A prowl among shades of nature

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By John Bartlit

What does crude oil have in common with mountain lions and mistletoe? Answer: All three bring special good and special harm to their environs.
We love mountain lions for being mountain lions and love mistletoe for brightening homes and prospects for the Christmas season.
We hate when a mountain lion kills a family pet and hate when mistletoe sucks the life out of a stately tree, which it does.
We know how mountain lions control animal populations to sustain food supplies and we know that mistletoe makes tasty food and habitat for many species of birds and other small creatures.
Nature weaves many webs.
Crude oil makes its own kind of tangles. It creates jobs and kills wildlife. It powers trucks, ships and airplanes and takes its toll on water.
Just as plants and animals respond to an abundant or scarce food supply, countless interests lose or gain as the world price of oil climbs and falls.
The price of oil varies with the supply of crude and the demand for oil products, coupled with the prospects of changes in supply and demand.
Drilling more oil wells produces more oil, thus it tends to lower the price. Fracking of wells yields more oil, so it lowers the price.
A lower price for oil discourages drilling. A higher price spurs drilling.

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