Energy Is Beautiful

Is it possible to make oil-production into something lovely? I’d like to see fewer rigs like the ones off of Camarillo and Santa Barbara, and more that look like the ones in Long Beach’s “Rainbow Harbor” (named for the lights on the artificial islands there, the so-called “THUMS Islands,” which are responsible for so much of California’s petroleum output—landscaped when I was a child by one of the men responsible for Disneyland, they complement this urban setting beautifully).

In fact, with technology the way it is, oil wells can be farther offshore than ever without necessarily pushing them all into “deep water”—which is defined in a number of ways, both off and on the Continental Shelf.

My advocacy of well-landscaped oil rigs has less application, therefore, for surfers and beach-goers than it does for boaters and those who hike natural islands such as Catalina and the Channel Islands. Ideally, nearly every rig would be invisible from the beach, because in the future most of ‘em would be more than a dozen miles from water’s edge. But rigs that are visible to those who enjoy nature should still blend into their settings.

Joy’s series on the THUMS Islands in Long Beach Harbor, a unique example of harmony between oil production and a bustling city:

Eek! Off-Shore Drilling!
Oh Noes! Petroleum Development!
THUMS Tour Day
THUMS and California History

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