Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why I think Oil Sands Mining is a Bad Idea for Northwest Alabama by Steve Trash

Please pardon me while I remove my educators' hat (something that I work assiduously to keep in tact at all times) and put on my advocates hat. 

I do this because, it's no longer theoretical... it's local (to me right here in Northwest Alabama) and it's personal. 

So here goes.

I don't know personally know Sheree Martin, but (in her blog post) she makes a very reasonable and passionate argument that mining the sands of north Alabama is a really really bad idea. I agree.

In a nutshell... here's the argument...

1. THE BENEFIT WILL GO TO CORPORATIONS NOT THE PEOPLE - The mining will benefit only a few people (a few employees and the companies that will be extracting the sand and oil). These companies are not accountable to the local people of Alabama. It is unlikely that any of our elected political figures will stand up to defend the people of Alabama because... lets face it... corporations have power... people do not.

2. LOCALS LOSE - It will harm the people who actually live on the land (the locals) and potentially harm their groundwater (what do you drink if your groundwater goes bad?). Your body is 65 to 70 percent water and that water is stored beneath the ground before it gets in your body. Because this is experimental technology... all assurances from the company doing the mining... that "they will do everything to protect groundwater... pretty much... means nothing". Experiments... by their very nature... are filled with unexpected outcomes. Aquifers and groundwater are very large complex (sand filled) filtering systems. They will be disturbed by the mining.

3. WRONG DIRECTION. We... as a country and planet... should be moving away from non-renewable fossil fuels whose use releases carbon dioxide, not moving towards it. I just heard Republican Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (yeah Republican Treasury Guy for George W. Bush) on the news say... (paraphrased... cause I don't write quickly enough) "Global Warming is man-made and will have real economic negative effects on business. We've estimated the negative effects on business will be in the billions." Supporting this oil sands mining means we're moving even further in an unsustainable direction. America could be leading towards a clean energy future, but oil sands mining is not leading, it's actually going backwards.

4. I LOVE BUSINESS. Like Sheree... I'm totally PRO BUSINESS. I've been a business guy for 30 years. I make money and love it. I employ people. I live in Alabama and love it. I love business, but supporting business that grows the Alabama economy and jobs should not harm the environment or the people that live here makes the most sense to me. Oil Tar Sands mining does not seem to fit that bill.

5. SWEET HOME ALABAMA. Lastly... if you've ever been to northwest Alabama... it's stunningly beautiful place and mining will rip into its pristine beauty. It seems unlikely to me that Lynyrd Skynyrd would have sung "Sweet Home Tar Sands Mining".

I agree with Sheree. I'm just saying... the whole thing seems like a really bad idea to me.