Sierra Summit

Conversations and observations about California's mountains

May 24, 2010
The spills we ignore
bryan 1.jpg
Imagine, for a moment, that oil is discovered in the Sierra Nevada and government officials give the okay to drill.
Impossible, you say, and you're right. 
But that scenario plays out regularly in foreign countries from which America obtains most of its oil. And when spills happen in those places, there is no outpouring of concern and media attention like what is taking place in the Gulf. 
"There is a double-standard," Omoyele Sowore, an environmentalist from Nigeria, told me recently. 
In Nigeria - the 4th largest source of foreign oil in the U.S. - more than 2,000 oil pollution sites are estimated to need cleaning up. In the tar sands region of Alberta - another major source of oil for America - at least 200 square miles of wildlife habitat have been ruined, including areas critical for migratory waterfowl and songbirds. And those are just two examples. 
To learn more about the oil spills we ignore - and what people in oil-producing regions of Africa, Canada and South America  are saying, read my story for McClatchy Newspapers at:

Photo by Bryan Patrick


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About Sierra Summit

The Author
Tom Knudson lives in the Sierra Nevada and travels widely throughout the range. His hobbies include fly-fishing, backpacking and cross-country skiing. He is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, one for a 1992 Sacramento Bee series "Sierra in Peril," a watershed work about environmental threats to the mountain range. E-mail Tom at

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