Comments by swimmer

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Posted on June 16 at 3:52 p.m.


Why do you interpret garfish's comment as "giving up?" He's not saying that at all. He makes a valid point.

California is a net importer of crude oil: according to the CA Energy Almanac, 52% of its oil consumption is foreign oil. California and Alaska, which up until the early 1990's supplied 95% of California's demand, now only supply 48%. Overall demand has been increasing in the state since 2008. This means that unless California's consumption is reduced, the oil from every well that's shut in will need to be replaced by a barrel shipped in from overseas. The top 4 exporters are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Ecuador, and Colombia, which combine for 83% of imports and 43% of state consumption.

So garfish's comment has to do with the carbon tradeoffs faced by the state if politicians desire to shut down Santa Barbara County's oil production. Each barrel of oil will have to come from a place whose environmental standards are almost certainly less stringent that California's, and perhaps more importantly each new barrel will have to be shipped via tanker overseas to California. Or, since there are no pipelines from the central US, shipped via rail or tanker truck. Therefore shutting in a barrel of Santa Barbara oil may make the county's air cleaner and reduce the risk of environmental damage, but in the process it will increase global CO2 emissions (same amount of oil consumed by Californians, but now it has to be transported) and merely trades the risk of pipeline or wellhead spills for tanker spills.

If your response is, "No, we'll reduce our consumption by that much," then let's see what kind of number we're talking about. According to the Energy Information Administration, Californians consume about 0.04 barrels of petroleum per day per capita. Santa Barbara County oil production is about 9,000 barrels per day, or about 0.02 barrels per day for each county resident. This means that county residents will need to reduce petroleum consumption by about 50% to compensate for shutting in its oil production if it wants zero environmental impact.

If it's not being a hypocrite to say that oil consumers demand strong environmental safeguards (and I agree with that), then can't I also say it's not being unethical (or to use that popular term so beloved on blogs, an apologist) to view the energy industry as something other than a collection of uncaring criminals? If the extremes on both sides would abandon these cartoon images they have of the other, we could address the state's energy issues a lot more effectively.

On Neither Hypocrites nor Anti-Oil

Posted on June 9 at 1:08 p.m.

" R. B. Kuprewicz, president of a pipeline consulting firm, says "in 40 years of investigating pipeline incidents, I haven't seen one that wasn't preventable. There are no such things as accidents". "

So, in other words, the pipeline industry should be 100% free of human error? All of you who are working in such industries, please raise your hands.

On Photos of Ruptured Pipeline Finally Released

Posted on June 9 at 1:04 p.m.

"it isn't ok to insult the operators in order to make yourself look smart and NO I am not part of that company or their systems. Please try to be kind."

Unfortunately, lynch mobs are neither smart nor kind. They're all pretty much the same, whether their hatred is directed against minority groups or specific industries:

1) they have an obsessive hatred for some group or some entity that they are absolutely certain is uniformly unethical and criminal;

2) they know little about the target of their hatred in terms of who they are as people and what they do, and make assumptions to replace that lack of knowledge;

3) evidence and rational analysis is unimportant and anyway irrelevant to them, since they don't have sufficient expertise or motivation to analyze the problem, so therefore;

4) they assume guilt whenever that entity is involved in some negative situation.

Rational analysis and evidence may show that Plains is guilty. Or it may not. Rational and responsible adults want to see the evidence and examine the arguments from both sides. The lynch mob will always refuse to accept any evidence or any arguments they feel could potentially support the people they hate. If the people they hate are found to be innocent of the charges, then the mob will simply claim a conspiracy has derailed justice.

To the lynch mob, unless you are equally obsessive and filled with equal parts hatred, you are an apologist. Even the suggestion that someone they hate might be innocent makes you an apologist. To earn the lynch mob's approval, you must advocate prison without a trial (at a minimum, many will demand stricter punishment).

On Photos of Ruptured Pipeline Finally Released

Posted on June 5 at 1:31 p.m.

"Criminal Malfeasance at a minimum. Hang the bastards that run Plains. "

So, you would recommend the death penalty for all Plains management without a trial?

"Anyone that apologizes for these losers deserves the noose as well."

I guess that would include Kamala Harris, who said “We’re here to investigate and determine if there was criminal behavior.” Apparently she believes that there is a chance that Plains might not be guilty, or she wouldn't have used the word "if."

So here we have in nativegeo someone who advocates hanging our attorney general, and a bunch of executives (none of whom he knows), without a trial. What a guy. Too bad he was born in the wrong century. The Spanish Inquisition could have really used a guy like that.

We can only be thankful that Neanderthals like nativegeo aren't judges.

On Refugio Oil Spill: Let No Crisis Go to Waste

Posted on June 1 at 10:33 a.m.


You say that "Plenty of people like me are driving around in electric cars powered by solar panels -- not burning oil."

Well, that's great. But do you also refuse to buy any food that was harvested, processed, or delivered to your local market with the use of fossil fuels? Do you refuse to buy any products of any kind that were delivered to your store without the use of solar powered factories and trucks? And naturally you refuse to take shelter in, or work in, any structure that was built from materials extracted, processed, and delivered to that location with the aid of fossil fuels, correct?

I am all for renewables and I think it would be fantastic if we could get rid of oil tomorrow. But we can't yet. Wishing is not a substitute for realism, and it does not make for good public policy. Your use of an electric car is commendable, but it takes oil to build an electric car. And even if it didn't, the gasoline you've saved by driving that car pales before your overall direct and indirect demand for oil and its byproducts. One long flight will consume all the gasoline the average person uses in a year (and by that I mean one passenger's share of the fuel consumed), but of course we know you don't fly anywhere.

It's easy to bash the people who provide the oil you need when you have so little understanding of what they actually do and how the products are used. If I'm working behind the ticket counter and refuse to sell you a flight to New York, how will you respond? If I'm waiting on your table at a restaurant and refuse to take your order for halibut, because the fisherman used fossil fuels to power his boat, will you nod meekly and go somewhere else?

On The Mysterious Case of the Automatic Shutoff Valve

Posted on May 26 at 9:29 p.m.

We shouldn't automatically assume that a company is guilty because we don't like the industry it's in. An industrial accident is not proof of guilt. Plains should be given the same rights that we demand for a minority youth charged with a crime.

If you think the youth is guilty because you don't like his demographics, or if you think that a company is guilty because you don't like it's business or you don't like business in general, then you're prejudiced.

If you cop out and simply say that system will prevent the verdict you want, then you're just a cynic with nothing to contribute. Should we just send Plains to jail without a trial then?

If no evidence could ever convince you that the youth is innocent, or that the company is not guilty of a crime, then you're a bigot. And this is particularly true when you know nothing about the youth or his alleged crime, or about the individuals in the company and the technical details of the industry they work in.

The evidence may show that Plains is innocent, or negligent, or guilty. Certainly none of the people posting here have any of the detailed information or technical expertise required to understand the incident, it's causes, and whether a crime has been committed. It's too bad that the multitude of bigots who infest sites like these are unable to understand that. They think that prejudice and bigotry apply only to politically correct groups, to racial, ethnic, or religious minorities for example, and that prejudice against people they don't like is acceptable. The reason legal systems exist is to protect people against the small mindedness of bigots like spacey and rinconer.

On Refugio Oil Spill a Crime Scene?

Posted on April 27 at 11:01 a.m.


"The Seven Sisters" is an obsolete collective term that has no relevance to the fall in oil prices over the last 12 months.

Do you believe that 13,000 oil companies have all conspired to reduce their revenue by 50%? That they also conspired to do this in 2008 (but by 70% then)? And felt that $10 oil would be great in 1998? That they conspired to do the same in 1986, and held prices low for 23 years? Sure you do.

Your pithy little responses, which you undoubtedly think are clever, reveal a small conspiratorial mind. But then as someone uneducated in any disciplines relevant to the industry, and lacking any experience in the industry, what other position can you take but an ideological one? Why don't you go over to I think you'll find a home there.

On Capps Introduces Bill to Halt Offshore Fracking

Posted on April 27 at 10:52 a.m.


You say "You'd think, in America, that you'd have to do the study before allowing any action to proceed that might damage quality of life."

Over 1,100,000 wells have been fracked since the 1940's, in many states and countries, in a broadly diverse set of geologic conditions and well engineering techniques. How much experimentation do you feel is necessary? Your lack of expertise and technical incompetence in the subject is not the same thing as a lack of scientific body of knowledge. Do you understand the difference? Ideological opposition is not the same thing as technically accurate assessment of the risks and issues. Do you understand that difference?

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) is the largest association of groundwater professionals in the world. They have no ties to the oil industry. They are composed of professionals trained in geology, chemistry, biology, and fluid flow in porous media. They work in government agencies, environmental remediation firms, academia. Their job is to defend and monitor the nation's aquifers. They have a position paper on the subject of hydraulic fracturing. Do you want to know what they say?

"No widespread water quality or quantity issues have been definitively documented that are attributable to the hydraulic fracturing process itself." That's what they say. They go on to explain that other related problems, like leaky casing or surface spills, have been linked to groundwater pollution (they use the term "several cases:" millions of wells have been fracked), and offer suggestions. But, again, this professional group with all the expertise that is relevant to the issue are saying that fracking has not caused any known damage to aquifers. How would you counter this group's finding?

You wouldn't because you couldn't. You have no expertise. You just believe stuff. Why do you think your posts are relevant? Why do you believe that people care what you think?

On Capps Introduces Bill to Halt Offshore Fracking

Posted on April 27 at 10:35 a.m.


The recent fall in oil prices has nothing to do with any grand conspiracy to "screw Russia and also Venezuela," and everything to do with the addition of 4 million barrels of oil per day to global supply, made possible by hundreds of companies drilling thousands of wells primarily in Texas and North Dakota. If you think the CEO of one of these companies, whose individual contribution to global production is minuscule, decided to halve his revenue to "screw Russia and also Venezuela," you are sadly mistaken.

Current global oil production is about 90 million barrels per day. Prices have dropped by about $50 per barrel in the past year, which means an aggregate fall in revenue to the global oil industry of about $4.5 billion per day. If you believe that 13,000 US oil companies, and thousands of others around the world, all agreed to drop prices in order to reduce their revenues by 50%, then you are of course free to do so. Why would you would wish to believe something that makes so little sense? Because economically and technically illiterate people are fond of conspiracy theories: it gives them a false sense of understanding of complex phenomena they have no expertise in.

On Capps Introduces Bill to Halt Offshore Fracking

Posted on April 10 at 1:09 p.m.

So let's say 20,000 Santa Barbarans fly to Hawaii, or Europe, or wherever their high disposable income dictates for this year.

That's 12,500,000 metric tons of CO2 they donate annually to the atmosphere for the sole purpose of their own self indulgence. But 1,000 metric tons from a jobs (largely for low and middle income people) producing plant? No way, says Janet Blevins. Agreed. I say we shut down the Santa Barbara airport and cancel her passport.

On County Moves Toward Tougher Emissions Limits

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