UN experts decry Iran's reported plan to execute Iranian-Swedish academic    12 years on, victims of Mumbai terrorist attacks await justice India accuses Pakistan of shielding main culprits    Abu Dhabi crown prince meets with Indian foreign minister    CMA warns market manipulators of prosecution    1-year jail and SR50,000 in fine for assaulting women    Foreigners must transfer sponsorship within 2 months after separation from Saudi spouses    Yemeni parties condemn Houthi attacks against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia    Details of new 2021 Dakar Rally route in Saudi Arabia unveiled    Saudi Arabia collects six Arab governmental excellence prizes    Argentina Soccer Legend Maradona Dies of Heart Attack    Minister of Justice chairs a virtual meeting of the Arab Justice ministers executive bureau    China FM in Japan to Discuss Virus    Joint Incidents Assessment Team Refutes Allegations against Coalition Forces    CITC to Host a Webinar on Radio Spectrum Innovation in Collaboration with the ITU    AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine 90% Effective only Among Age Group Below 55, US Advisor reports    SABIC introduces new Lexan anti-fog film for clear safety visors, lenses and goggles    Coronavirus deaths drop to 14 as Saudi Arabia sees 326 new cases    HRC President receives Ambassador of New Zealand    DEWA selects bidder for 120 MIGD Hassyan Sea Water Reverse Osmosis IWP Project    Saudi Ladies International confirmed for 2021    European Tour's commitment to golf in Dubai will support tourism recovery    On Behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Governor of Riyadh to Attend Final of the King's Cup    Russian President Praises Joint Cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Ensure the Stability of the Global Energy Market    Russia reports record 507 coronavirus deaths    King approves Saudi Central Bank law and renames SAMA    K Chinar, Pak Zalmi open account in Ace Travel Saudi Cup    Bahraini, Indian foreign ministers meet, seek to boost bilateral ties    OPEC Secretary General: The Attack on Petroleum Products Distribution Terminal North of Jeddah is Cowardly Act    Study: Small link between blood type O and lower risk for severe COVID-19 illness    Saudi Arabia Achieves Highest Levels of Commitment to Implementing G20's Outcomes on Cybersecurity    Azha Workshop unveils bracelet to showcase AlUla's rich history    RCU announces the winners of #CaptureAlUla photo competition    Chelsea 7th club to top PL, with win, at Newcastle,    Coman rescues 1-1 draw for Bayern against Werder    British Council to host event for young Saudi filmmakers    Saudi Arabia Launches Golf Sustainability Strategy, Al-Rumayyan Opens Aramco Saudi Ladies International    MCIT Launches Initiative to Raise Awareness on Cyberbullying    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Saudi Medical Team Restore Young Man's Lost Vision, One Year later    KSrelief Organizes Awareness Campaign on Breast Cancer in Aden Governorate, Yemen    Ithra Signs Agreement with Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt    Court facilitates young woman's marriage after stripping father's guardianship    Bahrain's top Islamic body condemns attempts to insult Muslim symbols    Saudi man accused of harassing foreign wife asked to be produced before court Court allows divorce, custody of children by mother    S. P. Bala, legendary Indian singer, dead at 74    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    Senior Scholars Council Issues Decision No. 246 Regarding Attendance of Friday Prayer and Prayers at Mosques in a Case of Spread of Epidemic or Fear of its Spread    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Gulf spill trickier than Valdez
By Braden Reddall and Peter Henderson
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 06 - 2010

“Gulf spill” has already been seared into popular consciousness along with “Three Mile Island” and “Valdez,” even if the long-term impact of the latest disaster in America's energy sector is still unclear.
The 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska changed the way parts of the oil industry operate, but did not alter its course. The partial meltdown of a unit at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear plant a decade earlier stopped the growth of an industry for three decades.
Neither incident is a clear precedent for what BP Plc and the United States will face once the blown-out well a mile (1,600 meters) below the ocean surface is finally sealed.
The Gulf spill - or whatever name for it ultimately sticks - may soften cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill” from proponents of new wells in a country addicted to oil, but an immediate halt to home production of the economy's life-blood is unthinkable.
The Gulf of Mexico accounts for 30 percent of US oil production, and even the most ambitious plans for alternative fuels will take years to fully develop. After Three Mile Island, on the other hand, the world's biggest energy-consuming country had clear and workable alternatives to nuclear power in coal and natural gas, at a time when carbon pollution was not a major issue.
“Is this a game changer? I think it's premature to conclude that it is,” nuclear industry consultant Bruce Lacy said of the Gulf spill.
Its effects may be felt most over the longer term.
President Barack Obama has seized on popular dismay over images of polluted beaches and fishing grounds to press for faster development of alternative energy, like solar and wind power, which was already one of his priorities.
Len Rodman, chief executive of energy-project engineering firm Black & Veatch, said the impact of the Gulf spill may surpass that of Three Mile Island over time, since it would spark a serious look at electric cars and cast doubt over the safety of traditional drilling. “This BP thing has tentacles,” he told the Reuters Global Energy Summit last week.
Closer to home
The Exxon Valdez leaked an estimated 257,000 barrels of oil into Price William Sound, destroying wildlife and the livelihood of many fishermen, in what was then the worst US oil disaster.
The environmental damage was extensive but for most Americans it was remote. Unlike the accident at the BP well, it did not blight a body of water touching the coastline of four states that are home to one-sixth of the US population.
The level of public anger and fear will be a big factor in the equation. As the Three Mile Island accident showed, nuclear plants carry a special concern.
“The Exxon Valdez still comes up, but I don't know if it comes up with the same level of negative reaction that you get with Three Mile Island,” said Lacy, who worked at a nuclear plant for 26 years before going into consulting.
The fear of nuclear power persists even though the industry always operates with multiple safety measures that have ensured a better safety and environmental track record, Lacy said. Americans have far less fear of oil and its products, which they use every day. Following the Gulf spill, the biggest change might occur at the level of political discourse.
In a sign of how fast that can occur, California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, withdrew his support last month for more drilling off his state's coast.
Crisis = Opportunity
Environmentalists are banking on the game changing a lot.
Rick Steiner, a retired marine conservation professor at the University of Alaska, said the Exxon Valdez incident prompted better tanker safety and prevented drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but did little to change people's view of oil.
He said if the only upshot from the Gulf spill was improved oversight and safer offshore drilling, that would represent the loss of a huge opportunity for cleaner energy.
“I'm kind of hoping that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, they'll look back on this and say ‘that was the catalyst that really pushed us over the edge into a rapid transition that we know we need to do towards clean, sustainable energy for this country,'” Steiner said.
Short of a $1-per-gallon gasoline tax that he would like to see, but admits is political poison, he said all clean energy efforts in the past year should be redoubled, from improved car efficiency to tax incentives for alternative transport.
Status quo
Although the Louisiana marshes will be hit hard by the oil in the Gulf, the state also depends heavily on the energy industry for jobs and taxes. More generally, many Americans worry first and foremost about the cost of fueling their cars. The resulting desire to stick with the status quo, along with the fact that public attention can fade pretty quickly after a disaster, made both Lacy and Steiner wonder how extensive the long-term impact would be.
An executive at oilfield services company Halliburton Co, which did some work on the BP well, reflected the view of many in the energy business when he said the only lasting result of the accident would be further delay for offshore drilling and more oil imported from abroad.


Clic here to read the story from its source.