Welcome to a new segment of Green Picket Fence, where we take a look at crazy things anti-environmentalists say. This is slightly old news, but still worth mentioning: Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly blamed the Sierra Club and other “environmentalist wackos” for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to Rush, the oil spill occurred because environmentalists (specifically the Sierra Club) force oil companies to drill way off shore, thereby increasing the likelihood of such spills. The Sierra Club, via Michael Brune, responded to the accusation recently on Chris Matthews Show, saying “Rush Limbaugh’s always good for a good belly laugh…that the issue here isn’t what BP is saying. It just shows that their recklessness doesn’t extend — extends well beyond their oil drilling. I was down in the Gulf, and pollution that we’re seeing there, this — the — the oil plume that’s just on the surface goes for miles and miles and miles, and it is a disaster through and through.”
Brune goes on to say that although there are many BP workers doing their best to control the spill, “The reality is that you just — you can’t contain a mess of this size. It’s very difficult because it’s never been done before. And that’s why the Sierra Club has been arguing for decades that offshore oil drilling in shallow or deep water is highly risky and we can’t drill our way to energy independence, and so we need to be focusing on a real solution to America’s oil addiction and, hopefully, that will come as a result of this disaster.”
This just sent Rush reeling. His response is that not only is the oil spill not a disaster, but that Brune and other environmentalists desperately want disasters to take place so they can take advantage of it politically. “There was an oil spill larger than this in Mexico. And the sea turtles survived. They were damaged in the process, but we’re back to normal from it. Things happen. This is not the first and it’s by no means the largest. But here come the doomsayers, the environmentalist wackos who see an opportunity here to convince you, “Let’s just stop drilling.” Can you believe the idiocy, the illogic of saying, “We cannot drill our way to energy independence”? That’s just sophistry, stupidity. It’s the only way we’re going to have energy independence!”
I found this claim even more interesting than his earlier blame-the-Sierra-Club argument. Rush, and other anti-environmentalists, seem to take a “Drill, baby, drill” approach to energy. Yet, his earlier claim against the Sierra Club was that they “forced” these oil companies to go way off-shore to drill. So, environmentalists force companies to drill off-shore, which is bad and dangerous, yet we should drill in order to have energy independence? Did Rush just contradict himself? Oh, I think so.
However, just for fun, let’s take a closer look at his argument. According to Scientific American, 115 billion barrels of oil are estimated between Southern California coast, Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and all other known off-shore oil drilling locations. Currently, the United States consumes 20.8 million barrels of oil per day, meaning that we only have 15 years left of oil consumption from these locations. However, the Department of Energy predicts that by 2030 we will be consuming 23 million barrels of oil a day. Even if we do not increase our consumption, we will still be without oil in about 15 years even if we listen to Rush and drill (and subsequently drain) all of these off-shore locations.
By using basic math, it is literally impossible for Rush’s statement of “energy independence through drilling” to be true. But it’s so much easier to blame the evil Sierra Club, isn’t it?
You can read the entire transcript from Rush’s radio show here.