Like most of the Earth’s population, I was ignorant of just how much drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is actually occurring.  After all, we hear “Drill, baby drill” from such visionaries as Sarah Palin, and one must wonder why we shouldn’t heed that well-thought out advice (even the Deepwater Horizon spill didn’t deter her mantra).  So how much drilling is going on?

Well, here’s the Gulf al naturale:









Here it is with dots showing active oil and gas platforms:









Yes, that thing that looks like an outbreak of necrotizing fasciitis on our southern coast is the cluster of places that have been drilling for finite sources of energy in our waters (some since the 1950’s).  Would increasing the number of platforms decrease our dependence on foreign oil? Unlikely since our demand so drastically exceeds what we’re able to supply, even domestically.  And even then, it’s not as if prices would fall for the US consumer since oil is in a global market (much of it regulated by OPEC), but we have a free market here in the US.  (I.e. if the global price of oil is $130 a barrel, you’d better believe that’s what the domestic oil companies are going to sell it for.  After all, you don’t get to be the most profitable business by giving your product away, right Exxon?)

Then there’s all the environmental disasters and damage done when spills occur.  And there are a lot of spills.  Some are small or even natural (those little white streaks):










Some are not so small:











In the end, the dangers and costs outweigh the potential benefits (in my opinion), and we’d be better off spending all that time and money on renewable sources of energy.  But that won’t happen as long as special interests (i.e. oil and gas corporations) continue to feed our political machinery.  But that’s a blog for another time.