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The Sirens For Oil

      In the epic poem, The Odyssey, written in 800 B.C. by  Homer, the hero Ulysses, faces a difficult problem. He and his men had embarked on a long sea voyage. He knew that they would be sailing past the Sirens; female enchanters who used their beautiful voices to lure men to the island.

     Ulysses knew that these “enchanters” lured men there, for the purpose of luring them to their death. At that time, no man had been able to listen to the sirens without giving in to the temptation of coming to the island and the beach was “piled with bone heaps of men now rotted away”.

     To protect his men, Ulysses required that all of them put wax in their ears to keep them from hearing the tempting voices of the Sirens. However, Ulysses was unwilling to “plug” his own ears because he wanted to hear their beautiful voices. He was faced with the dilemma of hearing the sirens versus wanting to live.

     Ulysses told his men to bind him to the ship with rope that could not be broken.  He ordered them not to release him, no matter what he said or did, until they had safely passed by the island and out of the hearing of the Sirens.  He was able to hear the songs without losing his life.

     There is a  battle being waged between environmentalist and Oil companies. As oil companies scour the coastline of Alaska, they are running into polar bears who are already facing extinction from shrinking and thinning ice.  In response, President Obama has designated 187,000 acres as “critical habitat” for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act, which could have an impact on future drilling.

     In response to this designation, the Alaskan Governor is threatening to file suit against the Obama administration. The basis of the potential suit is that the Governor believes that the President is overstepping Federal authority and stepping on States’ rights. The argument is that it hinders oil exploration, which impacts job creation and the economic welfare of Alaska.

         Is Oil exploration like the song of the Sirens? Does the beautiful sound of job creation, decrease of dependence on foreign oil and the benefits of the economics of oil drilling outweigh the environment? Are oil leaks, equipment placed all over landscape and nature and wildlife destruction an acceptable amount of collateral damage,  to make our country energy independent?

      Oil exploration is a two-sided issue. It really comes down to who is the singer of destruction and who should be putting wax in their ears. All I know is, no oil company or lobbyist is working hard toward alternatives to drilling. Is it a song of destruction to drill or fail to not drill?

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