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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. PACIFIC PERSPECTIVES — Before the catastrophic BP oil gush in the Gulf of Mexico, there were environmentalists who warned that offshore drilling was fraught with risk — risk of exactly the type of environmental damage that is occurring. They were mocked by people who chanted slogans such as “Drill, baby, drill.”

Now it is clear that the “Drill, baby, drill” crowd was foolish and greedy. The economic well-being of people in and around the gulf coast has been badly damaged and, for some, destroyed altogether. Aquatic and estuary life, in the gulf and beyond, has fallen victim to an environmental disaster that was foreseeable with a modicum of vision and imagination.

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