For the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection dealing with problems caused by our use of oil is an all-the-time task.
Tankers collide, spilling oil onto the ground and into streams. Gasoline fumes caused by operational problems at a gas station invade homes. Abandoned underground storage stanks leak into groundwater. On and on the problems go.
For 37 days from January to February 2006, 26,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a gas station undetected leaked into groundwater in a rural Maryland community near Baltimore. This single leak contaminated drinking water to over 200 families. On friday July 1st, a jury awarded 160 plaintiffs $1.5 billion in compensatory and punitive damanges.
Oil causes problems every day and all the time. It is much dirtier than natural gas and causes more damage when it gets places it does not belong.
The incredible focus on Marcellus gas drilling is positive and justified, but it can also be distorting when the result is a failure to understand the greater environmental and health impacts from other fuels like oil and coal. We must choose between coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear as energy efficiency and renewable energy is increased. More coal and oil and less natural gas means considerably more pollution over the next 20 years.