Scientist: World Must Expect More Spills

ST. LOUIS, June 30 (UPI) — The world should expect more disasters like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and must face the fact that the days of “easy oil” are over, a scientist says.

There are recurring spills in virtually every oil region of the world, such as the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon and Nigeria, a Washington University in St. Louis release said Tuesday.

“BP and other oil companies have tried to portray this spill as an accident or an aberration, but in fact there are spills on off-shore and on-shore sites around the world, increasingly,” Bret Gustafson, an anthropologist at the university, says.

“In the United States,” Gustafson says, “which is more of a consumer than producer of oil, we are generally ignorant about this reality of oil until something like this comes home to roost.

“Oil has always been destructive, but it is worsening because the days of easy oil are over,” he says.

“In combination with weak regulation and intensifying competition, which explains why companies are willing to cut so many corners, oil is in more difficult places, both environmentally, politically and socially,” Gustafson says.

“The cultural addiction we have to oil contributes to both our relative ignorance about its negative effects and our relative willingness to accept these negative effects when they happen,” Gustafson says.

One benefit of the gulf spill, despite its polluting effects, may be more public discussion of these issued, he says.

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