Although the current problems involving pollution of the environment result primarily pollution of the environment result primarily from the demands and activities of an expanding population, industry — and particularly the population, industry — and particularly the petroleum industry — has expressed a disproportionate petroleum industry — has expressed a disproportionate share of pollution concern. The petroleum industry, aware that the products and materials handled by it and its customers can contribute to pollution, has long practiced environmental conservation while meeting the energy needs of the nation. Increasing public disfavor stemming from widely publicized incidents demands, however, that the industry should adopt objectives and appropriate even more capital to further improve environmental conservation performance.
I am sure that this group is primarily concerned with our environment from the standpoint of the producing segment of the oil industry and in the corporate attitude toward the specific problems which that particular segment of our industry creates. In order to discuss these problems in the proper perspective, however, I think it important that we first review the history of 'pollution' from its first beginnings to its present status.
Contamination of the air and water dates from the beginning of life on earth. Volcanic eruptions, dust storms, forest fires, and pollen from plants poured contaminants into pollen from plants poured contaminants into the air; run off from rains and melting snow washed silt into the rivers; and man contributed his part by dumping trash and wastes into the streams, and in building fires which produced smoke and soot. The Industrial produced smoke and soot. The Industrial Revolution accelerated man's contamination of the earth, and as technology advanced more machines and factories began emitting contaminants. Thus, while industrialization was raising man's standard of living, it was simultaneously lowering the quality of his most vital resources of air and water.
Today, just as in the past, both men and machines contribute to the problem. Increased contamination of our air and water with its undesirable and even dangerous side effects stems directly from the ever widening activities of more and more people. Industry is not the main source of pollution.