Scientist demands end to US 'addiction to oil'

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

A scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, Doug Inkley, has criticised what he described as America's "addiction to oil". Inkley stated it is ultimately responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year.

Doug Inkley, a senior scientist working for the National Wildlife Federation, said that [the United States of] America's "addiction to oil" was responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster six months ago.
Image: Flcelloguy.

Inkley commented on the incident, six months after the explosion which killed eleven rig workers and resulted in over 170 million gallons of crude oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico causing damage to marine wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries.

Inkley is a senior scientist working for the National Wildlife Federation. He stated, "Looking back at what we knew six months after the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska illustrates the danger of too quickly drawing conclusions about the full impacts of the Gulf oil disaster."

"Six months after the Exxon Valdez disaster," he continued, "the herring stocks in Prince William Sound seemed like they’d pull through. It wasn’t until the fourth year after the disaster that herring stocks collapsed due to a delayed population effect of the oil, devastating the people and wildlife that depended on them. Today, more than two decades later, this once-vital fish still hasn’t recovered."

Cquote1.svg The aftershocks of the Gulf oil disaster will continue to cast a long shadow of uncertainty on the Gulf ecosystem and the livelihoods of those who depend upon it for years to come Cquote2.svg

—Doug Inkley, National Wildlife Federation scientist

His remarks echo those issued by another environmental organisation in July. Greenpeace demanded that BP, who the United States Congress has blamed for the disaster, take a "new direction" and end an "obsession with high risk, environmentally reckless sources of oil."

A spokesperson for Greenpeace said, "[t]he moment has come for BP to move beyond oil. Under Tony Hayward the company went backwards, squeezing the last drops of oil from places like the Gulf of Mexico, the tar sands of Canada and even the fragile Arctic wilderness [...] The age of oil is coming to an end and companies like BP will be left behind unless they begin to adapt now." Statistics show that the United States is by far the largest consumer of oil, using 20,680,000 barrels every day. Its closest rival, China, consumes only 7,578,000 barrels per day.

Inkley said incidents in the past showed there can be far-reaching effects. "The Exxon Valdez disaster was not simply one ecosystem earthquake – the aftershocks have continued to this day," he said, citing the 1989 disaster which occurred when an oil tanker ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska.

"What tremors are still to come in the Gulf? The aftershocks of the Gulf oil disaster will continue to cast a long shadow of uncertainty on the Gulf ecosystem and the livelihoods of those who depend upon it for years to come," pointed out Inkley. Adding, "[a]s I look back on my days in Louisiana's wetlands wading through thick black oil in prime pelican habitat, I continue to wonder: How long must we wait for lawmakers to act to prevent future disasters? How many more lives, livelihoods and animals must be claimed by our addiction to oil?"


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