An oil spill is a disaster, not just the cost of doing business

Oil spill
Crews work on a leak at the Cymric oil field in Kern County in California.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I read the article about the ongoing oil spill in McKittrick, Calif., and was somewhat dismayed that the environmental degradation was portrayed as just the cost of doing business.

As an employee of a medium-sized oil company, I can say that this is not the cost of doing business. This display of complacency is harmful. My children will inherit this state, and nothing sickens me more than when production fluids end up not where they are supposed to be.

I do not speak for my employer; this is my perspective. My company employs groups of people dedicated to the protection of the environment, compliance with regulations and the safety of our employees and contractors. The cost of doing business is ensuring that the law is followed.


I know that the use of crude oil for energy is changing, and I look forward to the day when “alternative energy” is just “energy.” I’m also partially saddened that my job will one day go the same way as a telephone switchboard operator or a lamp lighter.

Until then, I’m happy doing all I can to make sure the work I do protects the California I live in.

Matthew Milbury, Bakersfield


To the editor: Though I cannot help but feel some sympathy for the residents of McKittrick, I cannot agree that the 900,000 gallons (so far) of oil and brine leaking into the ground is just their backyard problem. Fossil fuel usage and the multiple varied and much publicized perils associated with it affect all of us.

Read about the positive results of the Future Energy Jobs Act in Illinois and about the proposed Green New Deal legislation, which would cut climate pollution while also creating millions of family-sustaining jobs.

Additionally, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) would provide dividends for households like those in McKittrick as the dependence on oil extraction is phased out. We can take care of each other and our common home.


Kathleen Brown, Santa Clarita