitive areas” where it is technologically and environmentally much safer to drill, such as ANWAR and other coastal areas, we now have the worst environmental mess in US history. Environmentalism’s hands are at least as oily as anyone’s, because of its obsession with “pristine” nature and its disregard for man’s need to exploit nature to survive and thrive.

    Remove all environmental restrictions (except where consistent with the protection of private property rights), abolish market interventions such as liability caps, and leave energy producers free to go where they may go. Then we’ll find the answer to the question: “What do you think BP and Mobile Exxon would do when the oil runs out”? – if it runs out.

    PS – The Nigerian government, according to that article, is a “partner” with the oil companies, and “Oil spills and the dumping of oil into waterways … have become common due to the lack of laws and enforcement measures within the existing political regime.” In other words, that government is avoiding its proper function to protect private property rights. Instead, it’s running the show and collecting protection money, while private industry gets the blame for “blocking progressive legislation”. That article is a very good argument for the separation of economics and state – i.e., laissez-faire capitalism.

  19. Grant

    Catalina,

    We’re going to run out of oil? That’s great news! Maybe now all of the environmentalists will stop bitching about the looming threat of global warming.

  20. lori

    @michael5054~absolutely! with this spill, a direct result from BP wanting too much $$ too quickly and taking major shortcuts to achieve their goal, it is quite obvious that the environment should be everyone responsibilty and goal to protect. I also strongly agree with the comments about pointing the finger – that is never a resolution. With or without the “environmentalists”, oils spills happen – on land, at 250 ft or 5000 ft. The technology is not to blame – just the companies taking shortcuts to increase their bottom line. I also feeel that society in general needs to be more involved with conservation of all natural resources, and reduce the waste!

  21. Methinks

    Almost every consumer here in America, and abroad, is responsible for this disaster. Petroleum-based products are invasive, in regards to the life of a modern-day consumer. We’ve become obsessed with the need for convenience-based products and excessive and wasteful energy consumption (so as to appease us). There’s a reason as to why Gaia sequestered excessive CO2 from the atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago – it was a hindrance to the net energy equilibration of the planet’s bio/chemo/geo/aqua/atmosphere. And here we are, mining it and drilling for it so as to make it readily available to gratify our unnecessities. Look into the mirror, and you will see exactly who’s the culprit. I can accept this, as it’s staring me right in the face. The question is – can you too? Once again, we’re proving that direct and indirect genocide is one of humanity’s greatest contributions/assets.

  22. LOL AT BP

    bleh at the hippies =.=