The media found us, but there was a noted absence of curious on-lookers from near-by neighborhoods. Clues as to why became apparent as the day progressed. Local park maintenance trucks advertise the city’s motto, “Refining the Heart of Community”. The HS football field banner welcomes Oiler fans and depicts the dripping oil can mascot. We later learned that the principal’s message board on the HS website is entitled (we hope with tongue firmly planted in cheek) “Oiler Spills”.
These Hoosiers have embraced this 1,400-acre oil-refining colossus. And why wouldn’t they? It provides a lucrative tax base and opportunities for steady employment. One can surely learn to ignore the gaseous aroma in the air. A poster one local family displayed from their porch nailed it for me. “We Support BP - Who Are You Anyway?” It made strikingly clear the locals’ regard for the refinery. So who are we outsiders who show up on a sunny Sunday afternoon to question their source of economic stability?
We are…folks who share the air with all of Earth’s inhabitants. We are your neighbors who trust the overwhelming preponderance of science that burning of fossil fuels dramatically alters our atmosphere and oceans. We are patriotic citizens who reject the notion that the Earth can continually exceed “hottest month” records (now at 12 consecutive) without detrimental effects to our economy and environment. We are believers in the promise of clean energy sources for a vibrant future. And WE – all of us, are the parents, aunts. uncles, brothers and sisters who must break free from fossil fuel’s grip on our economy to preserve a healthy world for our children’s children.
Several years ago British Petroleum announced their intention to move “Beyond Petroleum”. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the continuing operation of this refinery confirm that that was nothing more than a disingenuous ad campaign. But a genuine move beyond petroleum is really our only option because we’re here forever…Earthbound.”