It's been a grim few weeks for traditional fossil fuel industries, their workers and the country:
Forty-two miners and oil rig employees killed in Gulf of Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia disasters, and now a massive oil slick said to be larger than the horrendous Exxon Valdez spill is moving from the sunken British Petroleum off-shore rig towards the Louisiana coast over a sensitive ecosystem and its rich fishing waters.
These have always been dangerous professions, but as the thirst for fuel grows, so do the risks, and the consequences.
And thus another reason to look to conservation ,and alternative technologies and fuels as sources of energy.
Let's face it: wind turbines, solar collectors, ethanol production and tidal power generation do not put human beings and the landscape at as much risk.
Some, yes, but nowhere near equivalent to what is on the line through oil, coal and natural gas extraction.
Politicians have to face up to this dilemma, as does the public.