Worst has happened, let’s learn

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It takes a cold-hearted American to look at an oil-coated pelican and not realize something has gone horribly wrong.

And now something must change.

As oil inches closer to the coasts, livelihoods and wildlife of Mississippi and Louisiana it becomes more and more apparent that what was being done on the Deepwater Horizon rig before the explosion was wrong.

Oil exploration had gone too far offshore, too deep for such work without, apparently, a sound emergency backup plan.

The drilling industry didn’t know enough about stopping a leak to be drilling where they were.

We are living with the consequences.

With no definite end to the leak in site and no completion of cleanup even fathomable, the picture is grim.

Many of us can only hope and pray for a solution.

America must take a close look at what happened and make a plan B for the future.

Abandoning oil exploration isn’t smart or realistic, but imposing stricter safety measures is.

America can’t eliminate its oil dependency overnight, but we can pursue more onshore drilling, which is arguably hundreds of times safer and more controllable than deep-water exploration. In addition, expanding our use of domestic natural gas as an alternative fuel is needed.

Our coastlines will have to recover from this mistake, but our country must do all it can to protect both our people and our lands from such a preventable problem in the future.