In fact, right now, Chevron is working hard to protect the environment from the 18,000 gallons of crude oil that it just spilled off the coast of New Orleans, covering fully one-fifth of the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. It’s the second major spill by an oil company this week.
Now before everyone starts bashing Chevron, let’s take a moment to consider the feelings of the well-paid public relations experts who have carefully crafted the company’s eco-friendly image. For every oil spill for which Chevron is responsible, the company posts a billboard of an Everyman telling you that he or she “will unplug stuff more,” and for every dollar they spend funding the American Petroleum Institute’s attempts to gut the Clean Air Act, they produce an advertisement with gentle music encouraging you to “join them” in solving the energy crisis.
With more offshore drilling approved last week for large tracts of the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska, we may be in for yet another barrage of advertisements about Chevron’s “human energy” and its commitment to eco-friendly operations as it seeks to distract from future misdeeds.
If there is one thing we can learn from the past century of oil production in the United States, it is that accidents happen. The Delta National Wildlife Refuge unfathomably has an oil pipeline running straight through it. This pipeline, clearly, leaked. Such is the reality of our massively outdated reliance on oil. Oil companies like to tout new technologies that provide more environmentally friendly methods of drilling for oil, but the problem is that there is no fool proof way to drill and transport oil without risking spills and leaks.
As oil prices continue their historical rise – and as companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil and other amass record profits while polluting the planet – the case has never been clearer for a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that cuts pollution, creates jobs and improves our energy security.