Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The ANWAR Oil Nonsolution

Once again today in a press conference, Mr. Bush pushed for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as some sort of solution to the nation's appetite for oil. Yet, Mr. Bush failed to mention the serious public safety concerns why this Alaskan oil is totally unsuitable for use with the present level of refining technology available. Compared to the oil from any part of the world, this Alaskan oil is contaminated with far higher levels of poisonous benzene than oil from anywhere in the world.

The problem with benzene is that it is highly toxic and can collect in the blood and decrease the production of red blood cells and ruin the immune system and can lead to a series of serious health problems including death. Benzene can even endanger unborn children as well, resulting in low birth weight or other problems. And the current technology of refining of oil does little to filter out this serious toxin, which is also not filtered out by automobile air pollution systems either. Benzene unfortunately is still contained in high levels in automobile exhaust gases, and any car burning Alaskan oil is pouring out this dangerous toxin in high levels and causing potentially serious and deadly consequences to anyone breathing these benzene contaminated exhaust gases. In fact benzene is so difficult to filter out with current refining technology, that the Bush Administration controlled EPA has given the oil industry a special pass until 2014 before they have to deal with the problem. Currently, only the British owned, British Petroleum Compamy has had a high level of success dealing with the filtering out of benzene from Alaskan oil thanks to a very expenxive and complex high tech refining plant that other American owned oil companies have so far failed to match due to the extreme investment cost to prevent this serious toxic pollution danger.

Environmentalists have only attacked further exploration of oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge on some narrow ecological grounds, while the medical science community can write volumes about the huge dangers of the continued benzene poisoning to the public. Until all oil companies are able to effectively deal with the benzene poisoning issue through better oil refining technology, the benzene contaminated oil should be considered absolutely unsuitable for use. The Bush Administration controlled EPA had no business allowing the oil industry to endanger the public health through benzene poisoning until 2014 just because the U.S. needed oil. That's only trading one problem for a far worse public health danger. That's no solution.

Mr. Bush has a real penchant to attempt to make complex issues simple. In fact, too simple.