06/15/2010 11:36 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Drilling the Gulf to Save It?

It's a sad day when Colorado's most visible opinion leader calls for more drilling as the solution to the most disastrous oil spill in U.S. history.

The Denver Post yesterday decried the "second disaster looming in the Gulf." That second disaster? The moratorium on offshore drilling. The logic, according to the Post, is that the oil and gas industry brings jobs and money to Louisiana and other Gulf states, and therefore, the risk of future spills is worth it.

That's like calling for more cancer to support the nation's medical industry. And it's especially discomforting in light of a number of other disturbing examples of oil and gas industry recklessness in the U.S. that have blown up in recent weeks.

Most read clearly doesn't equate to most rational. However, putting the Post's skewed logic aside, there is a critical question to be answered--what is the future for the oil and gas workers in the Gulf?

For one thing, they need to be fully compensated, and I would hope that the Federal Government and BP are readying to provide aid to all workers and their families affected by the spill and the moratorium.

However, if we have any hope of actually seizing a clean energy future, we can't simply fall back on the lowest common denominator of more drilling. We need to do whatever it takes to provide opportunities for these workers to lead us toward a new energy paradigm.

The only second disaster looming in the Gulf is our penchant for more fossil fuels. It's time to seize this moment to advance clean energy to its fullest potential, and that includes charting a path that advances this nation's workforce.

In the meantime, here's the letter I sent to the Denver Post in response to their sordid editorial. Doubtful they'll run it, but if the comments online are any indication, they're thankfully getting quite an earful at the moment.

Dear Editor:

The Denver Post's cry for restored drilling in the Gulf is disheartening.

In "Second Disaster Looms in Gulf," the Post would have us believe that it's time to go easy on the oil and gas industry. This reeks of the same coziness with industry that was partly to blame for the massive Deepwater Horizon spill.

It's industry's sloppiness and lack of concern for health, safety, and the environment that has fueled the nations' largest oil spill in history. The fact that BP was drilling with no contingency plan for containing a spill speaks volumes to industry's disregard to forethought and good planning.

To be certain, the drilling moratorium is affecting jobs. But rather than fall back to playing the same game of fossil fuel Russian roulette, it's time for a full transition to clean energy that compensates workers for lost wages and ensures training and placement in the renewable energy sector.

There are no jobs on a dead planet. The drilling moratorium is the least that can be done to address the immeasurable suffering in the Gulf. It needs to be followed up with a plan to prime our workforce for a clean energy future.