The Skywriter

Two VERY different energy stories

29
Apr

Two VERY different energy stories

A side by side comparison is often the best, most direct way to get a point across and the New York Times homepage aptly demonstrated that yesterday afternoon:

NY Times

The juxtaposition was enlightening about our energy choices, if very unfortunate for our friends who live along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

On one side was the welcome news that, after years of procedural objections, federal regulators finally approved the nation’s first offshore wind farm in the waters near Cape Cod. While a number of legal loopholes still remain before “ground” is broken on the project, this is huge step forward for both a project that supporters estimate could ultimately provide 75 percent of Cape Cod’s power needs, and an industry that could provide tens of thousands of well paying, clean energy jobs right here at home.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the page was, of course, the most recent of a series of ever more foreboding reports from the Gulf of Mexico. The latest? That we were about to actually set the Gulf of Mexico ON FIRE in an attempt to keep the spreading oil spill from devastating coastal areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

If the lines in our energy debate were not clear before -- with one side promising vastly reduced carbon emissions and the potential for millions of stable, long term jobs while the other side clings to the dirty energy status quo, short term profits, and the ever-present-potential for a major environmental disaster – these two events should have brought them into stark contrast.

Big Oil front groups like the American Petroleum Institute (API) can try and spin their safety records all they want, but the simple truth is that no one has ever heard of a “Wind Spill” suddenly descend upon fragile coastal ecosystems or tourist-laden beaches that local small businesses depend upon for revenue. And certainly no one has ever had to watch the Coast Guard explain to reporters why burning a wind farm was necessary for the protection of our beaches.

We need to make sure we all remember that as the climate and energy debate continues to move forward in coming weeks and as the fossil fuel lobbyists continue to push for expanded off-shore drilling and other giveaways to dirty industry. While the contrast between energy choices can sometimes seem rather abstract, this week has given us a clear example of how devastating the wrong choices can be.

And, unfortunately, there will be some powerful images to help us all remember that.

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