Oil companies should bear the risks of drilling and production

To the editor: When I read about the oil spill near Santa Barbara, I heard the voices of Sarah Palin and John McCain shouting, "Drill, baby, drill." Instead, we need to apply two words when confronting threats to the environment: risk and reward. ("Santa Barbara oil spill: Pipeline operator has long record of problems," May 20)

Why do society and the environment assume nearly all of the risks and the oil companies receive the rewards?


In 2014, Plains All American Pipeline, which owns the pipeline operator, reported a profit of about $1.4 billion. Your article reports that the company has a lengthy record of safety violations. When will risk trump reward?

Grace Adams, Palm Desert


To the editor: The statement below from the Community Environmental Council in response to the oil spill is important for understanding the devastation of the Refugio spill.

"We are dedicated to preserving this particular coastline not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is a place we love. Our staff knows each beach not as a name on the map, but as a place where we surf, swim, walk, and bird-watch. It is where we bring our children; the place that we call home. On a practical level, we also know that this spill could not have happened in a worse place. Oil spills are devastating no matter where they occur, but Gaviota happens to be one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world. It is a pivotal bioregion between the cooler waters of the north and the warmer south, with a vibrant diversity of species not found elsewhere."

Charity B. Gourley, Santa Barbara

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