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Letters to the Editor: Be outraged at yourself. Anyone who uses oil is responsible for the O.C. spill

An aerial view of cleanup crews working in Huntington Beach on Oct. 5 after an oil spill off the coast.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Your Oct. 9 story, “Pipeline company evades questions over a 15-hour gap before reporting oil spill,” answers the question of why workers on the Elly oil rig didn’t first call federal authorities about the spill, but rather the company’s risk management firm: “It is not uncommon for companies to rely on hired crisis management firms to act as first responders to spills,” and that “having such a firm on call is often a regulatory requirement.”

This article looks like an attempt to manufacture outrage and obscures the deeper, more urgent issue: the fact that drilling continues in the waters off the California coast, in spite of what we have known for several decades not only about oil spills, but about damage to earth systems from the use of fossil fuels.

Perhaps egregious errors were committed in response to the spill. But the people we should be angry with are not Elly workers and their managers, but rather those of us who are unwilling to sacrifice our lifestyle so that offshore drilling ceases to be a viable means of meeting our energy needs.

So yes, we should be outraged — at ourselves.

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Jeanne Lepowsky, Laguna Woods

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To the editor: How does a $2-trillion industry have such problematic and antiquated equipment that operators regularly ignore alarms?

Why do personnel in this same industry ignore reports of a potential spill for hours and then only alert their crisis management team?

Why do they ignore inspector reports calling for repairs and upgrades?

All three questions have the same answer: They do it because they can. They do it because there will be no significant consequence for their negligence, financially or otherwise.

The damage done to our coastline from Seal Beach to San Diego will be felt for many years. Our fishing and tourism industries as well as our real estate market will suffer huge losses. Our wildlife may never fully recover.

Barbara Parker, Laguna Hills

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To the editor: The oil spill off the coast of Orange County gives new urgency for California to divest from fossil fuels.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is putting all pensions at risk as well as contributing to disasters like our closed beaches by continuing to invest in fossil fuels. The state divested from coal in 2015; now it’s time to complete the job.

Jim Stewart, Long Beach


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