In the past week, two major stories have come to the forefront regarding offshore energy.
The first was the explosion of an oil rig off the coast near New Orleans. The blast presumably killed 11 workers and is currently leaking over 200,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day1. By the time the leak is fixed, the total amount of oil spilt into the Gulf is expected to exceed the 11 million gallons of the Exxon Valdez in 1989.
The second was the approval of 130 windmills to be built five miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts2. This wind farm would produce enough clean energy to power up to 200,000 homes2.
Opponents of the wind project say that it will kill some birds and the turbines may be visible from beach front properties tarnishing their view. However, offshore oil drilling has already resulted in the loss of human life, as well as incalculable harm to birds and marine life. Additionally, the quickly spreading oil is threatening to completely destroy the Gulf Coast fishing industry. At this point, climate change seems almost irrelevant in the comparison of the two.
Still, the Obama administration has stood behind both forms of energy, approving increased offshore drilling in addition to the Cape Cod wind project. It's time that the government quits trying to cater to everyone and chooses the correct side. Proposed wind and oil projects are both privately funded so there is no upfront cost to the American people. However, wind promises zero emissions while only harming a few birds and potentially coming into view of some rich people. Meanwhile, oil drilling means certain release of greenhouse gases while potentially killing more workers and a historic record of environmental catastrophe from spills. You don't need a detailed cost-benefit analysis to see that the choice is clear. WIND BABY WIND!.