Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two More Reasons to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

As we reel under the weight of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we should not forget the coal mining disaster that proceeded it. The oil spill and the coal mining disaster coalesce to add to the chorus of powerful points about the demerits of fossil fuels. Over the past two weeks, we have all watched the BP oil disaster unfold, and before that we watched helplessly as rescue efforts tried in vain to get to miners trapped deep underground.

The April 5 explosion at Upper Big Branch in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 miners and Massey's drive to ramp up its underground production is currently under federal investigation. The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon 15 days later and its subsequent sinking on April 22, resulted in the loss of 11 lives and the ongoing destruction of thousands of square miles.

Upper Big Branch was cited 50 times in the month leading up to the accident, including for ventilation issues. President Obama called the mine's record "troubling," and said he was directing his administration to strengthen enforcement of mine safety laws. "Safety violators like Massey have still been able to find ways to put their bottom line before the safety of their workers," Obama said.

However, even under stringent safety regimes there are still unpredictable risks associated with coal mining and offshore oil. Even when we are able to extract fossil fuels successfully, their use is the single greatest contributor to environmental pollution and climate change.

The worst American coal industry disaster since 1970 and possibly the worst oil spill ever combine to highlight the ever increasing need to begin the long process of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. These two tragic events underscore the need to break our addiction to dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.

This is a moment when we can encourage the US and its leaders understand the real need to get off dirty energy now. A petition organized by 350.org is asking President Obama to show leadership on clean energy and ban new offshore drilling.

The Sierra Club has organized a campaign which tells senators to stand up to pressure from the dirty energy lobby and end our reliance on oil and coal. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is asking citizens to tell senators to speak up for safer, cleaner energy choices.

The ever increasing importance of social media continues with 350.org's Facebook group against more offshore drilling. This is the largest social media hub against drilling.

Donate through 350.org directly to people impacted by the oil spill or join NWF's response efforts and volunteer to aid in clean-up efforts.

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Related Posts

The Costs of Offshore Drilling
BP's Corporate Irresponsibility
Responsibility for the Costs of the Gulf Oil Spill
Obama Presidency and the Gulf Oil Spill
Managing the Massive Gulf Oil Spill
Offshore Oil is an Avoidable Tragedy
The End of Oil and the Next Energy Economy
Peak Oil
The Economic Calamity of Peak Oil
Reigning in Irresponsible Oil Giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil
The Business of Climate Change Deception
Planning a Future Without Oil
Drill Baby Drill
Koch Industries' Environmental Crimes
Koch Industries Financing Climate Denial
Koch Industries Destroys the Environment & Funds Climate Denial
Protecting the Planet from Corporate Influence
How to get Through to Climate Change Deniers
America's New Fuel Efficiency Standards

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