[Coral-List] Help ban Oil Exploration

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Wed May 4 16:55:57 EDT 2011


As you mentioned (and as recently demonstrated), Gene is more than capable
of defending himself as is the thread’s initiator, Dr. Mattes.

My interjection was meant to shift focus to the great value
(both economic and aesthetic) that lies in safeguarding Belize’s coral
reef ecosystem as that factor was being marginalized. Of course this 
gets to the crux of the issue. Much of the polarization that we exemplify comes
from contrasting values. It is not as Gene says that many of us “coral reefers”
(I’m not sure Gene meant that as an endearment) instinctively hate or despise
oil companies, but rather our values are prioritized in favor of conservation.
Anyway, how exactly do we objectively appraise the value of preserving a coral
reef when measuring that against the potential returns from a petroleum reserve
lurking not far below in contiguous waters?

You and Gene would not necessarily be wrong to choose to drill where we “coral reefers”
fear it is not a risk worth taking, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to 
reconcile our differences. We can't even seem to reach consensus on which anthropogenic 
sources of ocean oil pollution should be defined as “disasters”.(Don’t they all contribute
to the general degradation of marine ecosystems and thus at least approach that benchmark?) 

As we all know, one man’s disaster can be another man’s economic opportunity.
No need to get defensive about it, no one thinks that you pray for oil spills and
certainly someone needs to provide the expertise to help mitigate the impact if one
were to unfortunately occur. But if Gene and the “drillers” continues to focus on 
drilling our way out of dependency on foreign sources of fuel, we will never put the
emphasis where it should be; on the development of alternative energy sources.
By the way, we will never be able to produce enough oil from domestic sources to drive 
world market prices down because the supply side is simply growing too fast and we don't
have the reserves necessary to overcome the effects of that surge.

The paradigm simply needs to be shifted to where debates regarding environmental risk 
assessments including the effects of dispersants on coral reefs are no longer relevant.

Meanwhile we are about to get back into the political controversy surrounding drilling 
in Alaskan waters all while Arctic ice is reportedly melting at unprecedented rates.  

Somehow fiddling while Rome burns comes to mind.



More information about the Coral-List mailing list