>My Job Is More Important Than Your Job

>[UPDATE]:

Hey Mary Landrieu I wrote this post for you.

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One of the most frustrating things about the whole offshore oil drilling debate which has surged to the frontburner thanks to BP is this notion that we need to keep drilling offshore because of jobs.

It’s been simmering on the back-burner during the oil spill crisis, occasionally hitting the headlines: a worry about lost oil jobs from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, or a similar concern from Louisiana Democratic Congressman (and Senate candidate) Charlie Melancon. This week it came to full boil as those sidelined by the moratorium on offshore oil drilling gave voice to some grave concerns about their livelihoods.

And I’m sympathetic, I really am. It’s a terrible thing that happened. Our economy is still in the shitter and then along comes a disaster caused by a company’s concern for profits over safety and now everyone is having to pay the price. It’s awful that these folks are having to deal with this at a time in our country’s history when finding another job is going to be pretty darn impossible. So I’m sorry. You have a right to be scared, and I’m scared for you. You have a right to be angry, and I’m angry along with you.

But here’s the deal: the oil spill has killed off a big bunch of the commercial fishing industry in the Gulf. I hate to be the one to break it to you folks but the shrimp and oysters aren’t coming back, not for years. Maybe not ever. Sport fishing is gone. Tourism will come back, but not this summer, not as long as oil and chemical dispersants and gas fumes pollute the beaches.

So to the oil rig workers and those businesses who depend on that industry: you aren’t alone. This disaster has affected your neighbors, your family, your brothers and sisters who work in other industries that also depend on the Gulf of Mexico. And those people need the Gulf of Mexico to be healthy for their jobs to survive.

So when folks like myself call for a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling, it’s not without the full knowledge of what we are proposing. We understand there are families who need these oil jobs. But at what point does one industry trump another? At what point does it make sense to say, oil drilling may be risky and unsafe but we are willing to put other industries at risk anyway? We are willing to put fishing and shrimpers and tourism in a precarious place for this one unsafe, polluting, dirty industry?

This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Especially when I know that the people who work on oil rigs could easily be put to work building an offshore wind farm or an offshore solar farm. Why not? Has a solar spill ever killed off the oyster beds? Has a wind spill ever destroyed the summer tourist season?

I’m sorry oil people are hurting right now. You want your lives back. Well guess what: so does everyone else. So do shrimpers and the folks who operate tourist restaurants and hotels in the Gulf. So does the guy who rents beach umbrellas and the lady who sells seashells at the gift shop down by the seashore. You’re not the only ones who make a living down there.

Here’s the good news: you folks really could, theoretically, be put to work building offshore wind farms and the like. You have options in the green energy economy. If the state and federal governments could show some freaking leadership and clear the way for clean energy to begin replacing oil platforms now, not at some future “after we transition” date, you guys will be okay.

You know who won’t be okay? The people who harvest shrimp and oysters. The motel owners on the beach. Those people are screwed. They have no fallback.

Just something to think about.

6 Comments

Filed under alternative energy, energy production, Gulf oil spill

6 responses to “>My Job Is More Important Than Your Job

  1. >Perfectly–and oh so painfully–said.

  2. >No, No, No, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!Wind farms and Solar farms are stupid, uneconomical, dangerous,expensive, stupid, communistical and they cost so much that they're stupid and Unamerican.!!! I know this is true because the oil and nuclear industries' paid shills and lobbyists say so. So, there, you dirty commie hippie!

  3. >Didn't something along the scale of this catastrophe occur in the '30's? The Dust Bowl? Terrible dust storms devastated Oklahoma and surrounding states? The folks lost their farms, their way of life, the land itself… and packed up and moved out to California or toughed it out and stayed. Louisiana is gonna be much the same probably. A way of life has probably ended. This isn't over by any stretch so give them some time to get a grip on the situation. I'd be screaming for my job too. If I had one, that is. Don't worry though. Rahm is on the job.

  4. >Good one, SoBe.No more to say.

  5. Jim

    >"green industries" actually cost jobs overall in the economy according to studies performed in Europe:http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/534696/201005201839/The-Green-Jobs-Myth.aspxThere may be other reasons to pursue green energy, but job creation is not one of them.

  6. >I think in our case it would likely net out."For every green job created by the Spanish government, Alvarez found that 2.2 jobs were destroyed elsewhere in the economy because resources were directed politically and not rationally, as in a market economy."We aren't Spain and we aren't doing it the same way Spain, Germany and other EU countries are doing it. We don't have nationalized industries the way they do. I really don't think there is a comparison. And the point is, we can't keep pointing to oil as a "transition" fuel when we never make any steps in the direction of said transition. We have to start sometime. And there's no reason why oil jobs should be seen as more important than, say, fishing jobs. Those jobs are now gone. It just makes sense to say, let's not put these other areas of the economy at risk while we continue to prop up this dying industry that is in its last throes. Start the transition now and maybe you can mitigate some of the job loss. Because right now, 100% of those oil workers are sitting idle. Even if you are only putting 50% of them back to work, that's better than nothing, and it will protect the other areas of the economy dependent on the same Gulf Coast region.