As we begin to debate the latest energy bill in Congress, let us not forget the lives that were lost on the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Our deepest sympathies go out to their mourning families as well as to the loved ones of those who lost their lives in this year’s coal mine explosion in Montcoal, West Virginia.
Supplying our nation’s energy is not an easy endeavor, and thousands of our citizens knowingly take those physical risks to capture the resource that provides the services that keep our economy growing and our country prosperous. The workers on a rig in the middle of the Gulf, the heavy machine operators thousands of feet below ground, and the line men in cherry pickers following an ice storm all deserve our admiration and our gratitude. The environmental damage resulting from the Gulf disaster is nothing short of tragic, but equally tragic is the loss of human life. In light of these events and as we contemplate our energy future, it is important that we remember to acknowledge those who bear the physical risk to keep our economy strong.
Yes, we need to understand what happened and to take those steps that would prevent such calamities from ever occurring again. But, indeed, there is blame enough to go around. Each one of us should recognize and accept that our profligate use of energy is one of the more important contributing factors to the energy and environmental difficulties that we face. These recent tragedies, one in the mountains and one at the shore, will hopefully leave us with a fuller sense of the costs and a greater respect for the risks involved with meeting America’s energy demands. Recognizing what it takes to provide the fuels for the products and services that we rely upon just might make some of us more appropriately esteem the people and companies that too often are publically admonished for only doing what we ask of them.