CarnivOil highlights murky oil issues

Julie DiNisio
Contributing Writer

On Tuesday, Clean Energy Works and Environment Virginia, a state-wide advocacy group, held a two-hour long event to raise awareness about the Gulf Coast oil spill and the government’s current oil and energy policies.

CarnivOil: The Greatest Addiction on Earth, as it was billed, occurred in Monroe Park and assumed the theme of a traveling carnival. Featured were a variety of activities, classic carnival games all with a politically-minded twist, including Tar the Goldfish and Toss-O-Rama. In the case of these, the effect of the oil spill on various animals was highlighted. Also included was a Spill-O-Rama, which displayed several other oil spills that have occurred in past years.

While the carnival theme promoted a light-hearted atmosphere, Environment Virginia’s intent was to rouse interest and awareness on the subject of America’s dependency on oil and what they believe to be a lack of concern coming from Congress. Before Congress recessed in August, they had made little progress towards clean oil and energy bills, causing concern for groups like Environment Virginia. West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller’s continued push towards the “Dirty Air Act,” which aims to downplay the EPA’s recent findings on greenhouse gases, was also highlighted.

CarnivOil will have reached cities from the mid-West to the East Coast by the end of its three-week run, and Sarah Driscoll, state associate with Environment Virginia, has been a main contribution to the Virginia events. She believes that Congress has “wormed its way out of clean energy and oil legislation” and that the oil executives are putting profit before the needs of the people.

J.R. Tolbert, assistant chapter director of the Virginia Sierra Club, echoed Driscoll’s sentiments saying that “too much power rests with the oil companies and not enough with the people.”

Another speaker at the CarnivOil was Jes Sprouse, President of Algal Farms Inc. in Chester, Virginia. Sprouse’s company uses algae to create renewable biofuels. The company’s website states that the goal of Algal Farms Inc. is to become “a leader in biomass industry by developing and implementing the most cost effective technologies for growing, harvesting and converting algae to fuel and other valuable products.”

Also assisting in the production of the CarnivOil were several individuals representing the Public Interest Research Group, many of whom were college graduates gaining experience by field training.

CarnivOil is now moving Northward, stopping in Massachusetts and Maine, among other states, in the continued interest of raising public awareness on the current oil situation.

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