You can’t make this stuff up. Oreos and oil spills. (with video)


oreo and oil

As another oil spill obstructs a major shipping route – and damages the environment – we get another tortured logic proclamation from the willfully ignorant oil industry supporters. These people will make any senseless argument to avoid the obvious truths – the oil industry should operate within suitable, responsible restrictions to protect people and the environment.

As this article demonstrates some people will go to any length to justify their argument. Even if they throw logic and good sense to the wind:

“Charles Payne explained why we shouldn’t pay attention to the 170,000 gallons of heavy oil that’s currently threatening wildlife and blocking off a major shipping channel: “Anytime we hear these kind of things, it feels like another impediment to growing out our fossil fuel industry, another thing for environmentalists to rally around, although we know accidents are bound to happen,” Payne said.

Added [Tracey] Byrnes, in enthusiastic support, “Just do the Keystone Pipeline already! Create all these jobs. Enough of the nonsense, these are all distractions.”

“Much like anybody who wants to lose five pounds has a Oreos in front of them,” Byrnes elaborated. “Just get rid of the Oreos, and you’ll be fine. Same thing. Do the pipeline.”

Despite what you might hear elsewhere, is not a bunch of environmentalist, tree huggers. We also believe in responsible domestic oil/gas exploration. But we don’t believe digging for oil/gas in the middle of high density neighborhoods is smart or responsible.

The only thing to really agree with about the Byrne and Payne report is “we know accidents are bound to happen.” 170,000 gallons of oil are sloshing around Galveston Bay. An oil well burns in Kingsley, MI. An oil well kills a worker in Bobtown, PA. All accidents? True. All bound to happen? Perhaps. But does that preclude taking good sense provisions to prevent them, or mitigate the damage? No way.

Risk assessment and management looks at the likelihood of an accident happening, and the severity of an accident happening to determine whether an action is worth taking while recognizing (and planning for) smart, manageable risks. If there is a low likelihood and low severity it’s easy to make a decision to take an action (like digging for oil in a rural area). If there is a low likelihood and high severity, or a high likelihood and low severity things get more complex…but ultimately one must put into place provisions to prevent accidents and reduce their severity if they do occur. High likelihood and high severity actions are to be avoided if at all possible. (A greatly simplified diagram).

Low Severity High Severity
High Likelihood

Really Prevent and Plan for Accident

Don’t Go Forward Unless Absolutely Necessary

Low Likelihood

Prevent and Plan for Accident

Really Prevent and Plan for Accident

The fact is oil/gas wells in the suburbs are probably at low likelihood of having an accident, but the severity is too high to risk it without putting into place provisions (like larger setbacks, road and pipeline ordinances, limits on trucking etc.) to protect the people and the environment. The fact that there is an elaborate supply chain and more opportunities for failure – at the pump, at the pipeline to the storage facility, at the storage facility, at the pump from the storage facility to the heavy trucks moving those resources, and on the road network through our suburbs GREATLY increases the opportunities for accidents. And none of us want to see that happen.

The Rochester Hills City Council, at our demand, is trying to construct ordinances to prevent and mitigate these problems. We’re fairly certain their primary motive is to shut us up. Many (but not all) Council members don’t seem to understand or care – anymore than Byrne or Payne. They use some of the same failed logic as Byrne and Payne. But we will continue to work to see that Oakland County is as protected as we can from the inevitable accident(s) that are “bound to happen.”

Oil and gas well really don’t belong in high density suburbs. No matter how much money or Oreos are involved.


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