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If not now, then when for new methods?

The BP catastrophe should underscore a few things the American public already knew while also highlighting some truths that it is past time to admit.

In the wake of what is being called by many as “the greatest ecological disaster in our nation’s history,” the American citizens have watched a corporate tycoon swing and miss repeatedly on estimations and efforts. That same tycoon has shied away from responsibility or, more appropriately, liability for the long-term ecological and economical damages that will be caused by its blunderful experience.

Additionally, the American people have watched their government do, well, nothing really.

It has assumed virtually no responsibility in clean-up or economic aid duties. And yet here we sit in Alabama, not very far away from the ripple effect that will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.

I’m not exactly an environmentalist. Far from it, to be honest. But even I have to ask, “If not now, then when?”

If this is not the final straw that sends us into finding alternative sources of transportation energy, then what will be?

We overlooked the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989. Now, 21 years later, we are experiencing a disaster that promises to be considerably worse on both the environment and the economy of the Gulf region.

For decades, we have allowed the oil companies to make their money at the expense of our personal finances, a strain that has become particularly difficult in recent years. But we have pressed on because we “need” to get from Point A to Point B. That is all well and good. But now, those same companies are mining a product that is limited in its nature, charging us top dollar for it and shying away from accountability when their unstable drilling methods result in massive ecological damage.

Aside from the role government should play in the clean-up process, now more than ever, it should press for the development, cultivation and implementation of new, more environmentally and financially friendly fuel sources. Otherwise, history is doomed to repeat itself and the everyday American will be left to bear the brunt.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.