As political pressure for expanded offshore drilling for oil along the coasts of the USA has grown over the last year, public relations campaigns for the big oil corporations have sought to assuage people’s fears about the environmental impact of oil rigs, saying that things have changed. They say that new techniques now exist that enable drilling to take place in harmony with the natural environment, so that wildlife can exist right alongside active drilling operations.
The plausibility of these public relations claims is wrecked, however, by the reality of what’s taking place around oil drilling operations that already exist. Along the Russian Federation’s Pacific coast, oil is being pumped out of the sea bed in areas where grey whales migrate, and it’s putting the whales at risk of extinction.
Only 25 breeding females survive within the population of Russian grey whales, and so an effort has begun to form an advisory council to find ways to deal with the problem, adjusting drilling practices to reduce danger to the whales. However, oil companies BP, Exxon and Rosneft refuse to join the council. They don’t even want to talk about protecting the marine wildlife in the areas where they’re drilling.
Why on earth should we allow expanded offshore drilling along the coasts of the United States by companies that won’t even consider participating in efforts to protect the areas from which they extract their profits?