Lest we think that “tail costs — the true end cost of a human activity or error” is merely an abstract concept:

Estimate of total cost of Fukushima  — could be $300 billion and counting to Japan.  Tepco, the nuke company, is getting bailout money that could go to $137 billion.

Total cost of the Chernobyl disaster was put at $237 billion

 How safe is gas hydrofracking?  

 1.   The hydrofrackers themselves had little confidence in their own PR and sought an exemption from the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act (2005).  They received it in 2005, thanks to Halliburton’s ex-CEO, Vice President Dick Cheney.

 2.  How confident is the insurance industry in the safety of tracking?  Insurers are refusing to insure it.

3.  How confident are mortgage bankers in the safety of fracking?  Property owners signing fracking leases may be violating the terms of their mortgages.

We’ve experienced a series of significant Black Swan Events in the financial and energy sectors.  Why?  See The Peter Principle and Murphy’s Law.

Colin Powell referred to The Pottery Barn Rule:  “You break it, you buy it.”

The new Environmental Barnyard Rule is:  “THEY break it, YOU buy it.”

How does that relate to the prospects for a healthy East End and Montauk?

My grandmother used to say, “As long as you have your health….”

When our policies and priorities are designed to risk the health of the many to support the pursuit of short term gain for the few,  we are setting ourselves up for an “accident” — “an inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws”. 

The kind of environmental risk taking we are witnessing is like skydiving without a parachute.  It is exhilarating in the short term, but doesn’t end well.

Bob Stern