In the wake of such an enormous disaster that is the Gulf Oil spill, an unspeakable crime against living ecosystems, political leaders are getting a jostle. In the words of James Boyce:
As the greatest domestic environmental disaster of this generation, and perhaps in the end of all generations, unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico, with literally no end in sight, the Grand Old Party has taken the extraordinary step of deciding that now is the perfect time to remind people we need to do MORE offshore oil drilling.
Yes, the House Republican Conference has assembled an “Energy Rapid Response Team” ready to convince you that more offshore drilling is necessary, for great fear of rising costs of importing oil and fueling at the pump. James does well to criticize the reps who put this together.
On the less ridiculous side, two moderate Republican governors took back their support for offshore drilling. Florida Republican governor Charlie Crist sided with McCain in 2008 in support of offshore drilling. After seeing the catastrophe in the Gulf, he now retracts his support. Flying over the spill site, Crist remarked, “Clearly it could be devastating to Florida if something like that were to occur. It’s the last thing in the world I would want to see happen in our beautiful state. … It’s clearly not clean enough after we saw what we saw today — that’s horrific — and it certainly isn’t safe enough. It’s the opposite of safe.”
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed his shock and distaste for the television images of the spill and promptly rescinded his interest in lifting a 40-year moratorium on drilling off the California coast. In 1969, a Union Oil Co. drilling platform off the Santa Barbara coast blew out and defiled miles of beaches and ocean ecosystems, prompting a moratorium on offshore drilling. Perhaps forty years is enough time to forget the horror of such an event (I wasn’t born yet). Almost fortunately, the Gulf Oil spill reminded us once again of what it feels like to see habitats die on a large scale. Obama has recently been interested in lifting bans on offshore drilling as well. Hopefully, he will listen to Greenpeace and change his mind.
I know well mining companies attempt to deregulate safety measures as much as possible, causing things like the mining explosion one month ago. Mining companies often cite higher costs and loss of profits as the primary reason for not installing more advanced and reliable safety measures in their mining operations. They also invest in politicians. I’m thinking the oil industry operates very similarly.
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