“A risk that cannot be mitigated should not be taken.”
An excellent op-ed from Gerald Butts of WWF-Canada on what we Canadians should learn from the oil spill disaster in the Gulf. First off, we have no cause for even the slightest bit of complacency; our neighbours to the south have tougher regulations and certainly greater response capacity than we do notwithstanding that the spill is not yet contained. In many respects, drilling is even more challenging and riskier in the Arctic but today we don’t know how we would manage the kind of calamity we are watching in the Gulf with horror. We don’t want to be in the position of arguing after the fact about what to do, who is to blame, who will pay, how will the victims be meaningfully compensated, and what will be the enduring environmental consequences.
Butts sets out the elements of a realistic plan that would be better started now, on how we drill, where we drill, and what we would do to mitigate a problem should it arise. And as oil gets harder and riskier to extract we certainly ought to have a national plan now for reducing our carbon dependency. We spend much more time, effort and resources on other threats to our security. To repeat, it’s now time for a plan on offshore drilling. It’s time for a plan on reducing carbon dependency. The risks and costs of inaction on this front are not theoretical or off in the distant future.