Skip to main content

Fish Story: John McCain and the Oil Rigs

We really do pity politicians on the stump. They either offer endless iterations of the same points - Obama has recycled bits of his convention acceptance speech until they seem like tics - or they have to find a way to square too many circles to appeal to the widest possible audience.

But there are also unexpected grace notes. Here's McCain trying to merge offshore drilling with environmental concerns (we think):

And by the way, on that oil rig — and I’m sure you’ve probably heard this story — you look down, and there’s fish everywhere! There’s fish everywhere! Yeah, the fish love to be around those rigs. So not only can it be helpful for energy, it can be helpful for some pretty good meals as well. [We're not sure if McCain means good meals for the fish or for people who catch the fish - maybe both.]

This is kind of sweet and not a terrible way to bond with an audience. We couldn't find a study to show whether it's good, bad or indifferent for fish to cluster around oil rigs. But we would note that fish around oil rigs is not an argument to have oil rigs nor is their absence a reason not to have them. It sounds like an argument for the rigs' environmental friendliness, but it could also be an argument for their disruption of the ecosystem.

Plenty of people want offshore drilling, so there's no particular benefit to gilding the haddock. And since there doesn't seem to be evidence that the fish' presence means anything, the environmental argument floats away on the tide.

But it is charming, especially McCain's eagerness to talk about it. He's like a kid seeing his first shooting star.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Marine life just love offshore oil hardware. It's bloody annoying in fact. We have a video from a remotely operated vehicle inspecting a subsea well. Suddenly, this giant creatures straifs the ROV at close range. It was a whale scratching its belly on the flowline!

Since then, subsea engineer have had to designed the Xmas trees with extra beams on the cages so that the whales will first go for them rather than the flowline.
Anonymous said…
It sure does look like the blog author has has very negative views on offshore oil and gas production that are not backed up with any significant knowledge of how the environmental impacts compare with other energy sources, particularly energy for transportation applications. That's a bit of a concern for an advocacy blog on nuclear energy. Google "artificial reefs."

Popular posts from this blog

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?